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Thermal profile of a near-adiabatic compression process in a cylindrical tube and establishment of critical control elements for repeatable process control

By Barry Edward Newton


The compressed gas industry and government agencies worldwide utilize "adiabatic compression" testing for qualifying high-pressure valves, regulators, and other related flow control equipment for gaseous oxygen service. This test methodology is known by various terms including adiabatic compression testing, gaseous fluid impact testing, pneumatic impact testing, and BAM testing as the most common terms. The test methodology will be described in greater detail throughout this document but in summary it consists of pressurizing a test article (valve, regulator, etc.) with gaseous oxygen within 15 to 20 milliseconds (ms). Because the driven gas1 and the driving gas2 are rapidly compressed to the final test pressure at the inlet of the test article, they are rapidly heated by the sudden increase in pressure to sufficient temperatures (thermal energies) to sometimes result in ignition of the nonmetallic materials (seals and seats) used within the test article. In general, the more rapid the compression process the more "adiabatic" the pressure surge is presumed to be and the more like an isentropic process the pressure surge has been argued to simulate. Generally speaking, adiabatic compression is widely considered the most efficient ignition mechanism for directly kindling a nonmetallic material in gaseous oxygen and has been implicated in many fire investigations. Because of the ease of ignition of many nonmetallic materials by this heating mechanism, many industry standards prescribe this testing. However, the results between various laboratories conducting the testing have not always been consistent. Research into the test method indicated that the thermal profile achieved (i.e., temperature/time history of the gas) during adiabatic compression testing as required by the prevailing industry standards has not been fully modeled or empirically verified, although attempts have been made. This research evaluated the following questions: 1) Can the rapid compression process required by the industry standards be thermodynamically and fluid dynamically modeled so that predictions of the thermal profiles be made, 2) Can the thermal profiles produced by the rapid compression process be measured in order to validate the thermodynamic and fluid dynamic models; and, estimate the severity of the test, and, 3) Can controlling parameters be recommended so that new guidelines may be established for the industry standards to resolve inconsistencies between various test laboratories conducting tests according to the present standards

Topics: adiabatic compression, BAM testing, compression heating, driven gas, driving gas, fast- response temperature measurement, gaseous fluid impact, gaseous oxygen, ignition probability, logistic regression, near-adiabatic compression, pneumatic impact, pressure surge, rapid compression, severity index, thermal profile, thermocouple array
Publisher: Queensland University of Technology
Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.qut.edu.au:48340

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