Schefer, R. W., Merilo, E. G., Groethe, M. A., & Houf, W. G. (2011). Experimental investigation of hydrogen jet fire mitigation by barrier walls. International journal of hydrogen energy, 36(3), 2530-2537.
Hydrogen jet flames resulting from ignition of unintended releases can be extensive in length and pose significant radiation and impingement hazards. One possible mitigation strategy to reduce exposure to jet flames is to incorporate barriers around hydrogen storage and delivery equipment. While reducing the extent of unacceptable consequences, the walls may introduce other hazards if not properly configured. This paper describes experiments carried out to characterize the effectiveness of different barrier wall configurations at reducing the hazards created by jet fires. The hazards that are evaluated are the generation of overpressure during ignition, the thermal radiation produced by the jet flame, and the effectiveness of the wall at deflecting the flame.
The tests were conducted against a vertical wall (1-wall configuration), and two “3-wall” configurations that consisted of the same vertical wall with two side walls of the same dimensions angled at 135° and 90°. The hydrogen jet impinged on the center of the central wall in all cases. In terms of reducing the radiation heat flux behind the wall, the 1-wall configuration performed best followed by the 3-wall 135° configuration and the 3-wall 90°. The reduced shielding efficiency of the three-wall configurations was probably due to the additional confinement created by the side walls that limited the escape of hot gases to the sides of the wall and forced the hot gases to travel over the top of the wall.
The 3-wall barrier with 135° side walls exhibited the best overall performance. Overpressures produced on the release side of the wall were similar to those produced in the 1-wall configuration. The attenuation of overpressure and impulse behind the wall was comparable to that of the three-wall configuration with 90° side walls. The 3-wall 135° configuration’s ability to shield the back side of the wall from the heat flux emitted from the jet flame was comparable to the 1-wall and better than the 3-wall 90° configuration. The ratio of peak overpressure (from in front of the wall and from behind the wall) showed that the 3-wall 135° configuration and the 3-wall 90° configuration had a similar effectiveness. In terms of the pressure mitigation, the 3-wall configurations performed significantly better than the 1-wall configuration.
Keywords: Hydrogen, Jet flame, Barrier wall, Mitigation, Codes and standards