Possible Mechanism for Pressurized-Liquid Tank Explosions or BLEVE's

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Science  23 Mar 1979:
Vol. 203, Issue 4386, pp. 1263-1265
DOI: 10.1126/science.203.4386.1263


The hypothesis is made that rapid depressurization of hot, saturated liquids may result in an explosion. The temperature of the hot liquid must, however, be above the superheat limit temperature at 1 atmosphere, and the drop in tank pressure must be very rapid. Two examples of large-scale pressure-letdown explosions are cited and possible preventative measures suggested.