One of the most devastating events that can occur on offshore facilities is a vapor cloud explosion (VCE) followed by a fire. Designing proper structures that can withstand maximum credible events (MCE) becomes an integral part of safety designs.

Gexcon has embarked on a multi-year project to fill technology gaps that have inhibited inherently safer designs in the petrochemical industry, namely:

  1. Perform large scale experiments, similar to actual scales, to determine what factors initiate deflagration-to-detonation transition (DDT) and what measures can mitigate such events.
  2. Enhance validated tools used to predict and mitigate such events

Gexcon US has partnered with SRI International to form a joint large-scale test site dedicated to determine what factors lead to the onset of DDTs and how to mitigate DDT events at practical scales found at petrochemical plants.  

With the use of FLACS, the industry standard computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code for explosions, Gexcon looks to enhance current understanding and validate FLACS prediction of the onset of DDT and the effectiveness of active mitigation. This will lead to improved facility design and improved implementation of inherent safety by reducing the likelihood of VCEs escalating to catastrophic events. In addition, results of the research will yield an industry guide for guidance and recommended practices to reduce and/or mitigate explosion risk for offshore topside facilities.  

The video below summarizes the work that has been done to date:

Beginning in early 2018, Gexcon is starting a new phase of the project to evaluate the effectiveness of separation gaps and active mitigation measures.

If you would like to participate in this novel research, please contact Dr. Scott Davis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., for more information.

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