Combination of safety valves and rupture discs
The combination of rupture (bursting) disc and safety valve is recommended whenever:
- The safety valve needs to be protected against corrosion, contamination (e.g. in applications with waste water, coal slurry etc) or sticky/viscous products (in applications with bitumen etc)
- The safety valve needs to be protected against harsh operating conditions, which could have an impact on the functionality of the safety valve (e.g. in applications involving toxic or highly corrosive mediums, like chlorine, sulfuric acid etc).
- We want to provide the best possible tightness to our process (e.g. in vacuum applications)
- We want to limit expensive product leakages and achieve money savings (e.g. in applications using expensive products such as in pharmaceuticals)
- We want to avoid an uncontrolled overall/partial shut down of a system
- We want to achieve cost savings and shorter delivery times (e.g. a safety valve made of stainless steel can be protected by an upstream rupture disc made of titanium or other exotic material).
Picture 1 – Rupture disc before and after energisation
Usually, the rupture disc is installed upstream the safety valve. However, there are also applications where rupture discs can be installed downstream a safety valve, whereas a rupture disc-safety valve-rupture disc arrangement is also possible in accordance with AD 2000 Merkblatt. Bursting pressure of rupture disc is equal to the set pressure of the safety valve.
Based on ISO 4126-3 standard, a length not exceeding five (5) times the nominal size of the inlet piping will have to exist between the rupture disc and the safety valve inlet.
Important things to be considered when combining safety valves and rupture discs are the following:
- A space monitoring device, typically a pressure indicator, must be provided between the rupture disc and the safety valve so as to have a clear indication whether the disc has ruptured but also to ensure that the space between the 2 devices is properly ventilated: without ventilation, back pressure could increase and this could change the set pressure of the rupture disc.
Picture 2 - Space monitoring device installed in the space between rupture disc and safety valve
- It must be possible to drain any accumulated condensate that is formed between the rupture disc and the safety valve.
- Inlet lines and rupture discs upstread safety valves shall be designed in such a way that the pressure drop in the inlet line to the safety valve must not exceed 3% of the set pressure.
- For rupture discs installed upstream of safety valves, non-fragmenting rupture elements are recommended to be used so as not to damage the safety valve downstream.