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Modeling of Sudden Hydrogen Expansion from Cryogenic Pressure Vessel Failure


We have modelled sudden hydrogen expansion from a cryogenic pressure vessel. This model considers real gas equations of state, single and two-phase flow, and the specific “vessel within vessel” geometry of cryogenic vessels. The model can solve sudden hydrogen expansion for initial pressures up to 1210 bar and for initial temperatures ranging from 27 to 400 K. For practical reasons, our study focuses on hydrogen release from 345 bar, with temperatures between 62 K and 300 K. The pressure vessel internal volume is 151 L. The results indicate that cryogenic pressure vessels may offer a safety advantage with respect to compressed hydrogen vessels because i) the vacuum jacket protects the pressure vessel from environmental damage, ii) hydrogen, when released, discharges first into an intermediate chamber before reaching the outside environment, and iii) working temperature is typically much lower and thus the hydrogen has less energy. Results indicate that key expansion parameters such as pressure, rate of energy release, and thrust are all considerably lower for a cryogenic vessel within vessel geometry as compared to ambient temperature compressed gas vessels. Future work will focus on taking advantage of these favourable conditions to attempt fail-safe cryogenic vessel designs that do not harm people or property even after catastrophic failure of the inner pressure vessel.

Related subjects: Safety
Countries: United States

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Modelling of sudden hydrogen expansion from cryogenic pressure vessel failure

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