Date: October 12, 2001
Creator: Bullock, J.S.; Giles, G.E. jr.; Wendel, M.W. & Sulfredge, C.D.
Description: A need arose to define the hazards associated with the operation of a process. The process involved the evolution of a hydrogen gas stream from thermal decomposition of uranium hydride at approximately 400 C into the interior of a purged argon-filled glove box. Specific hazards of interest included the potential reaction severity of the evolved hydrogen with atmospheric oxygen, either downstream in the vent system or inside the box in the event of serious air inleakage. Another hazard might be the energetic reaction of inleaked air with the hot uranium and uranium hydride powder bed, possibly resulting in the dispersion of powders into an air atmosphere and the rapid combustion of the powders. This was approached as a problem in calculational simulation. Given the parameters associated with the process and the properties of the glove box system, certain scenarios were defined and the potential for flammable or detonation reactions estimated. Calculation tools included a comprehensive fluid dynamics code, a spreadsheet, a curve-fitting program, an equation solver, and a thermochemistry software package. Results are reported which suggest that the process can be operated without significant hazard to operators or significant damage to equipment, assuming that operators take account of potential upset ...
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