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  • Industrial Safety and Physical Risk Analysis Group

    Industrial Safety and Physical Risk Analysis Group

    Shiro Kubota
    Group Leader:Shiro Kubota

    8 Researchers:
     Hiroumi Shiina, Tei Saburi, Ryoji Makino, Akira Matsugi, Akifumi Takahashi, Yoshiaki Takahashi,
     Makoto Asahara*(* Cross Appointment Fellow)

    8 Contract Employees

    Outline

    In order to employ the attractive characteristics of energetic materials such combustible gases and explosives, their reaction behaviors must be controlled in an appropriate manner when they are utilized in order to prevent accidents. The capabilities to understand the combustion and explosion phenomenon and to evaluate the explosive impact to the surroundings are required. Furthermore, it is important to learn from accidents to improve safety management. Our group is conducting research to meet the needs of government and society with respect to safety application of combustion and explosion, focusing on studies of 1) safe use of high pressure gases, 2) explosive safety and its applications, and 3) industrial safety.

    Research Highlights

    Safe Use of High Pressure Gases, etc.

    We develop safety assessment techniques to support new technologies using high pressure gases and flammable gases such as hydrogen and new refrigerants, and we aim to realize a safe and secure society through self-managed industrial safety techniques.

     

    Hydrogen Safety

    Responding to energy supply risk and the problem of global warming
    → Studies aimed for introducing hydrogen pipe supply system

    • Hazard evaluation for hydrogen leakage from pipeline and subsequent ignition
    • Evaluation of air mixing and flame propagation phenomena in pipes

    Flame from ignition of hydrogen leaked to confined space (Ref: 2017FY, METI Project “Risk evaluation of large damage of hydrogen pipeline”)

     

    Low-GWP Alternative Refrigerants

    To assess the real scale physical hazards of residential-use air conditioners and reach-in showcase, the time dependence of distributions of propane concentrations were measured in a real scale model room.​

    • The value of allowable maximum refrigerant charge​
    • Decreasing the propane concentrations by mixing the room-air with the fan of air conditioner and showcase

    Experiment conditions in a mock-up room for natural leakage and ignition of refrigerants
    (Ref: 2020 NEDO “Full-scale physical hazard evaluation of the combustion of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment using natural refrigerant considering actual use conditions” Project Report)

     

    Chemistry-Based Evaluation of Combustion Properties

    Promoting the use of diverse

    industrial gases

    →Predicting combustion properties of various gases using chemical kinetic models

    • Hydrofluorocarbons
    • Oxidizing gases

    →Evaluating combustion characteristics based on high-temperature kinetic studies and model-based simulation

    Left: Flame speeds of mixtures of NF3 and flammable gases (Ref: 2011-2012 METI project “Evaluation of Hazards from High Pressure Gases”)
    Right: Chemical shock tube for high-temperature reaction studies

     

    Explosive Safety and its Applications

    Development of Blasting Techniques

    Technology that uses explosives to quickly destroy only the target area

    →Controlled blasting

     

    Blasting with smaller amounts of explosives (gram level) than before
    → Mini-Blasting

     

    Applications

    • Development of partial repair techniques for deteriorated building structures in urban areas
    • Application to rescue people from collapsed buildings in the event of a large-scale disaster.

     

    Basic research for the realization of blasting technology with rapid and low environmental impact (vibration, noise, and flying debris)

    → Elucidation of explosive explosion and destruction phenomena based on optical observation such as DIC  (Digital Image Correlation) method and numerical simulation technology such as CFD

     

    Breaching by mini-blasting

    Mini-Blasting Application Examples

    Creating an opening for rescuing rescuers from a collapsed building during a large-scale disaster

    Destroy the wall so that no flying debris is generated on the rescuer’s side.

     

    Industrial Safety

    Industrial safety of chemical, petroleum, and petrochemical plants

     

    Development of the “Check Points” List for Safety Assurance

     

    Engineers with extensive field experience, skills and knowledge extract hidden lessons from past accidents with regard to equipment design, management of change, etc.

    Senior engineers analyzed 30 domestic and international chemical disasters, and they extracted 3000 “check points.”

    Dedicated search software is available.

     

    Guidelines for the Establishment of Hazardous Areas in Plants

     

    Guidelines were organized to elaborate on the establishment of hazard areas without decreasing the level of safety required by law.

    These guidelines are expected to contribute to promoting safe use of electronic devices in chemical plants.

    (from “Study on the safe use of non-explosion-proof equipment in the plant” METI Project 2018)

    A spreadsheet was released to

    assist in the determination of hazard areas.

    https://riss.aist.go.jp/sanpo/