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Accidents on Industrial Sites with Dangerous Gases


Development of Mathematical Models and Codes for Numerical Simulation of Emergency Situations Evolution and Consequences of Industrial Accidents and Terrorist Attacks on Industrial Sites with Liquefied Explosive and Toxic Gases

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-MRA/Modelling and Risk Assessment/Environment

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Genisaretskaya S V

Leading Institute
Institute of Mathematical Modelling, Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • Moscow State University / Department of Mechanics and Mathematics, Russia, Moscow


  • University of Central Lancashire, UK, Preston\nUniversité Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, Brussels

Project summary

The project goal is to develop new mathematical models and codes for numerical simulation of emergency situations progress and consequences of industrial accidents and terrorist attacks causing damage or destruction of the storage facilities or transportation means containing liquefied fuel and toxic gases.

The project topicality can be attributed to the increased risk of industrial accidents and the emergence of new threats connected with the possibility of terrorist attacks on industrial sites, located in large cities. Nearly all cities are also large industrial centers with production facilities, where dangerous explosive or toxic gases are used. They may be regarded as potential goals for terrorist attacks. The routes of liquefied gas transportation by truck or rail tanks also run through inhabited localities. Statistics on industrial accidents show how enormously destructive may even occasional events become, when they cause damage or destruction of storage facilities or transportation means containing liquefied or toxic gases. The situation progress at such sites in the case of a terrorist attack will differ from industrial accidents, particularly in terms of the event initiation, or possible simultaneous evolution of events at different sites. The damage caused by terrorist attacks on such sites and their social and political consequences could be more serious than such of the industrial accidents. The forecast of emergency situation progress and possible damage evaluation in terms of affecting factors will help to enhance safety and decrease the risk of terrorist attacks on facilities under consideration, which is one of today’s most important issues.

While mathematical modeling is the only method to forecast and estimate the progress and consequences of the above mentioned emergency situations, there are still no detailed mathematical models available for multistage processes to describe adequately all of the main physical and chemical interactions during such events, taking into account hazardous features of the substances involved, specific parameters of the sites, means of destruction used and the degree or character of the damage or destruction, characteristics of the environment, weather conditions etc.

The project tasks.

To achieve the project goals we are going to analyze key emergency situation scenarios and perform the following tasks:

I. Develop mathematical models of physical and chemical phenomena which form the multistage process of an emergency situation in progress:

- A metal tank destruction model. The model will be based on thermodynamic damageability criterion for viscoelastoplastic material of the tanks.

- A model of the boiling-up wave propagation in the liquid following the tank’s emergency depressurization or destruction. The model will describe the dynamics of a two-phase liquid-bubbles flow and the process of its transition to vapor-gas phase.

- A two-phase aerosol cloud formation model. The model will describe the two-phase vapor-gas flow. The Lagrangian approach will be used to describe discrete droplets while the gas phase will be described using the Eulerian approach.

- A two-phase aerosol cloud combustion model. The model will describe the combustion wave propagation in the two-phase aerosol cloud with possible formation of a fire-ball. The model will allow calculate the radiation power intensity and shock wave parameters for subsequent assessment of the damaging factors.

- A toxic cloud propagation model. The model will be based on Navier-Stokes equations and will consider the effect of wind, roughness of the surface, the area’s orographic inhomogeneity and the effects of industrial facilities and apartment blocks present.

II. Develop codes for numerical simulation of the above models and calculate parameters of physical and chemical processes.

New highly efficient numerical methods will be developed and used in the numerical implementation of the models. The codes will be developed for PC in FORTRAN, C, C++.

III. Develop and adapt existing methods to assess the key damaging factors: thermal, high-explosive, fragmentation and toxic.

The areas of thermal irradiation will be computed with the model of aerosol cloud combustion. The areas affected by high explosives will be computed using parameters of the shock wave with the same model. The areas of fragmentation damage will be computed with the model of destruction of metal tanks. The areas affected by toxic action will be computed using the model of toxic cloud propagation.

IV. Modeling some of the real emergency situations (industrial accidents) which took place in inhabited localities.

The main results of the project implementation will be:

- New improved models of physical and chemical processes taking place in the emergency situations in question.
- Computer codes for numerical simulation of the processes in question and the processes’ physical parameters calculated using the numerical modeling.
- Methods to assess consequences of industrial accidents and terrorist attacks.
- Results of numerical simulation of an emergency situations in a populated area.

Due to its all-inclusiveness and detailed elaboration the project has no equal the world over as it will cover modeling all the stages of emergency situation progress based on new multidimensional mathematical models of the processes.

The results obtained during project implementation will help:

- to forecast the progress of emergency situations with a high degree of certainty;
- to evaluate direct damage that may be caused by an industrial accident or a terrorist attack on facilities or equipment used to store or transport liquefied gases;
- to enhance safety and reduce the risk of industrial accidents and terrorist attacks on such sites;
- to get a better insight into the complex physical and chemical processes being analyzed and obtain their quantitative parameters from computer simulation experiments.

The project is based on the project participants’ long term experience in modeling such processes; more than 50 scientific papers have been published over the last 10 years, their results were reported at international conferences.

Among project participants are world famous experts in the field of mathematical modeling, dynamics of gases, mechanics of reacting media: 7 Professors and 10 Doctors of Sciences from the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Moscow M.V.Lomonosov State University. The number of “weaponry” scientists and engineers in the project is over 60%.

The project meets ISTC goals and tasks:

- the project will provide opportunities for weaponry scientists and engineers to redirect their activity and use their potential focusing on studies for peaceful purposes;

- the project will facilitate the integration of the project participants into the international scientific community. It is planned that Russian scientists will participate in international conferences and seminars and publish their scientific papers abroad;

- the project will provide support to fundamental and applied research in the area of physics and mathematical modeling of the processes under investigation;

- the project will help to solve both national and international problems with regard to the protection of population and environment against industrial accidents and terrorist attacks.

Project collaborators are famous scientists from major scientific centers of the USA, EU, Japan.

Role of Foreign Collaborators.

- Exchange of information in the course of work on the Project.
- Reviewing technical reports.
- Participation in technically auditing the Project.
- Conducting joint studies aimed at carrying out particular project tasks and publishing joint papers.
- Participation in joint scientific seminars.