Glossary of Pressure Relief Valve Terms
Why a Glossary of Pressure Relief Valve Nomenclature?
Pressure Relief Devices i.e. Pressure Relief Valves (PRV), Pressure Safety Valves (PSV) and Bursting Discs (or Rupture Discs as they are also known) all share a range of terminology that isn't usually encountered in other areas of instrumentation engineering. For proper relief valve sizing a thorough understanding of these terms is essential.
It is worth noting that in some organisations it is mechanical or process engineers who specify pressure relief devices, not C&I engineers.
Relief valve accumulation pressure, or simply accumulation, is the pressure increase above the Maximum Allowable Working Pressure (MAWP) of a vessel during discharge through a pressure relief device. It is either expressed in pressure units or percentage.
Actual Discharge Area
The measured minimum net area that determines the flow through a pressure safety relief valve.
The pressure that exists at the outlet of a pressure relief device as a result of the pressure in the discharge system e.g. flare system, blowdown system etc. It is the sum of the superimposed and built up back pressure.
Balanced Pressure Relief Valve
A spring loaded pressure relief valve that incorporates a means for minimising the effect of back pressure on the valve's performance characteristics.
Blowdown, or blowdown pressure, is the difference between the set pressure and the closing pressure of a pressure relief valve, expressed either as a percentage of the set pressure, or in pressure units.
Built Up Back Pressure
The increase in pressure in the discharge header that develops as a result of flow after the safety relief device opens.
The value of decreasing inlet static pressure at which the valve disk re-establishes contact with the seat or at which lift becomes zero.
Cold Differential Test Pressure
The pressure at which the pressure relief valve is adjusted to open on the bench. It includes corrections for back pressure and/or temperature.
Conventional Pressure Relief Valve
A spring loaded pressure relief valve whose performance characteristics are directly affected by changes in the back pressure on the valve.
The area of the cylindrical or conical discharge opening between the seating surfaces above the nozzle seat created by the lift of the disk.
The most severe conditions of coincident temperature and pressure expected during operation. If Maximum Allowable Working Pressure has not been established then design pressure is often used instead.
The actual flow rate of discharge, usually expressed in mass flow units, though can be expressed in volumetric terms. Sometimes referred to as relief valve capacity.
A flow rate calculated from the capacity of the valve when relieving a test fluid e.g. water, air or steam.
An annular chamber within a pressure relief valve, located beyond the seat, for the purpose of generating a rapid opening.
Leak Test Pressure
The inlet static pressure at which a seat leak test is performed. API 527 (Seat Tightness of Pressure Relief Valves) specifies 90% of set pressure.
The actual travel of the disk away from the seat when a valve is relieving.
Maximum Allowable Working Pressure
The maximum pressure allowed in a vessel at its designated temperature. This is the basis for the set pressure of the relief devices that protect the vessel.
Maximum Allowable Accumulated Pressure
The maximum allowable working pressure plus the accumulation.
Maximum Operating Pressure
The maximum pressure expected during operation.
The cross sectional flow area of a nozzle at the minimum nozzle diameter. See our page on Relief Valve Orifice Sizes for further explanation, and for standard relief valve orifice size chart.
The value of an increasing inlet static pressure at which there is a measurable lift of the disc or at which discharge of the fluid becomes continuous.
The pressure increase over the set pressure of the relieving device, expressed in pressure units or as a percentage. It is the same as Accumulation when the relieving device is set at the maximum allowable working pressure of the vessel.
Pilot Operated Pressure Relief Valve
A pressure relief valve in which the main valve is combined with and controlled by an auxiliary pressure relief valve.
The pressure at which the valve disk rapidly moves from a simmer position to a full open position.
Pressure Relief Device
A device actuated by inlet static pressure and designed to open during an emergency or abnormal condition to prevent a rise of internal fluid pressure in excess of a specified value. A Pressure Relief Device can also be designed to prevent an excessive internal vacuum.
Rated Relieving Capacity
The proportion of the measured relieving capacity permitted by the applicable code or regulation to be used as a basis for the application of a pressure relief device.
A spring loaded pressure relief valve actuated by the static pressure upstream of the valve. The valve normally opens in proportion to the pressure increase over the opening pressure. Used primarily with incompressible fluids.
The inlet pressure and temperature on a pressure relief device at a specific overpressure.
Relieving pressure is the valve set pressure plus overpressure.
Required Discharge Area
A nominal, or computed, area of a pressure relief valve used in recognised flow formula to determine the size of the valve. It will be less than the actual discharge area.
Rupture Disk Device
A rupture disk, or bursting disk, is a non re-closing differential pressure relief device actuated by inlet static pressure and designed to function by bursting the pressure containing rupture disk.
Safety Relief Valve
A spring loaded pressure relief valve that may be used as either a safety or a relief valve depending on the application.
A spring loaded pressure relief valve actuated by the static pressure upstream of the valve and characterised by rapid opening or pop action. Normally used with compressible fluids.
Relief valve set pressure is the inlet gauge pressure at which the pressure relief valve is set to open under service conditions.
The audible, or visible, escape of compressible fluid between the seat and disk at an inlet static pressure above the set pressure and at no measurable capacity.
Spring Loaded Pressure Relief Valve
A pressure relieve device designed to automatically re-close and prevent the further flow of liquid. Reclosure supplied by spring force.
The rated relieving capacity that appears on the device nameplate. It is based on the set pressure or burst pressure plus the allowable overpressure for compressible fluids and the differential pressure for incompressible fluids.
Superimposed Back Pressure
The static pressure that exists at the outlet of a pressure relief device at the time the device is required to operate. It is the result of pressure in the discharge system e.g. flare system, and therefore may be constant or variable.