September 2016

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Engineering Case Histories: Case 92: The danger of pneumatic testing complacency

With proper safety, planning and implementation, pneumatic testing of piping and vessels has been performed successfully for many years.

Sofronas, A., Consulting Engineer

With proper safety, planning and implementation, pneumatic testing of piping and vessels has been performed successfully for many years. Leaks are usually detected and repaired with no major consequences, as excellent standardized testing procedures have been well documented. However, complacency is dangerous. Safety and testing procedures should be researched and documented thoroughly before any testing is performed. The dangers in the sudden release of stored gas energy are illustrated by historical damage data, which is useful when recommending alternatives to pneumatic testing, such as: segmenting piping into low, manageable energy volumes; hydrotesting (with proper precautions); testi

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