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12/16/2015

FullVacuumvsHalfVacuumChemicalplantdesign&operationsEngTips

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FullVacuumvsHalfVacuum

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MyFriends,
Iknowthatthissubjecthascomeupinforumsseveraltimes,butmyresearchofthesitedoesnotgiveasatisfactoryexplanationsoIampostingthe
questionagain.
IsthereanyAPI,ASME,orotherdocumentationwhichrationalizeswhyahalfvacuumratingwouldbesufficientforvesselssubjecttosteamout?
Wearedesigningseveralnewplantsandthereisapushtodesignvesselsforsteamoutusingahalfvacuumconditionratherthanfullvacuum.The
saturationpressureofsteamathalfvacuumisinexcessof180F,soitisahardthingfortheprocessengineertoswallowtorationalizehowhalf
vacuumratingissufficientprotectionforallthepossiblewaystocollapsesteamduringasteamoutactivity.EarlyinmycareerIsawavesselcollapsed
duringcooldownaftersteamout,andmyselfandmostofmypeershavealwaysspecifiedfullvacuumratings.Nowwearebeingaskedtoacceptahalf
vacuumratingonthebasisof"thatsthewayalotofcompaniesdoit",whichinspiresnoconfidence.
bestwishes,
sshep
ThethreecompaniesIhaveworkedforuse(d)fullvacuum.
Goodluck,
Latexman
Technically,theglassisalwaysfull1/2airand1/2water.

Ibelievethatitisreasonableandprudenttodesignpressurevesselsandpipingto"fullvacuum"ifthereisanyvacuum.
AllvesselsIhavespecifiedin42yearsofengineeringfollowthisphilosophyandithasbeenincorporatedintocompanyguidelines.
Thereisnosignificantcapital

costsavings

fortrue(Coded)pressurevesselsandpipingforapartialoverafullvacuumdesign

Idonotbelievethatyoucanjustifythatduringsteamoutconditionsapproximatinga"halfvacuum"willoccur.
OnlyanMBAwouldtrytodevelopdesignrulesusingajustificationsuchas""thatsthewayalotofcompaniesdoit"
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Exception:A PI650,620flatbottomedtanksaresometimesdesignedtopartvacuum.
Iwouldaddtothisexception,apartialvacuummaybeconsideredfordishedendhorizontaltankswithadiametergreaterthan60
inchesandD/T>90
MJCronin
Sr.ProcessEngineer

MyFriends,
Ireallyappreciatetheseanswers,andtheysupportwhatIhavebeendoingmywholecareer.Still,Iknowthatthishalfvacuumthinghasafollowing
becauseotherthreadsonthissitereferenceit.
Pleasekeepweighingin.IneedalltheammunitionIcanget.
bestwishesalways,
sshep
Iamnotsureoftheexactreasonbutitisprettytypicaltoonlyspecifyhalfvacuumforvesselsthatareonlysteamedoutformaintenance.Thatiswhat
isspecifiedinourdesignmanuals.Maintenanaceprocedureswoulddictatethatthevesselisnottobeblockedinduringsteamout.Myguesswouldbe
itisamatterordollarsandcents.Halfvacuumlikelymeansathinnerwalledvesselandacostsavings.Ifweusedfullvacuumforallvesselsthereare
likelyclientsouttherethatwouldsayweareoverdesigningandwastingtheirmoney .Halfvacuumisprobablyahappymediumfromarisk
perspective.
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Whileavesseldesignedfor150psigwilllikelyinherentlyresistfullvacuum,alargevesseldesignedforlessthanthatcouldrequirevacuumstiffener
ringsetc.whichcanaddsubstantialcost.Piperatherthanductingisgenerallyinherentlyvacuumresistantuptoatleast12".
Ifavesselisnotdesignedforfullvacuum,vacuumreliefisrequired.Iftherightvacuumreliefsystemisselected,installedandmaintainedproperly,
1/2vacuumisplentyofdrivingforcetoactuateitreliably.
Wherepeoplescrewupwithsteamoutcasesisforgettingaboutcondensateaccumulation.Theytrytoinstallvacuumreliefvalvesdownlow
somewheresotheycanbeeasilymaintained,andthepipeconnectingthemtotheheadspaceofthevesselfillswithcondensateandtheheadpressure
and/orcorrosionpreventthevalvefromopening.Ihadapaperwhichshowedapicture ofahugecokingdrumwhichcollapsedduringpoststeam
outcooldownforthisreason.
Ihaveafewmorecomments:
SeanB:"Halfvacuumlikelymeansathinnerwalledvesselandacostsavings"
Idisagree...CostsavingsarenotsignificantunlesstheyareformaterialsmoreexpensivethancarbonsteelANDfordiametersandthedimensionratio
asreferencedabove.
SeanB:"itisprettytypical"and"everybody'sdoingit"arenotgoodenoughforme.GotanyASMEpapers,studies,experiments....oranything?How
aboutaChevron/EXXON/NORSOKstandardorguidelinespecifyingyourhalfvacuumcriteria?....anything?anybody?
WhyIinherently"feel"andagreethatasteamoutconditionwillnotgeneratea"fullvacuum"(aconditionthatisdifficulttoachieveinalab),IMHOthe
bestcourseofactionistorecommendafullvacuumdesigntoaclientA NDLETHIMMA KETHECHOICEFORTHEVESSELTHA THEIS
PURCHA SING...
MM:Irespectandconcurwithalmostallofthethingsyouhavecontributedovertheyearstothesefora.
But,anyCS/SSpipe(notduct)upto36inchdiameterand0.375wallhasfullvacuumprotection(undertherulesofASMEVIII).Thismeanssmaller
Schedule40/80pipinghasfullvacuumprotection
Anyothercontributionsoutthere

MJCronin
Sr.ProcessEngineer

Oh.....andanotherthingaboutvacuumandpipingsystems....
Watchoutforthatworthless,useless,badschedule5Spipingunderanytypeofvacuumconditions...!!!!
ThisispipingthatMBAslovesomuch....andwillrequireyoutoincorporateinyourdesigns.
Aftertheprojectisbuilt,andafterseveralimportantclientmeetings,(thatyouwerenotpermittedtoattend)acrazedMBAwillcometoyourdeskand
explaintoyouhowyoumustperforma"stressanalysis"toprovetohimhowhisbadSchedule5Spipingsystemwillsustainfullvacuum.
Ohyeah,heneedsthatcalculationonhisdeskbytomorrow....:0
(yeah,itsabigchiponmyshoulder...)
MJCronin
Sr.ProcessEngineer

MJCronin:Idon'tthinkwedisagreeIhaven'tdonethevacuumcalcsforlargerpipe,soIcouchedwhatIsaid,limitingitto12"NPS.AsfarasIrecall,
upto12",evensch5Sstainlessisgoodforfullvacuumtoaprettyhightemperature.Theonlytimeweusesch5Sisforthinshellsfortanks,because
wedon'thaveheavysliprollstoworkwithsheetmetalweNEVERuseitforpiping.Wehaven'tfoundsch5Stoactuallybecheaperthansch10S,though
itprobablyisifyou'rebuyingmillrunquantities,sowhywouldweselectit?Definitelyabeartodealwithatthelargersizessothinthatbuttwelding
requiresallsortsofjiggingetc.Weusesch10Sstainlessextensively,arequiteusedtoit,andaslongasyoudon'tweldoutthefullbevelof3000#o
letsonit,itreallyisn'taproblemforusfromafabrication/weldingperspective.
MyFriends,
Thankyouforthefurtherdiscussion.Itstillcomesdowntotwocamps.Thosewhooperatewillwantthemostinherentlyfoolproofsystem,andthose
whotryandsavecost.PleasekeeppostingasIreallywishtoknow.
InthemeantimeIwilltryandgiveyousomethingforfun(noonehurt,butveryexpensivefortheowner)whichshowsevenalightweightpipecan
collapse.Thiswasacompressorsuction,"protected"byaninstrumentedsystem.

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Innearly30yearsIhaveseenmanytypesofproceduresandsystemsfailwithseriousconsequencesorluckynearmisses.Iwillalwayslikethatwhich
isinherentlyfoolproof.
bestwishes,
sshep
http://files.engineering.com/getfile.aspx?folder=d5c7a78c91c14bf486a6de

sshep:theplantthatdoesn'tgetbuiltbecauseitistooexpensiveisalsoinherentlysafe.
Nothingisfoolproofthebestyoucanhopeforisfoolresistance.Whileprotectionbyinherentdesignissometimespossiblewithoutawholelotofextra
cost,thatneedstobevalidatedonacasebycasebasisratherthanmerelybeingassumed.I'veseenclientspecificationswhicharealonglistoflittle
thingsthatcouldn'tpossiblyincreasethecostthatmuch,butactuallydosometimesenormously,andforverylittleifanymeaningfulsafetybenefit.
Unfortunately,thepeoplewhoputthoselittlesuggestionsintothespechavealllongagoleftthecompany,andthekidsleftbehindknowonlythatthey
arenottoquestionthewisdomcontainedintheholybooks.
Wedon'tdesigntanksforfullvacuum,eventhoughthatwouldbeinherentlysafer.Somepeopledesignallstampedvesselsforatleast150psigand
fullvacuumasamatterofcourse,irrespectiveoftheprocess'srequirements:itmakesthemeasiertooperate,reducesreliefrelatedissues,and
makesthemmoreusefulintheboneyardaftertheprojectisover.Welovecustomers likethattheymakeuslotsofmoneyforwhichwearevery
gratefulwhenthey'reactuallyableandwillingtopaytheresultingcostofcourse.Butwedon'tassumethateveryonewantstheirplantsdesignedthat
way,andifwedid,we'dbesoonoutofbusiness .
ThanksMoltenmetal,
Iknowyouareasolidengineerandactiveinthisforum.Ireallyappreciatealltheadvice youhavegivenoverthelasttenormoreyears.YouknowI
willgladelygiveastartoeveryonewhocantellmebywhatreasoningdidhalfvacuumgainafollowing.
Ifwedothisasaroleplay,ittypicallygoesdownlikethis:
>Designer:Werecommenddesigningthevesselsforsteamoutusinghalfvacuumrating.
>Client:Why?
>Designer:Itwillsavealotofmoney.
>Client:Howmuch?
>Designer:Wedon'tknow.
>Client:Knowingthatsteamcondensingcanpullnearlyafullvacuum,whatistherationalforhalfvacuum?
>Designer:Wedon'tknow(orinmycase"Thatswhatsomeofourotherclientsdo").
Itisatthispointtheclientbeginstowonderaboutthequalityoftheserviceheisgetting.
Bytheway,thereasonweaccepttankstobedesignedforatmosphericisbecauseAPI2000providesaveryquantitativeinbreathingprotection
standardratherthanleavingituptoeachindividualclient.Ifhalfvacuumwerebackedupwithsimilarreasoning,Iprobablywouldn'thavemany
questions.
Pleasegivemeafewmoreposts.
bestwishesalways,
sshep
ToMJCronin:
IthinkyoushouldgobackandtakeareadofwhatIwrote.
"Iamnotsureoftheexactreasonbutitisprettytypicaltoonlyspecifyhalfvacuumforvesselsthatareonlysteamedoutformaintenance.Thatis
whatisspecifiedinourdesignmanuals."
"Our"beingtheEPCIworkforandhaveworkedformanyyears.Exxondesignpracticesalsostatetoconsidervacuumconditionaftersteamoutbutit
doesnotstateeitherhalforvacuumshouldbeused.
Ipresentedastatmentoffactbasedonwhatmycompanydoes.Idon'tknowthereasoningbehindit.Butthisissupposedtobeforumwherewecan
bounceideasandopinionsoffoneanother.Nottopersonallyattackoneanother.
Iamsorry...but
Noattackwasmeant,....however,Iamsurethatyouagreethat,fortrueprogressandlearningtooccurinanengineeringforum,morethanjustan
opinionmustbeoffered.
sshepandIareonthesamepage...
BTW,MM,Ihavealsofoundthat5SSSpipingismoreexpensivethanschedule10S.....andfarmoredifficulttoweld!Iagree
Also,withregardtodecisionsaboutvacuumratingforpipingandequipment,seethereferencedNORSOKdocument:

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(Section5.5)
http://www.standard.no/pagefiles/1212/l002.pdf

MJCronin
Sr.ProcessEngineer

sshep:here'syourargument,restated:
Designer:Werecommendpartialvacuumdesignforvesselswhichmustbesteamedout.
Client:Why?
Designer:Becauseweneedthevesseltobeabletosustainenoughvacuumduringcondensingofthesteamwithoutcollapsetoreliablyactuatea
vacuumreliefvalve.
Client:Whynotdesignforfullvacuum?
Designer:Ifyou'dlikeustodesignforfullvacuum,wecertainlycandothat.Itwilleliminateavacuumreliefvalvewhichyou'llneedtomaintainand
recertify.Itwillmakethevesselinherentlysafeagainstvacuum,butwillnotguaranteethatthesystemwillbevacuumtightwhatleaksbackinwillbe
airfromtheatmosphereratherthanthegaswe'dfeedtotheinletofthevacuumreliefvalve.Itwillalsorequireustoeithersignificantlyincreasethe
thicknessoftheshelloraddstiffenerringstothevesseltoresistfullvacuum.
Client:Howmuchextrawillthatcost?
Designer:Icangetthevesselquotedforyoubothwayssoyoucanmakeaninformeddecision.Butmygutfeelisthattheextracostcouldbe
substantialbecausethevesselislarge.
Client:OK,showmebothcostsandI'lldecide.
Vesselsmadefromsmallpipearegoingtobevacuumresistantinherently,sofullvacdesigncostsyounothing.Theissueisforlargevesselswithlow
MAWP.FullvacuumratingonanalargediameterlowMAWPvesselisnotatrivialadditionalcost.That'sthetroublewithdesignbyrulesofthumb
thumbscomeindifferentshapesandsizes.
HeyMoltenmetal,
Iwillgiveyouastarfortheeffort,butwhendidyouguysaddthevacuumreliefvalve?
WhatIwasreallytalking aboutishalfvacuumforsteamout,andnovacuumreliefvalve.Thequestionwashowtorationalizehalfvacuum(orany
otherpartial)vsfullvacuum.Evenafterthisdiscussion,halfvacuumstillseemsarbitrary.
IsortofbelievethattherewasahistoricalreasonfromASMEPVCodeswhichdrovehalfvacuumtogainafollowing,butperhapsthesereasonshave
beensupercededandarenowlostintimetotheaudienceinthisforum.
bestwishes,
sshep
Hi,
AccordingtoShellDEP,"Ifthepressuremaydropbelowatmosphericpressureduetoutilityfailure,instrument
failure,lowloadconditions,maloperation,blockedinsituationsoranyothercause,theminimumpossibleabsolutepressureshallbestatedinthe
documentsformechanicaldesign.
Steamingoutanddrainingoperationsneednotbeconsideredsincetheseshallbecovered
byadequateoperatingprocedures."
Cheers
Well,IsupposeI'lljumpintothefray.
HowmanySectionVIIIvesselfailuresrelatedtosteamoutcanwepointto(specifically,not"Iheardonceuponatime")?
Ofthosewhichfailed,whatfractionweredesignedforatleasthalfvacuum?
Wecould,ofcourse,designeveryvesselwhichissubjecttosteamoutforfullvacuum.ButwhyrequireFVwhenexperiencedoesn'tdemonstratethatit
addsvalue?
PartoftheproblemisthatthereisverylittleharddatathatIamawareofwhicheithercampcanpointto.Giventhelackofdata,theargumentcomes
downto"I'mconservativeandmostcareful"vs."I'mincludingsufficientdesignmarginandsufficientlycareful."I'dcertainlyliketoseesomethinglike
anAPIsurveyrelatedtothisissue...FornowI'llstayinthe"halfvacforsteamout"camp.Naturally,Ialsoexpectamaxallowableexternalpressureto
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bedeterminedandthisvaluetobestampedoneachvessel.
Next...We'llbediscussingwhattemperaturesaidFV/HalfVacconditionshouldbedesignedat.Thatshouldprovideforsomevigorousdiscussionas
well.
MyFrineds,
Ifyouworkinproductionforalongtime,andovermanysites,youhaveprobablyseenvacuumfailures.Thisisusuallyjustgoingbytoseetheresultof
someunfortunatestorywhichsoundscompletelyidioticinretrospect.
Myfirstvacuumexperiencewasasteamoutincidentearlyinmycareer.InthethreadaboveIhavesomepictures ofsomethingequallydumb,
wherehumansfailed.Humansandtheirproceduresfailmoreoftenthanourofficeboundpeersthink.Ifyouwishtoseemore,Ihaveanearly30year
careerofthisstuff.
Anyway,thanksforalltheinput.
bestwishes,
sshep
sshep
Ihaveworkedinthesamebusinessasyoursforalongtime(youhaveafew,butnotmany,yearsonme),andIsupportsitesglobally.
Idon'tdoubtthatexternalpressurecollapsesoccur,andmoreoftenthanwe'dlike.However,thisisnotwhatyouwereaskingabout.Simplyput,a
vesselwhichisdesignedforhalfvacwouldbeexpectedtosurviveafullvacconditionthedesignmarginsaresufficient.[Thepremisehereisthat
we'retalkingaboutASMEVIIIvessels.]
Thus,Iwillreiteratemyquestion:
Ofthosewhichfailed,whatfractionweredesignedforatleasthalfvacuum?
I'msorrythatmyperspectivedoesnotsupportyours...Butthatdoesnotmakeeitherofuswrong.I'dsimplyliketoseemoredatabeforepushingfora
change.
Ifyou'rerelyingonproceduresalonetoprotectagainstvacuumcollapse,thenI'dgivemyheadashakeonthat.Youneedeitherreliablevacuum
resistanceorvacuumrelieftohaveahopeofsufficientidiotresistanceinmyopinion.
Astojte'ssuggestionthathalfvacuumdesignissufficienttoresistthenearfullvacuumyou'dencounterinasteamouttotallygonewrongwithno
vacuumrelief,Isuspectjteiscorrect.Thatthevesselisoverstressedtosomedegreeduringanuncontrolledexternalpressureeventlikethisisnot
reallysomethingI'dworrymyselfabout,otherthantryingtodesignthecaseoutbyuseofrelief.

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