Collaborating with Dstl to protect people from major hazards
HSE and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)
both use complex mathematical models of fires, explosions and gas
dispersion as part of their primary roles in supporting the UK
There is a significant overlap in the understanding that both
HSE and Dstl need about how flammable and toxic substances can
affect people. This includes workers and the public in the case of
HSE, and armed forces and civilians overseas in the case of
Dstl. In particular fire, explosion and exposure to toxic
substances present a major hazard with the potential to cause
significant harm to people in the vicinity, whether the
release is unintentional or deliberate.
HSE and Dstl have been working collaboratively on a wide range
of projects, sharing modelling knowledge. As part of
this, HSE's scientists provide Dstl with modelling and fluid
dynamics technical expertise. Each organisation uses modelling
tools that have been developed for their own specific needs but
much of the science upon which they are based is the
HSE scientists have recently been involved in developing new
mathematical models to simulate the behaviour of spills of
hazardous liquids and the initial conditions of a pool fire.
These new models will be used to feed into Dstl's wider
What were the benefits?
Both organisations have benefitted from the collaboration, which
has allowed them to share expertise and resources, leading to
improved knowledge across government on the behaviour of fires and
of gas dispersion. This has ensured that the models used by HSE and
Dstl are kept up to date, protecting people as new hazards are
identified in a changing world.
This case study was featured on page 29 of the HSE Annual Science Review 2020.
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