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Vapour explosions may occur when a hot liquid comes into contact with a cold volatile liquid. They are caused by rapid and coherent transfer of heat energy between the two fluids. Experiments have shown that before an explosion can occur the two liquids must mix in some gross manner. The mixture geometry produced by this first coarse mixing stage may range from a homogeneous state (with vapour blanketed droplets of one liquid dispersed throughout a continuum of the second liquid) to a highly inhomogeneous state (with the two liquids stratified into layers separated by a vapour film). The explosion is initiated by a local instability which escalates and propagates through the premixture, leading to coherent energy release. To date, analysts have only attempted to model the propagation process in an idealised homogeneous geometry. This paper reviews the history of these modelling efforts, starting from the Board-Hall model, which postulated an analogy between vapour explosions and chemical detonations. The historical development of detonation modelling from the early steady-state models to transient models is reviewed. Particular attention is given to identifying the physical assumptions made in these models, to examining the validity of these assumptions and to reviewing the database of constitutive relations which is used to close them. It is noted that many of the physical features of a vapour explosion are not well understood and the current generation of mathematical models does not address many of the complexities of a real explosion.

Additional information

Authors: FLETCHER D F, Culham Laboratory, UKAEA, Abingdon, Oxon. (GB);ANDERSON R P, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne (US)
Bibliographic Reference: Report: CLM-P879 EN (1990) 56pp.
Availability: Available from the Librarian, UKAEA, Culham Laboratory, Abingdon, Oxon. OX14 3DB (GB)
Record Number: 199010991 / Last updated on: 1994-12-01
Original language: en
Available languages: en