12122017Tue
Last updateMon, 11 Dec 2017 4pm

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Check Valves in LNG Cryogenic Service

Check Valves in LNG Cryogenic Service

Because natural gas is currently conside...

Will Smart Machines Obsolete Human Resources?

Will Smart Machines Obsolete Human Resources?

Is artificial intelligence (AI) going to...

Is Valve Live Loading an Option?

Is Valve Live Loading an Option?

Valves leak. There’s no getting ar...

Managing Control Valve Reliability in the Arctic

Managing Control Valve Reliability in the Arctic

“A sow and polar bear cub are walk...

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Industry Headlines

Construction Index Remains Strong in November

Monday, 11 December 2017  |  Chris Guy

The Dodge Momentum Index surged again in November, climbing 13.9% to 149.5 from the revised October reading of 131.3. The Momentum Index is a monthly ...

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Will Smart Machines Obsolete Human Resources?

Will Smart Machines Obsolete Human Resources?

Wednesday, 06 December 2017  |  Kate Kunkel

Is artificial intelligence (AI) going to take over manufacturing jobs and the jobs of human resources professionals? That is a question that concerns ...

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Industry Headlines

Classic Controls Certified by ITT Engineered Valves, REXA

4 DAYS AGO

Classic Controls is now certified by ITT Engineered Valves to repair Skotch brand FM approved and general purpose burner shut-off valves for oil and gas fired systems.

REXA, Inc. has also appointed Classic Controls as its exclusive authorized sales representative in the state of Florida. Classic Contr...

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Emerson Completes Paradigm Acquisition

7 DAYS AGO

Emerson has completed the purchase of Paradigm, a provider of software solutions to the oil and gas industry. Paradigm will be combined with Emerson’s Roxar software business to create a more comprehensive Exploration & Production (E&P) software portfolio offering.

Paradigm is headquarter...

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China to Become Second-Largest LNG Importer

4 DAYS AGO

The world’s no. 1 energy user, China, “is on the verge of passing South Korea to become the No. 2 buyer of LNG behind Japan, as environmental measures and winter heating needs boost demand,” Bloomberg reports .

“Tankers with total capacity of 33.6 million metric tons have visited...

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New Permian-Gulf Pipeline Proposed

6 DAYS AGO

Magellan Midstream Partners intends to develop an approximately 375-mile, 24-inch diameter pipeline from Crane to a location near Three Rivers, TX, providing shippers the option to ultimately deliver crude oil and condensate from the Three Rivers area to the Houston area via a new 200-mile pipeline or...

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Construction Index Remains Strong in November

11 HOURS AGO

The Dodge Momentum Index surged again in November, climbing 13.9% to 149.5 from the revised October reading of 131.3. The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for non...

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U.S. Adds 228,000 Jobs in November

3 DAYS AGO

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 228,000 in November, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1%, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, manufacturing and health care.

In November, manufacturing added 31,000...

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Common Bellows Failures and Suggestions for Mitigation

vmwnt12_MR_Fig1Figure 1. Galling on the stem due to an oversized valve or operating the PRV too close to set pressure.

While it is an extremely rare event, bellows can and do fail. But bellows failures are often wrongly attributed to the quality of the valve or the bellows while in reality, a more likely scenario is operating conditions or an improperly specified valve that contributed to the failure. Still, whenever a failure occurs, analysis of what happened and why is critical.


THE USE OF BELLOWS

A spring-loaded pressure relief valve (PRV) is a device that reacts based on the amount of static pressure force pushing up on the disc. In normal processing conditions, the valve will remain shut because the upward force on the disc is less than the closing spring force. When the force from the process fluid pushing up and the force of the spring pushing down are at equilibrium, the disc of the valve will begin to lift from the nozzle, and the valve will begin to “simmer.” At this point, a slight increase in process pressure will cause that valve to “pop” open (its set point), thereby relieving the overpressure.

vmwnt12_MR_Fig2Figure 2. Bellows rupture likely because of excessive backpressure.A bellows is typically specified for applications when a spring-loaded PRV will experience backpressure (which can impact the valve’s ability to open at the correct set pressure) or when the internal components of the valve must be isolated from the processing fluid. When selecting the bellows material, consideration of the process material discharging into a common header must be made.

While it is possible for a bellows to fail because of an imperfection in fabrication, failure more commonly can be attributed to the wrong valves being used or operating conditions. Quality control during PRV assembly can prevent a customer from experiencing this type of failure.

Listed below are four scenarios that are common reasons a bellows might fail. Each assumes that a thorough review of the engineering sizing and specifications for a given PRV has been completed since these calculations will aid in diagnosing the problem.


EXCESSIVE BACKPRESSURE

One clue that indicates a valve has been exposed to excessive backpressure is when the bellows has been crushed. There are two types of backpressure in process systems: constant and variable. Variable can be further divided into two subgroups: superimposed and built-up.

Built-up backpressure is defined as the pressure at the outlet of the PRV based on the discharge piping configuration, i.e., pressure that occurs only after the valve has opened. For applications where the flow is compressible, built-up backpressure is based on the piping hydraulics at the accumulation pressure using the maximum actual capacity for the PRV. All too often engineers perform this calculation at the required capacity for the given scenario, not at the device’s actual capacity.

When a bellows failure can be attributed to excessive built-up backpressure, the following options will ­mitigate the problem:

  • Use a bellows with a higher pressure limit.
  • Use a pilot valve balanced against backpressure.
  • Modify the outlet piping by ­making it larger or shortening the length of pipe, thereby ­reducing the effects of built-up backpressure.


OVERSIZED VALVE

While most PRVs are protecting equipment for more than one relief event, the size of the valve is based on the scenario requiring the greatest relieving capacity. An example would be when a PRV is sized for both fire and blocked outlet scenarios. The fire sizing requires significantly greater orifice area than the blocked outlet sizing. However, since the blocked outlet scenario is more common and more likely to occur, then the PRV will be potentially starved for capacity, causing the valve to “chatter” (rapidly opening and closing). Valve chatter, as well as flow instability, could inevitably cause valve damage such as premature fatigue failure of the bellows, as well as galling of guiding surfaces. In our experience, a PRV should not be specified that has an actual orifice area more than 3 to 5 times larger than the required area.

Mitigation strategies for failure in this scenario include:

  • Install multiple PRVs and stagger the set pressure for each of the scenarios. Ensure the small valve is properly sized based on the lowest required capacity relief scenario.
  • Install a modulating pilot-operated relief valve.

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