November 1998


Prevent overpressure failures on heat exchangers

Dynamic modeling predicts pressure wave effects and consequences during a tube rupture

A tube rupture in a shell and tube exchanger is a safety concern; it is also a standard relief "case" for an overpressure event. Conventionally, this case is handled by installing a pressure relief device (PRD) or by up-rating the design pressure of the lower pressure side, e.g., the "2/3" rule. Nevertheless, this relief scenario becomes a critical event when the low-pressure shell-side fluid is a liquid and the tube-side is gas at a significantly higher pressure. Under these conditions, a tube rupture can initiate a critical incident such as an instantaneous major gas release that is trapped by higher inertia liquid within the shell. This restriction prevents released gas from esca

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