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True meaning of - Double Block & Bleed
On arch ! "#$# %ar&a' echanical (ead - )tatic *quipment *ngineering %roup at *++onobil Development ,ompany'
gave a presentation at the -. Technical )eminar in )an .ntonio entitled /0solation 1hilosophies/ in 2hich he
asserted that many people take the term /Double Block & Bleed/ 3DBB4 to mean the same thing as Double 1ositive
0solation/ 3D1045 6hile this may seem like a small matter' he says' it means that some users may think they7ve
achieved positive isolation 2hen they haven7t5 1art of the problem' he goes on' is that designers and users don7t
al2ays understand the capabilities of the -alves in question5 .nd' he adds' the design of a particular -alve can vary
from one manufacturer to another5
%ar&a stresses that his presentation shouldn7t be taken as holy 2rit' but as ho2 his particular branch of *++onobil
3i5e5 8pstream4 looks at the situation in its o2n industry and the practices it uses5 Other companies 3including 2ithin
*++onobil4 and industries may do things differently and it is up to the users to determine the safety and suitability of
a particular practice to their application' he says5
The key message is that a user should look at the design of a particular -alve' and find out e+actly 2hat the
manufacturer means by the term /double positive isolation/ or /double block and bleed5/' to make sure it7s really
2hat7s needed in a particular application5
any users' says %ar&a' have taken /double block and bleed/ as a generic term' and tend to use it 2hen they really
mean 3and the applicable specification .10 9D' )pecification for 1ipeline -alves' requires4 the use of double isolation
and bleed5 The key to understanding' %ar&a says' can be found in .10 9D5 That specification 2asn7t al2ays as clear as
it could have been in spelling out the difference bet2een DBB and D10' but the addition in "##: of several notes has
clarified it5
.10 9D defines a double-block-and-bleed -alve 3DBB4 as a /single -alve 2ith t2o seating surfaces that' in the closed
position' provides a seal against pressure from both ends of the -alve 2ith a means of venting;bleeding the cavity
bet2een the seating surfaces5/ The "##: note points out that this -alve does not provide positive double isolation
2hen only one side is under pressure5
By contrast' .10 9D defines a double-isolation-and-bleed -alve 3D0B4 as a /single -alve 2ith t2o seating surfaces'
each of 2hich' in the closed position' provides a seal against pressure from a single source' 2ith a means of
venting;bleeding the cavity bet2een the seating surfaces5 The note adds that this feature can be provided in one
direction or in both directions5
The job of a double isolation and bleed is to stop process fluid from getting into an area 2here 2ork is being done5
Both in-line -alves 2ould be closed' then the bleeder 2ould be opened5 0f any fluid leaked past the first -alve the
bleeder 2ould drain it off before it pressuri&ed the cavity - the space bet2een the upstream and do2nstream -alves'
and at the same time 2ould act as a tell-tale to indicate the leakage5 0f the bleeder 32hich is smaller than the in-line
-alves and may' in fact' be a needle -alve4 2ere to be plugged the do2nstream -alve 2ould keep process fluid from
getting past it5
)o 2hy is the difference bet2een DBB and D0B important< (et7s consider a typical trunnion-mounted Ball -alve 2ith
self-relieving seats5 .10 9D defines this as a double block and bleed -alve' not a double isolation and bleed -alve5
8nder normal conditions 3=igure $4 there is pressure on the upstream seal' 2hich 3along 2ith an internal spring4
keeps it energi&ed5 There7s no pressure on the do2nstream side' so the only thing energi&ing the seal on that side is a
spring5 The bleeder -alves are open' and the cavity in the ball is at atmospheric pressure5
But it7s not uncommon for a -alve that7s been in service for a 2hile to leak a bit5 =igure " sho2s 2hat happens then5
The upstream seal is leaking a little' but this should not be a problem because the leakage 2ill be carried a2ay by the
bleeder' e+cept 2hen the bleeder is not 2orking' either because one or both of the bleeder -alves is closed' or
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Table $> *+ample -alve type
classifications
Type *
,lass
Ball - =loating .
Ball - Trunnion' )?) B@
Ball - Trunnion' D1* B@
Ball - ?ising )tem .

%lobe - 3*+cluding ,ontrol -alves4 .

1lug - )tandard .
1lug - echanically *nergi&ed )eats ,

%ate - *+panding ,
%ate - )lab B
%ate - )liding .@
%ate - )olid 6edge B@
%ate - 8nported =le+ible 6edge B

Butterfly 3all types4 .
because there7s a clog in the bleed line5 The pressure in the -alve cavity can then possibly reach as high as "## psi'
2hich overcomes the spring on the do2nstream seal and forces it off its seat' discharging fluid do2nstream to 2here
people may be 2orking5 This is clearly not a double isolation and bleed -alve5
)o 2here should this type of -alve be used < =igure A sho2s a situation that might occur 2hen the -alve is used in a
bypass loop for proving a flo2meter' for e+ample5 The -alve is closed and the bleeder is open5 This time there is
pressure on both the upstream and do2nstream seals' keeping them fully energi&ed5 This is the configuration that the
.10 9D definition of /double block and bleed/ intended 2hen it referred to /t2o sealing surfaces5/ But it7s not true
double positive isolation and bleed' as far as *++onobil 8pstream is concerned' and in certain services' it shouldn7t
be used to isolate a section for maintenance5
)orting -alves by type
To prevent confusion *++onobil 8pstream sorts -alves into four
categories .' B' , and D the physical flo2 blocking capabilities of
the -alve and then provides guidance based on the minimum
isolation requirements for a particular application' such as long
vs5 short term' segregation for meter proving' etc5
Type . is a single block -alve 2ith a single mechanically
energi&ed seal and no body bleed required5
Type B is a double block and bleed 3as defined in .10 9D' but not
al2ays by industry45 0t requires pressure on upstream and
do2nstream sides simultaneously to energi&e the respective
seals5 0t7s the type sho2n in =igures $ through A 3see end of
article45
Type , is a true double isolation and bleed 3D0B4 per .10 9D5 The
-alve is a single body 2ith dual positive sealsB it has a single
obturator 3gate' plug' etc4 and dual positively energi&ed seals
3upstream and do2nstream4 2ith cavity bleed port bet2een
them5 0t requires a cavity overpressure protection device in
e+pansive fluid services5
* Denotes potential for exceptions based on configuration of Valve and/or manufacturer "SRS" = self relieving seats; "DPE" = double
piston effect seats
Table " is a generic e+ample of a filled-in requirements table5 8sually there7s a temperature threshold 3T$' T"' etc4'
then a fluid characteri&ation 3flammable' non-flammable' etc54' then a pressure class 3.ll' ,$' ,"' etc54' and then a
si&e range 3.ll' D$' D"' etc545 On the far right is the type of -alve designated for that particular service 3.' B' , or D45
The application of the table is driven primarily by the individual facility7s /isolation philosophy5/ The -alve Type sho2n
is risk and e+perience based' and it requires 2ell documented definitions 3management endorsed4 for each type of
-alve 3including variations thereof45 0n addition' the definition of /flammable/ and /to+ic/ is likely to vary by company
and;or location5
Type D is a true double positive isolation and bleed -alve arrangement' 2ith t2o independent obturators 3sealing
members4 in the same or separate bodies and t2o separate actuating mechanisms 3i5e5 independent stems45 0t can be
made up of a pair of certain Type .' B' or , -alves' either separate or built into one body5 0t must have a bleeder in
the middle 3bet2een the t2o -alves and bet2een each -alve7s seals if Type , -alves are used45
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Table "> )ample positive isolation format
=luid Design Temp =luid 3e+amples4 1ressure or ,lass )i&e 3C1)4 in5 -alve Type
3e+amples4
0solation for ,ondition $ 3e5g5 (ong-Term aintenance4
DT$ =lammables .ll .ll D
Conflammables E,$ .ll D
D,$ .ll B
ET$ =lammables .ll .ll D
Conflammables E," .ll D
D," .ll B

0solation for ,ondition " 3e5g5 )hort-Term aintenance4
ET$ .ll .ll .ll D
DT" To+ic & highly
corrosive materials
.ll .ll ,
=lammable materials D,A .ll B
,!' ,F and ,9 DD$ B
0nstrument connections
2ith flammable
materials
D,G DD" B
E,G DD" D
6ater' air and other
non-flammables
D,: DDA .
E,: but D,H .ll ,
.ll I,$# .ll D

0solation for ,ondition A 3e5g5 meter provers4
.ll )pecify as needed .ll .ll B

0solation for ,ondition ! 3etc54
.ll )pecify as needed .ll .ll D
ote! " "blind" can be substituted as one of t#e isolation points $i%e% & of ' in D()*
Remember t#at local regulations var+ and must be ,ept in mind -#en ma,ing an+ Valve selection%
)ummary
%ar&a is quick to point out that the Type .' B' , and D designations are not aligned 2ith the .10 9D classifications or
those of other industry standards' and are simply practices that *++onobil 8pstream has adopted for its o2n use'
but they bring out an important point> although block -alves can stop flo2' the 2ay in 2hich they achieve this varies
and hence 2hen specifying a -alve for isolation service' don7t inadvertently use a double block and bleed -alve 2hen
you really need a double isolation and bleed type5
?each 1eter ,leveland at pcleavelandJearthlink5net5 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots5 Kou need
Lava)cript enabled to vie2 it 5 . longer version of this article 2ill appear in a future issue of -alve aga&ine5 .ll
images are courtesy of ?udy %ar&a and *++onobil Development ,ompany5
=igure $ 3belo24 0n this trunnion-mounted Ball -alve 2ith self-relieving seats 32hich .10 9D defines as a double
block and bleed4 there is pressure on the upstream seal' but no pressure on the do2nstream side' so the only thing
energi&ing the seal on that side is a spring5
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X
=igure " 3belo24 0f the upstream seal should leak' and the bleeder is closed or clogged' the pressure in the -alve
cavity can overcome the spring on the do2nstream seal and force it off its seat' discharging fluid do2nstream to
2here personnel may have the piping opened for maintenance5
=igure A 3belo24 This type of -alve is best used 2here there is pressure on both the upstream and do2nstream
seals' keeping them fully energi&ed' as in a bypass loop for proving a flo2meter' for e+ample5 This is the configuration
that the .10 9D definition of /double block and bleed/ intended 2hen it referred to /t2o sealing surfaces'/ but it7s not
double positive isolation' as far as *++onobil 8pstream is concerned' and it shouldn7t be used to isolate a section for
maintenance5
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M 6erner )Nlken "##: - "#$!5 .ll rights reserved5
Do not 2orry about your difficulties in athematics5 0 can assure you mine are still greater5 .lbert *instein
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