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Relying on fairly simple design principles, pressure seal design have proven their

capability to handle increasingly demanding fossil and combined-cycle steam

isolation applications, as designers continue to push boiler, HRSG, and piping
system pressure/temperature envelopes.
Pressure seal strainers are typically available in size ranges from 2 inches to 24
inches and ASME B16.34 pressure classes from #600 to #4500, although some
manufacturers can accommodate the need for larger diameters and higher
ratings for special applications.
Keeping pace with advancements in material technology, todays pressure seal
strainers are available in carbon (WCB cast), alloy (WC9 cast; WC6 cast),
austenitic stainless ( CF8M cast; for over 537C, suitable austenitic cast grades
with carbon content > 0.04%), as well as a number of other
alloy/stainless/special materials.
The pressure seal design concept can be traced back to the mid-1900s, when,
faced with ever increasing pressures and temperatures (primarily in power
applications), valve manufacturers began designing alternatives to the
traditional bolted-bonnet approach to sealing the body/bonnet joint. Along with
providing a higher level of pressure boundary sealing integrity, many of the
pressure seal valve designs weighed significantly less than their bolted bonnet
valve (BBV) counterparts.
Bolted Bonnets vs. Pressure Seals To better understand the pressure seal
design concept, lets contrast the body-to-bonnet sealing mechanism between
BBVs and pressure seals. Figure 1 depicts the typical BBV. The body flange and
bonnet flange are joined by studs and nuts, with a gasket of suitable
design/material inserted between the flange faces to facilitate sealing.
Studs/nuts/bolts are tightened to prescribed torques in a pattern defined by the
manufacturer to affect optimal sealing. However, as system pressure increases,
the potential for leakage through the body/bonnet joint also increases. Now lets
look at the pressure seal joint detailed in Figure 2. Note the differences in the
respective body/bonnet joint configurations. Most pressure seal designs
incorporate bonnet take-up bolts to pull the bonnet up and seal against the
pressure seal gasket. This in turn creates a seal between the gasket and the
inner diameter (I.D.) of the valve body. A segmented thrust ring maintains the
load. The beauty of the pressure seal design is that as system pressure builds, so
does the load on the bonnet and, correspondingly, the pressure seal gasket.
Therefore, in pressure seal valves, as system pressure increases, the potential
for leakage through the body/bonnet joint decreases. This design approach has
distinct advantages over BBVs in main steam, feedwater, turbine bypass, and
other power plant systems requiring valves that can handle the challenges
inherent in high-pressure and temperature applications. However, due to its
reliance on system pressure to aid in sealing, pressure seal valves are best
applied in systems where the minimum, consistent operating pressure is in
excess of 500 psi.
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