Chapter 9
Issues and Codes Concerning Piping and Vessel Overpressure Protection and Safety


Some of the present and past applicable Codes for calculating pressure relief fluid mass flowrates from vessels immersed in flames of external fire, for preventing piping and pressure vessel overpressure via mechanical relief devices such as liquid pressure relief valves, vapor pressure safety (pop-open action) valves, rupture disks, low pressure relief vents, and the like, include:

1. Fossil Fuel-fired Boiler Code: ASME Section I, Division 1 (not discussed in this chapter)

2. Unfired Pressure Vessels Code: ASME Section VIII, Division par. UG-125 thru UG-137.

3. Power Plant Piping Code: ASME Pressure Piping Code B31.1 par. 101.2, 122.6

4. Chemical Plant and Refinery Piping: ASME Pressure Piping Code B31.3 par. 301.2, 322.6, F322.6

5. (Hydrocarbon) Transportation Pipelines: ASME Piping Systems Code B31.4 par. 401.2, 422.6

6. American Petroleum Institute (API) API 521, “Guide for Pressure-Relieving and Depressurizing Systems, Recommended Practice 521”; API RP 520, “Recommended Practice for the Design and Installation of Pressure-Relieving Systems in Refineries, Part I_Design and Part II_Installation. API 2000, “Venting Atmospheric and Low-Pressure Storage Tanks (Non-refrigerated and Refrigerated.)

7. National Fire Protection Assoc. (NFPA) NFPA-30, “National Fire Codes” Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code.

8. U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) OSHA 1910.106, “Flammable and Combustible Liquids.”

The Codes and Standards listed are well written and largely self-explanatory. Their authors knew better than to make them too academic in nature or too vague or cerebral, because their subject matter has great bearing on plant safety. These are Codes we all want to be easy to understand and safe to apply for most technical folks, including all mechanical and chemical engineers.

So if you encounter a project involving storage tank, pressure vessel or piping safety relief engineering, requiring your participation, then you had better acquire, read and understand their applicable parts. They are too voluminous to permit reprinting here, and are updated regularly anyway. Go now, post-haste, and get the latest versions for your working library.

  • Some of the Important Topics Are Safety∕Relief Valves, Rupture Disks, Guidelines for Sizing These Devices and Calculating the Hydraulics of Relief Flowrates
  • Calculation of Relief Fluid Flowrates for Device Sizing
  • Fire-Sizing Relief Valves Article
  • Sample Calculation of Fire-Sizing a Pressure Vessel Relief Requirement Using NFPA-30∕API 2000∕OSHA Standard Data for Heat Flux from Flames
  • Rupture Disk in Series with Safety Relief Valve: Tell-Tale Spoolpiece Must Separate Them Per ASME B&PV Code
  • Author's Note: Safety∕Relief Device Sizing Checklists
  • Author's Note: Fire Sizing Safety∕Relief Values
  • Author's Note: Fire Sizing Safety∕Relief Valves Illustrative Example Problem

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