Heat Transfer Rates and Temperature Fields for Underground Storage Tanks
- Stuart W. Churchill (U. Of Michigan)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Society of Petroleum Engineers Journal
- Publication Date
- March 1962
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 28 - 32
- 1962. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.1.9 Tanks and storage systems, 4.6.2 Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), 4.6 Natural Gas
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A digital computer was used to obtain an exact numerical solution for the transient behavior of the insulation and earth adjacent to an isothermal, submerged flat surface for a single set of parametric values. Comparison of the computed results with analytical solutions for limiting conditions revealed that a complete and general solution for all parametric values could be constructed from these limiting solutions. Complete and general solutions for insulated spheres and cylinders can also be constructed for limiting solutions only. The procedure is illustrated in part for an insulated spherical tank. The heat flow was found to fall rapidly to a pseudo-steady state; after some time, it then decreased slowly to zero for a flat plate and cylinder, and to a low steady-state rate for a sphere. The accumulative heat flow during the initial falling-rate period may be a significant fraction of the heat flow during the entire first year.
Underground storage of liquefied natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas has received considerable recent attention. The rate of heat flow from the earth to the storage cavity and the resulting temperature field in the earth are important factors in the technical and economic evaluation of such storage facilities. The objective of this paper is to indicate how complete solutions can be developed for the transient flux and temperature field for various geometrical configurations. The representative properties and dimensions, and the resulting parameters utilized in the illustrative results, are indicated in Table 1. The results presented herein are for dry earth. The effect of the latent heat of solidification of water in the soil will be described in a subsequent paper. The temperature field in the insulation and earth is determined by energy balances, boundary conditions and initial conditions. The physical problem can be described mathematically with virtually no idealizations insofar as physical properties are known. It appears possible to solve the equations by numerical integration on a high-speed digital computer for any geometrical configuration and conditions. For complex situations, however, the computations are expensive and the results are highly specific. Analytical solutions have been developed for a few simple but important geometrical configurations and conditions, including one- dimensional heat transfer from (or to) earth at an initially uniform temperature to (or from) isothermal flat plates, spheres and circular cylinders. The solution for an insulated flat plate has also been derived but is in the form of a slowly converging series involving tabulated functions. It was planned to use a computing machine to evaluate this series for a number of representative conditions. However, upon examination of the results of preliminary computations it was discovered that a complete, general and accurate solution could be developed by interpolation between several much simpler solutions for limiting conditions. This technique then was used to develop a complete solution for an insulated sphere. The equations presented herein are derived in Carslaw and Jaeger and other books on applied mathematics, or they are simple extensions of these previous results. Hence, all derivations are omitted.
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