Pressure Vessel Safety Guidelines in Handling and Storage of Flammable Liquids

May 6, 2019

When handling flammable liquids in Australia, you turn to the AS1940:2017 guidelines. It's in this document that the different classifications of combustible liquids are detailed. They deal with denser state fluids, plus the vapours that are discharged by those condensates. From handling the potentially incendiary fluids, the regulations turn a cautious virtual eye towards their storage. From handling guidelines to pressure vessel storage cautionary measures, the procedures amass.

Handling-Related Pressure Vessel Safety

Poring over the amassing guidelines, you settle an eye on the liquid combustible handling section. Whatever the transportation medium, it must be subjected to a rigorously controlled inspection, as mandated by the AS1940 guidelines. If the liquid is piped, those welded cylinders and fittings are checked regularly for leaks. Potential weld discontinuities and/or signs of pipe cracks are documented so that the issues can be addressed immediately. Truck containment unit or railcar transporter, all flammable liquid carriers are subject to the same rules. Even when filled inside a series of barrels, there are rules to obey if the combustible materials are to stay safely contained.

Pressure Vessel Safety Guidelines

Blast doors and spark proof electrical fittings are installed in areas where flammable liquids are stored. Again, and this applies to pressure vessels, it's not only the liquid that creates the threat. Depending on that liquids vapourization temperature, invisible clouds of ignitable fumes could be floating free. Instrumentation seals are next, plus a non-electrical control system. Pneumatically controlled lines replace electrical circuits when storing flammable fluids. As for the actual pressure vessels, they must be designed to store particular liquid types at given pressures. To accomplish this goal, the vessel designers and flammable liquid suppliers work together to ensure a stated combustion flash point receives plenty of vessel-stored overhead. Take note: some liquid additives or impurities can alter combustion flashpoints, so the overhead margin is a critically important design parameter.

Internationally accredited rules take charge. For a small amount of ignition-stubborn diesel, it's stored inside approved canisters, behind blast doors. Then, moving up the hazardous fluids ladder a single rung, you get to petrol stations, to home liquid fuels and locally sourced flammable liquids. Cutting a few corners, we arrive at a place that stores aircraft fuels, which are very combustible indeed. To handle all of these differing combustion factors, six alternative pressure vessel categories are in use. Category 1 containment solutions have a flashpoint of 73.4°F. At the other end of the scale, Category 6 tanks are equipped with a 199.4°F flash point. Happily, by working within the bounds of the regulatory frameworks, Pressure vessel designers build their constructs to comply with these categories.

Contact Details

Fusion - Weld Engineering Pty Ltd
ABN 98 068 987619

1865 Frankston Flinders Road,
Hastings, VIC 3915

Ph: (03) 5909 8218

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