This paper addresses the local effects of hydrogen detonations inside piping. It is the first in a two-part series of papers which assess the effects of detonations in piping systems relative to ASME Code allowables.

The effects of internal detonations in piping systems are typically separated into two regimes: local effects and system effects. Local effects are often simplistically represented as pure hoop stresses resulting from the pressure acting radially on the inside circumference of the pipe. In reality, the interaction of the pipe wall and the propagating detonation wave is relatively complex, resulting in “waves” or “ripples” in the pipe wall. These areas of local, through-wall curvature lead to substantial axial stresses which may even exceed the hoop stresses. Furthermore, in the elastic regime, there is very little damping present in the pipe wall, leading to numerous stress cycles as the local bending waves move axially along the pipe wall.

Fatigue effects of the combined hoop and axial cycling were evaluated using ASME Code Section VIII, Division 2 fatigue evaluation methodology. Analysis of strain gage data from a number of hydrogen detonation experiments in 2-inch and 4-inch Schedule 40 piping showed that the fatigue damage is generally driven by fewer than 10 large-magnitude fatigue cycles, which account for an average of 75% of the total fatigue damage. However, the results also demonstrate that for two detonation events with similar measured peak hoop or axial strain, the number of fatigue allowable events may vary dramatically depending on the shape of the strain response.

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