Liquid hydrogen (LH2) may be employed to transport large quantities of pure hydrogen or be stored onboard of ships, airplanes and trains fuelled by hydrogen, thanks to its high density compared to gaseous compressed hydrogen. LH2 is a cryogenic fluid with an extremely low boiling point (-253°C at atmospheric pressure) that must be stored in double-walled vacuum insulated tanks to limit the boil-off formation. There is limited knowledge on the consequences of LH2 tanks catastrophic rupture. In fact, the yield of the consequences of an LH2 tank explosion (pressure wave, fragments and fireball) depend on many parameters such as tank dimension, filling degree, and tank internal conditions (temperature and pressure) prior the rupture. Only two accidents provoked by the rupture of an LH2 tank occurred in the past and a couple of experimental campaigns focussed on this type of accident scenario were carried out for LH2.
The aim of this study is to analyse one of the LH2 tank explosion consequences namely the fragments. The longest horizontal and vertical ranges of the fragments thrown away from the blast wave are estimated together with the spatial distribution around the tank. Theoretical models are adopted in this work and validated with the experimental results. The proposed models can aid the risk analysis of LH2 storage technologies and provide critical insights to plan a prevention and mitigation strategy and improve the safety of hydrogen applications.