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HSE RR682

Development of fire protection measures for vessels containing reactive chemicals

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SUMMARY

The objective of this work is to have a better understanding of the phenomena that occur when a vessel containing reactive chemicals is exposed to an external fire and so assess possible preventive and mitigation measures. The following approach has been adopted:

  • an experimental calorimetric system for the simulating the effects on chemicals in vessels under fire loading was developed;
  • the validity of theoretical models for the correction of adiabatic data were tested experimentally;
  • dynamic simulations of large-scale vessels containing reactive chemicals exposed to a pool fire were carried out in order to study the effect of the presence of an insulation layer.

This work will form a useful basis for HSE to assess the adequacy of the ‘fire case’ for relief systems provided on a range of process reactors containing reactive chemicals and on storage vessels for reactive monomers. These installations vary in size from small reactors common in the pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries to the large, several hundred tonne capacity storage vessels used in the petrochemical industry.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

Publisher: HSE
Published in: 2009

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