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A computational fluid dynamics evaluation of a pneumatic safety relief valve

Dempster, W.M. and Elmayyah, W. (2008) A computational fluid dynamics evaluation of a pneumatic safety relief valve. In: 13th International Conference on Applied Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering (AMME-13), 2008-05-27 - 2008-05-29.

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Safety relief valves are well established components preventing catastrophic failure of pressurised systems when non-normal operating conditions occur. However, it is only recently with developments in CFD techniques that the capability to predict the complex flow conditions occurring in the valves has been possible resulting in only limited studies being found in the literature. This paper presents experimental and theoretical investigations applied to a safety relief valve designed for the refrigeration industry but extended here to consider pneumatic systems since air is the compressible fluid. The discharge flow rate and valve forces are determined both theoretically and experimentally for different valve lift conditions and related to the detailed flow conditions (pressure, temperature and Mach number) in the valve predicted by CFD techniques. The CFD code FLUENT has been used with a two dimensional axisymmetric RANS approach using the k-İ turbulent model to predict the highly compressible flow through the valve. The model has been validated by comparison with experimental measurements and the predicted results show good agreement, providing confidence in the use of CFD techniques for valve design and improvement.