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News // Case Study: CFD simulation explosions

Date // 23rd December 2015

Case Study: CFD simulation explosions

Purpose:
Research to assess effects above ground of an underground explosion in one of the caverns of the Jurong Rock Caverns.

Outline/ Scope of Works:
In Singapore new industrial areas are becoming scarce, therefore oil companies are looking below the surface. Storage in large manmade caverns are a viable solution in today's market. The caverns at Jurong Rock Caverns (JRC) are built at a depth of 130 meters and are approximately 300 meter long and 30 meter wide.The goal of the research was to assess the effects above ground of an underground explosion in one of the caverns. Pressure waves and the ejection of hot or combustible gas could in theory generate a hazardous situation at the surface.

To assess these effects, a complete 3D-model of the caverns was built. With Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) a worst case explosion scenario was simulated in which two of the caverns are filled with a stoichiometric mixture of heptane (C7 and air). The combustion of the mixture is modelled as a one-step reaction (worst-case) than a multi-step reaction. For the purposes of this simulation, the walls are modelled as smooth; in reality, the walls are very rough, which induces more frictional losses. In reality the walls are very rough which induces more frictional losses.

Outcome & Client Benefits:
The simulation shows that after the detonation of the mixture, pressure waves start to travel through the tunnels, losing strength due to frictional losses along the way. It also shows that the flow of the combusted gasses is not strong enough to reach ground level. The results prove that the use of caverns does not cause a hazardous situation above ground if an explosion should occur underground.


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