Flammable substances in Korea considering the domino effect: Assessment of safety distance

Hyo Eun Lee, Seok J. Yoon, Jong Ryeul Sohn, Da An Huh, Bong Woo Lee, Kyong Whan Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Benzene, toluene, and xylene (BTX) are flammable substances used in a wide range of raw materials and products. Chemical accidents caused by flammable substances are different from leakage accidents of toxic materials. Initial explosions and fires may cause secondary or tertiary explosions, or fires with nearby flammable materials. This is called the domino effect. In cases of leakage accidents, it is possible to prevent accidents through early control of the leakage to the outside or by bypassing, but it is difficult to cope with explosions because they occur instantaneously. To prevent explosions due to the domino effect, a safety distance must be set. Safety distances vary widely by country. In the case of the United States (US) or the European Union (EU), safety distances are set in various ways depending on the chemical industry and the amount of flammable substances being handled. However, countries such as Korea, Taiwan, and Dubai have comprehensive regulation, and the safety distances are small. In this study, we simulated the range of overpressure at which other chemical equipment could explode when an explosion occurs in a flammable BTX storage tank. There are three types of analysis methods of vapor cloud explosion. PHAST (Process Hazard Analysis Software Tool) and ALOHA (Areal Location of Hazardous Atmosphere) were selected to model explosions using three methods (trinitrotoluene equivalence method, the Netherlands Organization multi-energy method, and Baker-Strehlow-Tang method). The results indicated that the safety distances in the US and EU showed low probability of a domino effect, but those in Korea, Dubai, and Taiwan could lead to a secondary explosions. Therefore, it is necessary to propose a reasonable method to determine safety distances considering the amount and physicochemical characteristics of the flammable substances being used.

Original languageEnglish
Article number969
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar 2


  • Areal location of hazardous atmosphere
  • BTX
  • Domino explosion
  • Process hazard analysis software tool
  • Safety distance
  • Vapor cloud explosion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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