Type of Publication
Year of Publication
B.P. Xu; J.X. Wen; V.H.Y. Tam

The issue of spontaneous ignition of highly pressurized hydrogen release is of important safety concern, e.g. in the assessment of safety risk and design of safety measures. This paper reports on recent numerical investigation of this phenomenon through releases via a tube using a 5th-order WENO scheme. A mixture-averaged multi-component approach was used for accurate calculation of molecular transport. The auto-ignition and combustion chemistry were accounted for using a 21-step kinetic scheme. The numerical study revealed that the finite rupture process of the initial pressure boundary plays an important role in the spontaneous ignition. The rupture process induces significant turbulent mixing at the contact region via shock reflections and interactions. The predicted leading shock velocity inside the tube increases during the early stages of the release and then stabilizes at a constant value. The air behind the leading shock is shock-heated and mixes with the released hydrogen in the contact region. Ignition is firstly initiated inside the tube and then a partially premixed flame is developed. Significant amount of shock-heated air and well developed partially premixed flames are two major factors providing potential energy to overcome the strong under-expansion and flow divergence following spouting from the tube. Further parametric studies were conducted to investigate the effect of rupture time, release pressure, tube length and diameter on the likelihood of spontaneous ignition. A slower rupture time and a lower release pressure will lead to increases in ignition delay time and hence reduces the likelihood of spontaneous ignition. If the tube length is smaller than a certain value, even though ignition could take place inside the tube, the flame is unlikely to be sufficiently strong to overcome under-expansion and flow divergence after spouting from the tube and hence is likely to be quenched.