Hydrogen deflagration in confined spaces is an important safety issue. The dispersion of a stratified layer of hydrogen due to molecular diffusion is studied. It represents an important class of problems related to long term behaviour of hydrogen release in confined spaces. Diffusion being a slow process, gives an upper bound on the time taken for the stratified layer to mix with air below. A method, based on four indices, namely, average mole fraction (of hydrogen), non-uniformity index, deflagration volume fraction and deflagration pressure ratio, developed recently by the authors, is used to provide vital temporal information on mixing of the stratified layer with air below and formation of flammable cloud in the enclosure. In the present paper, stratified layers of different thickness are considered and the temporal evolutions of the above indices are plotted against diffusion Fourier number. The results in non-dimensional form provide an upper bound of the time that would be required to form a uniform mixture and to attain a state with respect to deflagration potential for enclosures of different sizes. This estimate is an important input for planning mitigation measures before the accident and for post accident investigations. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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