February 9, 2017
Systemic design practices are essential if fuel and chemical storage complexes are to operate safely. That means the storage units must be geometrically reliable, obviously, and expertly rated to tolerate pressure changes, temperature variations, and chemical reactions. All that planning sounds productive, but is it a comprehensive solution? Not even close, not if the design methodology doesn't accommodate for the pressure vessel piping.
In short, this is the network of fluid transmitting conduits that couples each vessel to the processing system. There are valves and angle-turns, pipes and branching junctions, all welded or bolted together. Flanges and gaskets function as linkages between each section. Finally, the convoluted lines carry every imaginable fluid medium, from steam to crude oil. Logically, if the pressure vessel is spaced to safely store these fluids, then all vessel-associated piping must satisfy the same stringent engineering specifications. This is where a piping-biased design and analysis strategy enters our awareness.
Fluids in geometrical vessels occupy the minds of pressure vessel designers. Meanwhile, flow characteristics act differently when pipes enter the scenario. Primarily, there are more parts in play, so a flange testing program is an essential part of the inspection mandate. Additionally, gasket technology is still regarded as a potential system weakness, although newer spiral-wound gaskets are currently changing that viewpoint. Otherwise, adopt all due diligence when adhering to national and international pressure vessel piping regulations. These include but are not limited to the AS 2885 and the ASME B31.3 guidelines.
Due to joint profusion, a rigorously implemented inspection strategy requires careful oversight. Initially, high-grade alloys are sourced from heat treatment facilities so that the alloys balance a predetermined hardness quotient against a required ductility rating. Weld and machining standards are maintained at high-tolerance levels, and the completed products are then analysed. Advanced sensory devices are typically tasked with analysing the base materials for metallurgical flaws. Meanwhile, a macroscopic methodology retrains the focus of the inspection so that the processing elements satisfy the safety guidelines. Flow valves and pressure relief systems are considered here, for a faulty pipe can create a potential disaster. Of course, that disaster is avoidable as long as there are multiple relief redundancies in place and operating.
Several levels of engineering acumen dominate the standards and analysis procedures that evaluate pressure vessel piping systems. There are ASME and AS rulings to weigh, plus a dual analysis methodology to consider, one that weighs material characteristics alongside processing configurations to form a whole picture perspective.
Fusion - Weld Engineering Pty Ltd
ABN 98 068 987619
1865 Frankston Flinders Road,
Hastings, VIC 3915
Ph: (03) 5909 8218
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