An international pharmaceutical company operates a pilot plant for new product development. Due to the changing nature of the pilot plant needs, most of the process equipment is portable and is connected to other equipment and vent headers using flexible hoses. If a relief device were to relieve, there was a concern that the equipment might move or tip over and cause personal injury and equipment damage.
A typical reactor was used as the basis for the study. A series of dynamic loads were calculated based on a range of relieving pressures using SuperChems™ Expert software. Next a finite element model of the reactor and relief system was developed. A dynamic finite element analysis was conducted for a number of relief device configurations. The results showed that a 1000lbf lateral load applied at the relief device for 1 second was sufficient to cause the reactor to roll and tip over.
Our analysis confirmed that the current configuration of relief devices on reactors was adequate to prevent movement during a relief event. The client is now aware of the potential for movement and can use this information to inspect relief system configurations on all pilot plant equipment and to design future relief systems to prevent movement during relief events.
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