Abstract Explosions of vessels containing high pressure gases or superheated liquids are a common accident in the chemical industry. Fragments are the most information-rich physical evidence in accident analysis. A method is presented to calculate the total explosion energy based on the characteristics of fragments from the scene of an accident, such as mass, horizontal displacement, etc. The implicit expressions of the initial velocity can be obtained through analysing the trajectory equations of the fragments and the data obtained from the scene of the accident. The total energy is calculated from the relationship between the total explosion energy and the kinetic energy of the fragment. During the calculation there are some uncertain parameters, e.g., the energy factor and the initial angle. To solve the parameter uncertainties, a Monte-Carlo simulation is introduced. Analysis of an industrial accident shows that it is feasible to estimate the total explosion energy using the maximum probability density interval with the proposed methodology.

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