A pressure relief valve is a safety device that is used to control and limit the pressure in a vessel or a system. In the event that the pressurized system becomes too forced or when there is too much pressure available, the valve acts to prevent any dangerous build-up by releasing gasses or liquids. This regulation of pressurized gasses or liquids effectively brings the pressure back to a normal or manageable level, thus avoiding any serious accidents and dangerous occurrences.
There are many instances where pressurized systems are used. In most cases, the objective is to be able to move gasses and liquids around or to simply store them properly with the use of pressure or force. One of the most common examples of pressurized systems is none other than the water system in the home. When the tap is turned or opened, pressure causes water to pass through the pipes and waterways, thus directing it to where it is needed. Without this pressure, it will be hard to deliver the water anywhere. On the other hand, too much pressure can cause unexpected and often dangerous outcomes. Imagine a gas stove that is powered by too much pressure. The pressure will cause much gasses to be released, thus causing a sudden burst of flame once the stove is ignited or lit up.
Maximum Design Pressure
The maximum pressure that a pressurized system is designed to handle is referred to as the maximum design pressure. Simply put, this is the highest level of pressure that the system can handle in order to carry out its purposes properly. If the pressure exceeds this maximum level, the force can lead to sudden bursts and dangerous outcomes. It is for this reason that most pressure relief valves are set to be activated once the pressure is at the maximum design pressure, or even before the pressure in the system meets this level
Most if not all pressure relief systems have a set pressure that activates the safety mechanism. When the set pressure level is reached, the relief valve opens to release gasses or liquids so that the level of pressure is decreased. The release of pressure is coursed through a different pipeline, sometimes even to open air so that any leaks or damages may be averted. Once the system has been relieved of the excess pressure, the valve then closes to allow the building up of the right amount of force needed in order for the system to function properly.
Pressure Relief Valve Guidelines
While the normal person may be familiar to pressurized systems only because of the waterworks at home and the simple gas system for the stoves and ovens, these systems are widely used in the different factories and industrial plants all over the world. There are pressurized systems used in petroleum refineries, natural gas processing plants, energy generating factories, and many more. This widespread use of pressurized systems not only shows their importance to the way the world works, but it has also demanded certain rules and guidelines to make sure that these systems are kept working properly and do not cause harm to anyone.
The very basic standard or guideline that ensures the safety of these pressurized systems is the requirement of pressure release valve systems. Most countries have legalized it and passed it as a law that all industries are required to regulate their pressure systems and vessels and other equipment with the use of relief valves. Depending on the country, there are also certain design guidelines that must always be met. These guidelines dictate the proper dimensions and design of the valves and the pipelines, as well as other codes that set how these emergency relief systems should work.
Choosing Your Pressure Relief Valve
While there are certain guidelines and codes that must be met for a relief valve system to be effective and efficient, the primary guideline or consideration that needs to be thought of when choosing an emergency valve is still the specific project or use for the system. Whether it is for an industrial, engineering, or a simple home project, the valve should fit its purpose. Not all valves can be used for any purpose, and an emergency relief valve is often pre-designed in order to fit a specific use. There are valves for home water heaters, for industrial pipes, chemical pressure systems, and many more. Always choose the pressure relief valve according to its purpose, and if unsure, consult an expert so that any and all harm may be avoided.