January 2011

Special Report: Gas Processing Developments

Avoid condensation-induced transient pressure waves

Case studies give an indication as to probable causes for water hammer

Mani, G., BP Canada Energy Co.

Condensation-induced water hammer is a commonly occurring phenomenon in steam and condensate systems. In steam/condensate systems, condensation-induced water hammer occurs when steam bubbles come in contact with, or are encapsulated in, subcooled condensate and then loses heat and condenses rapidly. This creates a low-pressure zone into which condensate moves rapidly. The resultant collision creates a pressure wave that reverberates through the body of condensate. The pressure developed from the collision can be derived from the momentum balance and can be written as follows:P = ρV2where:P = Pressureρ = Liquid densityV = Condensate ve

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