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PSV Forces in Closed System

I risk a long post on this subject. Maybe will help someone to understand …what we are not able
to count and why our approach is rather empirical.
Crosby manual says: "There are momentum effects and pressure effects at steady state flow as
well as transient dynamic loads caused by opening" and -in my opinion- this is valid for either
open or closed systems. There is a kind of similitude between "open" and "closed" PSV’s
discharge piping handling gases, so a discussion may be forced on both cases.
Forces that are affecting the PSVs discharge piping are given by:
A.- a free jet effect in steady state flow
B.- unbalanced forces on each "piping leg" due to transient flow.
A. The "free jet effect" is the 3rd law of dynamics.
If a free jet is released in atmosphere or in a large volume, the piping system will receive a
reactive force. This is the force that API counts and is:
Reactive_Force= [mass flow-rate]*[jet_velocity]+ [p_jet]*[area_jet]
- mass flow rate must be the actual value (it is greater than the designed flow rate, because the
actual PSV orifice is larger than minimum required)
- jet_velocity is the critical speed when the jet gas flow has Mach=1 feature (it is not exactly the
speed of sound calculated as for a resting fluid, you may get some details in a fluid Mechanics
book on the critical speed and stagnation temperature concept) and is counted as jet_velocity=
sqrt(2*R*k*T/ ((k+1)*M)), where notations are as in API, R is the universal perfect-gas
constant , in SI is R=8314.5 J/kg mol/K.
- p_jet is the gauge pressure in the released jet (may be considered exactly as a steady state
simulation is showing, may be "guessed" with some formulas, may be considered conservative as
the pressure just downstream the PSV orifice, but definitely is not the upstream PSV p_set…)
- area_jet is the internal area of piping at the point where the jet is released
You may note this is exactly the API formula, where the numerical coefficient is sqrt(2*R), in SI
units sqrt(2*8314.5)=129
This long preliminary discussion is useful because we can be focused now on where this force can
You have this force exactly where there is a FREE jet.
That means:
- in an open system, where really the free fluid jet is released into atmosphere
- in a closed system, at the header connection, presuming your PSV is not pressurizing the
header- that is the header is counted as a large volume receiving the jet rather than a path for
And...despite the common opinion, the problem of the true steady state force in the PSV is very
questionable. In the PSV orifice there is a flow at Mach=1 i.e a critical flow, but the jet is radial
released (it exists thru a lateral cylindrical surface) and it’s not a "free jet", because there isn’t a
big volume in the PSV’s body.
Roughly considering the steady state flow, there is a changing in fluid momentum, initially is
radial compensated, after that there is an impact with the PSV body- on about 2/3 on the path
flow- that generates a lot of turbulence, etc. By the other hand, we may consider a model closed
to those proposed by Brandmayer and Knebel, see the article "Steam Flow Through Safety valve
Vent Pipes", based on an one-dimensional model of the shocked flow (anindya stress has had
the generosity to post it recently, thank you anindya stress, it was very interesting and I
appreciate your courtesy and your posts!)…

Just a remark: to follow the Goodling scenario.and that’s all. exactly here. If you have just 1. after all. a history-time profile calculated on this base would be the basis of your . this wave has a zero ramp time and is a very special wave in fluid dynamics. The transient dynamic loads caused by opening. but it’s also recognized that the friction and heat gradient effects – not counted in the theory. the theory failed to explain the real case. My opinion: if you consider this scenario. this is just my opinion! B. This procedure. and BTW. counteracts this tendency. we haven’t a realistic model for the steady state flow. I really thank you CraigB for all your posts and for your generosity! Basically. you can trust it or not… Let’s consider the effects of this scenario. but the wave profile is given by the valve’s closing or opening time. Alternatively. It remains the Goodling’s engineering approach…. Eventually. you must have the Vendor opening profile…. don’t ask me what is the appropriate safety-factor… And don’t forget.1 figures. and I would say is more a way to be conservative rather to be realistic…. These waves may be counted as "normal" shock waves.C. this would secure your calculation against the possibility to have a PSV’s non’linear characteristic instead a linear one (Goodling has made similar’s after you the value. but for some safety reasons. in the terminology of Fluid Mechanics. with the notable exception of the last one where is more probable that the force is given by the steady-state flow "free jet" effect.My opinion is. so that means you’ll have an unbalanced force at magnitude of API force or larger on each discharge piping leg. you may follow the Goodling approach and to count only the fraction of this force. The idea is to count the unbalanced force on each leg… If the PSV opening time is 0. applied conservative or realistic. it is very complicated to confirm or invalidate Goodling approach. the "classical" Riemann model predicts the wave shape doesn’t remain stable during the wave propagation. This kind of shock appears in the supersonic flight. Practically. Theoretically. the community really has very good reasons to thank him. You may think it’s possible to have it also along your PSVs discharge piping. To know the value. corresponding to the real opening time and to tyhe actual length of the leg. not applied only on the first piping leg.can be applied leg by leg in a time history scenario.005 s and your procedure is very conservative since you’ve applied a safety factor of 10.After that. the stress tradition asks to count as this force exists. The Goodling’s paper is not referring to PSVs. see fig 1 of his paper). Probably a more realistic scenario is to consider the wave as described by E. I’ve never seen a "Process Department issued" transient calculation for gas flow near or at Fluid Mechanics. A shock wave is an one-dimensional wave so "hard" that the front-up profile is vertical. you cannot see. adjacent to the PSV. a "stress approach" safety factor may be applied…. maybe you’ll be luckier than me… What really we know: the PSV generates sonic waves because the flow is at Mach=1 inside the orifice. Probably is not a significant value and exactly for this reason. because the wave propagates thru all the piping. Goodling in the paper "Simplified analysis of steamhammer pipe supports loads". in fact. this force as horizontally applied on the PSV body. you must consider the same large force (don’t ask me how much…) applied in every piping leg. where the flow is not one-dimensional. in the PSV body. but he was presenting his paper as valid for both traveling waves of increasing and decreasing pressure. that would correspond to an opening time of you want! . exactly as you've observed. the Goodling scenario presumes there is a sonic wave. in API520 part II or B31. first a correction factor must be applied on Vendor time opening. of course.5m distance and you still consider the same maximum force. being a discontinuity in flow. Again my opinion: it would be engineering satisfactorily to consider such approach for either expansion or compression waves.050s and the wave speed is 300m/s you can have the maximum force on PSV only if you have 15 m or more distance from PSV to the next elbow. CraigB has posted this paper (please search for it in this forum!).

or a rude DLF of 2 may be applied… Best regards .dynamic calculation.