Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion(B L E V E)

Is the acronym of Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion.

This type of explosion can be extremely dangerous because of the shock wave and the projection of fragments of the vessel, and secondly, the cloud formed may ignite other flammable substances present in a very wide range.

Originated from the rupture of a vessel containing a liquid that is above its atmospheric boiling point.

If the vessel is broken the gas phase inside the container will come out by reducing the pressure inside the vessel and will cause a strong boiling phase of the liquid, releasing a large amount of vaporized gas.

This release can be so sudden as to cause a relief that will burst the container.

If the liquefied gas in the container is flammable it will also trigger the flammable gas, causing a powerful explosion that will project fragments of the vessel far away followed by a intense heat wave. 

The BLEVE can also be caused by overheating a vessel containing a liquefied gas (containers of the cylinders are tested to withstand a temporary heating) that  after a certain period of time the container will weaken and tear, causing a BLEVE fractures.

BLEVE does not necessarily involve flammable substances, but also water, liquid nitrogen, liquid helium and other cryogenic liquids. 

The BLEVE can also form a ball of fire leading to explosion (caused by the ratio / Fuel Combustion), named VCE (vapor cloud explosion) if the gas is toxic, a large area will be contaminated after the blast.

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