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Vapor Depressurization: Concept and Implementation

By Hitesh Pandya, Saipem India Projects Ltd. |

During process operations, elevated pressure inside of isolated zones within a process or system can be rapidly reduced by the release of gas and vapor to a dedicated blowdown network. Analysis can be carried out to determine whether a given pressure-relief device will provide sufficient protection from potential vessel rupture for an unwetted-wall vessel or a vessel containing a high-boiling-point liquid. When a pressure-relief valve alone is not adequate, additional protective measures must also be considered. These include, among others, the use of water sprays, depressurizing systems, fireproofing, earth-covered storage and diversion walls. More often, depressurizing systems are used to reduce the failure potential for scenarios that may involve potential overheating (that is, a risk of fire). For instance, when the temperature of a metal is increased due to exposure to fire or exothermic or runaway process reactions, a stress rupture can develop. This can occur even though the system pressure has not necessarily exceeded the maximum allowable level. Figure 1 shows a typical arrangement for blowdown system. It consists of an on/off valve, a restriction orifice (RO) and a block valve.  Figure 1. Shown here is a typical arrangement…
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