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Prediction of two-phase flow through a safety relief valve

Elmayyah, Wael and Dempster, William (2013) Prediction of two-phase flow through a safety relief valve. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part E: Journal of Process Mechanical Engineering, 227 (1). pp. 42-55. ISSN 0954-4089

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Abstract

Safety relief valves are necessary elements in any pressurised system. The flow inside the safety relief valve shows a number of interesting, yet complicated, features especially when a two-phase flow is involved. Consequently, developing an efficient and accurate means for predicting the safety relief valve performance and understanding the flow physics is a demanding objective. In this article, the ability of a two-phase mixture model to predict the critical flows of air and water through a safety valve is examined. An industrial refrigeration safety relief valve of ¼” inlet bore size has been tested experimentally over a pressure range of 6–15 barg and air mass qualities from 0.23 to 1 when discharging to near atmospheric conditions for a range of valve lift positions. A two-dimensional mixture model consisting of mixture mass, momentum and energy equations, combined with a liquid mass equation and the standard k-e turbulence model for mixture turbulent transport has been used to predict the two-phase flows though the valve. The mixture model results have been compared with the homogenous equilibrium model and the homogenous non-equilibrium model adopted by the ISO standard. It has been shown that the mixture model can be used satisfactorily to predict the mass flows for the above conditions. Overall, the accuracy of the two-phase air mass flow for given inlet liquid flow rates can be predicted to within 15%.