A boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion (BLEVE) is an explosion caused by a sudden rupture of a vessel containing a pressurized liquid at a temperature above its boiling point. A BLEVE can occur with all types of liquids and is not a particular phenomenon for flammable liquefied gases such as propane or butane.
A particular hazard in the hydrocarbon industry is the use of water at temperatures far above their atmospheric boiling point in steam generation systems. Water is present at high pressure (e.g. 7 MPa) and high temperature (e.g. 300'C). At these conditions the water is superheated and in case of an accidental release the water will undergo a rapid vaporization and a BLEVE type explosion can be expected. This hazard is quit wide spread in all refineries, petrochemical plants, etc. but little data can be found in literature about real size water BLEVE experiments.
The aim of this work was to perform BLEVE tests thanks to a 14L pressure vessel designed on purpose to produce high pressure water BLEVE (85 bar). An extended set of pressure gauges was set in the vessel to measure the internal phase change pressure dynamics and around the relief rupture disk to capture the blast wave. Temperature of water was also recorded, and a fast camera (Phantom V2512) was used to see the phenomenon.
Data show clearly the pressure recovery in the vessel and multiple blast waves around the vessel. Results are discussed to analyse the risk of water BLEVE.