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Design Institute for Emergency Relief Systems

Formed in 1976, the Design Institute for Emergency Relief Systems (DIERS) was a consortium of 29 companies that developed methods for the design of emergency relief systems to handle runaway reactions. DIERS spent $1.6 million to investigate the two-phase vapor-liquid onset / disengagement dynamics and the hydrodynamics of emergency relief systems. Of particular interest to DIERS were the prediction of two-phase flow venting and the applicability of various sizing methods for two-phase vapor-liquid flashing flow. DIERS became a users group in 1985 with a purpose:

  • to reduce the frequency, severity and consequences of pressure-producing accidents and
  • to promote the development of new techniques that will improve the design of emergency relief systems.

OSHA in its 1992 Process Safety Management (PSM) regulation (CFR 1910.119) recognized technical reports published by the AIChE on topics such as two-phase flow for venting devices as constituting “generally recognized and accepted good engineering practice”. OSHA also recommended “re-evaluation of the size and capacity of the emergency relief system using the methodology of the AIChE’s Design Institute for Emergency Relief Systems” for a device involved in a runaway reaction venting incident. DIERS has become the relevant RAGAGEP technology.

DIERS’ technology has been adopted worldwide with many domestic and international standards and recommended practices having incorporated elements of the original sponsored research and contributions of member company representatives. The efforts of the original DIERS research program, the DIERS Users Group, and company representatives over the years have changed a chemical engineering paradigm – the methodology used to size emergency relief systems for runaway reactions involving two-phase, vapor-liquid venting. The DIERS Users Group truly became a forum for development and dissemination of the technology.

The DIERS Users Group conducted 54 semi-annual 3-day technical meeting and three International Symposia in 30 cities to include three meetings in Canada and one Joint US – European DIERS meeting in Hamburg, Germany during the last 28 years. Approximately 625 technical presentations have provided a learning environment for the company representatives. 19 industrial (chemical production plants; SRV, RD, and BV manufacturing facilities; and equipment supplier laboratories) visits and 12 computer and laboratory equipment training sessions have also been conducted in conjunction with the semi-annual technical meetings. A combination of computational and / or experimental round-robin exercises have been conducted almost every year since the formation of the DIERS Users Group.

The reorganization of DIERS from a corporate based to an individual based membership will provide a basis for further growth. Election of a seven person operating committee with specific duties for each position and well as a chair and vice-chair / secretary during February will provide a new and expanded leadership structure. New general (non-funded) and special (funded) projects as well other initiatives and activities are planned and underway to increase the scope and breadth of DIERS technical and outreach programs.

DIERS has recently become involved with a research program started by others to understand the stability and prevent chattering of safety relief valves. DIERS will host a full track (27 papers) in nine sessions during the April AIChE / CCPS Global Congress on Process Safety. DIERS members will also participate in the Second Joint US – European DIERS meeting in Düsseldorf, Germany during June. The semi-annual Fall DIERS meeting will be held in Houston during the period late September to early November.

There will be many opportunities for all to suggest, participate, champion, and lead DIERS activities. Corporate suggestions for new funded and unfunded initiatives and projects are welcomed and are being solicited. The technical ideas and leadership efforts of individual members will do much to advance and complete these and other new projects. All are encourage all to become DIERS Members and to become involved with and participate in the many activities of the new DIERS.

For membership information, contact

Harold G. Fisher, Chair of DIERS

229 Brookhaven Drive
Nitro, WV 25143
Phone: 304-776-6371
Fax: 304-776-1076
E-mail at fisherhg@suddenlink.net

For more information about DIERS printed books and software, click here or contact AIChE

120 Wall Street
New York, NY 10005
Customer toll-free number: 800-242-4363
Fax: 646-495-1501
Email at xpress@aiche.org, or one of the following:

For the DIERS manual online at Knovel.com, please click here

For historical DIERS research reports online, please click here and enter the search string "AIChE B"

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