The causes and effects of hydrogen peroxide decomposition have been widely researched and published. The two most common overpressure phenomena studied are contamination and thermal runaway decomposition. Depending on the cause and concentration, hydrogen peroxide decomposition can generate a large amount of oxygen, resulting in a volume expansion as many as 2,500 times the initial volume. Heat released from the reaction may exceed the rate of heat lost to the surroundings, resulting in temperature increase and further intensifying the rate of decomposition. Relief systems must thus be properly sized in order to protect the equipment from overpressure. While there are various guidelines circulated by leading industry organizations and manufacturers, most have focused on the handling and bulk storage of hydrogen peroxide.
We use a practical case study in this paper as the basis of our discussions. A major manufacturer has a need to determine how feasible it is to construct a pipeline, transporting hydrogen peroxide product to its customer within a couple of miles away. Since HP is self-reactive, both generating heat and decomposing to form oxygen and water, a major concern is to protect the pipeline from overpressure. The calculations were performed using Process Safety Office® SuperChems™. The program consists of various models for simulating the fluid dynamics of vessels and pipeline containing multi-phase fluids.
Presented as a case study, it includes a series of sensitivity analyses, accounting for all credible overpressure scenarios, to obtain an optimal placement of relief devices along the pipeline. Both contamination and localized abnormal heating are examined for hydrogen peroxide concentrations up to 70 wt%. An assessment on an exposed and insulated pipeline will also be discussed.
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