In the summers of 2000 and 2001, a series of controlled fire tests were conducted on horizontal (500 US gallon) propane pressure vessels. The test vessels were instrumented with pressure transducers, liquid space, vapor space, and wall thermocouples, and an instrumented flow nozzle in place of a pressure relief valve (PRV). A computer controlled PRV was used to control pressure. The vessels were heated using high momentum, liquid propane utility torches. Open pool fires were not used for the testing because they are strongly affected by wind. These wind effects make it almost impossible to have repeatable test conditions. The fire conditions used were calibrated to give heat inputs similar to a luminous hydrocarbon pool fire with an effective blackbody temperature in the range of . PRV blowdown (i.e., ) and fire conditions were varied in this test series while all other input parameters were held constant. The fire conditions were varied by changing the number of burners applied to the vessel wall areas wetted by liquid and vapor. It was found that the vessel content’s response and energy storage varied according to the fire conditions and the PRV operation. The location and quantity of the burners affected the thermal stratification within the liquid, and the liquid swelling (due to vapor generation in the liquid) at the liquid∕vapor interface. The blowdown of the PRV affected the average vessel pressure, average liquid temperature, and time to temperature destratification in the liquid. Large blowdown also delayed thermal rupture.
The Effect of Pressure Relief Valve Blowdown and Fire Conditions on the Thermo-Hydraulics Within a Pressure Vessel
Birk, A. M., and VanderSteen, J. D. J. (April 18, 2006). "The Effect of Pressure Relief Valve Blowdown and Fire Conditions on the Thermo-Hydraulics Within a Pressure Vessel." ASME. J. Pressure Vessel Technol. August 2006; 128(3): 467–475. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.2218353
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