Process Safety

Episode 2 - J-T Effect and Hydrate Formation

In the second episode of the Neutrium podcast, Trevor and Matt present the theory behind the Joule-Thomson effect and discuss the dangers and prevention of hydrate formation.

Hydrate Formation in Gas Systems
Hydrate Formation in Gas Systems

Hydrate formation represents a significant risk to process safety as it can result in the plugging of both pipes and instruments. Hydrates typically form in process where light hydrocarbons, water vapor and low temperatures or high pressures are present. This article describes the conditions under which hydrates form, how formation may be prevented and what can be done once hydrates have formed.

Thermal Relief Cascades
Thermal Relief Cascades

For systems where liquid product may be trapped in a pipe section of an extended period of time thermal expansion can become a problem. Heating of the fluid in the pipe results in a rapid pressure rise as the fluid expands which can quickly exceed the design pressure of the pipeline. The damaging effects of the thermal expansion can be mitigated through the use of thermal relief valves and where there is several potential pipe blockages in series, it is often necessary to ‘cascade’ thermal relief valves back to a tank. This article describes how to design a cascading thermal relief system.

Calculating Thermal Relief Flow Rates

For long sections of pipe, the thermal expansion of trapped liquid can be significant. It is often required that the increase in volume of the fluid be determined in order to select suitable thermal relief valves to protect the integrity of the pipework. This article details how to calculate the required relief flow rate to prevent over pressure due to thermal expansion.

Relief Valve Orifice Area to API RP 526

This article lists the standard effective orifice areas for the orifice designations found in API RP 526 5th edition. These orifice designations set the minimum effective orifice area which a relief valve must have to meet the API 526 requirements and must be used with the sizing equations in API RP 520 Part I.