The chamber supports not only a joint industry project (JIP) initiative but also an identified need in the market place and they have just completed five commissioning runs of varying explosion severity.
Spadeadam was engaged, in 2017 to run near full-scale explosion experiments for a new DNV GL-led JIP; CostFX. The purpose of the CostFX project is to investigate cost-efficient explosion load descriptions for process areas.
Dan Allason, Head of Research and Innovation at Spadeadam, DNV GL – Oil & Gas, said ‘The successful commissioning of this chamber for the CostFX project has shown it to be capable of delivering explosion loadings in excess of 2 bar with durations greater than 200 ms. This is well suited to providing the types of loads required for the project and will also provide a world leading capability for other explosion research.’
The project is driven by a need to improve and align knowledge between HSE, fluid dynamic and structural disciplines on explosion load criteria. The aim is to reduce complexity and over design in current models and methodologies for explosion protection, while balancing demand for valid, accountable safety margins. It ultimately, would provide increased safety and reduced cost.
It became quickly apparent during the course of the JIP that a larger, partially confined explosion area, would give depth and validity to the results. It was also quickly established that the construction of the 28x 12 x8 m unit, making use of the original full scale explosion rig built following the Piper Alpha disaster, would be beneficial for tests undertaken for passive fire protection (PFP) performance verification.
Hari Vamadevan, Regional Manager, UK and West Africa, DNV GL – Oil & Gas, said ‘The explosion chamber is one of many solutions we offer at Spadeadam to improve our testing and analytical work. It is a good example of an investment made through observing research, speaking to customers, making improvements and providing a solution that will help test new and safer products.’
Work carried out at Spadeadam, which is the largest facility of its kind in the UK, consists of confidential, large-scale, major hazard experiments, including flammable gas dispersion, fires, explosions, pipeline fracture tests, blast and product testing in a safe and secure environment.