Carbon Capture and Storage is one of the technologies that has been proposed as a means of reducing emissions of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere, as part of the efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change. Pipelines can be expected to play a significant role in the infrastructure required for the successful implementation of Carbon Capture and Storage. National Grid is undertaking a research and development programme to support the development of a safety justification for the transportation of CO2 by pipeline in the United Kingdom.

National Grid has undertaken a programme of shock tube tests to investigate the decompression behaviour of CO2 and CO2-rich mixtures in the gas phase and the liquid (dense) phase. An understanding of the decompression behaviour is required in order to predict the toughness required to arrest a running ductile fracture in a pipeline transporting CO2 or a CO2-rich mixture.

The test programme consisted of three (3) commissioning tests, three (3) test with natural gas, fourteen (14) tests with CO2 and CO2-rich mixtures in the gas phase, and fourteen (14) tests with CO2 and CO2-rich mixtures in the liquid (dense) phase.

The results of the shock tube tests are presented, and the observed decompression behaviour is compared with that predicted using a simple (isentropic) decompression model.

The differences between decompression through the gas and liquid phases are highlighted.

It is shown that there is reasonable agreement between the observed and predicted decompression curves, and that the observed and predicted trends are consistent.

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