Type of Publication
Year of Publication
W.S. Winters; W.G. Houf

Knowledge of the concentration field and flammability envelope from small-scale leaks is important for the safe use of hydrogen. These small-scale leaks may occur from leaky fittings or o-ring seals on liquid hydrogen-based systems. The present study focuses on steady-state leaks with large amounts of pressure drop along the leak path such that hydrogen enters the atmosphere at near atmospheric pressure (i.e. Very low mach number). A three-stage buoyant turbulent entrainment model is developed to predict the properties (trajectory, hydrogen concentration and temperature) of a jet emanating from the leak. Atmospheric hydrogen properties (temperature and quality) at the leak plane depend on the storage pressure and whether the leak occurs from the saturated vapor space or saturated liquid space. In the first stage of the entrainment model ambient temperature air (295 k) mixes with the leaking hydrogen (20-30 k) over a short distance creating an ideal gas mixture at low temperature (~65 k). During this process states of hydrogen and air are determined from equilibrium thermodynamics using models developed by NIST. In the second stage of the model (also relatively short in distance) the radial distribution of hydrogen concentration and velocity in the jet develops into a gaussian profile characteristic of free jets. The third and by far the longest stage is the part of the jet trajectory where flow is fully developed. Results show that flammability envelopes for cold hydrogen jets are generally larger than those of ambient temperature jets. While trajectories for ambient temperature jets depend solely on the leak densimetric Froude number, results from the present study show that cold jet trajectories depend on the Froude number and the initial jet density ratio. Furthermore, the flammability envelope is influenced by the hydrogen concentration in the jet at the beginning of fully developed flow.