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Air Start Systems

Regulations
1. There must be at least two starting air receivers, the total capacity of which will give
12 starts for a reversing engine or 6 starts fo a non-reversing engine with CPP.
2. There must be at least two compressors
3. In addition to these there must be a compressor which can be started by hand i.e.
with a dead ship. Note: this is not necessary if one of the compressors is run off the
emergency switchboard
4.
i. A relief valve must be fitted to the HP discharge and be sufficient size to ensure
that the pressure rise does not exceed 10% of the w.p. when the compressor
is running and the outlet valves on the bottle are shut.
ii. A relief valve or bursting disc on the hp cooler casing in order to protect the
casing from overpressure in the event of cooler tube failure Note: Bursting
discs are generally preferred because they fail and stay failed giving complete
protection. A relief valve will reseat when the compressor is stopped allowing
water to enter the air side.
iii. A drain must be fitted at each stage
Diesel start air system
The components of the air start system are taken to include compressors and
storage bottles in addition to the engine air start arrangement. The minimum of tow
compressors should be matched to the starting air requirements of the engine. The
compressor after coolers should be protected by a bursting disc. All high pressure
lines in the system to be of solid drawn pipe.
Air Receivers
There must be a means of access to allow cleaning and inspection of internals. The
internal surface should be protected by a coating which is flexible enough to move
when the metal distorts. Copal varnish is generally used because it has these
properties and willnot easily oxidise. Usually precautions are taken the same as for
an enclosed space when entering. Ventilation is required to the solvent fumes in the
varnish
Drains must be fitted in the lowest part of the receiver
Receivers must be protected by means of a relief valve, if the relief valve
can be isolated from the receiver than a fusible plug or plugs must be fitted. These
are usually fitted because in the event of a fire near to the bottle they will fail and
release the entire contents of the bottle rapidly. A relief valve however will only
release air down to its closing pressure which is set point less blow down. If the
structure of the bottle becomes weakened by the heat then its ability to withstand
even the reduced pressure is weakened an possible rupture could occur.
The inlet and outlet valves are to be arranged to prevent direct flow
through the bottle with insufficient residence time for moisture to precipitate. Valves
to be of the slow opening type to prevent excessive pressure rises. All attachments
should be via a support plate

Safety devices
The automatic valve (Main air start block valve) prevents connection between the air
receiver and air start manifold unless actually in the process of starting.
This minimizes the risk of an explosion in the air manifold actually
propagating back to the air receiver where a much more severe explosion is possible.
Safety devices are incorporated in the air start manifold in order to dissipate the
energy of an explosion thus keeping its effects local.
Such devices include flame traps, relief valves and bursting discs
Loss of air
can be kept to a minimum by rotating moveable outer hood to blank off relief ports.
The failed cap should be replaced as soon as possible.
Starting air explosions
Causes-continuous leaking of start valve followed by it sticking open on start.
An oil film may build up on the start air pipe due to oil discharge from
the compressor. This oil may come from general lubrication or sticky scraper ring or
from the engine room air,
With a continuous leaking valve hot gasses with unburnt fuel will enter
the pipe and turn the oil film into a hot incandescent carbon. When high pressure air
is put on the pipe line an explosion can occur with resultant high speed high pressure
shock wave.
Alternately, air discharged into cylinder during starting may have an oil
mist which can ignite in a hot cylinder. The hot gasses can return through the start
valve. To prevent this non return valve should be properly maintained, oil discharge
from the compressors should be kept to a minimum and pipelines inspected nad
cleaned when necessary.
To minimize effects a flame gauze should be fitted to the start valve and
ample relief valves, bursting discs or caps fitted. An isolated valve on the discharge
side of the manouervring control valve.
Starting air valve.