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RR774 - An investigation into the performance of the PipeTech computer code in calculating Isle of Grain pipeline blowdown tests

The computer code PipeTech, developed in the Department of Chemical Engineering at University College London, predicts the outflow following rupture or puncture of a long pipeline containing one or more pressurised hydrocarbons. It is currently used by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in determining its advice to local planning authorities on control of land-use in the vicinity of major accident hazard pipelines. The underlying theory is described by its authors in numerous articles in archival scientific journals (notably Oke, Mahgerefteh, Economou and Rykov, 2003). The modelling involves solution of the transient conservation equations for 1-D flow using the Method of Characteristics, with a 3-D representation in the vicinity of a puncture. Heat flows between the fluid and the walls of the pipeline, and through the walls of the pipeline, are included. Satisfactory comparisons of PipeTech calculations and measurements from the Piper Alpha accident and from two of the Isle of Grain experiments on release of LPG from a damaged pipeline have been shown in published documents. In addition, HSE has obtained a good comparison of PipeTech calculations with measurements from a ruptured pipeline carrying natural gas.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2010-04-20