[SystemSafety] Oil train fireball

Peter Bernard Ladkin ladkin at rvs.uni-bielefeld.de
Wed Feb 18 09:14:56 CET 2015

Thanks, Martyn and Kevin!

I was somewhat uncreative with my search. "Fireball" and "model" gave me large amounts of
astrophysics, which has a Fireball Model which is apparently hot. NASA has a one-page briefing at
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/pdf/97767main_GRB_primer.pdf It's about the daily gamma-ray
bursts which people have suggested come from collapsars.

Other stuff must have been buried further down than my patience. The key-keyword from Kevin turned
out to be "vapor".

I thought I'd share what appear to be the most useful references. It's rare that I think "gosh, I
really should find out the basics about that" and be so quickly fulfilled. Remembering what is was
like getting reliable information even twenty years ago, this all seems a bit like magic.

All of these references are helpful with the qualitative characterisation, and it seems as if some
of the basic math is also straightforward.

There was a huge fireball/explosion/BLEVE (great word that!) in the Urals in 1989. Apparently a leak
in a pipeline next to rail tracks let a lot of vaopr out. Two trains passing each other apparently
ignited it, and the effects covered kilometers.

One of the scientific investigators appeared to have moved to Singapore and has a paper giving a
simplified model of BLEVE/fireball phenomena :Novozhilov 2001
http://www.iafss.org/publications/aofst/5/144/view I have no idea of course whether the model is any
good, but the author's credentials are first-rate.

As as those of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering :-). Its Guidelines for Evaluating the
Characteristics of Vapor Cloud Explosions, Flash Fires, and BLEVEs were published on-line in 2010
through John WIley & Sons and is available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/book/10.1002/9780470938157

Another AIChEng publication with Wiley from 1996 contains an Appendix on Explosion and Fire
Phenomena and Effects and is also on-line

Finally, there are some lecture notes from the Uni Toledo in Ohio on Fires and Explosions

I'll mug up on it a little before I approach Andrew Curran about Buncefield.


Prof. Peter Bernard Ladkin, Faculty of Technology, University of Bielefeld, 33594 Bielefeld, Germany
Je suis Charlie
Tel+msg +49 (0)521 880 7319  www.rvs.uni-bielefeld.de

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