Introduction to Valves - Pressure Relief Valves
Oct 25, 2017
A pressure Relief Valve is a safety device designed to protect a pressurized vessel or system during an overpressure event.
An overpressure event refers to any condition which would cause pressure in a vessel or system to increase beyond the specified design pressure or maximum allowable working pressure (MAWP).
The primary purpose of a pressure Relief Valve is protection of life and property by venting fluid from an over pressurized vessel.
Many electronic, pneumatic and hydraulic systems exist today to control fluid system variables, such as pressure, temperature and flow. Each of these systems requires a power source of some type, such as electricity or compressed air in order to operate. A pressure Relief Valve must be capable of operating at all times, especially during a period of power failure when system controls are nonfunctional. The sole source of power for the pressure Relief Valve, therefore, is the process fluid.
Once a condition occurs that causes the pressure in a system or vessel to increase to a dangerous level, the pressure Relief Valve may be the only device remaining to prevent a catastrophic failure. Since reliability is directly related to the complexity of the device, it is important that the design of the pressure Relief Valve be as simple as possible.
The pressure Relief Valve must open at a predetermined set pressure, flow a rated capacity at a specified overpressure, and close when the system pressure has returned to a safe level. Pressure Relief Valves must be designed with materials compatible with many process fluids from simple air and water to the most corrosive media. They must also be designed to operate in a consistently smooth and stable manner on a variety of fluids and fluid phases.