August 2015

Special Report: Fluid Flow and Rotating Equipment

Wetted surface area calculations for fire-relief sizing in ASME pressure vessels

Although individual operating facilities take many steps to protect plants from fire, pressure vessels within a fire zone must be protected by a pressure safety valve (PSV). Proper calculation of the vessel’s wetted surface area is a crucial step in properly sizing a PSV.

Fire relief of fluids in enclosed ASME pressure vessels is a major safety concern of the chemical process industry (CPI) for the prevention of injury and loss of life. API 521 identifies fire as a case that requires pressure relief. Although individual operating facilities (oil refineries, offshore platforms, chemical plants and gas processing plants, among others) take many steps to protect plants from fire, pressure vessels within a fire zone must be protected by a pressure safety valve (PSV). Fire could be the cause of the greatest relief load through a PSV, which would then become the sizing basis for that PSV. In the case of fire, the fluid in the vessel absorbs the heat from fire throu

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