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Experimental Study and Model Predictions on Helium Release in an Enclosure with Single or Multiple Vents


This paper presents experiments performed at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) to examine the dispersion behaviour of helium in a polycarbonate enclosure that was representative of a residential parking garage. The purpose was to gain a better understanding of the effect of buoyancy- or winddriven natural ventilation on hydrogen dispersion behaviour. Although hydrogen dispersion studies have been reported extensively in the literature, gaps still exist in predictive methods for hazard analysis. Helium, a simulant for hydrogen, was injected near the centre of the floor with a flow rate ranging from 5 to 75 standard litres per minute through an upward-facing nozzle, resulting in an injection Richardson number ranging between 10-1 and 102. The location of the nozzle varied from the bottom of the enclosure to near the ceiling to examine the impact of the nozzle elevation on the development of a stratified layer in the upper region of the enclosure. When the injection nozzle was placed at a sufficiently low elevation, the vertical helium profile always consisted of a homogenous layer at the top overlaying a stratified layer at the bottom. To simulate outdoor environmental conditions, a fan was placed in front of each vent to examine the effect of opposing or assisting wind on the dispersion. The helium transients in the uniform layer predicted with analytical models were in good agreement with the measured transients for the tests with injection at lower elevations or with no wind. Model improvements are required for adequately predicting transients with significantly stratified profiles or with wind.

Funding source: The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, under the auspices of the Federal Nuclear Science and Technology Program.
Related subjects: Safety
Countries: Canada

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