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There are many different kinds of heat exchangers used to exchange heat between two fluids. This may be between two liquids or between vapor and liquid. The simplest type of a shell and tube exchanger consists of two concentric tubes, the double-pipe exchanger. For larger sizes, a number of tubes are used in a TUBE BUNDLE which fits inside a large tube called SHELL.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Shell, to house the bundle with inlet and outlet nozzles for flow of the shell fluid. Shell cover and gasket, to close the shell end. Channel head, with inlet and outlet nozzles for the flow of the tube side fluid. Channel cover and gasket, to close the channel end. Bleeders, drains and instrument connections on both sides. Stationary tube sheet, with gaskets on either side.

Tube bundle - Floating head type Tube bundle for flow distribution of the tube side fluid. Floating head tube-sheet with gasket at the free-end of the bundle. 3. Floating head cover to close the free end of the tube bundle. 4. Baffles for flow distribution of the fluids in the shell and tube sides. 1. 2. Tube Sheets The tubes are fixed at each end in a thick metal plate called the tube sheet. One tube sheet is larger than the other. The smaller tube sheet is smaller in diameter than the shell so that the bundle can be pushed inside. This end is free to float with thermal expansion hence called by the name, the floating-head tube sheet. The larger tube sheet is rigidly bolted to the shell end and hence called the stationary tube sheet. The tubes are rolled tight inside the tube sheet and the rolled joints are sealwelded in some special services. Baffles in the tube bundle The baffles are held by steel-rods and direct shell liquid in a zig-zag manner. The baffles also serve to support and stiffen the bundle. The zigzag flow and increased velocity increase turbulence which increases the

efficiency of heat transfer. There are different types of baffles used in tube bundles. 1) 2) 3) 4) Longitudinal (horizontal) baffle with side straps to prevent bypassing. Transverse or cross or half-moon baffles. The orifice type baffles. Disc & ring type baffles.

Baffles in the channel head and floating head The function of these baffles is to give a multiple flow, that is, the liquid flow is charged back and forth through the tubes a number of times. If there are no baffles, the exchanger is called a single-pass. With one baffle it is double pass and, with more baffles it is made multi-pass. Multipass exchangers are more efficient and have the disadvantage of a higher pressure drop. Impingement baffle This is fixed on the tube bundle just below the shell inlet nozzle. Its function is to prevent erosion of the tube in that zone due to impingement of the shell fluid. Floating head cover The cover plate which covers the floating tube-sheet is called the floating head cover. It is fitted with a gasket in between. This gasket is very important in which, if it leaks, there will be mixing up of the shell and tube fluids.

Fixed tube type In this type of bundle, the tube sheet is welded to the shell and therefore fixed. Both tube sheets are of the same size and there is no floating head. The end covers when opened will expose the tubes. 1) The construction of this type of exchanger is less expensive as there are no floating head and cover and gasket. 2) No possibility of an internal leak on account of a floating head gasket failure. Disadvantages of the fixed types 1) There is no access to the inside of the shell, hence tubes cannot be cleaned externally. It is therefore suitable only for clean shell fluids. There is no provision for expansion of tubes. Hence, it is


used only where the temperature differential between shell and tube fluids, is small. U Type bundle or the hair-pin type In this type of tube bundle, there is only one tube sheet. The tubes are bent like a hair-pin so, the inlet and outlet of a tube is in the same tube sheet. The bent-end of the tubes serves the purpose of a floating head for thermal expansion. Advantages of the U type 1) Without a floating head, tube sheet cover and gasket, the bundle is less expensive. 2) There is no possibility of an internal leak due to the failure of the floating head gasket. Disadvantages of the U type

It is difficult to clean the inside of the tubes and therefore suitable only for clean fluids in the tube-side.

This is the most widely used type of all bundles, because of its easiness for maintenance, suitability for all kinds of fluids and adaptability for different process conditions.

Different types of materials are used for the construction of tubes. The basis for the selection depends on several factors such as, High thermal conductivity. Corrosion. Operating temperatures. Cost. Availability.

Carbon steel Stainless steel Aluminium Nickel-copper alloys Admiralty Brass Alloy-steel. Admiralty Brass

The composition of Adm. brass is 70 - 73 % copper 22 - 23 % zinc Balance - impurities of tin, lead, iron etc. Admiralty brass resists corrosion from many types of water and the fouling rate is low. But it is easily attacked by ammonia and so is unsuitable in the service of alkaline mediums with ammonia.

It is also unsuitable for high temperature service.

Monel Monel is an alloy of Nickel and copper Nickel Copper 66 - 69 % 28 %

Remaining impurities. This alloy resists corrosion from most alkaline solutions. At high temperatures, it is affected by highly concentrated alkalies. It resists corrosion from dilute hydrochloric acid solutions, at low temperatures. However, it is affected by wet hydrogen sulfide even at moderate temperatures. Aluminium The thermal conductivity of aluminium is very high and fouling tendency is low. But the metal being too soft is easily damaged during maintenance work. Alloy steel Alloy steels containing varying percentages of chromium, molybdenum and nickel are used for the purpose of minimizing corrosion.


There are no strict rules to govern the choice of fluids through shell and tubes. Each case must be examined and decided individually. However there are certain guide lines.

Water is a scaling agent and can be corrosive. Since it is easier to clean or replace the tubes, water will flow through the tubes.

Since there is provision for expansion in the floating head or in the U tube type, the cold fluid is preferred in the tubes. Cold fluid enters from the bottom and hot fluid from the top. This ensures that the flow is assisted by convection due to the change in density.

Shell side provides space for vapor disengagement. Therefore steam will be chosen to flow through the tubes. There are certain vertical steam re-boilers where steam flows through the shell side.

Smaller diameter can withstand higher pressure and so the choice for high pressure fluid will be through the tubes. CORROSIVE STOCK It is cheaper and easier to change tubes and so corrosive stocks are preferred in tubes.

Since high viscosity causes high pressure drop, shell side is preferred.


Shell side, since it is difficult to clean U bundles.

Tube side, since it is easy to clean the tubes.


Shell side, since the shell has more space and gives less pressure drop than tube side.

For maximum heat transfer, the tubes must be full with water. Vent out air from coolers and condensers - tube side. Sometimes, air which is dissolved in water accumulates in the upper section of the tubes and thus reduces the effective surface area. Venting the tube side outlet bleeders once or twice in a shift is a good operating practice. Conserve water for economy

Excessive use of water will increase load on water-pumps and cooling towers besides increasing losses. Make-up with fresh water and increased consumption of treating chemicals can be controlled by regulating water flow through coolers and condensers. Regulate water flow from the outlet valve. Control of water flow should be done by regulating the outlet valve and not the inlet. This will ensure all tubes full. Control temperature. Maximum outlet temperatures are restricted to prevent salt deposition on the tubes. This is specially important in the case of sea-water coolers.

Condensate disposal systems must be in good shape for high efficiency of exchangers using steam as a heating medium. Steam traps must be checked periodically. Condensate receivers must hold normal operating levels. If condensate builds up into the exchanger the surface area is reduced for heat transfer. besides, due to thermal shocks the tube sheet gaskets invariably start leaking. If steam is continuously blown-out without being allowed to condense, the efficiency of the exchanger is reduced considerably. It is to be noted that in a steam heater/ re-boiler, latent heat and not sensible heat is transferred for greater efficiency. Superheating steam will consume only 0.48 BTU per pound per degree F, where as latent heat of vaporization/condensation of water/steam is 970 BTU per pound.

Heat exchangers in the service of crude oil can deposit salts over a period of time, even after a desalting operation. Deposition of salt decreases heat transfer efficiency, increases pressure drop and causes corrosion. Controlled injection of condensate water dissolves salt deposits. Continuous use of antifoulant chemicals reduces the rate of fouling due to sediments.

In certain units with total condensing overhead components, the efficiency can be impaired by accumulation of non-condensibles in the shell side. If such problems are experienced, venting out the non-condensibles safely will improve the exchanger performance.


Box coolers must be operated full with water even if they are idle. Exposed tubes will be subject to corrosion in contact with atmospheric air.

An overflow weir plate is normally provided for immersing the tube bundle in the kettle-type exchanger. The process level is maintained on the other side of the weir. It is necessary to maintain a flow through this exchanger to ensure a flow over the weir which in turn ensures complete immersion of the tube bundle.

Decline in heat transfer efficiency. High pressure drop. An internal leak causing contamination between shell and tube fluids. Gasket leaks - external

Exchanger performance surveys are taken from time to time to determine the efficiency curve. A deterioration in the performance level can be attributed to a number of reasons. 1. Fouling on either side or both sides due to scales, coke, salt deposition etc. 2. Excessive clearance or damage in the baffles, causing bypassing. 3. Accumulation of non-condensibles in condensers.


1. Onstream acidising for water side of coolers and condensers. 2. Air agitation to dislodge loose particles in the water side of coolers and condensers. 3. Water injection to dissolve salt deposits. 4. Back flushing of coolers & condensers. 5. Cutter stock dilution to reduce viscosity in heavy oil service. 6. Continuous use of antifoulant chemicals. 7. Proper control of water quality in a circulating cooling water system. 8. Venting of non-condensibles from condensers.

External gasket leaks are due to: 1. 2. 3. Thermal shocks. High pressure build-up. Inferior quality of gasket.


Damaged gasket.

1. 2.

Floating head gasket failure. Tube failure


Roll joint failure.

The main cause for floating head gasket failure is thermal shock and it occurs during start-ups and shutdowns. Tube failures can be due to fatigue, ageing and corrosion..


By visual and laboratory checks of the low pressure fluid, it is possible to detect an internal leak. 1. A dark liquid mixing up with a lighter liquid can be detected by color. 2. Light hydrocarbons leaking into a heavy hydrocarbon service can be detected by flash point. 3. A gas stream leaking into the water side of a condenser can be detected at the cooler vent. 4. Oil leaking into water can be detected from a sample of water. 5. Water leaking into oil side can be detected from a sample of the oil. 6. An alkali like MEA/DEA/NH3 leaking into water can be detected by a pH increase.


When onstream cleaning methods fail to give the desired results, it becomes necessary to take an exchanger out of service for cleaning. An exchanger has to be taken out of service for repairing an internal leak.

Basic steps 1. Bypass hot side slowly to avoid thermal shocks and process upsets. 2. Bypass cold side. 3. Isolate by valves, both shell & tube sides. 4. Depressure and drain. 5. Isolate by blinds both sides. 6. Wash with solvent/chemical if necessary and then wash with water or steam- out.

Beware of pyrophoric iron-sulfide when the exchanger covers are opened. Keep scales wet until disposed of safely.

The tube bundles are sometimes pulled out for thorough cleaning. At other times, cleaning is done by reaming and hydroblasting in place.

After the bundle is cleaned and re-installed, it will be necessary to test it for leaks. Shell test At first the bundle is pressurized from the outside. For this purpose, a test ring will be required to close the annulus between the floating head and shell. The test pressure is normally 1.5 times the operating pressure unless otherwise specified and the testing medium will be water. (Sometimes air is also used in special cases). Any leaking tubes will be plugged and leaking roll joints will be re-rolled. Floating head test After the shell test is successfully completed, the tubes will be pressurized to 1.5 times the normal operating pressure unless otherwise specified, with water to test the floating head gasket for leak. Any leaks on the channel head gaskets also can be detected at this stage. If the floating head test does not hold, meaning a tube failure, the shell test has to be repeated. Note that a slightly split tube may be held closed by external pressure and open under internal pressure. Similarly a rolled joint can be held closed by internal pressure and open under external pressure. Back shell test The purpose of this test is to check the shell cover gasket, since the shell cover is the last item to go on the exchanger on completion of the F.H. test. This test is optional and sometimes carried out at the time of commissioning.

1. Basic general steps 1.1 1.2 1.3. 1.4. Purge. Pull blinds. Pressure-test nozzle gaskets and shell cover gasket. Fill up and displace gases.

1.5. 1.6. 1.7. exchanger. 1.8 system. 2.

Pressurize cold side, generally from the inlet and commission. Pressurize hot side slowly from the outlet and commission. Slowly close the bypass and force the flow through the Adjust process conditions for the change in heat balance in the

Detailed procedure

This will vary from unit to unit depending on the type of fluid flowing on either side. Separate procedures will be made available for commissioning exchangers in critical service.




The action of the thermo-syphon heater or reboiler is based on the principle that a heated liquid has a lower density (therefore is lighter) than a cold liquid. This means that a cooler liquid, due to it being heavier, will actually flow towards and displace a hotter liquid.

In the thermo-syphon flow, a portion of the liquid is vaporized, thereby creating a mixture of vapor and liquid passing up the vertical tubes which, due to its further decrease in density is displaced upwards by cooler denser liquid entering from below. To take advantage of this principle, a shell and tube type heater or reboiler is employed. In vertically installed reboilers, normally the heating medium flows through the shell with the product to be heated passing through the tubes. However, this arrangement may be reversed in horizontal type or for other considerations.

In most cases, the heating medium is steam or hot oil or hot process stream, but on a few units, gas fired heaters are used.

By using the thermosyphon principle, pumps can be eliminated as a means of promoting circulation.

Thermo-syphon type heaters are not generally used on stocks heavier than kerosene and in most instances are found at units where gasoline fractions are being heated and where only a relatively small temperature increase is required.

When putting a thermo-syphon heater into operation, it is important that temperature increases are made slowly, in order to avoid the possibility of causing a vapor lock in the tubes which will retard circulation through the heater, with a resultant loss of temperature in the column. This is particularly important on units where the fractionation of light hydrocarbons such as light gasoline is desired. When heat is applied too rapidly in these units, the liquid in the tubes may vaporize to such an extent that the pressure increases would prevent the normal flow of stock from the column to the heater or, in some cases, a thin layer of vapor may form at the skin of the tube thus causing an insulating effect and poor heat transfer. When a vapor-lock occurs, generally noted by a drop in column temperature or no temperature increases across the heater or reboiler, it is necessary to remove most of the heating medium in order to cool down and condense the excessive vapor.



The name for this type of heat exchangers originates from its shape. It consists of a U - tube type bundle or floating head-type and a much larger shell. The large free space above the bundle serves to disengage vapor from the heated liquid.

In a thermo-syphon reboiler after heating, the liquid and the vaporized components return to the tower. In the kettle type, only the vapors return to the tower and the liquid is drawn away.

To ensure complete immersion of the tube bundle, a weir is provided. Incomplete immersion will result in overheating of the tube bundle and uneven expansion which could lead to damage and leaks.

Steam or a hot-oil or a hot process stream is usually used for heating and the heating medium always flows through the tube-side.


The level indicated/recorded and controlled represents only the small section after the overflow weir, since the level on the other side will be equal to the height of the weir.

During the shut-down period, the reboilers have to be drained from both sides of the overflow-weir.

Kettle type exchangers are also used in the service of chillers. The refrigerant is expanded in the shell side, providing cooling for the gas/liquid flowing through the tube side. Chillers usually do not have overflow weirs and the level indicated or seen will represent the total level of the shell.



The waste heat steam generator is, as its name implies, a form of heat exchanger to produce steam using the waste heat from a hot process stream in a refinery unit. Basically, the unit comprises a heat exchanger bundle and a large cylindrical vessel in which a level of treated water is maintained. Treated water is fed to the shell side of the exchanger and by passing hot oil through the tubes of the heat exchanger bundle, the water in the shell is boiled and steam is generated in the saturated state. By leaving an appreciable vapor space in the top half of the cylindrical vessel, space is available for disengagement of the steam vapor from liquid spray.


Suitable level control instrumentation is employed to maintain a correct level of water in the vessel. High levels will result in carry-over of water with the steam and low levels will result in overheating of the tubes. Flow control is usually employed on the process stream if a steady rate of steam generation is required. On the other hand, in many units, all the available heat is utilized to generate steam and in this case, the water consumption and steam generation will vary according to the process stream variations. A constant blow-down on the water side is maintained to prevent the accumulation of mineral deposits on the tubes of the bundle which can



retard heat transfer efficiency and cause corrosion. Injection of the correct amount of anti-scale chemicals keeps the steam side (shell side) of the generator, relatively scale free.

To prevent damage, steam generators must be water filled before unit is started. Water levels should be maintained on shutdown until unit is cool.


Air coolers are used in the process industries to cool products or as overhead condensers of fractionator/regenerator towers. These are simple exchangers, in which air is blown across the tubes to cool the liquid or gas. Tubes are finned to increase surface area and enclosed in a rectangular frame. Expansion is taken up by floating head sliding in the frame. On some types, instead of a floating head cover, access to each tube is provided by a screwed plug.

There are two types of air cooler fans. They are the fixed and variable pitch blade fans. Both types are motor driven which means that they rotate at constant speed.

The fixed pitch air coolers will give a constant amount of cooling, depending on the air temperature. The process liquid or gas or both passing through the fin tubes will leave the cooler at a given temperature depending on the quantities passing through the tubes. There is, sometimes, more than one air cooler on a given process stream. At rates lower than design, or during cooler climates, it may be necessary to shut the motor off on one or more fans.

The variable pitch air cooler has blades which can be turned from a minimum to a maximum pitch while the fan is rotating. This can be done by the operator manually or by an instrument automatically. For manual operation, an instrument is located near the variable pitch fan and is turned by the operator to give the desired process stream outlet temperature. It is not necessary to know what the pitch is. If the process stream is too hot, the pitch is increased to blow more air through the coolers. If the process stream is too cool, then the pitch is decreased. An instrument attached to the variable pitch fan can make the above changes automatically.

There is an arrangement whereby both fixed and variable pitch fan coolers

can be installed on a process stream. A pressure or temperature controller actuates the variable pitch fans. This arrangement gives more flexibility in controlling process outlet temperature. A fan can be put on or shut down as needed and the blade pitch can also be changed to give more or less cooling on the variable pitch fans. On some air coolers, an additional control is obtained by installing louvers above finned tubes. By opening and shutting the louvers operating them by a hand lever, or an air driven cylinder, instrument or manually operated, the air flow is throttled. This is similar to throttling cooling water out of a water cooled equipment. Cooling can be adjusted by: a) Manual or automatic pitch change of fan blades.

b) Starting or stopping fans on multi-fan systems. c) Adjusting louvers on top of coolers.


Due to scaling internally and deposition externally, the heat transfer efficiency of air coolers decrease gradually in service. Internal cleaning is normally an off-stream maintenance job. But external cleaning by periodical washing of the fins greatly improve the efficiency of fin-coolers. BREECH-LOCK CLOSURE (BLC) EXCHANGERS

Breech-lock closure (BLC) exchangers are the shell and tube type operating at high pressures and high temperatures with Hydrogen-rich streams.

BLC exchangers have the following distinct advantages over conventional shell and tube type of exchangers. 1. It is possible to re-tighten the internal tubesheet-to-shell gasket from the outside during operation. During start-up and shutdown, hot bolting is easier and safer. The hydrostatic pressure load on the channel cover is absorbed by the channel forging via a special threaded ring construction, not by heavy bolting. The bolts in the channel cover are only sized for gasket compression loading. This results in relatively small size bolts that can be tightened using normal wrenches thus eliminating the need for hydraulic bolt tensioning devices required on conventional bolt flanged exchangers.



4. 5. 6. -

The channel cover is relatively thin. (No edge bending due to bolting). The number of flanged joints are reduced to a minimum due to the integral construction of pressure parts. Dismantling and assembling is relatively quick and easy to carry out because : No breaking or cutting of welded parts required. No gasket grinding or welding required. No bolt tensioning equipment is required, therefore no complicated gauge measurements and large number of tightening cycles are necessary. Piping can be directly welded to the exchangers. Several exchangers can be installed in a stacking arrangement which minimizes plotting space and connecting pipe requirements. This reduces constructional cost and offers advantages in plant design.


Considerable improvements have been made in BLC Design since its introduction into service in 1960. They are : 1. 2. Base materials specifications, welding consumables selection, welding and heat treating procedures to avoid : Temper embrittlement (especially in Cr-Mo steels). Delayed cracking in low alloy weld deposits of heavy sections caused by Hydrogen embrittlement and residual weld stresses. Stress relief cracking in the heat affected zones of low alloy steels. Austenitic stainless steel weld overlay procedures and shutdown outgassing procedures to avoid disbonding of the austenitic stainless steel weld overlay. Special flexible spiral wound gaskets to absorb movements caused by large temperature differences. The tubesheet gasket adjustment system in such a way that the removable push-rods are the weakest part of the adjustment system, and will relax if subjected to over loading.

3. 4.


MAB refinery has BLC exchangers in ARDS, Hydrocracker and RCD Unibon units. 17 nos. Designed & built by M/s. Kobe Steel - 1986.

10 nos.

Designed & built by M/S Belleli, 1988


In general there are two types of BLC exchangers

These exchangers are used when pressures on both tubeside and shell side are high. In this type of exchangers, channel is an integral part of shell. The tubesheet is designed for a differential pressure. The tubeside hydrostatic load is taken up by the matching threads of lock ring and channel barrel. Gasket sealing is achieved by the application of recommended loads through different set bolts. Sizes of the set bolts are such that, required torque can be easily applied using light tools.

These exchangers are used when tubeside pressure is high where as shellside pressure is low. Channel closure of this type of exchangers is almost similar to that of H-H type except that in this case tubesheet becomes an integral part of the channel. Because of this, certain differences exist in the design of channel internal components. However, the design concept of channel end closure remains the same. Eventhough this type of constructional detail is typical of H-L type BLC exchangers, it may sometimes be utilized in H-H types also.

In case of BLC exchangers, the tube side pressure is contained by the use of threaded lock rings. After repeated cycles of raising and lowering temperatures, the gasket retainer/diaphragm may be subjected to deformation leading to leakage of tubeside liquid across diaphragm gasket. Thermal expansion differences between channel barrel and internals also can be the cause of leakages, especially during start-ups and shutdowns. To forewarn the operators, vent and drain holes are provided on the channel barrel which will give an indication of unexpected leaks through the diaphragm gasket. These holes should be kept clean and regularly monitored by operators during normal operation of the plant and especially during startups and shutdowns. As explained earlier, leaks can be easily pulled up.


There are different types of towers used in process plants. They are generally used for separation of components.


Fractionating tower: Separation by fractional distillation.


Steam strippers: Stripping of light ends by the reduction of partial pressure.


Flash towers: Separation of lighter components by flashing under lower pressure.


Absorbers: To absorb

To condense heavy ends from hydrocarbon gases. selectively some gases, eg. CO2 & H2S by MEA. 5. Treating or extraction towers: Separation by selective solubility.

The main purpose of the internals is to provide efficient contact and separation. The most common towers are either the trayed or the packed type.

Trays are of different designs and selected on the basis of their service. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Bubble cap type. Valve type - ballast trays. Grid type Sieve type. Chimney type. The most commonly used type of tray is the valve tray. They are cheaper than bubble cap trays and have much greater capacity and they are easy for maintenance.

A tower is packed with different types of materials, such as: 1. 2. Raschig rings. Pall rings.

3. 4.

Sand beds. Charcoal beds.


There are some towers in special service to improve the effectiveness of contact and separation. Disc and Doughnut type baffles in a rotating disc contactor is one in this category of special towers.


In some cases the towers are cladded fully or partially with a protective metal and the trays and tray parts are made up of special material to prevent corrosion.

The weir plate is a low-riser baffle used to maintain a liquid level in the tray which is essential for effective contact between vapour and liquid thus ensuring proper fractionation.

Condensed liquid falls from tray to tray through outlets provided in the trays, called the downcomers.

Weep-holes are intended to drain the trays completely during shutdown and start-up times. It is essential to check these drain holes during shutdown maintenance.

Some towers have demister pads as additional internals. It is a pad made up of several layers of steel-mesh. The purpose of this is to arrest liquid entrainment with the gases.

These are openings provided in each tray to facilitate a passage from tray to tray for people working in the tower, during a shutdown. They should be replaced with gaskets before closing up a tower after shutdown activities.



There are different types of drums or vessels used in process plants. 1. Feed drums:

For allowing a surge in the level so that a constant outlet flow can be maintained. 2. Reflux drums: For gas and water separation and as a surge drum. 3. Knock-out drums: For separation of liquid from gases, normally mounted vertical. 4. Settling drums: Separation of liquids by difference in densities. 5. Reactor effluent separators: Separation of gaseous components from liquid and as a surge drum. 6. Water seal drums: Protection against a flash back, such as a flare seal pot. 7. Reactors

K.O. Drums in compressor suction system Liquids cannot be compressed. Carry-over of liquid with gases can lead to serious damage to equipment and injuries to personnel. K.O. Drums in fuel gas service K. O. Drums are provided in the fuel gas lines to furnace because liquid carry-over with gas leads to uncontrolled burning inside a furnace and can flow out sometimes, to cause a fire-hazard outside. Liquid carry over in fuel gas to other consumers like a gas-turbine can cause severe damage due to overheating. Boots in drums The function of boots in some drums in the service of light hydrocarbons is to separate out water which is comparatively smaller in quantity. The principle here is that water being heavier will settle to the bottom.

Vortex breaker Vortex-breaker is a partitioned riser in the suction nozzles of drums, vessels and towers. Its purpose is to prevent a whirling action of the fluid which can cause cavitation in a pump even though the drum has sufficient liquid level. Barometric sumps Drums which serve as barometric sumps collect condensates from the vacuum ejector condensers. To avoid pulling air into the system the barometric legs must always be submerged in a level of liquid. To ensure this, an overflow-baffle is provided to maintain a liquid level and the drip legs are extended down much below the height of this baffle.

These are small vessels normally mounted in horizontal position for the settling and separation of water, alkali solutions etc, which might carry-over, with a hydrocarbon product after a treating operation. The entrained droplets coalesce together by velocity-reduction, to become heavier drops and settle to the bottom of the vessel from where it will be separated by draining. Coalescers sometimes are provided with certain type of filter-cartridges to enhance the process of coalescing.

The function of a flare drum is the same as that of a knock-out pot in a fuel gas system except that they are bigger, in size. The liquid collected, will be recovered by means of pumping to slop tanks and reprocessing in the process units.

Reactors are vessels which contain catalysts in one or more beds as the case may be. The internals will vary according to the service.


Crude oil and all petroleum products must be stored during the intervals between production, refining, blending, transportation and marketing. Therefore, storage tanks are required at every phase of oil movement, suitable to the type of product. They must be safe, adequate in size and economical. Oil storage tanks are grouped in two types - atmospheric and pressurized.

The pressure in the vapor space of this type of tank is essentially atmospheric. The two most commonly used atmospheric tanks are the coneroof and the floating-roof tanks.

The cone-roof tank is the most common type of atmospheric storage tank. The shell is cylindrical and the bottom is usually flat, but sloped slightly to an internal sump to assist in water draining and cleaning. The pitched cone-roof is usually supported by steel columns and rafters. Cone-roof tanks are used for low vapor pressure products. They are unsuitable for light hydrocarbon service for several reasons. 1. These tanks breath in and out atmospheric air as the liquid is pumped out and in. Low flash-point products give out vapors and form an explosive mixture. Vapor losses will be high due to continuous evaporation to atmosphere. Area around the roof vent will be vulnerable to a source of ignition, particularly lightning. The roof is not designed to withstand high pressure. The cone-roof is designed to rip-open at the joint with the shell in the event of an internal explosion or fire to prevent the collapse of the tank shell.

2. 3. 4.

A floating roof is a pan like structure that floats on top of the liquid in the tank. The roof moves up and down inside the tank shell as the level is varied. The clearance between the roof and the shell is sealed with a flexible material attached to the roof and to steel bearing surfaces called shoes. The shoes are designed to stay in contact with the shell as the roof slides up and down. There are three basic types of floating roof tanks; the pan type, the pontoon type and the double deck floating roof. Floating roof tank is ideal for the storage of volatile oils such as crude oil, naphtha and gasoline. By eliminating a vapor space, the fire hazard is minimized and evaporation losses are reduced in floating-roof tanks. Other advantages are less roof corrosion and faster discharge of static charges. Among the three types of floating roof tanks, the pontoon type is the most widely used. Floating roofs can fail under excessive load of water (rain-water). Special swivel type drains are provided for draining water that may collect during rainy seasons. Floating roof tanks should be operated with adequate levels to keep the roof in a floating position. Tilting of the roof and drawing air to form flammable

mixtures are the main problems of a roof going off-float.


Pressure storage is used to store volatile liquids such as Propane and Butane, which have a high vapor pressure. The two types used are the drum and the sphere. Bullets (Drums) Propane and Butane are stored in horizontal, cylindrical drums commonly called as bullets due to their shape. The Propane vapor pressure in the drums will average around 100 psig. The vapor pressure depends on the temperature of the product. Spheres

Spheres are pressure vessels shaped like a ball. It has no internal bracing. A sphere has a more economical shape than a drum for storage of liquid under relatively high pressure. Propane and Butane are stored in spheres.
Both bullets and spheres are provided with relief valves, level measuring instruments and special fire protection systems.


When large storage capacities are required, storing LPG components Propane and Butane in bullets and spheres become uneconomical. The vapor pressure under normal atmospheric temperature conditions is about 100 psig and 50 psig for Propane and Butane respectively. The vapor pressure can be reduced if the temperature of the product is reduced. Using this principle, both products can be stored under atmospheric pressure by chilling them down to suitably low temperatures. For Propane this is about 45oF and for Butane, +22oF. A Propane refrigeration unit is utilized for maintaining such low temperatures in the tanks. Refrigerated tank bases are protected by electric heaters from corrosion.


Gauge hatch for gauging operations. Gauging datum plate. Level instruments. Breathers. Temperature indicators. Steam coils or Suction heaters (in heavy oil service). Water drainage system. Mixers (only in some services). Manways. Ladders and staircases.


1. 2. Breathers are protected with flame arrestors. Gauge columns are provided to prevent a static spark while inserting a dip gauge.
FIRE PREVENTION AND FIRE PROTECTION DEVICES (Continuation from previous page).

3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Tank shells and floating roofs are earthed for quick discharge of static electricity. Inert gas blanketing is provided in tanks containing low-flash products. Water sprays are provided for pressurized tanks (Bullets & Spheres) for cooling in the event of a fire. Relief valves are provided for high pressure storage tanks. Corrosive sulfur in products must be kept within specifications to prevent the formation of pyrophoric iron-sulfide which is a source of ignition. Fixed fire-foam fittings are provided to charge foam into a tank in the event of a fire. Dykes are provided in tank farms to hold the contents of a tank in the event of a rupture. Safe operating procedures of mixing components for blending, loading operations of products to trucks and tankers etc. must be strictly adhered to. All fire protection devices on tanks must be checked periodically to ensure their availability during emergencies.

8. 9.



Pump is an equipment used to impart the necessary energy to a liquid to move it through pipelines or raise it to a higher level.

There are three types of pumps widely used in process industries. These

are: The centrifugal pumps. The reciprocating pumps. The rotary pumps. Rotary and reciprocating pumps are called positive displacement pumps because they positively displace a volume of liquid with every stroke or revolution. But centrifugal pumps only impart centrifugal force to the liquid. Therefore, centrifugal pumps can be started with their discharges closed whereas in the case of the other two types it is imperative to keep the discharge lines open to prevent undue rise in discharge pressure.


A centrifugal pump works on the principle of centrifugal force. Centrifugal force is explained well with a simple example of a stone tied to a piece of string. When the string is swung round and round with high speed and released the stone will fly away in a straight line. In the centrifugal pumps, centrifugal force is produced by a rotating element called the impeller. Liquid entering the centre of the impeller is picked up by the impeller, accelerated to a high velocity and thrown out by centrifugal force in to the volute and from there to the discharge at a high pressure.


The important parts of a centrifugal pump are the following: 1. Rotary elements.

1. 4. 2.

Shaft. Oil rings.





Stationary elements. 1. Casing. 2. Stuffing box.

3. 4. 5.

Bearings. Driver. Auxiliary parts. 1. Foundation. 2. Bed plates etc.


29.3.1 Shaft holds the impeller at one end and a half coupling at the other. When coupled to a driver, the shaft rotates the impeller. A shaft sleeve protects a shaft from corrosion, erosion and wear. 29.3.2. Impeller is the element that pumps the liquid. It consists of 3 main parts. 1. Hub. 2. Vanes. 3. Shroud.

The liquid inlet opening just before the vanes start, is called the suction eye. Impellers are manufactured in many designs. Open type impeller Open type impeller has vanes only to a central hub without any form of side wall or shroud. Such impellers are used in small inexpensive pumps or for abrasive liquids. Semi-open impeller A semi-open impeller is one which has a shroud or wall on one side only. These are suitable for heavy and viscous liquids as well as for liquids containing solids which can clog the spaces between vanes. Closed type impeller This type has shrouds that totally enclose the vanes from the suction eye to the outer circumference of the impeller. The closed type impeller is almost used universally in centrifugal pumps handling clear liquids. They are also more efficient than the other types.

Single suction and double suction impellers In a single suction type of impeller the liquid enters the impeller from one side only. A double suction impeller is ineffect, two single suction impellers cast back to back so that liquid enters from both sides. Hydraulic axial thrust is balanced to a great extent in the double suction type making an oversized thrust bearing unnecessary. Suction head requirement is less in the double suction type in comparison with the single suction type. Multistage pumps When the total head developed by a single pump is not adequate, pumps are used in series one after another to boost up the pressure. When more than one impeller are housed in one casing it is called a multistage pump.

The pump case is used to contain and direct the spinning liquid and convert the velocity imparted by the impeller to pressure energy. The pressure in the casing near the outer edge of the impeller will be higher than that at the suction eye of the impeller. Because of this, it is inevitable that some liquid will be recirculating from the high pressure zone to the low pressure zone within the casing. This leak must be minimized for two important reasons. 1. 2. Increased rate of leak decreases the efficiency of the pump. Causes wear to the impeller and casing, due to erosion. Wear rings improve pump efficiency This leakage is minimized by the use of impeller wear rings and casing wear rings. The impeller wear rings rotate with the impeller and the casing wear rings are stationary. Because the clearance between these two parts is very small, only a little leakage past them occurs. Wear rings must not run dry The small amount of liquid leaking acts as a lubricant and keeps the wear rings cool. Any momentary loss of this source of lubricant allows the metal to expand by overheating and the pump will seize resulting in severe damage. Wear rings protect impeller and casing Wear rings wear out over a period of service and the clearance increases resulting in a loss of the pump efficiency. Therefore, they are designed to be replaceable and the cost is negligible when compared to replacement of an impeller and/or casing.


A pump shaft is connected to the driver shaft by means of a coupling. The most commonly used type of couplings are:1. 2. Rigid type (for vertically mounted pumps). Flexible type in various designs.

One)Flexible membrane. Two)Gear Three)Rubber bellows Four)Chain and sprocket Five)Rubber bush. Flexible coupling can tolerate misalignment to some extent and does not allow the pump to vibrate.

Bearings take care of the axial and radial loads and reduce the mechanical friction to minimum. Bearings keep the rotor in proper centre and prevent unnecessary rubbing of moving parts by maintaining the clearances. Different types of bearings are used in centrifugal pumps such as: Deep-groove ball bearings. Angular contact bearings. Journal (sleeve) bearings. Roller bearings. Bearings must be kept properly lubricated to prevent premature failures and costly repairs.

Centrifugal pumps are usually driven by electric motors and steam turbines. The use of gas-turbines to drive large pumps is finding favor in places where gas is available economically. Internal combustion engines are also used to drive centrifugal pumps.

In order to prevent leakage around the shaft where it extends from the case, two methods are generally used. 1. 2. A packing and stuffing box. A mechanical seal.

Stuffing boxes and mechanical seals are used not only to keep liquid from leaking out but to prevent air from leaking into the case as well. While in a pressure pump the liquid leaks out, in vacuum the atmospheric air enters the pump.

Gland packing Packing consists of several rings of compressible material, such as soft cotton or asbestos soaked in oil and impregnated with graphite. One of the disadvantages of a stuffing-box and packing is that the gland should be allowed to leak slightly for lubrication and cooling of the packing. This is unsuitable in hydrocarbon service. Therefore, sometimes a lantern ring and an oil seal is included in the packing. A suitable seal oil will be circulated under pressure and some oil will slowly leak into the pump and will mix with the running liquid stream.

Mechanical seals provide a leak-free operation of a pump. It is more dependable and efficient than the conventional stuffing box and is suitable for both pressure and vacuum service. Modern process plants have mechanical seals for most of their pumps. A mechanical seal consists of a set of two anti-frictional mating rings. One rotates with the shaft while the other is stationary in the gland. They are held together by compression. Normally the one affixed to the shaft is carbon while the stationary member of most seals is Tungsten carbide. Cast iron and ceramic seats are also used in mechanical seal manufacture instead of Tungsten carbide. Seal flushing liquid cools, lubricates and cleans the seal unit Heat from the mating seals can be dissipated by circulating a small volume of the liquid being pumped through the seal. The liquid from the discharge of the pump enters the seal via the seal-cooling nozzle and flows out of the seal housing to the pump suction. Seal flushing liquid is cooled externally by means of water or air coolers in the service of hot pumps. Seal liquid, besides cooling, provides lubrication of the mating faces and flushes out any small solid particles that might get lodged between the seat and the carbon. Never run a pump dry mechanical seal fails Mechanical seals fail if there is no seal flushing liquid. Before starting up a pump make certain that the seal flush connections are in proper order and lined up. When the seal flush line is provided directly from the pump discharge (before the discharge valve), there will be no valve on this connection, but restriction orifices may be provided. In some modified systems, the seal flush lines may be taken from a different equipment in the system such as a cooler and/or a filter. In such cases, checking of the seal line- up is very important.



The main characteristics of a centrifugal pump are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Speed. Heads (suction and discharge). Capacity. Horse power Efficiency.

Electric motor driven pumps operate at essentially constant speed. Pumps directly coupled to the motors have the same speed as its driver. In certain designs, gear assemblies are used to increase or decrease the speed ratio. The speed of a turbine pump can be varied. Speed is expressed as revolutions per minute or RPM.

Suction head is the difference in height between the surface of the liquid and the centre of the pump. Net positive suction head NPSH is an abbreviation of net positive suction head. It represents the margin between the suction head and the vapor pressure of the liquid at a given temperature. In the data given by the manufacturers of pumps, information on the required NPSH will be supplied. Should the available NPSH go below the required value, the pump will cavitate. Cavitation Cavitation is a phenomenon that occurs in flowing liquid when the pressure falls below the vapor pressure of the liquid. When this occurs, liquid vaporizes in the low pressure areas and forms bubbles. If it happens at the suction eye of the pump the bubbles are carried into the impeller to a high pressure area where they suddenly collapse. The formation of the bubbles at the low pressure zone and their subsequent sudden collapse in the high pressure zone is called cavitation. Symptoms and effects of cavitation The usual symptoms are noise and vibration, a drop in discharge head and capacity and a pulsating discharge pressure indicated by fluctuations in the

pressure gauge. Cavitation results in pitting and corrosion of impeller vanes and casing.

The discharge head of a centrifugal pump is usually expressed in the height of a liquid pumped. Irrespective of the type of liquid, the pump can develop the same height. The discharge pressure, therefore, depends on the specific gravity of the liquid pumped.

The capacity of a centrifugal pump can be varied by regulating a valve on the discharge line. The pump gives the maximum flow when the discharge line is wide open. Design capacity of a pump depends on the impeller diameter and its speed.

Horse power is an expression of the energy input and output. BHP - Brake Horse Power is the input and the output is the liquid pumped. 33,000 foot - pounds per minute is equal to one HP = 746 watts. Factors affecting the horse-power requirement 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Specific gravity of the liquid. Viscosity of the liquid. Speed. Flow rate or capacity. Friction.

The efficiency of a pump is the ratio of the output to the input. E = HP x 100 BHP

No pump can achieve 100% efficiency as there are some inevitable losses in its operation. Losses in efficiency The uncontrollable losses in a centrifugal pump are the following.


Hydraulic loss


Caused by shocks, eddy currents and friction of the fluid in its path the impeller and casing.
Disc-friction loss

The power required to rotate the impeller in the surrounding liquid. This friction increases with viscosity of the liquid. 3. Short circuit losses.

Circulation from discharge to suction due to clearances between the casing and impeller wear rings. 4. Mechanical losses Due to friction in stuffing box and bearing.

Centrifugal pumps do not perform well if the rotation of direction is reversed; the capacity, discharge head and efficiency decrease, the load increases sharply and the pump internals get damaged.

After a pump is completed at a factory and before it is shipped to the customers, it is tested at various capacities from zero to maximum for that pump. The results of these tests are then plotted to become what is known as the characteristic curve. A typical characteristic curve will show the head developed, the power required to drive the pump and how the efficiency of the pump varies with the capacity when the pump is operating at a constant speed. As the capacity is increased at constant speed, 1. 2. 3. the horse power increases. the discharge head decreases. the efficiency increases first up to a point and then drops down.

Many times a pump is treated at lower efficiency and head for a gain on its capacity.



1. 1. 2. 3. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Check for general readiness. lubrication. cooling water. Rotate the shaft for free movement. Check discharge valve closed. Prime the pump and open suction valve wide. Start the pump and bring to normal speed. Check direction of rotation. Check pressure gauge to ensure that the pump has developed pressure ie., it has picked up suction. Open the discharge valve gradually.

The shutdown procedure of a centrifugal pump: 1. 2. Close the discharge valve. Stop the pump.

Centrifugal pumps work well only when the casing is full of liquid. Therefore, all gases must be vented out before starting the pump. Priming is done as follows: 1. 2. Top casing vent alone will be open and all other drains shut, to displace non-condensibles. Liquid will be filled in from:

1. suction line by crack opening suction valve, or 2. through the bypass of check valve in the discharge line, or
3. through the flushing oil line where it is provided.

Priming vacuum pumps Special provision is given for priming pumps in vacuum service because air will be sucked into the system if the vent is open to atmosphere. Therefore, the casing vent is connected back to the vapor space of the suction vessel to

displace gases.

Bypass valves around the discharge check valves serve as warm-up lines. With a small flow through the pump into the suction, a pump can always be in readiness as a hot spare at the normal pumping temperature. If proper warming up operation is not carried out, uneven expansion of the pump elements will occur causing seizure of parts. It may lead to a seal leak and also may result in rupture due to thermal stress.

Pouring of cold water on a hot pump is not a desirable practice to cool down hot liquid. It is dangerous, since the sudden contraction can cause damage and leak due to thermal stress.

The initial load on the motor to put the pump into rotation is quite high to overcome friction of the moving parts. If the discharge valve is open, the motor can be overloaded due to the liquid pumping also. So the general practice is to start the pump with discharge valve closed. However, with high speed pumps, the discharge valves are cracked open and minimum flow lines are provided for safety against a high pressure build-up.

The purpose of the check valve is to prevent a back-flow in the event of the stoppage of the pump. The pump can rotate in the reverse direction if there is a back-flow, which can lead to serious mechanical damage.

When the liquid normally pumped is very heavy and viscous, shutting down the pump may cause congealing and plugging. In such cases, a thin oil (gas oil) is provided to flush out the casing as soon as it is shutdown, or else it should be kept hot by circulation of hot oil from the discharge.


1. Check seal For overheating and leak . 2. Check motor for

1. Vibration 2. Abnormal noise

3. Temperature by feel. 4. Lubrication 5. Load (ammeter). 3. Check coupling guard whether

1. Properly secured. 2. Touching the shaft. 4. Check pressure gauge

1. In working condition. 2. Body screws loose or not. 3. Inlet valve need only be crack-open. 5. 1. 2. 3. 4. Check pump lubrication

Normal oil levels. Prove oil lead to the housing clear. Physical appearance of the oil. Oil splash ring rotating. 6. Check bearings

1. Temperature by feel. 2. Abnormal noise. 3. Vibration. 7. Check cooling water

1. Temperature by feel. 2. Quantity. 8. Check valves around the pump

1. Suction and discharge valves wide open. 2. Wheels secured. 3. Gland, bonnet leaks. 9. Check area house-keeping Must be clean always.






Losing suction or cavitation giving abnormal noise and vibration

- Low level in suction drum. Low NPSH. - Air leak into the suction. - Temp. too close to boiling point. - Water in hot pumps. - Running on low capacity.

- After rectifying the defect, prime the pump.


Gradually losing capacity. Flow rate coming down. Not developing design pressure and capacity.

Strainer plugged. Suction choked. Not primed properly. Impeller worn-out. Wear rings worn-out. Wrong direction. Spec. gravity low.

Shutdown and clean strainer. - Prime. - Conduct a survey and compare with design characteristics. - Then open up pump and repair if necessary.



- Loose foundation bolts. - Worn-out bearings. - Worn-out couplings. - Misalignment. - Foreign particles in the impeller causing imbalance. Improper alignment piping.

Tighten foundation bolts. - Repair bearings. - Check impeller for damage. - Open up piping flanges and check for alignment.



Rough bearings

Worn out bearings. Cooling water inadequate. Bad lube oil.

Plan replacement of bearings. - Open water flow. - Change oil.


(Continued from previous page)





Bearing failure and pump seizes up.

Failure of lubrication Bad oil.

Check lubrication system thoroughly and repair.

Cooling water failure. Oil ring broken. No oil.

1. Oil lead from oil bottle choked. 2. Oil drained out due to leak, loose plug.


Water traces and emulsified oil.

- Jacket leak. External source through some opening of the bearinghousing. Oil drum or can may contain water.

- Check and confirm. Oil inlet spout may be open. Steam leaks close by. - Check the oil drum, send sample of oil to lab for water content.


Seal leak.

- Losing suction. - Damaged parts of mechanical seal. - Sleeve worn-out. - Vibration.

Shutdown and repair.


Chicken feed oil bottle losing level.

- Air leak through bottle cap. Oil may be leaking from housing.

- Change gasket. - Check drain plug. - Check oil seal rings. Check the cap for proper breathing. Holes may be plugged.


(Continued from previous page)





Pump overloads driver. Ammeter reading high. Motor trips on overload.

- Discharge head too low. - Wrong type of liquid. - Too high speed. - Wrong direction of rotation. - Packing too tight. - Shaft bent. - Excessive friction of moving parts. - Misalignment.

A design problem? Temperature too low? Check & rectify. Check & rectify. Loosen the gland repair. Repair after check. Realign.


The reciprocating pump obtained its name from the back and forth action of the pumping mechanism. The liquid is displaced from suction to discharge by a mechanical variation of the volume of a chamber. Positive displacement Reciprocating pumps are called positive displacement pumps because the liquid once sucked in cannot go back to the suction and must be displaced into the discharge with every stroke. Reciprocating pumps can develop high pressure and give a constant flow if the speed is maintained. Reciprocating pumps are used whenever a specific flow and positive discharge pressure is contemplated.

The principal parts of a reciprocating pump are the driver and the pump. The pumps are classified on the basis of differences in the drivers and the types of pump. On the basis of the type of driver, they are classified as : Direct acting pump. Power pump. A direct - acting pump is one where the liquid and drive cylinders are

connected to the same shaft. The source of power is normally steam or air. A power pump is operated through a crank shaft, by an electric motor.

With respect to mode of discharge, they are classified as : Single-acting. Double-acting. In a single-acting pump, the delivery of the liquid takes place only at one end of the pump and only in one direction of the stroke. In the double-acting type there is displacement of liquid at every stroke, forward or backward. With respect to the number of cylinders, they are classified as : Simplex. Duplex. In a simplex pump there is one set of steam and liquid cylinders. Duplex pump is actually two simplex pumps set side by side and interconnected such that the main piston rod of one pump operates the valve rod of the other. On the basis of the type of pumping element Piston type. Plunger type. The piston type is normally used in double acting pumps of relatively larger capacity whereas the plunger type is used for single-acting small injection or dosing pumps. The piston is shorter than the stroke where as the plunger is longer. The capacity in a piston type is usually varied by the speed (number of strokes per minute) whereas in a plunger type it is usually done by varying the stroke length. The plunger can be designed to develop higher pressure than with ordinary piston pumps. 3 PARTS 1. The fluid end of a reciprocating pump is basically constructed of a piston, piston rod, cylinder, suction & discharge valves and stuffing box. 2. The steam end consists of a cylinder, piston, piston rod, stuffing box, slide valve and the valve actuating mechanism.

Reciprocating pumps are designated by three dimensional numbers such as 10 x 6 x 10 or 12 x 10 x 18 etc. The first of these numbers is the diameter of the steam piston, the second is the diameter of the liquid piston and the third is the length of the stroke.

A reciprocating pump has a fluctuating flow characteristic. The use of a gas cushion chamber on the discharge of the pump greatly improves the stability of flow. Nitrogen for inflammables Air or Nitrogen is used as the cushion medium in the pulsation chambers. In the service of hydrocarbons, Nitrogen is preferred because it is an inert gas. Bladders hold the gas losses down Bladders are used in most pulsation chambers to hold the gas so that there is no direct contact between the liquid and the gas. In this way, the loss of gas is also minimized.

Gland packing is required at both steam and fluid ends of a direct acting pump. Leakage of steam from the steam cylinder interferes with the speed efficiency of the pump. Leakage at the slide valve rod gland will result in erratic strokes. Leakage at the fluid end is a loss of the fluid pumped as well as a fire hazard. Piston seal-rings To prevent the leakage around the piston which will greatly reduce the efficiency of pumping, expandable seal rings are provided in reciprocating pumps. Seal rings are made of material softer than the cylinder to minimize wear and tear of the cylinder.

There are two sets of valves in a reciprocating pump - the suction and discharge. Valves are non-return type They open only in one direction, from suction to discharge. The suction valves open into the cylinder and the discharge valves open into the discharge chamber and from there to the discharge system. Valves are of different designs.

Valves are used in different designs on the basis of their service. Ball valves, Disc valves, Wing valves, Rollo or Bowl valves are the most common ones.

Reciprocating pumps are widely used for pumping liquid from levels such as a sump or a well. Suction lift The maximum practical lift of an average pump is 22 feet which is less than the theoretical lift of 34 feet. No pump can suck fluid from a lower level. However, it can lower the pressure within the pump so that the external pressure above a liquid surface can push the liquid into the pump. Net positive suction head (NPSH) Reciprocating pumps work well with a positive suction. The available NPSH should be higher than the required NPSH, otherwise pumping problems will be experienced due to vapor locking.

Maximum pressure Ratio of the piston areas of the liquid and steam ends, the operating speed and the suction pressure are main factors that govern the maximum pressure, in a direct acting pump. A power pump can develop much higher pressures than the pump is rated to handle. Actual pressure The actual discharge pressure of a reciprocating pump will depend upon the back pressure of the system. The pump will develop enough pressure to maintain the flow by overcoming the back pressure. Blocked discharge Because they are positive displacement pumps, closing of a valve in the discharge system blocking the flow, will raise the pressure high enough to cause a rupture of the pump body. For this reason, a control valve is not used to regulate the flow on the discharge line. As an additional precaution, safety valves are installed on the pump discharge so as to open to the suction in case of a pressure build-up.


Capacity is calculated by multiplying the cylinder volume to the number of strokes. Direct acting pump Variations in pressure does not affect the flow, if the speed (number of strokes per minute) is kept constant. Flow rates can be controlled by regulating the speed in a direct acting pump. Power pump For a power pump the speed is normally constant. Therefore flow can be indirectly regulated by a bypass line with a pressure control valve from discharge to suction. Plunger pump In a plunger pump flow is regulated by: 1. 2. 3. 4. Start-stop method, Variable speed, Variable stroke, or Automatic bypass Flow fluctuates in reciprocating pump The pulsation of flow is maximum in a single acting simplex pump since the displacement of liquid is at the end of every other stroke. The fluctuation is reduced in a double-acting simplex pump and further minimized in a double-acting duplex pump because the flow is more continuous. By installing a pulsation dampening chamber the flow becomes reasonably stable. Efficiency The normal efficiency of a reciprocating pump is about 85%. Power pumps are more efficient than direct acting pumps Efficiency depends upon the condition of the pump internals, suction conditions, type of fluid and discharge system pressure.


Check the pump for readiness. Ensure the pressure gauges are

in good working order. 2. Line up the liquid end.

Open suction valve and prime the pump. Reciprocating pumps are self-priming machines, but priming is a desirable practice to prevent wear of valves and piston parts. Open discharge valve and check the discharge system for any blockage. Open discharge to suction bypass, if provided. 3. Prepare the drive-end.

For a power pump, energize and check the motor shaft for free movement and right rotation of direction. For steam-driven pump, open drains, open exhaust, warm up steam chest and start with a slow movement of the shaft to observe abnormalities. 4. Bring up to normal operating conditions.

Gradually close the bypass valve from discharge to suction and observe for excessive pressure rise indicating a block. Slowly raise speed to the required flow. Switch to automatic instrument control if provided.

A power pump is stopped by stopping the motor and a steam pump by closing the steam inlet valve. In steam pumps, the exhaust side is kept open, the condensate drained and the chest warm, unless the pump is taken out for maintenance. Suction and discharge valves need not be closed except for special reasons.


(Continuation from previous page)

Gradual loss of capacity.

Suction getting choked. Worn out piston rings Defective valves

Clean strainer. Open up & check. Open up & check.

Passing safety valve.

Remove safety valve.



Pumps fails to discharge or gives low flow and low pressure.

Loss of suction. Strainer plugged. Air leaks to suction. NPSH lower than required. Defective rings & valves. Defective safety valve.

Check suction level. Clean strainer. Check joints. Check suction pressure and temperature. Open up & check. Remove & check safety valve.

Pump speed comes down. Pump stalls.

Low steam pressure. High back pressure. Tight packing. Steam end troubles.

Check line up. Loosen glands. Check & open if necessary.

Pump suddenly going very fast.

Loss of suction. Low level.

Check suction level and temperature of fluid.

Vapor lock.

Air leaks in suction.

Knocking sounds, vibration.

Stroke too long Improper alignment. Loose foundation bolts. Too high speed. Inadequate lubrication. Vapor locking.

Adjust stop nuts. Check & shutdown. Reduce speed. Rectify. Check & rectify. (See above)


A rotary pump is a pump consisting of a fixed case containing rotating elements, or element, which may be either gears, lobes or vanes. There are many variations in the design of these elements. In spite of their external resemblance to centrifugal pumps, rotary pumps are more like the reciprocating pumps, because both are positive displacement types. The rotary type combines the constant-discharge characteristics of the centrifugal pump with the positive displacement features of the reciprocating pump.

The fluid is trapped at the suction between the rotating elements or between rotating parts and the casing and moved out to the discharge by the rotary motion.

Rotary pumps are used for practically all kinds of liquids which are nonabrasive, non-clogging and non-corrosive. It is used for liquids of low as well as high viscosity. Rotary pumps are very commonly used in the force-feed-lubricating systems of compressors and large turbines.

There are different types of rotary pumps. 1. Gear type. Spur gear type. Single helical. Double helical. Internal gear. Vane type. Sliding type. Swinging vane. Swinging bucket. Screw type Shuttle block or lobe type.


3. 4.


Of the common rotary pumps the most widely used are the spur gear type. In the spur gear type one gear is usually keyed to a drive shaft. This is called the driving gear and drives the other gear, referred to as the idle gear. The gears have a very close clearance with the casing and also as the teeth mesh, they form a fluid-tight joint. When the pump is primed, liquid flows in between the gear teeth on the suction side. As the gears rotate, the liquid is trapped between the teeth and the casing and is carried around to the discharge side. Since there is no escape back to the suction, the pressure is increased sufficiently to force the liquid out the discharge line of the pump.

The vane type rotary pump normally has only one rotating element which is fitted with sliding vanes. As the element rotates in an oval shaped casing, the sliding vanes scoop liquid from the suction side and carry it around to the discharge. In as much as there is a very close fit between the rotating element and the upper portion of the case, the liquid cannot escape back to the suction line. Vane type rotary pump is very adaptable for use as a hand-operated pump for making small transfers of lighter liquids from drums, etc.

Rotary pumps may be driven by either electric motors or reciprocating steam engines connected to a crankshaft and drive shaft.

Pressure and suction capacity Similar to reciprocating pumps. The capacity depends upon speed, viscosity and temperature, suction and discharge head. The flow can be varied by varying the speed (variable speed gears) or by operating a bypass from discharge to suction. The flow is stable as in the case of centrifugal pumps.

Direction of rotation Most rotary pumps can function in the reverse direction without serious effects. But direction of rotation is prefixed for other reasons, in most services. Starting operation In starting a rotary pump, precautions similar to both a centrifugal and reciprocating pump must be observed. 1. 2. Carry-out the normal starting checks. Open suction and discharge valves.

4. 5.

Prime the pump. Rotary pumps are self priming. However, it is a desirable practice to prime the pump to prevent unnecessary wear of internals. Start pump. Check discharge pressure gauge to be certain that excessive pressure does not build up, indicating a blocked or plugged discharge line.

1. 2. Stop the driver. Close valves.

Similar to centrifugal and reciprocating pumps.

COMPRESSORS Purpose and function

Compressors are used for pumpinggases as pumps are used for pumping liquids; but operate on different principles since gases are compressible and liquids are not. The primary purpose of compressors is to move air or gases from one place to another and to increase its pressure. Compressing may be described as forcing a confined column or weight of gas into a smaller space.

Compressors are made in several types and sizes to suit different conditions. Similar to pumps they are mainly classified under centrifugal, reciprocating and rotary types. Thermodynamic laws governing compression of gases are the same for all types of compressors. However, they exhibit different operating characteristics. Compression is accompanied by a rise in temperature and an increase in

stored energy. Compressors, which raise the pressure in two or more stages, frequently have an intercooler between the stages to remove the heat of compression, thereby making more effective use of the different stages.


Centrifugal compressors are widely used where large quantities of air or gas must be handled at comparatively low pressures. Improvements in design however, are steadily improving the usefulness of this type of machine even in higher ranges of application.

The principle of operation of centrifugal compressors is very similar to that of the centrifugal pumps. The action is the same for both pumps and compressors with the exception that the gas volume is reduced as it passes through the compressor, where as, the liquid volume remains practically constant as it passes through the pump. Specific gravity of gas affects performance Specific gravity changes in the gas feed to the compressor will be a direct cause for discharge pressure change. Therefore, the compression ratio (ratio of discharge pressure to inlet pressure) is different for different specific gravity. It should be noted that the specific gravity can be altered by changes in temperature, pressure or molecular weight. Also in successively higher pressure impellers, since the increase in pressure causes a decrease in volume, the width of the impellers is reduced. Since the relationship between the amount of volume decrease and pressure increase is specific for each gas or mixture of gases, the relationship of the change of sizes of impellers is unique for each design. Because of this, the centrifugal compressor is more sensitive to changes in condition of the gas pumped than is the reciprocating compressor. Capacity control Motor driven centrifugal compressors are controlled by throttling inlet gas or by recycling a portion of the gas. Turbine driven centrifugal compressors are usually controlled by controlling the speed of the turbine. With variable speed, the centrifugal compressor can deliver constant capacity at variable pressure, variable capacity at constant pressure or a combination of both. Surging or pumping Surge is caused by reducing flow through a compressor to a point where the pressure restriction in the machine becomes greater than the pressure ratio developed by the compressor. Surge manifests itself in a reverse flow, usually accompanied by violent and noisy pressure fluctuations. Operation in the surge region for extended periods could result in mechanical damage to the machine. Surge limit of a compressor is the minimum flow required for a stable operation at a given speed or inlet throttle valve position.

Recycling an adequate quantity of gas from discharge to suction, is one of the effective methods used in preventing a surge condition in centrifugal compressors.


A centrifugal compressor is made up of two basic components - one stationary and the other rotating.

Casing The casing is designed to contain all the internal components of the compressor. It is usually split horizontally to facilitate dismantling and repairs. Inlet guide vanes Located in front of each impeller is an inlet guide vane assembly, to guide the gas into the suction of the impeller. Diaphragms Diaphragms serve as partitions between the various stages. They also form passages for the gas from one impeller discharge to the inlet guide vanes of the next. Diffusers The impellers rotate in the spaces between diaphragms. The extension of these form the diffusers to convert the velocity to pressure. Labyrinth The purpose of the labyrinth seals is to minimize leakage between the stages or at the balance piston. The clearance between the labyrinth seals and the shaft, is very small. Therefore, the labyrinth material is usually made of a soft metal to prevent wear on the shaft (shaft sleeve) in abnormal situations such as bad bearings, high vibration etc. Mechanical seals The function of the seal is to prevent leakage of the internal fluid or to prevent the entry of atmospheric air, just as in the case of a pump. In hydrocarbon services, seals are provided with a seal oil system. The portion of the seal oil which is contaminated by the gas (the sour seal oil) is withdrawn separately and de-gassed before being re-circulated with the clean seal oil. Bearings Bearings take up the axial and radial loads. Journal bearings take up the radial load and the thrust bearings the axial thrust. Normally the thrust is towards the inlet of the compressor. However, due to abnormal conditions, the thrust can reverse in direction.


Impellers The impellers are the pumping elements. There is only one impeller in a single stage machine whereas there can be two or more impellers in the multistage type. The width of the impellers in a multi stage rotor is reduced gradually from the suction to the discharge. Shaft The shaft holds all the rotating parts of the rotor assembly, which includes the impellers, the shaft sleeves, thrust collars, balancing piston, rotating seal parts and the coupling. Shaft sleeve Shaft sleeve protects the shaft from wear and corrosion. Sleeves are used between impeller-wheels for spacing and they form a wearing surface for the interstage labyrinth seals. Balance piston The purpose of the balance piston is to counteract most of the thrust that is developed due to the pressure difference from the discharge to the suction end. This is accomplished by connecting the outboard side of the balancing piston to the suction side, there by creating a thrust in the reverse direction. Only the remaining thrust needs to be absorbed by the thrust bearings. Coupling The coupling connects the rotor to the driver.

The driving machine can be an electric motor (induction or synchronous), a steam or gas turbine, or an I.C. engine.

The lubrication system will be described in detail in the equipment manual supplied by the vendors. Lubrication is provided by a forced feed system with, filters, coolers, pressure controllers etc. Sight-glasses are provided on return lines to observe flow of lube-oil through all bearings. Lube oil system must be in service for some period before starting the compressor and should stay on for a minimum period to cool the bearings, after a shutdown of the compressor.


Seal oil system is a feature with centrifugal compressors in gas service. Vendor supplied equipment manual will describe in detail the seal oil system lay-out and operation. It is a closed system typically consisting of a tank, pumps with discharge pressure control, filters, coolers, an overhead tank with a level control to

maintain a differential pressure between the oil and the gas, the clean oil return and the sour oil return through the seal pots and degassing tank. START-UP & SHUTDOWN PROCEDURES AND TROUBLE-SHOOTING Individual equipment manuals will provide the detailed instructions on the start-up and shutdown operations of compressors. Usually, these are tied up with the start-up and shutdown sequences of the process unit. Modern machines are equipped with complete automatic systems for start-up and shutdown. A thorough knowledge of such systems is essential to recognize faults and timely remedial actions.

A compressor has to be protected against abnormal process or mechanical conditions for safety of operating personnel and/or for controlling cost of maintenance. Some abnormal conditions are listed below. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. High liquid level in suction drum (s) High compressor discharge temperature High axial displacement High bearing temperature Low lube oil pressure Low seal oil overhead tank level (seal oil failure)

Similar to the compressor side, the driver (turbine or motor) also has to be protected.

Alarms and automatic shutdown instrumentation are normal features of modern installations.


Reciprocating compressors work on the same principle as the reciprocating pumps. They operate by sucking gas into the cylinders through suction valves on the suction stroke compressing it and discharging it through another set of valves near the end of the discharge stroke. The tyre pump is one of the simplest form of vertical, single-acting, air cooled, single cylinder, air compressor. Compressor design has been improved and expanded to suit the requirements of large industries. Reciprocating compressors are better suited for lower speed operations, high pressure requirement and lower capacity. They are usually of the double-acting type and two stages with intercoolers in between them.

Positive displacement
Reciprocating compressors are the positive displacing type and any blockage in the discharge system will result in discharge pressures high enough to

cause ruptures. Relief valves are, therefore, provided to relieve excessive pressures to a low pressure system

Capacity control
Capacity of a reciprocating compressor can be varied by suction valve unloaders. Such machines are designed to run under 0%, 25%, 50%, 75% & 100% conditions. It is, however, not desirable to run a machine at 0% load for longer periods.

The external parts consist of the crank case, distance piece and the cylinder. The important internal components are the crank shaft, connecting rod, cross head, piston rod, piston, valves and packings.

Piston is provided with rider rings or sliding shoes to minimize wear on both cylinder and piston in horizontal machines.

Valves are the most important components of a compressor. There are many types of valves used in reciprocating compressors. The choice of design depends on the type of gas and service conditions. Where variations of the capacity of a compressor is required, unloading devices are provided for the suction valves. Valve unloading and loading operations are done manually by mechanical valve lifters or automatically by pneumatic actuators.

Connecting rod
This part of the compressor converts the rotary motion of the crank shaft to the reciprocating motion of the piston.

There are two systems of lubrication in a reciprocating compressor. 1. 2. Crank gear lubrication. Cylinder and packing lubrication.

Both systems are the forced feed type where the main lube oil pumps are operated by crank-shaft extensions. In some installations, auxiliary lube oil pumps are used for pre-start-up

lubrication of the main bearings.

Cylinder lubrication
Cylinders are two types on the basis of lubrication. 1. 2. Lubricated type. Non-lubricated type.

In the lubricated type, piston shoes/rider rings are made of antifrictional metal and the piston rings, cast iron. Lube oil is required continuously for the smooth operation of the piston and to prevent excessive wear of the shoes/rider rings. The lube oil inevitably mixes up with gas and it is separated in oil separators in the discharge system.

Non-lubricating type of cylinders

In some process units, oil contamination of the gas is not tolerated, therefore no oil is used for lubrication. In such non-lubricated type, the rider rings and piston rings are made of carbon-impregnated teflon. Carbon works as the lubricant and an external lubricant is therefore not needed.

Packing lubrication
Packings are lubricated or non-lubricated in the respective types of cylinders for the same reasons as mentioned above.

Jacket cooling water

Cylinders are cooled by a flow of water through their jackets. The water helps to remove heat from the cylinder. Heat is generated by compression of gases and by friction of the moving parts. Temperature and flow indicators on the water outlets provide the check points for adequacy in water flow.

Detailed instructions on the start-up and shutdown operations will be provided in the respective compressor operating manuals. Typical start-up procedure, however, should follow some basic steps. 1. Carry out the preliminary checks including lubrication, line up of coolers, condensers and the discharge system. 2. Open suction and discharge valves wide and check machine at 0% loading position. 3. Start the machine at no load. 4. Load the machine in steps. To stop the machine, reverse the starting procedure.

There are several interlocks to shut down the compressor for abnormal conditions which can lead to damage to equipment and unsafe situations. They include high levels in suction knock-out drums, low lube oil pressure, high bearing temperatures, high process gas temperatures etc. The safety shutdown interlock systems provided for the protection of the machine should not be bypassed or interfered with, in any way. Such systems should be checked periodically for operability.


Rotary compressors work on the same principle as rotary pumps. The gas is trapped at the suction between the rotating elements or between rotating parts and the casing and moved out to the discharge by the rotary motion. Rotary compressors are the positive displacement type and therefore high pressures can develop as a result of a blocked discharge.

Like the rotary pumps, the rotary compressors also are made in different designs. Screw type, vane type and lobe type are some of the commonly used types of compressors.

In starting a rotary compressor, precautions similar to both centrifugal and reciprocating compressors must be observed. 1. 2. 3. Carry-out normal starting checks. Open suction and discharge valves. Open discharge to suction recycle bypass if it is provided. In such cases a reverse flow from the discharge system is prevented by a check valve. 4. Start the driver. 5. Check discharge pressure gauge for excessive pressure rise.

Stop the driver. Close valves.