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DNV Spadeadam

Research and testing

Learning from major accident hazards 

Spadeadam Research and Testing have played major roles in the research activities following incidents such as Flixborough, Buncefield and Piper Alpha. This research helps to understand the nature of fire and explosion events, better understanding of these hazards would allow facilities to be designed to protect the people and the facility. By doing things that are hazardous in their nature under controlled circumstances we are able to understand what is happening, these findings are then used to make things safer. 

Fire tests and research

Jet fires are a major safety risk in both offshore and onshore installations wherever ignitable gases and liquids are stored or transported at pressure. We operate an indoor ISO 22899-1* compliant jet fire facility allowing our customers to test their passive fire protection materials in a repeatable weather protected environment.

Spadeadam can apply this test to structural members, pipes, valves, penetrating sealing systems etc. as well as bespoke configurations. Our facility has the infrastructure and expertise necessary to perform large-scale jet fire experiments such as 3kg/s release of natural gas at 60 bar through a 20mm orifice or LPG at 10 bar and 60 kg/s. 
* ISO 22899-1 is the industry standard jet fire test method 


Gas explosion accidents in domestic dwellings or in manufacturing premises can lead to fatalities, with many lives changed for ever, and large financial losses. Spadeadam Research and Testing provide forensic investigation and research testing into the effects of domestic and commercial gas explosions. This helps to identify causes and interpret evidence correctly, which provides guidance to the authorities to minimise such incidents in the future. Our experts also act as Expert Witnesses in civil and criminal litigation.

Passive fire protection product testing

Spadeadam has the capability to perform a wide range of passive fire protection product testing, including;

  • Cryogenic exposure with/without jet fire
  • Blast testing with/without jet fire
  • Large-scale hydrocarbon pool fire testing
  • Large-scale flares/releases, e.g. natural gas 150 kg/s.

Blast test

Spadeadam Research and Testing has the capability to carry out blast tests with charge sizes up to 1 tonne TNT equivalence. A complete service can be offered including all civil and mechanical works required to build support structures under test. Read more about blast tests

Explosion test

With over 20 years of experience in studying gas cloud explosions, Spadeadam Research and Testing is a world leader in the field of explosion testing. Gas cloud explosions can be studied within confined or partially confined geometries or within regions of pipework and vessels, typical of process sites. Using a validated scaling technique explosions in regions of pipework and vessels can be conducted at a reduced scale providing a cost effective approach to understanding explosion behaviour. 

Flexible explosion test facility 

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.

Extensively instrumented explosions 

All explosions can be extensively instrumented to measure;

  • Overpressure using transducers recorded on high speed data acquisition systems
  • Flame arrival times
  • Response of structure to explosion loading using strain gauges, displacement transducers or accelerometers.

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

Rapid Crack Propagation (RCP) Testing 

RCP resistance of polyethylene (PE) and other non-metallic pipes is a critical qualification requirement in the design of pipes for use in sustained pressure applications.  

The RCP failure mode is initiated at pre-existing defects, or consequently induced defect when a pressurised pipeline is subjected to sudden mechanical shock such as a high velocity impact from excavation equipment, or a pipeline pressure pulse. Once initiated, ruptures can travel at high speed (100 - 300ms-1) along the length of the pipe. Hence, the criticality of designing out this failure mode. Download flyer to find more. 

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