Tech Tip: How to Prevent Explosions Inside Pressure Vessels
Did you know that you can have a fire inside a filter pressure vessel and never know it? Worse yet, you can unknowingly create and spark a severe explosion. That should be a very scary thought if you work with filter vessels regularly in refineries, airports, fueling terminals, or a pipeline.
Surprisingly, more often then not, when I give my training seminars, operators are unaware of this potentially deadly scenario. So you have changed your coalescers and separators, bolted the lid of the vessel tightly, cracked the vent valve to expel the air in the filter vessel as it fills with hydrocarbon. Your next step is your most critical – FILL THE PRESSURE VESSEL SLOWLY. When fuel enters a vessel too quickly it creates a fog/mist throughout the filter elements, along with static electricity. If that static charge finds a ground connection, such as the metal wall of the filter vessel, it will create a dangerous spark!
The next time you are called out in the middle of the night to change those jet fuel filters due to high differential pressure, make sure that you don’t rush the last step. Although easy, it’s dangerous! Remember to fill your filter pressure vessel slowly until you have eliminated all of the air (oxygen) out of the vent valve. I hope this technical tip helps you out, and maybe even saves someone’s life out there.
Happy New Year!
Charlie at Precision Filtration Products
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