Today, most steam users are compelled by local health and safety regulations to ensure that their plant and processes incorporate safety devices and precautions, which ensure that dangerous conditions are prevented.The primary function of a safety valve is therefore to protect life and property.

The principle type of device used to prevent overpressure in plant is the safety or safety relief valve. The safety valve operates by releasing a volume of fluid from within the plant when a predetermined maximum pressure is reached, thereby reducing the excess pressure in a safe manner. As the safety valve may be the only remaining device to prevent catastrophic failure under overpressure conditions, it is important that any such device is capable of operating at all times and under all possible conditions.

Safety valves should be installed wherever the maximum allowable working pressure (MAWP) of a system or pressure-containing vessel is likely to be exceeded. In steam systems, safety valves are typically used for boiler overpressure protection and other applications such as downstream of pressure reducing controls. Although their primary role is for safety, safety valves are also used in process operations to prevent product damage due to excess pressure. Pressure excess can be generated in a number of different situations, including:

  • An imbalance of fluid flowrate caused by inadvertently closed or opened isolation valves on a process vessel.
  • Failure of a cooling system, which allows vapour or fluid to expand.
  • Compressed air or electrical power failure to control instrumentation.
  • Transient pressure surges.
  • Exposure to plant fires.
  • Heat exchanger tube failure.
  • Uncontrollable exothermic reactions in chemical plants.
  • Ambient temperature changes.

The ASME/ANSI PTC25.3 standards applicable to the USA define the following generic terms:

Safety valve – A pressure relief valve actuated by inlet static pressure and characterised by rapid opening or pop action.

Safety valves are primarily used with compressible gases and in particular for steam and air services. However, they can also be used for process type applications where they may be needed to protect the plant or to prevent spoilage of the product being processed.

Relief valve – A pressure relief device actuated by inlet static pressure having a gradual lift generally proportional to the increase in pressure over opening pressure.

Relief valves are commonly used in liquid systems, especially for lower capacities and thermal expansion duty. They can also be used on pumped systems as pressure overspill devices.

Safety relief valve – A pressure relief valve characterised by rapid opening or pop action, or by opening in proportion to the increase in pressure over the opening pressure, depending on the application, and which may be used either for liquid or compressible fluid.

In general, the safety relief valve will perform as a safety valve when used in a compressible gas system, but it will open in proportion to the overpressure when used in liquid systems, as would a relief valve.

What is safety valve?

Safety valve is an equipment designed to protect other equipment (Pressure Vessels, Boilers, Heat Exchangers, Piping, Compressors, etc.) and technical individuals. By opening automatically at a certain pressure and prevent damage due to excessive pressure in the process and storage system.

The allowable over pressure depends on the standards being followed and the particular application. The pressure at which the safety valve should operate can be designed based on ASME and SNI.

Working of safety valve:

Lifting:When the static pressure inlet increases above the safety valve’s fixed pressure, the disk will start lifting off its seat. Then the spring begins to compress.

As the pressure increases the disc continue to lift. In order to achieve full opening from a small overpressure, the disc arrangement has to be specially designed to provide rapid opening. This is usually done by placing a shroud, skirt or hood around the disc.

As lift begins, and fluid enters the chamber, a larger area of the shroud is exposed to the fluid pressure. This rise in opening force overcompensates the rise in spring force, resulting in a fast opening

Reseating:It has to reset the valve position after the high pressure flow is reduced. But, since the bigger disk region remains subjected to the fluid, the valve will not close until the pressure drops below the initial set pressure. The distinction between the fixed pressure and the reseating pressure is called the ‘ blowdown ‘

The decreased blowdown (nozzle) ring is common in many valves where tighter overpressure and blowdown conditions require a more sophisticated built solution.

Usually the upper blowdown ring is factory set and fundamentally removes the fabrication tolerances that influence the huddling chamber’s geometry.

Uses of Safety valves:

Pressure safety valve (PSV) is commonly used to protect a pressure containment part i.e. vessel, column, etc from overpressure. It is one of the code approved type of overpressure protection devices

Safety valves should be mounted wherever a system or pressure-containing vessel’s maximum allowable operating pressure (MAWP) is probable to be exceeded. Safety valves are also used to avoid product harm due to excess pressure during process activities

The Pressure safety valves are used in mainly in the following locations:

  • Boiler drums
  • Superheater
  • Reheater inlet (CRH)
  • Reheater outlet (HRH)
  • Soot blower steam line
  • Pressure Reducing Stations
  • Pressure Vessels like Blow down tank

Difference between Safety valves & Relief valve:

The names “safety” and “relief” are often used interchangeably but are not supposed to be. For compressible fluids, safety valves are: steam and other gases.

Compressible fluids need quick pressure relief. So safety valves have pop seats and plugs which open rapidly on over pressure.

Relief valves are for the non-compressible fluids-liquids such as water and oil.. Immediate full-flow discharge is not required as a very tiny flow considerably decreases overpressure, thus opening and closing the socket and seat very slowly, discharging the liquid back to some low pressure point in the scheme.

error: Content is protected !!