nants migrating along the pipe walls are allowed to contami- The sample cylinders used in spot sampling

should be stain-
nate the sample. Note that for large diameter pipelines, the less steel, single cavity cylinders. Single cavity cylinders are
probe never needs to be longer than 250 mm. Long probes recommended over piston cylinders, due to the difficulty of fully
should be evaluated for flow-indiced vibration that can cause cleaning piston cylinders between use. Residue that may re-
the probe to break. The probe is equipped with an outlet valve main in the piston cylinders and their seals may produce incor-
to allow the system to be shut in when no sampling is being rect analyses. Single cavity and piston cylinders should be
performed or to perform maintenance on downstream equip- equipped with standard design sample valves that are screw
ment in composite or continuous sampling systems. open or closed (not 1/4 turn ball valves) and have a flow passage
of approximately 3 mm diameter.
The tubing connecting the sample probe to the downstream
sample system(s) should be internally clean, as short as practi- It may be convenient to use piston (constant pressure) cylin-
cal (usually 150 to 600 mm maximum) and made of either nylon ders in composite sampling systems, since you can easily see
or stainless steel. Stainless steel is preferred due to its strength, that the system is working or not working as the level indicator
flexibility and resistance to melting and cuts, but nylon is not moves. If piston cylinders are used, they should be disassem-
porous and when used safely, can also give good analytical re- bled between use, carefully cleaned and then the seal rings re-
sults. Teflon, carbon steel, plastic tubing, Tygon tubing and placed if the cylinder is expected to provide representative
many other materials do not perform well. samples.
Care must be taken to insure there are no leaks in the sam- Note that if sampling is being performed to determine the
pling system. Typically, if a leak occurs, smaller molecules tend levels of volatile or reactive contaminants, such as H2S, the cyl-
to escape preferentially and create a bias in analytical results. inder may need to be lined with an epoxy/phenolic lining. Even
If the leak is large, there may be enough cooling to produce then, particularly reactive materials, such as H2S or ethyl mer-
condensation in the sample system and cause the samples to be captan are likely to be lost prior to analysis unless the sample
very non-representative. is collected on-site and analyzed immediately. Even a few min-
utes delay can reduce detectable levels of reactive materials.
Note that whenever the sample line is operating in ambient Shipping a sample to a remote lab and delaying analysis be-
temperatures below the flowing temperature of the stream, the yond a couple of hours will essentially ensure that the indicated
line may need to be heat-traced and insulated. If the ambient levels of the reactive/volatile material will be too low or perhaps
temperature is lower than the dewpoint temperature of the not detectable at all.
flowing stream, heat tracing and insulation are required. Be
sure that the heat tracing is properly and safely done, using The two spot sampling methods that are most recommended
electrically limited tracing meeting appropriate electrical codes are the fill and empty method and the helium pop method. The
for the area classification (typically Class I, Zone 0, 1, or 2). displacement methods also performed reasonably well during
the recent API research studies.
Realize that the dewpoint of a gas stream is critical to ac-
curate sampling. If any part of the sampling system causes the The fill and empty method requires that the cylinder be
temperature of even a portion of the gas stream being sampled equipped with a “pigtail” following the sample cylinder outlet
to cool to or below the hydrocarbon dewpoint, the sample will be valve. While leaving the sample cylinder inlet and outlet valves
depleted of heavy components and can no longer be truly repre- open, the probe outlet valve and the valve at the end of the pig-
sentative of the stream. Note that the heat content in this situ- tail are cycled to alternately fill and empty the sample cylinder.
ation is not always too low. If the sample system continues to The pigtail ensures that the heat of compression created when
condense heavy components for an extended amount of time, the sample cylinder is filled more than offsets the Joule-Thom-
accumulations may reach the point that liquid droplets enter son cooling produced when the sample cylinder is depressur-
the sample and actually cause the indicted heat content and ized. It does this by insuring the maximum pressure drop while
calculated relative density (specific gravity) to be too high. depressurizing the sample cylinder is far removed from cylinder
itself, at the end of the pigtail. The ability of the fill and empty
procedure to actually elevate the temperature of the sampling
FIG. 3-29 cylinder above the flowing temperature of the stream being
sampled during many operating conditions makes this method
Basic Operating Principle — Multiple Averaging Pitot the most desirable when the ambient temperature is at or near
the hydrocarbon dewpoint of the stream. The pigtail should be
approximately 6 mm tubing and be at least 1 m in length, al-
hv (Velocity Head) though it may be coiled to make the apparatus easier to handle.
hb (Blockage) The coils should not touch one another, otherwise the heat loss
hw (∆P) at the end of the pigtail may be transferred quickly across the
hs (Suction ’K’ Corrects coils to the sample cylinder. There should be another sample
hh
valve, similar to the sample cylinder valves on the outlet of the
Pressure) For:
(Hi Pressure 1. Blockage
Signal) 2. Suction
pigtail. The flow passage through this valve must not be larger
hp hL
(Lo Pressure than the passage through the cylinder valves. Refer to API
(Pipe Static
Pressure)
Signal) Chapter 14.1 for the detailed procedures for performing the fill
and empty method and to either API Chapter 14.1 or GPA 2166
for the number of fill and empty purge cycles required at vari-
ous line pressures.
ho
See Figs. 3-30 and 3-31 for two typical fill and empty method
(REF: No Pressure)
Flow Profile
configurations:
Velocity Average Rear Lo Pressure Port
Interpolating Tube Pressure Impact Ports

3-28