Why Pressure Surges Must Be Prevented From Rising Above Steady Flow State

Pressure Surge has become the most widely known cause of pipeline failure in industries, as a result of change in the flow of velocity. A typical example of it is when the valve is closed or opened too rapidly. It has become so challenging that companies spare no efforts in preventing it from happening.

Pipelines, on the other hand are commonly used for transporting slurry, crude oil, refined crude, water and other fluids in a variety of industries. They aid in optimizing productivity, reduce significant downtime and cut down on budgets. However, they are prone to several problems such as corrosion, leaks causing spillage of oil or other fluid and particularly pressure surge.

Pipeline pressure surge can be generated by anything that causes the fluid velocity in a pipe network to change abruptly. It often makes fluid flow to move in a direction that is different from the normal flow direction. 

Factors that can cause pressure surge in a pipeline

  •  Abrupt Pump start and stop, resulting from power failure

  •  Emergency shutdown (ESD)

  • Pump trip

  •  Valve operation failure (closure/opening)

  • Check valve closure

  • Closure of an automatic shutdown valve

  • Slamming shut of a non-return valve

  • Slamming shut of a butterfly type valve

  • Rapid closure of a power operated valve

  • Air pockets in pipelines, especially at pump start

  • Air release

  • Pipeline filling

The operational process of transporting fluid in pipelines has an influence on the safety of pumping systems and their immediate environment.

A pipeline can suffer from any of the under listed problems should pressure surge occur in any of its network;

  • Physical movement of the piping system caused by an increase in pressure on the piping systems and joints.

  • Fittings failure

  • Explosions

  • Blockage, resulting from impurities

  • Leakages

  • Valves deformation

  • Equipment damage.

  •  Oil/water spills

  •   Overflow

The task of surge pressure relief system provision is to protect the facilities of upstream and downstream mines, water pumping stations, upstream and downstream oil fields and to protect marine facilities against hydraulic transient pressure surges that can occur during loading and unloading of crude oil to and from vessels. Surge pressure relief systems should be able to open high capacity valves very quickly to remove surge pressures from the line and then return to the normal state.

Preventing surge pressure from occurring in a pipe network translates to abating the negative results it generates. Hence, it is very important for companies to ensure that their piping networks are well designed with the necessary accessories that efficiently hinders surge pressure from going beyond the steady flow rate.



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