Relief and Flare Systems Statics vs. Dynamics

The landscape of relief systems and general process safety management compliance is evolving. This evolution is due in part to enforcement or potential enforcement of recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices (RAGAGEP). 

Because of RAGAGEP considerations, oversizing a relief device is no longer acceptable or desirable from an engineering perspective and from a legal liability perspective. For example, recent citations and enforcement by OSHA have considered the lack of toxic/flammable dispersion analysis and the lack of thermal radiation analysis for releases going directly to atmosphere. Other considerations include explosion risk, relief piping vibration risk, runaway chemical reactions, PRV stability, embrittlement due to cold temperatures, metal failure due to overheating 1, multiphase flow, etc.

The evaluation and/or design of emergency relief, vent containment, and flare systems require deep expertise and specialization. Many facilities place their trust in their engineering contractors to possess that deep level of expertise and to provide them with safe and compliant designs and evaluations. This paper contains case studies of why dynamics are needed in relief system evaluations for the most effective risk reduction from an overall or a lifecycle perspective.

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