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J Hazard Mater. 2009 Apr 30;163(2-3):1040-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2008.07.117. Epub 2008 Aug 3.

The simulation of air recirculation and fire/explosion phenomena within a semiconductor factory.

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Department of Safety, Health, and Environmental Engineering, National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Touliu 640, Taiwan.


The semiconductor industry is the collection of capital-intensive firms that employ a variety of hazardous chemicals and engage in the design and fabrication of semiconductor devices. Owing to its processing characteristics, the fully confined structure of the fabrication area (fab) and the vertical airflow ventilation design restrict the applications of traditional consequence analysis techniques that are commonly used in other industries. The adverse situation also limits the advancement of a fire/explosion prevention design for the industry. In this research, a realistic model of a semiconductor factory with a fab, sub-fabrication area, supply air plenum, and return air plenum structures was constructed and the computational fluid dynamics algorithm was employed to simulate the possible fire/explosion range and its severity. The semiconductor factory has fan module units with high efficiency particulate air filters that can keep the airflow uniform within the cleanroom. This condition was modeled by 25 fans, three layers of porous ceiling, and one layer of porous floor. The obtained results predicted very well the real airflow pattern in the semiconductor factory. Different released gases, leak locations, and leak rates were applied to investigate their influence on the hazard range and severity. Common mitigation measures such as a water spray system and a pressure relief panel were also provided to study their potential effectiveness to relieve thermal radiation and overpressure hazards within a fab. The semiconductor industry can use this simulation procedure as a reference on how to implement a consequence analysis for a flammable gas release accident within an air recirculation cleanroom.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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