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Models

Most accidents in chemical plants result in spills of

toxic, flammable, and explosive materials.

results in the loss of containment of material from

the process. The material has hazardous properties,

which might include toxic properties and energy

content.

Once the incident is known, source models are

selected to describe how materials are discharged

from the process.

The source model provides a description of the rate of

discharge, the total quantity discharged (or total time

of discharge), and the state of the discharge (that is,

solid, liquid, vapor, or a combination). A dispersion

model is subsequently used to describe how the

material is transported downwind and dispersed to

some concentration levels.

For flammable releases fire and explosion models

convert the source model information on the

release into energy hazard potentials, such as

thermal radiation and explosion over-pressures.

results into effects on people (injury or death) and

structures.

4-1 Introduction to Source Models

Source models are constructed from fundamental or

empirical equations representing the physicochemical

processes occurring during the release of materials. For

a reasonably complex plant many source models are

needed to describe the release. Some development

and modification of the original models is normally

required to fit the specific situation. Frequently the

results are only estimates because the physical

properties of the materials are not adequately

characterized or because the physical processes

themselves are not completely understood. If

uncertainty exists, the parameters should be selected

to maximize the release rate and quantity. This ensures

Release mechanisms are classified according

to aperture releases:

wide

limited

develops in the process unit, releasing a

substantial amount of material in a short

time. An excellent example is the over

pressuring and explosion of a storage tank.

released at a slow enough rate that

upstream conditions are not immediately

Limited aperture

releases. For these

releases material is

ejected from holes

and cracks in tanks

and pipes, leaks in

flanges, valves, and

pumps, and severed

or ruptured pipes.

Relief systems,

designed to prevent

the over pressuring

of tanks and process

vessels, are also

potential sources of

released material.

Figure 4-3 shows how the physical

state of the material affects the

release mechanism. For gases or

vapors stored in a tank, a leak

results in a jet of gas or vapor. For

liquids a leak below the liquid level

in the tank results in a stream of

escaping liquid. If the liquid is

stored under pressure above its

atmospheric boiling point, a leak

below the liquid level will result in

a stream of liquid flashing partially

into vapor. Small liquid droplets or

aerosols might also form from the

flashing stream, with the possibility

of transport away from the leak by

wind currents. A leak in the vapor Figure 4-3 Vapor and liquid are ejected from

process units in either single- or two-phase states

space above the liquid can result in

There are several basic source models that are

used repeatedly and will be developed in detail

here. These source models are

flow of liquid through a hole,

flow of liquid through a hole in a tank,

flow of liquids through pipes,

flow of vapor through holes,

flow of gases through pipes, flashing liquids,

and

liquid pool evaporation or boiling.

4-2 Flow of Liquid through a Hole

A mechanical energy balance describes the various energy forms associated

with flowing fluids:

P is the pressure (force/area),

is the fluid density (mass/volume),

u is the average instantaneous velocity of the

fluid (length/time),

gc is the gravitational constant (length

mass/force time2),

is the unitless velocity profile correction

factor with the following values:

= 0.5 for laminar flow,

= 1.0 for plug flow, and

1.0 for turbulent flow,

g is the acceleration due to gravity

(length/time2),

z is the height above datum (length),

F is the net frictional loss term (length

force/mass),

Ws the shaft work (force length), and

M is the mass flow rate (mass/time).

Figure 4-4 Liquid

escaping through a

hole in a process unit.

The energy of the

liquid resulting from its

pressure in the vessel

is converted to kinetic

energy, with some

frictional flow losses in

the hole.

The discharge coefficient C0, is a complicated function of

the Reynolds number of the fluid escaping through the

leak and the diameter of the hole. The following guidelines

are suggested:

For sharp-edged orifices and for Reynolds numbers

greater than 30,000, C0 approaches the value 0.61. For

these conditions the exit velocity of the fluid is

independent of the size of the hole.

For a well-rounded nozzle, the discharge coefficient

approaches 1.

For short sections of pipe attached to a vessel (with a

length-diameter ratio not less than 3), the discharge

coefficient is approximately 0.81.

When the discharge coefficient is unknown or uncertain,

Example 4-1

At 1 P.M. the plant operator notices a drop in pressure in a

pipeline transporting benzene. The pressure is

immediately restored to 100 psig. At 2:30 P.M. a 1/4-in-

diameter leak is found in the pipeline and immediately

repaired. Estimate the total amount of benzene spilled.

The specific gravity of benzene is 0.8794.

Solution

The drop in pressure observed at 1 P.M. is indicative of a

leak in the pipeline. The leak is assumed to be active

between 1 P.M. and 2:30 P.M., a total of 90 minutes. The

area of the hole is

The density of the benzene is

rate is given by

Equation 4-7. A

discharge coefficient

of 0.61 is assumed for

this orifice-type leak:

4-3 Flow of Liquid through a Hole in a Tank

type leak in a process

vessel. The energy

resulting from the

pressure of the fluid

height above the leak is

converted to kinetic

energy as the fluid exits

through the hole. Some

energy is lost because

of frictional fluid flow.

Mass discharge rate at any time t:

Equation 4-19 is the initial mass discharge

rate at hL = hL0.

The time tc for the vessel to empty to the level of the

leak is found by solving Equation4-18 for t after setting

hL = 0:

Equation 4-20 reduces to

Example 4-2

A cylindrical tank 20 ft high and 8 ft in diameter is

used to store benzene. The tank is padded with

nitrogen to a constant regulated pressure of 1 atm

gauge to prevent explosion. The liquid level within

the tank is presently at 17 ft. A 1-in puncture occurs

in the tank 5 ft off the ground because of the

careless driving of a forklift truck.

Estimate

(a)the gallons of benzene spilled,

(b)the time required for the benzene to leak out,

(c) the maximum mass flow rate of benzene through

the leak.

Solution

The density of the

benzene is

a. The volume of benzene above the leak is

benzene that

will leak out.

b. The length of

time for the

benzene to leak

out is given by

Equation 4-20:

c. The maximum discharge occurs at t = 0 at a liquid level

of 17.0 ft. Equation 4-19 is used to compute the mass flow

rate:

4-4 Flow of Liquids through Pipes

Figure 4-6 Liquid flowing

through a pipe. The frictional

flow losses between the fluid

and the pipe wall result in a

pressure drop across the pipe

length. Kinetic energy

changes are frequently

negligible.

The frictional loss term F in Equation 4-28 represents the

loss of mechanical energy resulting from friction and

includes losses resulting from flow through lengths of pipe;

fittings such as valves, elbows, orifices; and pipe entrances

and exits. For each frictional device, a loss term of the

following form is used:

where

Kf is the excess head loss due to the pipe or pipe fitting

(dimensionless)

u is the fluid velocity (length/time).

Table 4-1 Roughness Factor for Clean Pipes

Pipe (mm)

material

Riveted 1-10

steel

Concrete 0.3-3

Cast iron 0.26

Galvanized 0.15

iron

Commercial 0.046

steel

Wrought 0.046

For fluids flowing through pipes

the excess head loss term Kf is

given by

where

f is the Fanning friction factor

(unitless),

L is the flow path length

(length),

d is the flow path diameter

(length).

The Fanning friction factor f is a function of the Reynolds

number Re and the roughness of the pipe . Table 4-1

provides values of for various types of clean pipe.

Figure 4-7 is a plot of the Fanning friction factor versus

Reynolds number with the pipe roughness, /d, as a

parameter.

For laminar flow the Fanning friction factor is given by

represented by the Colebrook equation:

Figure 4-7 Plot of

Fanning friction

factor f versus

Reynolds number

For fully developed turbulent flow in

rough pipes, f is independent of the

Reynolds number,

For smooth pipes, = 0

number less than 100,000

proposed by Chen to

provide the friction factor f

over the entire range of

Reynolds numbers

4-9 Realistic and Worst-Case Releases

The realistic releases represent the incident outcomes with a high probability

of occurring. Thus, rather than assuming that an entire storage vessel fails

catastrophically, it is more realistic to assume that a high probability exists

that the release will occur from the disconnection of the largest pipe

connected to the tank.

The worst-case releases are those that assume almost catastrophic failure of

the process, resulting in near instantaneous release of the entire process

inventory or release over a short period of time.

The selection of the release case depends on the requirements of the

consequence study. If an internal company study is being completed to

determine the actual consequences of plant releases, then the realistic cases

4-10 Conservative Analysis

All models, including consequence models, have uncertainties. These

uncertainties arise because of:

(1) an incomplete understanding of the geometry of the release (that

is, the hole size),

(2) unknown or poorly characterized physical properties,

(3) a poor understanding of the chemical or release process,

(4) unknown or poorly understood mixture behavior, to name a few.

are treated by assigning conservative values to some of these

unknowns. By doing so, a conservative estimate of the consequence is

obtained, defining the limits of the design envelope. This ensures that

the resulting engineering design to mitigate or remove the hazard is

overdesigned. Every effort, how-ever, should be made to achieve a

result consistent with the demands of the problem.

For any particular modeling study several receptors might

be present that require different decisions for

conservative design. For example, dispersion modeling

based on a ground-level release will maximize the

consequence for the surrounding community but will not

maximize the consequence for plant workers at the top of

a process structure.

To illustrate conservative modeling, consider a problem

requiring an estimate of the gas discharge rate from a hole in

a storage tank. This discharge rate is used to estimate the

downwind concentrations of the gas, with the intent of

estimating the toxicological impact. The discharge rate

depends on a number of parameters, including

(1) the hole area,

(2) the pressure within and outside the tank,

(3) the physical properties of the gas,

(4) the temperature of the gas,

The reality of the situation is that the maximum discharge

rate of gas occurs when the leak first occurs, with the

discharge rate decreasing as a function of time as the

pressure within the tank decreases.

The complete dynamic solution to this problem is difficult,

requiring a mass discharge model cross-coupled to a material

balance on the contents of the tank. An equation of state

(perhaps non ideal) is required to determine the tank

pressure given the total mass.

Complicated temperature effects are also possible. A

A much simpler procedure is to calculate the mass discharge

rate at the instant the leak occurs, assuming a fixed

temperature and pressure within the tank equal to the initial

temperature and pressure. The actual discharge rate at later

times will always be less, and the down-wind concentrations

will always be less. In this fashion a conservative result is

ensured.

For the hole area a possible decision is to consider the area

of the largest pipe connected to the tank, because pipe

disconnections are a frequent source of tank leaks. Again,

Unfortunately, this procedure can result in a

consequence that is many times larger than the

actual, leading to a potential overdesign of the

mitigation procedures or safety systems.

This occurs, in particular, if several decisions are

made during the analysis, with each decision

producing a maximum result.

For this reason, consequence analysis should be

approached with intelligence, tempered with a

Table 4-5 Guidelines for Selection of Process Incidents

Incident Guideline

characteristic

Realistic release

incidents

Process pipes Rupture of the largest diameter process pipe as follows:

For diameters smaller than 2 in, assume a full bore rupture.

For diameters 2-4 in, assume rupture equal to that of a 2-inch-

diameter pipe.

For diameters greater than 4 in, assume rupture area equal

to20% of the pipe cross-sectional area.

Pressure relief devices Use calculated total release rate at set pressure. Refer to

relieving directly to the pressure relief calculation. All material released is assumed to

atmosphere be airborne.

attached to the vessel. Use the pipe criteria.

Worst-case

incidents

Quantity Assume release of the largest quantity of substance handled

onsite in a single process vessel at any time. To estimate the

release rate, assume the entire quantity is released within 10 min.

Wind Assume F stability, 1.5 m/s wind speed, unless meteorological data

speed/Stability indicate otherwise.

temperature/hu humidity.

midity

release

Topography Assume urban or rural topography, as appropriate.

release temperature, based on data for the previous 3 years, or at process

substance temperature, whichever is highest. Assume that gases liquefied by

refrigeration at atmospheric pressure are released at their boiling

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