A transient outflow model for pipeline puncture

Adeyemi Oke, Haroun Mahgerefteh, Ioannis Economou, Yuri Rykov

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60 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the development and validation of a highly efficient robust numerical simulation based on the method of characteristics for predicting release rates following the puncture of pipelines containing high pressure hydrocarbon mixtures. The model accounts for real fluid behaviour, radial and axial flow as well as the locality of puncture relative to the length of the pipeline. It is applicable to both isolated and un-isolated flows where pumping at the high-pressure end continues despite puncture. The results of the application of the model to the hypothetical puncture of a 16 km, 0.42 m dia. pressurised pipeline containing a condensable hydrocarbon mixture are presented as a case example. Simulated fluid velocity and pressure profiles are used to provide a pictorial timeline representation of the important post-puncture fluid dynamics phenomena within the pipeline, which ultimately govern the discharge process. These results indicate that the conventional outflow models treating the pipeline as a vessel discharging through an orifice are inappropriate especially during the early stages of depressurisation. Good agreement is obtained between the results of the simulation when compared to experimental data from the puncture of 100 m long LPG pipeline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4591-4604
Number of pages14
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2003



  • Hazard assessment
  • Method of characteristics
  • Numerical simulation
  • Pipeline rupture
  • Process safety
  • Risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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