Explosion Testing

Explosion Testing


Spadeadam Test Site has the facilities and experience for performing a variety of Gas Explosion Tests and are world leaders in the field of Gas Vapour Cloud Explosion Tests.

Gas Vapour Cloud Explosion Tests

With over 10 years experience in studying gas cloud explosions, Noble Offshore is a  leader in the field.

Major studies of explosions have included the several Joint Industry Projects in support of the oil and gas industry, in particular, Noble Offshore was the main contractor for the full scale study of offshore explosions following the Piper Alpha disaster in the North Sea. Gas cloud explosions can be studied within confined or partially confined geometries or within regions of pipework and vessels, typical of process sites.

Gas Explosion Chamber

The Explosion Chamber is 4.5m in cross-section and 9m long. With a flexible vent opening in the front face and varying levels of pipework congestion inside, this chamber can be used to provide overpressure pulses with peaks from 60mbar to 4bar and durations from 50msec to over 300msec.

With this level of flexibility, the chamber is well suited for testing the performance of blast resistant equipment and structures such as doors, fire walls, panels, passive fire protection etc. Test samples can be mounted as part or all of the back panel of the chamber, or mounted across the vent opening.

The chamber is also ideal for studying mitigations systems, such as water deluge at a representative scale.


All explosions can be extensively instrumented to measure:

  • Overpressure using transducers recorded on high speed data acquisitions systems
  • Flame arrival times
  • Response of structures to explosion loading using strain gauges, displacement transducers or accelerometers
  • High speed cine or video coverage

Offshore Explosion Module

The offshore module test rig provides a flexible explosion test facility for studying both gas accumulation and explosions in a geometry representative of a full scale offshore module. The rig is 28m long, 12m wide and 8m high.

  • The walls and roof are made up of 4m by 4m panels enabling wide flexibility in the confinement configurations.
  • A deluge system representative of those installed offshore enabling studies of explosion suppression by water deluge prior to ignition
  • A high pressure gas supply enables dynamic releases at up to 20kg/s and 50 bar to be produced for both gas build up and explosion studies
  • Internal pipework and vessels can be added or removed to provide different levels of congestion

The full scale offshore module has been used on many occasions, including:

  • Gas cloud explosions with and without water deluge (part of the SCI JIP)
  • Blast and fire Engineering for Topside Structures, Phase 2
  • Gas accumulation following pressurized gas releases
  • Gas explosions in an offshore module following realistic releases (known as Phase 3B)

Hydrogen Release and Explosion Studies

With the developing potential for hydrogen to become the vehicle fuel of the future, Spadeadam have developed facilities to conduct explosion trials with hydrogen.

If you are interested in carrying out trials involving hydrogen, including fires and explosions contact us.

We intend to develop facilities to deal with all aspect of the proposed Hydrogen Economy and the operation of hydrogen fuel cell and internal combustion engine vehicles.

LA also has experience in developing reformer technology for the production of hydrogen from natural gas.

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