Relief Valves in Parallel
James R. Lawrence Sr. Page 3
Conventional Valves and Pop-acting Pilot Valves
As with a single oversized valve, interaction between two 100% sized valves can be manifested asvalve chatter due to flow starvation. As a rule of thumb, relief capacity of more than 140% canresult in chatter
. Even if both valves have a very close setpoint, operation at this setpoint couldeasily 'over relieve' the system causing the valves, or a single valve, to slam shut. Pressure thenincreases and the cycle starts again.This reaction to overpressure would not provide the required relief capacity and would almostcertainly cause damage to the valves, or even worse, to the connected pipe.
Pilot Operated – Modulating
This valve type offers less of an issue but an issue remains nonetheless. A pilot operated valveobtains full lift between 5% and 7% of overpressure. Depending upon the actual setpointdifferential, it is conceivable one valve might never open. It is also conceivable interaction couldcause chatter within a narrow band of overpressure where the valves begin to open.
Relief System Piping Design
Pipe size is confirmed for relief valve inlet and outlet by the engineering design contractor.Calculations are completed in accordance with codes, standards, and recommended practices.Pipe supports are then designed based on the expected reaction moments generated from therelief valve as shown on the approved P&ID's and in accordance with data received from the valvesupplier.Increasing the relief capacity without consideration for associated pipe supports is not acceptable.Oversized capacity introduces unwanted and unexpected stress in pipe and pipe supports.Rapid cycling of parallel valves may introduced failure in pipe supports or even in the piping itself.In addition to relief jet moments, there is stress induced into the pipe by typically high SPL
. Thesound pressure level produced during relief is a function of flow rate and pressure drop. Increasedflow rate translates to increased sound which induces increased vibration in pipe. Additionally, thisvibration can become resonant. There are design limits for relief system piping based on expectedSPL. Opening an extra valve to the relief header may exceed SPL design limits especially if it isdone at multiple inlets to the relief header system. The results of this mechanical stress arecumulative.
Relief systems should not be expected to operate more than a few hours in the entiredesign life of a facility. Exceeding design parameters reduces relief system life expectancy.Relief fluid velocity is also a factor. Excessive velocity may occur in the header and set up astanding sonic wave at the first increase in pipe size. Care is normally taken during design to usea not-to-exceed velocity in piping design to guard against fatigue failure.It should be readily apparent to all what the opening of a second 100+% valve to the process cando to the relief header system.
Safety Relief Systems, Bhisham P. Gupta, Saudi Aramco Journal of Technology, Spring 1996, Page 32.
Sound Pressure Level, (measured in dBa (decibels adjusted or corrected to the human ear)).
Gupta: ibid Page 32