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Last updateMon, 08 Feb 2016 5pm

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Introduction to Pressure Relief Devices - Part 1

Introduction to Pressure Relief Devices - Part 1

When the pressure inside equipment such ...

Is Your Company Ready for The New Reality?

Is Your Company Ready for The New Reality?

Since August, 2015, when VMA’s 201...

Offshore Oil Extraction and Transportation

Offshore Oil Extraction and Transportation

Offshore oil facilities come to the fore...

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Industry Headlines

Watson Valve Announces Watson Valve Services, Australia

3 DAYS AGO

Watson Valve Services Inc. announces Watson Valve Services, Australia. Watson Valve will now have the ability to support the supply of its severe service valve products to non-U.S. domestic sites from its Australian based service agent, Process Plants International (PPi) under the name, Watson Valve...

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Velan Makes Changes to Management Team

3 DAYS AGO

Velan recently announced that Executive Vice-President (EVP) Ivan Velan has decided to reduce his work scope, but will remain with the company as Special Advisor to the President, Yves Leduc. Ivan will lead key projects and continue to support the management team.

Martin Allen joined Velan’s ...

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U.S. Oil Inventories Now at Record High

3 DAYS AGO

Several factors have played a part in pushing U.S. crude oil prices below $30 per barrel, including high inventory levels of crude oil, uncertainty about global economic growth, volatility in equity and non-energy commodity markets, and the potential for additional crude oil supply to enter the mark...

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FERC Approves $3.2B Sabal Trail Pipeline Project

3 DAYS AGO

Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC, a joint venture of Spectra Energy Partners, LP, NextEra Energy, Inc. and Duke Energy, received a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to construct and operate the Sabal Trail interstate natural gas pipelin...

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Labor Productivity Down More Than Expected in Fourth Quarter

-1 DAYS AGO

U.S. labor productivity decreased at a 3.0-percent annual rate during the fourth quarter of 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, as output increased 0.1% and hours worked increased 3.3%.

Manufacturing sector labor productivity decreased 0.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015, as output i...

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U.S. Adds 151,000 Jobs, Unemployment Rate Down to 4.9%

2 DAYS AGO

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 151,000 in January, and the unemployment rate dropped 0.1% to 4.9%, the lowest since Feb. 2008. Job gains occurred in several industries, led by retail trade, food services and drinking places, health care and manufacturing. Employment declined in private edu...

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Extreme Valve Testing

VM-smr11-cryogenic_testTwo commonly used low temperature tests today measure the degrees for liquid nitrogen and liquid natural gas.

Valves today face more challenging conditions from a wider range of applications. As a result, users are asking for more and better testing.

Filling a valve up with water, adding pressure and looking for leaks might work for some valve specifications, but many of today’s demanding valve requirements call for much more stringent testing and evaluation. Special service applications such as hazardous fluids, nuclear power plants, high-pressure pipelines and more dictate a much broader testing and inspection regimen than traditional simple tests.

Many users are requesting valve manufacturers prove their products will operate satisfactorily at the higher and lower temperatures and more extreme pressures that their valves are advertised to reach. These may be the lowest cryogenic temperatures or elevated temperatures close to 1000° F (538° C). Such tests call for specialized equipment and test procedures.

VM-smr11-cryogenic_test_2Cryogenic testing is generally performed at temperatures ranging between -50° F (-46° C) and -320° F (-196° C).The most common of these more extreme tests is cryogenic testing. Such testing is generally performed at temperatures ranging between -50° F (-46° C) and -320° F (-196° C)—most often at -320° F (-196° C), which is the temperature of liquid nitrogen (LN). Standard practice is for the valve to be immersed in the LN up to the packing gland area, if the valve is equipped that way. The packing must be kept out of the LN or it could freeze the packing, seizing the stem and causing the valve to lock up and fail to operate. Because polymer seals do not function well at cryogenic temperatures, valve end connections must be the type that makes a solid mechanical connection. These include threaded, flanged or caps welded onto buttweld-end ends. Socketweld-end and buttweld-end valves without welded-on caps are very difficult to test at the lowest cryogenic temperatures.

One of the most popular low temperature services today is liquid natural gas (LNG). Valves for LNG are sometimes tested at -320° F (-196° C), but a more accurate test is performed at the actual LNG temperature of -260° F (-162° C).

Cryogenic testing is costly and hazardous and should only be performed by experienced, trained personnel. The test procedures for cryogenics are available from several standards-making-organizations, as well as end users. The most significant differences in testing procedure documents are allowable leakage rates.


VM-smr11-cryogenic-table1

PIPELINE VALVES

Pipeline safety has come to the forefront lately because of catastrophic pipeline failures. These failures have occurred primarily on older pipelines because quality requirements for new pipeline construction are very stringent. Valves for pipeline service are also scrutinized very closely. While all pipeline valves are hydrostatically tested at the factory, usually in accordance with API 6D, additional tests are almost always performed. The most common extreme test for pipeline valves is a long duration shell test, which is carefully monitored by a recording device tracking the pressure and the temperature of the valve as it is tested.

During these enhanced duration shell integrity tests, the pressure on the valve must be maintained, or the pressure drop must coincide with a proportional drop in temperature to avoid valve failure. It is not uncommon for test durations to run several hours long.


FUGITIVE EMISSIONS TESTING

VM-smr11-preparing_for_fugitive_emissions_testA valve is prepared to undergo fugitive emissions tests.The desire to keep our nation’s air clean is manifested in the valve industry through the Clean Air Act and various state and local regulations. For manufacturers to meet today’s low emissions requirements, valves must be tested to determine their ability to contain these fugitive emissions (FE). FE testing is now a requirement by most refiners and chemical companies that must contain hazardous fluids as part of their everyday processes.

FE testing requires the valve be pressured up with an easily measurable gas such as methane or helium, and then checking the body and seals, particularly the packing, for leakage. An alternative method is to create a vacuum drawn on the valve through a closed piping system and introducing a tracer gas into the areas of the valve exterior susceptible to FE leakage.

Two distinct schools of thought exist on what gas should be used to FE test a valve—schools separated by the Atlantic Ocean. In Europe, it is deemed unsafe to test with methane, so all testing must be performed with helium; in the U.S., the preferred test media is methane, which more closely resembles the molecular structure of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that both industry and government are working hard to control.

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