March 2011

Special Report: Corrosion Control

Avoid brittle fracture in pressure vessels

Key points identify effects from auto-refrigeration on steel vessels

Khazrai, F., Haghighi, H. B., Kordabadi, H., Chagalesh Consulting Engineers

During an emergency, equipment failure or a planned maintenance event, hydrocarbon-processing industry (HPI) pressure vessels are normally depressurized. This action may cause auto-refrigeration and low-metal temperature situations in which the likelihood of brittle fracture may occur in steel vessels and reactors. This case history describes the results from a simulation regarding auto-refrigeration effects on HPI reactors. The study also included investigation on brittle-fracture phenomenon and recommendations for a proactive engineering approach to mitigate such failures. Key points highlighted from the study are: • Although the process-fluid temperature from auto-refrigeratio

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