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Explosion of Oil Storage Tanks and Pollutant Dispersion

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The present problem simulates the effects of the oil tank detonation process in an urban area and the pollutant emission.

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Explosion Project Description

The present problem simulates the effects of the oil tank detonation process in an urban area and the pollutant emission. In fact, in areas where there are oil reservoirs, one of the potential dangers is the explosion. The explosion of these oil tanks can lead to the release of many pollutants such as carbon dioxide into the environment. If there are residential areas and industrial units around the oil reservoirs in the mentioned area, the spread of these pollutants from the explosion and their transfer to the surrounding environment can be very dangerous and affect people’s lives.

In the present modeling, a sample urban area is defined as a computational area in which there are several oil reservoirs and around these oil reservoirs, there are several residential areas and industrial units. Whereas large chemical reactions occur at the time of an explosion, in which different gaseous species are involved; The model of species transport has been used. Thus, the number of gaseous species modeled in this simulation is equal to 7, which includes CO2, SO2, NO2, CO, H2O, C and air.


Therefore, in the whole computational area, air is present as the main fluid and in the area related to oil reservoirs, energy sources and gaseous species caused by the explosion are defined. Thus, in the area of oil reservoirs, energy in the amount of 139072.7126 W.m-3, CO2 gas in the amount of 0.135765835 kg.m-3.s-1, H2O gas in the amount of 0.067882918 kg.m-3.s-1, CO gas in the amount of 0.004699587 kg.m-3.s-1, NO2 gas 0.00000000626612 kg.m-3.s-1, SO2 gas 0.000130544 kg.m-3.s-1 and C gas 0.006788292 kg.m-3 .s-1 are defined as heat and gas sources.

The purpose of this work is to investigate the transfer of these pollutants to the surrounding residential and industrial areas due to wind. In fact, the amount of wind speed and direction can affect how these pollutants are released in the urban area. In this model, the north and west of the urban area are defined as the inlet boundaries of air flow and the east and south are defined as the outlet boundaries. The open air flow enters the urban area with a temperature of 300 K and a speed equivalent to 20 m.s-1 and at an angle of 60 degrees (velocity in the x direction is equal to 20*cos60 and velocity in the y direction is equal to 20*sin60).


Geometry & Mesh

The present model is designed in three dimensions using Design Modeler software. The model includes a computational domain of 6.637 km long, 4.637 km wide and 200 m high, in which there is an area for oil reservoirs and several areas for residential or industrial areas. In the special area of oil tanks, 18 cylindrical oil tanks are drawn.


The meshing of the model has been done using ANSYS Meshing software and the mesh type is unstructured. The element number is 1746979. The following figure shows the mesh.


Explosion CFD Simulation

To simulate the present model, several assumptions are considered:

  • We perform a pressure-based solver.
  • The simulation is steady.
  • The gravity effect on the fluid is equal to -9.81 m.s-2 along the Z-axis.

A summary of the defining steps of the problem and its solution is given in the following table:

Viscous k-epsilon
k-epsilon model standard
near wall treatment standard wall function
Species Model Species Transport
number of volumetric species 7 (air, H2O,CO, CO2, NO2, SO2, C)
Boundary conditions
Inlet (west & north) Velocity Inlet
velocity magnitude 20 m.s-1
temperature 300 K
x-component of flow direction 0.5
y-component of flow direction -0.8660254
species mass fractions 0 for all
Outlet (east & south) Pressure Outlet
gauge pressure 0 pascal
Walls of oil tanks Wall
wall motion stationary wall
thermal condition coupled
species boundary condition zero diffusive flux
Walls of other building Wall
wall motion stationary wall
heat flux  0 W.m-2
species boundary condition zero diffusive flux
Pressure-Velocity Coupling Coupled
Pressure second order
momentum second order upwind
energy first order upwind
all species first order upwind
Initialization methods Standard
gauge pressure 0 pascal
x-velocity 10 m.s-1
y-velocity -17.32051 m.s-1
z-velocity 0 m.s-1
species 0
temperature 300 K


After the solution process, three-dimensional contours related to the temperature and volume fraction of each gaseous species in the model are obtained.

All files, including Geometry, Mesh, Case & Data, are available in Simulation File. By the way, Training File presents how to solve the problem and extract all desired results.


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