Application of Computational Fluid Dynamics in the Forced Dispersion Modeling of LNG Vapor Clouds
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The safety and security of liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities has prompted the need for continued study of LNG mitigation systems. Water spray systems are widely recognized as an effective measure for dispersing LNG vapor clouds. Currently, there are no engineering guidelines available for water curtain applications in the LNG industry due to a lack of understanding of the complex interactions between the LNG vapor cloud and water droplets. This research applies computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling to investigate the forced dispersion of LNG vapor using upward-oriented full-cone spray nozzles. A Eulerian-Lagrangian approach was applied to simulate the energy and momentum exchange between the continuous (gas flow) and discrete (droplets) phases. Discussed are the physical parameters that are essential inputs to the CFD simulation of the water spray-LNG system. The experimental data collected from the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center’s outdoor LNG spill work in March 2009 at the Brayton Fire Training Field were used to calibrate the physical parameters. The physical mechanisms of the water spray application were investigated using LNG forced dispersion modeling. The effects of momentum imparting from the droplets to the air- vapor mixture, thermal transfer between the two phases (droplet/vapor) and effects of various levels of air entrainment rates on the behavior of the LNG vapors are evaluated. Lastly, the key parametric dependences of the design elements for an effective water curtain system are investigated. The effects of different droplet sizes, droplet temperatures, nozzle cone angles, and installation configurations of water spray applications on LNG vapor behavior are analyzed. This work aims to investigate the complex interaction of the water droplet-LNG vapor system, which will serve in developing guidelines and establishing engineering criteria for a site-specific LNG mitigation system. Finally, the potentials of applying CFD modeling in providing guidance for setting up the design criteria for an effective forced mitigation system as an integrated safety element for LNG facilities are discussed.
Kim, Byung-Kyu (2013). Application of Computational Fluid Dynamics in the Forced Dispersion Modeling of LNG Vapor Clouds. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from