Blast wave from a high-pressure gas tank rupture in a fire: Stand-alone and under-vehicle hydrogen tanks

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This study addresses one of knowledge gaps in hydrogen safety science and engineering, i.e. a predictive model for calculation of deterministic separation distances defined by the parameters of a blast wave generated by a high-pressure gas storage tank rupture in a fire. An overview of existing methods to calculate stored in a tank internal (mechanical) energy and a blast wave decay is presented. Predictions by the existing technique and an original model developed in this study, which accounts for the real gas effects and combustion of the flammable gas released into the air (chemical energy), are compared against experimentaldata on high-pкessure hydrogen tank rupture in the bonfire test. The main reason for a poor predictive capability of the existing models is the absence of combustion contribution to the blast wave strength. The developed methodology is able to reproduce experimental data on a blast wave decay after rupture of a stand-alone hydrogen tank and a tank under a vehicle. In this study, the chemical energy is dynamically added to themechanical energy and is accounted for in the energy-scaled non-dimensional distance. The fraction of the total chemical energy of combustion released to feed the blast wave is 5% and 9%, however it is 1.4 and 30 times larger than the mechanical energy in the standalone tank test and the under-vehicle tank test respectively. The model is applied as a safety engineering tool to four typical hydrogen storage applications, including on-board vehicle storage tanks and a stand-alone refuelling station storage tank. Harm criteria topeople and damage criteria for buildings from a blast wave are selected by the authors from literature to demonstrate the calculation of deterministic separation distances. Safety strategies should exclude effects of fire on stationary storage vessels, and require thermal protection of on-board storage to prevent dangerous consequences of high-pressure tank rupture in a fire.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12581-12603
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number36
Early online date29 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 28 Sept 2015


  • Blast wave
  • Overpressure
  • Impulse
  • Deterministic separation distance
  • Hydrogen
  • Model


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