A flame arrestor is a tool or device that is being utilized to open and close connecting pipework in the process of enclosures that allows liquids, gasses, and other elements to pass through. It also prevents the transmission of a sudden flame surge to avoid a larger fire or worst, explosion.
In a process execution with combustible gasses, flame arrestors lend their hand to lessen the risk of an explosive event. When it is appropriately used, flame arrestors can avoid catastrophic and severe damage to the plant or industrial places, keeping all the workers, and the community safe from harm.
Any individuals who are involved in purchasing flame arrestors should be fully-knowledgeable and educated on how these devices should work. Also, they should be able to determine its rightful purpose, advantages to the performance, and its limitations.
In today’s article, you’ll learn to understand the fundamental purpose of flame arrestors.
Reasons to Use Flame Arrestor
A flame arrestor is also known as a deflagration arrestor and a flame trap. Experts also identified it as the most dangerous device that can transport and store flammable and deadly gases and liquids. The flame arrestor is responsible for preventing any ignition that might possibly occur through the flammable vapor, which can result from firing and severe explosion.
When a flammable gas or vapor got mixed in the atmosphere, such as through oxygen or air, there’s a possibility of a massive explosion. Accidental ignition of the flammable liquid and gas can result in a flame that can travel through the unburnt substance of mixture until the fuel has been consumed.
In an enclosed and secured area, like a vessel or a pipe, for example, the drastic change in temperature can increase the chances of the combustion process, which can lead to an increasing volume of gas elements.
Thus, it will increase the pressure that will induce the risk of destructive effects, which can accelerate the explosion or flame surge. Failure to stop this flame can result in more extensive damage to the process, property, and loss of lives of the workers, which can cost millions of litigation expenses.
Types of Flame Generation: Deflagration
If any flammable substances have been mixed through the atmosphere that comes in contact with the ignition culprit, then a flame surge will rise. This flame can burn all the gas and vapor until:
- The supply of the fuel is already consumed
- The heat that is needed to keep the combustion is eliminated
- The oxygen becomes too low or too high to enable a continuous burning.
If the flame front keeps on propagating at a particular speed against the speed of vapor – it is called deflagration.
This flame front can be classified into two categories:
- Unconfined Deflagration: It occurs when there’s a flammable atmosphere present outside the vessel or process equipment. For instance, a ventilation or breathing space from a tank that stores gasoline may produce a flammable vapor or unconfined cloud, which can be a cause of the explosion. That’s why any ignition causes like static electrical discharge, lit cigarette, and lightning can ignite the vapor cloud that can result in a flame to enter the tank through the open space
- Confined Deflagration: It occurs when there’s an ignition present in the flammable area inside a pipeline, vessel, or process equipment. It typically happens in the process of plant or industrial areas. For instance, a poisonous methane gas that can be found on the ground is pumped to the edge along to the pipe; it’ll burn the boiler for a heating purpose.