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Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Vol. 38, Nos.

78, 2002

INDUSTRIAL SAFETY OF EQUIPMENT AND PLANTS


PRINCIPLES FOR CATEGORIZING AND CLASSIFYING PLANT EXPLOSION AND FIRE HAZARDS

A. G. Vetoshkin

Government industrial safety regulations [1] require that every potentially hazardous industrial plant should be subject to an objective evaluation of the safety of the technology, process plant, and the installation as a whole in the form of an industrial safety declaration, which should be drawn up and presented to the appropriate government inspectors. A managerial principle in the industrial safety provision is the categorization and classification of industrial plants in terms of their potential hazards. Categorization and classification methods: probabilistic or deterministic (Table 1). The first of them [2, 3] requires one to calculate the probability of an explosion from the available statistical data. In accordance with the appropriate state standard [3], the probability of an explosion for = 8760 h is P() 106 yr1. (1)

An explosion requires the simultaneous occurrence of at least two independent factors: a combustible mixture and an initiating factor (Fig. 1), so the explosion probability can be put as Q() = Q1()Q2(), (2)

where Q1() is the probability of an explosive mixture occurring, in yr1; and Q2() is the explosion initiation probability, yr1. One can represent Q1() and Q2() as the products of the probabilities of occurrence for fuel and oxidizer Q1 and the characteristics of the initiating factor Q2. If an explosion is possible without the occurrence of some factor, its value is taken as 1. One proceeds in that way, for example, in calculations on the production of ethylene oxide, which under certain conditions can explode in the absence of an oxidizing agent, and also when certain factors occur at a given energy or time, e.g., a lightning strike as an initiating factor. It is clear that each of the factors given in the lower part of Fig. 1 is of itself the result of considering all the probabilities in the tree of events leading to the explosion. The regulatory documents [3] allow one to perform these calculations from simplified formulas. In the design stage, one assumes an exponential distribution, with the event probability given by the theoretical formula (3) Q1() = 1 exp(), where is the event intensity in sec1 or h1.

Penza State Architecture and Building Academy. Translated from Khimicheskoe i Neftegazovoe Mashinostroenie, No. 8, pp. 4144, August, 2002. 490 0009-2355/02/0708-0490$27.00 2002 Plenum Publishing Corporation

Estimating explosion hazard Q(t)

&
Estimating scope for combustible mixture to form Q1(t) Estimating scope for explosion initiation Q2(t)

Fig. 1. Components in estimating explosion hazard.

TABLE 1
Regulatory document Conditions envisaged Calculation type Objective of calculation Parameters determined Document purpose

Purpose

GOST 12.1.010-76 [2] GOST 12.1.004-91 [3]

Defining general specifications and principles

Occurrence of combustible mixture (CM), mass m of it, and occurrence of initiating factor (IF) m, CM

Probabilistic and, in applications, deterministic

Comparison with p() 106 yr1; standardized m mper for values p pper X; Y; Z

Demonstrating need for additional protection from explosions and fires (for staff, main document) Selecting standards and rules for constructional measures and also safety rules SR Demonstrating choice of equipment, rules, and standards for safety

NPB 105-95 [4]

Categorizing production and storage buildings and rooms

Deterministic

Assigning rooms and buildings to previously defined categories

p > 5 kPa; A, B, C1C4, D, E X; Y; Z

PU [5]

Classifying zones in terms of explosion and fire hazards

m, CM

Deterministic

Assignment to previously determined classes

C-I, C-II, C-Ia, C-IIa, C-1b, C-Id, P-I, P-II, P-IIa, P-III, mixture production

PB 09-170-97 [6] Categorizing process units and stages in terms of explosion and fire hazards PB 09-170-97 [6] Estimating possible damage, injuries, and hazard factors

m, CM, IF

Deterministic

Category definition from potential process energy

I, II, III; m, Qa Demonstrating the need to upgrade production equipment and technology p; R Selecting safety standards and rules: demonstrating need for additional protection measures

m, CM pper

Deterministic

Determining scope for reducing hazard factors in damage zone and seriousness of consequences

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TABLE 2
Room or building category p, kPa Rooms Characteristics of substances or materials present or formed in room Buildings, structures Lacking automatic fire extinguishers With automatic fire extinguishers

Explosion and fire hazards

Combustible gases or flammable liquids with flashpoints not more than 28C. Substances and materials capable of exploding or burning on interacting with water, atmospheric oxygen, or one another Combustible dusts or fibers, flammable liquids with flashpoints over 28C, and combustible liquids in amounts such that potentially explosive dust-air or vapor-air mixtures may form

SA > 5% or >200m2

SA > 25% or >1000m2

(SA + SB) > 5% or >200m2

(SA + SB) > 25% or >1000m2

Fire hazard

C1C4

<5

<5

<5

Combustible and other liquids, solid combustible and other (SA + SB + SC) > 5% (SA + SB + substances and materials (including dusts and fibers), or for SA = 0 and + SC) > 25% substances and materials capable of reacting with water, SB = 0 or >3500m2 oxygen from the air, or one another only by burning, subject SC > 10% to the condition that the rooms in which they are present or formed do not belong to categories A and B Incombustible substances and materials and a combustible (SA + SB + SC + (SA + SB + material in the heated or molten state whose processing is + SD) > 5% + SC + SD) > 25% accompanied by the release of radiant heat, sparks, and or >5000m2 flames; also, combustible gases, liquids, and solids that can burn as fuels Incombustible substances and materials in the cold state Do not belong to categories A, B, C1C4 or D

Note: 5% denotes the total area of rooms of category A in a building (similarly for other categories).

For existing plant, the probability of an analogous event is given by Ks w

Q1 ( ) =

j ,
j =1

i =l

(4)

where Ks is the safety factor (Ks = 1 if = 1), w is the working time in sec, j is the time for which the cause of the event has existed in sec, and is the number of causes of the events. If one provides the regulated probability for the absence of explosion, one can take the plant as being explosion-protected. However, at present one cannot perform such calculations because we lack reliable statistical data. Some components of the event tree such as the probability of explosion initiation by lightning strike can be determined [3]. One not only calculates probabilities but also envisages determining the maximum permissible mass mper of combustible components in a mixture representing an explosion hazard, which is such that its explosion does not lead to mechanical destruction of the companys buildings when it produces an excess pressure p at the shock-wave front or in a closed building equal to or less than the permissible pper. The mass m of combustible components released on emergency failure is compared with mper, and then one derives the coordinates X, Y, and Z in the space within which the pressure may exceed the permissible value. That pressure pper is taken from the companys standards, while m is taken in accordance with the worst emergency conditions. This part of the 492

TABLE 3
Explosive mixture volume, %

Class

Plant position

Substances and products, type of occurrence

Note number

V-I V-Ia V-Ib V-Id V-II V-IIa P-1 P-II P-IIa P-III

>5 >5 5 and 5 5 5 0 0 0

Within room Ditto Outside Within room Ditto Outside

Combustible gases, vapors, flammable liquids FL, under normal conditions The same, but in accidents or faults The same, but less dangerous than in C-Ia Combustible gases and FL vapors Combustible dusts and fibers under normal conditions The same, but in emergencies Combustible liquids (flashpoints over 61C) Combustible dusts and fibers (LICL > 65 g/m3) Solid combustible substances Combustible liquids (flashpoints over 61C) and solid combustible substances 3 3 1 2; 3 3

Notes: 1. Combustible gases have high LICL (lower ignition concentration limit, >15%), or gaseous hydrogen for which the combustible mixture volume is less than 5% of the free volume, with the height of the explosion-hazard zone 75% or more of the height of the room, and laboratory and other zones provided that the mixture volume is less than 5%. 2. Outside plant is classified in terms of the distance from the possible point of occurrence of a combustible component. 3. Outside plant is not classified as regards dust.

categorization is envisaged by the obligatory application of the state standard [3], and it provides a single-valued relationship between p and m, so the calculation can be taken as deterministic. The deterministic method involves comparing parameters with preset values. One can restrict the calculations to the worst case of events leading to an explosion if one states the detailed conditions assumed and any other possible assumptions, which must be justified from the comparability of the results. The basic regulatory documents for such calculations are provided by interdisciplinary standards and rules [46]. We now consider the procedure for use in deterministic calculations designed to categorize and classify fire and explosion hazards. One begins by categorizing rooms and buildings in accordance with industrial safety standards 105-95 [4]. The basic test in assigning any room as representing an explosion or fire hazard on the basis of the regulations [4] is the excess pressure produced by an explosion p that exceeds the regulated value (one assumes p = 5 kPa for any plant). At most industrial plants, the mechanical strength of the structures is much greater than 5 kPa, but that is not considered in this case. Within the explosion-hazard categories, one performs an additional subdivision on the basis of the properties of the materials or products arising (Table 2). For example, in the complete set of categories A, B, C1C4, D, and E, only the first two (A and B) represent explosion and fire hazards, while categories C1C4 represent a fire hazard. In the electrical installation design rules [5], the test is based on the relative volume of mixture representing an explosion hazard (Table 3). If that relative volume exceeds 5%, then the entire zone is taken as representing an explosion hazard (classes C-I, C-II, C-Ia, and CIIa), but otherwise the zone representing an explosion hazard is taken as that out to a distance of 5 m from the combustible mixture source (plant) in the room or else the distance specified in the regulations [5]. In some cases, if the mixture volume is less than 5% of the free volume, the entire room can be assigned to class C-Ib. In rooms in categories A and B on the basis of the industrial safety rules 105-95 [4], there must be equipment protected from explosion and designed in accordance with the electrical installation design rules [5]. That is, categorization in accordance with the industrial safety regulations 105-95 serves to define not only the rules and standards for safety engineering and the specifications for the building installations, but also the equipment, which must be in accordance with the electrical installation design rules. A somewhat different approach is used in categorization from the explosion and fire hazards in accordance with safety rules 09-170-97 [6]. The basis is the total potential energy E of the engineering process. It is used to calculate the clas493

TABLE 4
Explosion hazard category Relative explosion hazard energy potential Qe Total effective mass m in kg of combustible vapors or gases

I II III

>37 2737 <27

>5000 20005000 <2000

TABLE 5
Excess pressure p in kPa at the shock-wave front Kj

100 70 28 14 2 5

3.8 5.6 9.6 28 56 ~49

sification parameters: effective mass m (in general, not equal to the mass of combustible components in calculations from the regulatory documents [4]) and the relative energy potential Qe. The parameters are closely correlated and one may be derived from the other, but it is best to calculate them independently and define one of the three possible categories (I, P, or TIT). If a plant is assigned as representing an explosion hazard from calculations in accordance with industrial safety rules 105-95 [4] or in accordance with the electrical installation design rules [5], then it is obligatory to define the category in accordance with safety rules 09-170-97 [6]. In those rules [6], it is also recommended to determine the trotyl equivalent, from which one can derive the distance R corresponding to pper, which characterizes the stability of adjacent units or structures. Then one examines all the results and plans measures to meet the standards of 09-170-97 [6] and to reduce the explosion hazard for that unit. Categorization in accordance with rules 105-95 [4] is based on the assumption that mixtures representing an explosion hazard can occur only as a result of emergencies. The electrical installation design rules [5] classify zones in terms of the scope for combustible mixtures to occur not only in the normal state but also in emergencies. One classifies zones after categorization in accordance with rules 105-95 [4] on the basis of the calculated mass m, from which one determines the volume Vm of the combustible mixture (m3) and the volume fraction in % Cm: Vm = m/LICL; Cm = 100/ (VmK),

where m = WFeT in kg; W = 106 psM1/2 is the evaporation rate in kg/sec; is a coefficient [4]; ps is the saturation vapor pressure in kPa; M the molecular mass of the combustible substance in kg; Fe = ml is the evaporation area in m2; the specific evaporation area in m2/kg; ml the mass of combustible liquid in kg; T = ml /WFe 3600 sec; Vf the free volume of the room in m3; K the air exchange factor; and A in h1 the capacity of the emergency ventilation (A = 0 in the first calculation stage). If Cm > 5%, the entire zone is taken as representing an explosion hazard. If Cm < 5%, the explosion-hazard zone is taken as the space at a distance of 5 m along the horizontal and vertical from the source of likely combustible mixture (equipment). Also, if the amounts of combustible gases or flammable liquids are such that a combustible mixture cannot be produced in a volume Cm > 5%, such zones are assigned to the category with least explosion hazard (Table 3). 494

The electrical installation design rules [5] envisage explosion-hazard zones C-I, C-Ia, C-Ib, and C-Id for mixtures of combustible gases or flammable liquid vapors with air (oxidizing agent), or zones C-II and C-IIa for dustair mixtures. The fire hazard zones P-I, P-II, P-IIa, and P-III are classified only from the presence of combustible materials. One characterizes the energy potential of any plant, stage, or unit showing explosion hazards from the sum of the adiabatic expansion energy of the vaporgas phase and the energy from the complete combustion of the vapor already present and that formed from the liquid together with the internal energy and the external energy (from the environment) on system failure: * * ** ** ** ** E = E1 + E2 + E1 + E2 + E3 + E4 , (10)
* where E1 is the sum of the adiabatic expansion energy and the combustion energy of the vaporgas mixture VGM directly in the failed unit (if the excess pressure is less than 0.07 MPa and the product of the excess pressure and the volume is less than * 0.02 MPam3, one neglects the adiabatic expansion energy because it is relatively small); E2 is the combustion energy of the ** VGM coming from adjacent units or plant; E1 is the combustion energy of the VGM formed by the heating of the liquid ** phase to a temperature above the boiling point at atmospheric pressure; E2 is the combustion energy of the VGM formed ** from the liquid phase as a result of the heat from ongoing exothermic reactions; E3 is the combustion energy of the VGM ** formed from the liquid phase as a result of heat influx from external media; and E4 is the combustion energy of the VGM formed from the liquid phase spilt on a solid surface. One uses the total explosion hazard energy potential E to determine the other parameters characterizing the unit explosion hazards: total effective mass in kg of the combustible vapors (gases) in the vaporgas cloud m = T/ 4.6104; relative energy potential Qe = E1/3/16.534 (E is the total energy potential in kJ and 4.6104 kJ/kg is the specific combustion energy unit). From m and Qe, one classifies (categorizes) the various units (Table 4). The effective mass of combustible vapor (gas) provides an approximate definition of the possible damage zones. One calculates the mass in kg of vapor (gas) participating in the explosion:

m* = zm, where z is the fraction of the effective mass of combustible vapor (gas) m that participates in the explosion; in an unclosed space, z = 0.020.1, while in an enclosed space, z = 0.5 (for combustible gases) or z = 0.3 (for flammable liquid vapors). The mass of condensed explosives participating in the explosion is determined by the total mass present in the unit. The trotyl equivalent in kg for a vaporgas mixture is WT = (0.4/ 0.9)(q*/qT)z m, where q* = 4.6104 kJ/kg; qT = 4520 kJ/kg is the explosion energy of trinitrotoluene TNT; 0.4 is the fraction of the energy consumed in generating the explosion shock wave from the vaporgas mixture; and 0.9 is the fraction of the energy consumed in producing the shock wave from the explosion of a condensed explosive. The trotyl equivalent in kg for a condensed explosive is WT = (qc /qT)Wc, where qc is the specific explosion energy of the condensed explosive in kJ/kg and Wc is the mass in kg of the condensed explosive. The complete-destruction radius is
1/3 R0 = WT /[1 + (3180/ WT)]1/6; 1/3 and for m > 5000 kg, R0 = WT .

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The radii of the damage zones are defined by Ri = Ki R0, where Ki is the damage zoning coefficient (Table 5). When the unit has been categorized, one can if necessary draw up proposals for reducing its explosion hazard.

REFERENCES 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Federal Law Industrial Safety for Hazardous Production Plant dated July 21, 1997, No. 116-FZ. GOST 12.1.010-76 SSBT. Explosion Safety: General Specifications [in Russian]. GOST 12.1.004-91 SSBT. Fire Safety: General Specifications [in Russian]. Industrial Safety Rules 105-95. Fire Safety Standards: Defining Categories for Rooms and Buildings as Regards Explosion Plus Fire or Fire Hazard [in Russian]. Electrical Installation Design Rules [in Russian], nergoatomizdat, Moscow (1998). Industrial Safety 09-170-97. General Rules for Ensuring Explosion Safety for Chemical, Petrochemical, and Oil-Refining Processes Representing Explosion and Fire Hazards [in Russian], PIO OBT, Moscow (1999).

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