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An Experimental Study on the Large-Volume Liquid Hydrogen Release in an Open Space


Liquid hydrogen is one of the high-quality energy carriers, but a large leak of liquid hydrogen can pose significant safety risks. Understanding its diffusion law after accidental leakage is an important issue for the safe utilization of hydrogen energy. In this paper, a series of open-space large-volume liquid hydrogen release experiments are performed to observe the evolution of visible clouds during the release, and an array of hydrogen concentration sensors is set up to monitor the fluctuation in hydrogen concentration at different locations. Based on the experimental conditions, the diffusion of hydrogen clouds in the atmosphere under different release hole diameters and different ground materials is compared. The results show that with the release of liquid hydrogen, the white visible cloud formed by air condensation or solidification is generated rapidly and spread widely, and the visible cloud is most obvious near the ground. With the termination of liquid hydrogen release, solid air is deposited on the ground, and the visible clouds gradually shrink from the far field to the release source. Hydrogen concentration fluctuations in the far field in the case of the cobblestone ground are more dependent on spontaneous diffusion by the hydrogen concentration gradient. In addition, compared with the concrete ground, the cobblestone ground has greater resistance to liquid hydrogen extension; the diffusion of hydrogen clouds to the far field lags. The rapid increase stage of hydrogen concentration at N8 in Test 7 lags about 3 s behind N12 in Test 6, N3 lags about 7.5 s behind N1, and N16 lags about 8.25 s behind N14. The near-source space is prone to high-concentration hydrogen clouds. The duration of the high-concentration hydrogen cloud at N12 is about 15 s, which is twice as long as the duration at N8, increasing the safety risk of the near-source space.

Funding source: This research work is supported by the State Key Laboratory of Technologies in Space Cryogenic Propellants (SKLTSCP202208).
Related subjects: Safety

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