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Engineers India Limited

A presentation on Pressure Relief Valves

January 2018
By Roy Koshy Philip

Brief Idea of Safety Relief Valves

Different types of Safety Relief Valves
Principle of operation
Testing of Safety Relief valves

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Pressure Relief Valves (PRV)

 A pressure Relief valve is a safety device designed to

protect a pressurized vessel or system during an over
pressure event.

 An over pressure event refers to any condition which

would cause pressure in a vessel/ system to increase
beyond Maximum Allowable Working Pressure

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Different Types of Pressure Relief Valves

 Conventional Type- Direct Acting/ Spring loaded.

 Balanced Bellow/ Balanced Piston Valves.

 Pilot Operated Pressure Relief Valves.

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Direct Acting PRV (Conventional Type)

 Nozzle mounted
on the pressurized
Disc held against
Nozzle to prevent
the flow of fluid in
normal operating
Spring to hold the
disc closed.
 Body & Bonnet to contain the operating elements.
Adjustment nut to adjust the spring load to vary the pressure
at which the valve will operate.
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Direct Acting PRV (Conventional Type)

 Full nozzle Valve  Semi nozzle Valve

 Nozzle & Disc are exposed  Nozzle, Disc & part of the valve
to Fluid. body are exposed to fluid.
 High Pressure & corrosive  Seat can easily be replaced
applications without replacing the whole inlet

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Direct Acting PRV (Conventional Type)

Metal seated  Soft Seated

 Higher lapping quality to  Better seat leakage
ensure minimum seat capabilities than metal
leakage seated

 Dirty process fluid  Clean Process fluid

 High Temperature  Medium temperature

applications applications (Upto
around 210°C)
 Highly abrasive and  Tight shut off
corrosive fluids

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Direct Acting PRV (Conventional Type)

Open Bonnet
 Used where Cooling of Springs is required, like that of a
Boiler application.

 Used where there is no harm in releasing the system

fluid into the atmosphere.

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Conventional PRV with Huddling chamber
 Huddling chamber helps to enhance

 When Fluid enters the huddling

chamber, larger area A2 is exposed
instead of A1 to system fluid.

 This incremental change in Force

(PA2>PA1) & momentum effect
resulting from change in flow
direction enhances the lift, allowing
the valve to have max lift & max flow
within the allowable overpressure

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Conventional PRV with Huddling chamber
 Because of the larger Area A2,
exposed to system pressure, the
valve will not close until the
system pressure has been
reduced to some level below the
set pressure.

 The difference between the set

pressure & the closing point
pressure is called blowdown and
is usually expressed as a
percentage of Set Pressure.

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Back Pressure
PRVs whose outlet is connected to a closed system or
when a long vent pipe is used, there is possibility of
developing Back Pressure.

Superimposed Back pressure: Backpressure which

may occur in the downstream system while the valve is
closed. It can be constant or varying.
 With constant superimposed backpressure, a reduced
spring force is the compensation method.
 With variable superimposed backpressure, a balanced
bellow or balanced piston design is recommended.

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Back Pressure

Built-up Back pressure: Back Pressure which may

occur after the valve is open and flowing. It has an effect
on lift and flow.

 If the backpressure exceeds 10% of the set pressure

(CDTP), then balanced piston type or balanced bellow
type PRVs are used.

 If the backpressure exceeds 35% of the set pressure,

then Pilot operated PRVs are used.

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Balanced Bellow valves and Balance Piston Valves

 (Effective) Area of Cross

Section of Bellows/ Piston
is equal to seat area of the
The Bonnet is vented to
ensure that the pressure
area of bellow/ piston is
always kept at constant
atmospheric pressure.
The spring does not act
directly on the disk. Instead,
it serves on a bellows/
piston first, which in turn
acts on the disk.
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Balanced Bellow valves and Balance Piston Valves

 The effect of the back

pressure on the top & the
bottom of the disk
creates equal balancing

Above 35%
overpressure, the back-
pressure affects the
stiffness of the bellows
and decreases the relief
valve’s capacity.

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Pilot Operated Pressure Relief Valve

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Pilot Operated Pressure Relief Valve

Bubble-tight closer to Set Pressure- Operating

pressures very close to Set pressure are achieved,
since the Force in the dome increases and holds the
seat tighter with increasing pressure.

Unaffected by Backpressure for a wide range from 0%

to 85% of Set pressure.

POPRV will permit a blowdown as low as 2%

BetterDischarge rate/ Full lift at comparatively lesser

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Valve selection on API 526 basis

 Orifice area is calculated based on

 required flow rate (Flow in lb/hr for gases/ vapour & in gpm for
 inlet vapour temp (for gases/vapour)

 specific gravity wrt water (for liquids)

 compressibility factor (for gases/vapour)

 molecular weight

 Differential pressure [SP-BP](for liquids)

 Upstream pressure [SP + OP+ ATM] (for gases/vapour)

 coefficient of discharge (for gases)

 certain other correction factors and constants.

 Orifice area is the required effective discharge area of a

PRV that will flow the required volume of system fluid at
anticipated relieving conditions.

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Valve selection on API 526 basis
The appropriate valve size &
style may then be selected
having an actual discharge
area equal to or greater that
the calculated required
effective area.

 The industry has

standardized on valve orifice
sizes and has identified them
with letters from D through T
having areas of 0.110 in2
through 26.0 in2 respectively

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Valve selection on API 526 basis
Calculation of Orifice Area(A)
 For gases and Vapour
 A=(W√TZ) ∕ (CKP1Kb√M)
 W- required flow in lb/hr
 For Steam  T-inlet vapour temp
 Z-compressibility factor
 A=W/ (51.5 P1KKshKn)
 M-molecular weight
 For Liquid  K-coefficient for discharge

 A=(Q√G )/ (27.2KpKwKv√∆P)
 Q-flow in gpm
 G-specific gravity wrt water
 Kv-Correction factor for viscosity
∆P-Differential pressure in psia(Set pressure-Back pressure)
Kp-Correction factor for relieving capacity vs lift
Kw- Correction factor due to back pressure for use with balanced bellows valves
Ksh- Correction factor due to the degree of superheat in steam
Kn-Correction factor for saturated steam at set pressures > 1,500 psia
C-flow coefficients determined by the ratio of specific heats
P1-upstream pressure in psia (Set pressure + Overpressure+ Atm Pressure)
Kb-correction factor for back pressure
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Testing of Pressure Relief Valves

 Verification of Cold Bench test Pressure/ Cold

differential test pressure- Using water/ gas (depending
on process fluid), the PRV is popped at the set
pressure (CBTP/CDTP).
Allowable tolerance ±0.14 kg/cm2g for set pressure upto
and including 5 kg/cm2g
 ±3% for set pressure above 5 kg/cm g.

 Reclosing Pressure test- Mark the pressure at which

the valve recloses after popping.

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Testing of Pressure Relief Valves

 Seat leakage test- Using water/ gas (depending on

process fluid), test pressure-90% of set pressure,
time-1-5 minutes, observe the leak rate (bubbles per
minute or cm2/hr/in of nominal inlet size. Testing and
acceptance values as per API 527.

 Visual, Dimensional check.

 Helium leak test (if applicable).

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Thank You

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