Estimate Vibration Risk for Relief and Process Piping

Fatigue failure of relief and/or process piping caused by vibration can develop due to the conversion of flow mechanical energy to noise. Factors that have led to an increasing incidence of noise vibration related fatigue failures in piping systems include but are not limited to (a) increasing flow rates as a result of debottlenecking which contributes to higher flow velocities with a correspondingly greater level of turbulent energy, (b) frequent use of thin-walled piping which results in higher stress concentrations, particularly at small bore and branch connections, (c) design of process piping systems on the basis of a static analysis with little attention paid to vibration induced fatigue, (e) and lack of emphasis of the issue of vibration in piping design codes. Piping vibration is often considered on an ad-hoc or reactive basis. According to the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 21 % of all piping failures offshore are caused by fatigue/vibration. Typical systems at risk include large compressor recycle systems and high capacity pressure relief depressuring systems. For relief and flare piping, flow induced turbulence and high frequency acoustic excitations are key concerns.

This papers demonstrates that the Carucci and Mueller equation can produce unrealistic values of acoustic efficiency, well in excess of 1 percent for high pressure systems and/or systems with large mechanical flow energy. Thus, it is recommended that the Carucci and Mueller acoustic efficiency value be limited to a maximum of 2 percent if the calculated value exceeds 2 percent. The revised experience based failure criteria by Melhem (see Figure 5) based on the IEC acoustic efficiency is now recommended for single and multiphase flow.

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