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Numerical Study on Spontaneous Ignition of Pressurized Hydrogen Release Through a Length of Tube


The issue of spontaneous ignition of highly pressurized hydrogen release is of important safety concern, e.g. in the assessment of risk and design of safety measures. This paper reports on recent numerical investigation of this phenomenon through releases via a length of tube. This mimics a potential accidental scenario involving release through instrument line. The implicit large eddy simulation (ILES) approach was used with the 5th-order weighted essentially non-oscillatory (WENO) scheme. A mixture-averaged multi-component approach was used for accurate calculation of molecular transport. The thin flame was resolved with fine grid resolution and the autoignition and combustion chemistry were accounted for using a 21-step kinetic scheme.
The numerical study revealed that the finite rupture process of the initial pressure boundary plays an important role in the spontaneous ignition. The rupture process induces significant turbulent mixing at the contact region via shock reflections and interactions. The predicted leading shock velocity inside the tube increases during the early stages of the release and then stabilizes at a nearly constant value which is higher than that predicted by one-dimensional analysis. The air behind the leading shock is shock-heated and mixes with the released hydrogen in the contact region. Ignition is firstly initiated inside the tube and then a partially premixed flame is developed. Significant amount of shock-heated air and well developed partially premixed flames are two major factors providing potential energy to overcome the strong under-expansion and flow divergence following spouting from the tube.
Parametric studies were also conducted to investigate the effect of rupture time, release pressure, tube length and diameter on the likelihood of spontaneous ignition. It was found that a slower rupture time and a lower release pressure will lead to increases in ignition delay time and hence reduces the likelihood of spontaneous ignition. If the tube length is smaller than a certain value, even though ignition could take place inside the tube, the flame is unlikely to be sufficiently strong to overcome under-expansion and flow divergence after spouting from the tube and hence is likely to be quenched.

Related subjects: Safety
Countries: United Kingdom

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