Modelling of Fireballs Generated After the Catastrophic Rupture of Hydrogen Tanks
Giannini, Leonardo
Tincani, Gabriele
Collina, Giulia
Salzano, Ernesto
Cozzani, Valerio
Ustolin, Federico

How to Cite

Giannini L., Tincani G., Collina G., Salzano E., Cozzani V., Ustolin F., 2023, Modelling of Fireballs Generated After the Catastrophic Rupture of Hydrogen Tanks, Chemical Engineering Transactions, 104, 115-120.


The interest towards hydrogen skyrocketed in the last years. Thanks to its potential as an energy carrier, hydrogen will be soon handled in public and densely populated areas. Therefore, accurate models are necessary to predict the consequences of unwanted scenarios. These new models should be employed in the consequence analysis, a phase of risk assessment, and thus aid the selection, implementation, and optimization of effective risk-reducing measures. This will increase safety of hydrogen technologies and therefore favour their deployment on a larger scale. Hydrogen is known to be an extremely flammable gas with a low radiation flame compared to hydrocarbons. However, luminous fireballs were generated after the rupture of both compressed gaseous and liquid hydrogen tanks in many experiments. Moreover, it was demonstrated that conventional empirical correlations, initially developed for hydrocarbon fuels, underestimate both dimension and duration of hydrogen fireballs recorded during small-scale tests (Ustolin and Paltrinieri, 2020). The aim of this study is to obtain an analysis of hydrogen fireballs to provide new critical insights for consequence analysis. A comparison among different correlations is conducted when predicting fireball characteristics during the simulation of past experiments where both gaseous and liquid hydrogen tanks were intentionally destroyed. All the models employed in this study are compared with the experimental results for validation purposes. Specific models designed for hydrogen can support the design of hydrogen systems and increasing their safety and promote their future distribution.