Detailed Simulations of the Transient Hydrogen Mixing, Leakage and Flammability in Air in Simple Geometries


During an accidental release, hydrogen disperses very quickly in air due to a relatively high density difference. A comprehensive understanding of the transient behavior of hydrogen mixing and the associated flammability limits in air is essential to support the fire safety and prevention guidelines. In this study, a buoyancy diffusion computational model is developed to simultaneously solve for the complete set of equations governing the unsteady flow of hydrogen. A simple vertical cylinder is considered to investigate the transient behavior of hydrogen mixing, especially at relatively short times, for different release scenarios: (i) the sudden release of hydrogen at the cylinder bottom into air with open, partially open, and closed tops, and (ii) small hydrogen jet leaks at the bottom into a closed geometry. Other cases involving the hydrogen releases/leaks at the cylinder top are also explored to quantify the relative roles of buoyancy and diffusion in the mixing process. The numerical simulations display the spatial and temporal distributions of hydrogen for all the configurations studied. The complex flow patterns demonstrate the fast formation of flammable zones with implications in the safe and efficient use of hydrogen in various applications.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


National University Transportation Center
United States. Department of Defense

Keywords and Phrases

Computational Fluid Dynamics; Hydrogen Dispersion; Hydrogen Safety

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Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2009 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Mar 2009

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