Bayesian Processing of Data on Bursts of Pressure Vessels


  • Egidijus Rytas Vaidogas Vilnius Gediminas technical univertity



post-mortem data, data scarcity, Bayesian updating, Poisson-gamma distribution, multinomial-Dirichlet distribution,, epistemic uncertainty, explosion, pressure vessel, fragment, risk


Two alternative Bayesian approaches are proposed for the prediction of fragmentation of pressure vessels triggered off by accidental explosions (bursts) of these containment structures. It is shown how to carry out this prediction with post-mortem data on fragment numbers counted after past explosion accidents. Results of the prediction are estimates of probabilities of individual fragment numbers. These estimates are expressed by means of Bayesian prior or posterior distributions. It is demonstrated how to elicit the prior distributions from relatively scarce post-mortem data on vessel fragmentations. Specifically, it is suggested to develop priors with two Bayesian models known as compound Poisson-gamma and multinomial-Dirichlet probability distributions. The available data is used to specify non-informative prior for Poisson parameter that is subsequently transformed into priors of individual fragment number probabilities. Alternatively, the data is applied to a specification of Dirichlet concentration parameters. The latter priors directly express epistemic uncertainty in the fragment number probabilities. Example calculations presented in the study demonstrate that the suggested non-informative prior distributions are responsive to updates with scarce data on vessel explosions. It is shown that priors specified with Poisson-gamma and multinomial-Dirichlet models differ tangibly; however, this difference decreases with increasing amount of new data. For the sake of brevity and concreteness, the study was limited to fire induced vessel bursts known as boiling liquid expanding vapour explosions (BLEVEs).