December 2011

Plant Safety and Environment

Proper relief-valve sizing requires equation mastery

These simple and rigorous critical-flow equations will help stem the tide of potential catastrophic failures

Kim, J. S., Dunsheath, H. J., Bayer Technology Services; Singh, N. R., Bayer CropScience

Pressure-relief valves are reliable and effective pressure-relief devices that protect personnel from the dangers of over-pressurizing equipment, prevent damage to equipment, and minimize release of hazardous materials. Sizing relief valves involves determination of the rate of material release through the relief valve during the identified worst-case contingency. Relief valves are designed to relieve liquids, vapors or two phases from protected pressure vessels before excessive pressures are developed. A mistake in the relief-valve sizing can result in catastrophic failures because relief valves are usually the last defense to the process equipment against instrument failures, process ups

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