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Simulation programs e.g. BEAST and SDBES and designing manuals e.g. UFC and ASME focus on structural engineering. Little or no guidance is given for product choices in blast protection. Products are still needed to protect openings such as ventilation openings. Openings easily become the weak point compromising the integrity of blast proof building if not enough attention is given or false product criteria is utilized.
For a given scenario, only one layer must work successfully for the consequence to be prevented. However, since no layer is perfectly effective, as seen for example in Buncefield Oil Storage Terminal explosion in United Kingdom in 2005, additional protection layers must be provided to render the tolerable risk.
Blast proofing of a building can be one effective passive safety layer. When conducted using high performance blast protection products, it can allow lower requirements for other safety layers resulting in cost savings. High explosion overpressure, long impulse duration and multiple explosions resistance give safety and minimal risk of failure in nearly all possible scenarios.
LOPA method states following. In order to be considered an independent protection layer (IPL), a device, system, or action must be:
The key to verify the function of blast proofing as IPL is validation of products by testing with correct criteria. If inadequate protective products for ventilation openings and other openings are chosen, the independent safety layer is not preventing the consequence as originally planned and evaluated.
Solutions have been available to make the walls and other structural elements to withstand high long duration blast overpressures. Often the limiting factor has been the blast proofing of the openings. Lack of products able to fill the requirements mentioned earlier and offer protection for peak values of over 0.3 bar (4.4 Psi) with long duration have led designers and risk consultants to try and cope with blast overpressure risk by layout modifications and other mitigation methods. Common approach is to locate the critical buildings as far away as possible from potential source of explosion. There are downsides to this and other mitigation methods. Sometimes most suitable and cost effective solution would be to blast proof the building for over 0.3 bar overpressures.
High performance blast protection yields benefits and opens new possibilities