Isentropic Exergy and Pressure of the Shock Wave Caused by the Explosion of a Pressure Vessel
Kurttila, Heikki (2003-11-14)
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An accidental burst of a pressure vessel is an uncontrollable and explosion-like batch process. In this study it is called an explosion. The destructive effectof a pressure vessel explosion is relative to the amount of energy released in it. However, in the field of pressure vessel safety, a mutual understanding concerning the definition of explosion energy has not yet been achieved. In this study the definition of isentropic exergy is presented. Isentropic exergy is the greatest possible destructive energy which can be obtained from a pressure vessel explosion when its state changes in an isentropic way from the initial to the final state. Finally, after the change process, the gas has similar pressure and flow velocity as the environment. Isentropic exergy differs from common exergy inthat the process is assumed to be isentropic and the final gas temperature usually differs from the ambient temperature. The explosion process is so fast that there is no time for the significant heat exchange needed for the common exergy.Therefore an explosion is better characterized by isentropic exergy. Isentropicexergy is a characteristic of a pressure vessel and it is simple to calculate. Isentropic exergy can be defined also for any thermodynamic system, such as the shock wave system developing around an exploding pressure vessel. At the beginning of the explosion process the shock wave system has the same isentropic exergyas the pressure vessel. When the system expands to the environment, its isentropic exergy decreases because of the increase of entropy in the shock wave. The shock wave system contains the pressure vessel gas and a growing amount of ambient gas. The destructive effect of the shock wave on the ambient structures decreases when its distance from the starting point increases. This arises firstly from the fact that the shock wave system is distributed to a larger space. Secondly, the increase of entropy in the shock waves reduces the amount of isentropic exergy. Equations concerning the change of isentropic exergy in shock waves are derived. By means of isentropic exergy and the known flow theories, equations illustrating the pressure of the shock wave as a function of distance are derived. Amethod is proposed as an application of the equations. The method is applicablefor all shapes of pressure vessels in general use, such as spheres, cylinders and tubes. The results of this method are compared to measurements made by various researchers and to accident reports on pressure vessel explosions. The test measurements are found to be analogous with the proposed method and the findings in the accident reports are not controversial to it.
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