What is flame arresting?
A flame arrester (also spelled arrestor), deflagration arrester or flame trap is a safety device fitted to openings of enclosures or to pipe work and are intended to allow flow but prevent flame transmission through the arrester. They have widely been used for decades in the chemical and oil industry, and a variety of national & international standards are available.
The accidental ignition of flammable gases or vapours from vent pipes of storage tank or process vessel presents a constant threat to plant and personnel. The use of the flame arrestors is one of the essential measures taken to avoid or minimize the possible consequences. An end -of-line type flame arrestor is fitted at the extreme downstream end of a pipeline.
The arrester consists of a flame quenching element contained within a housing which incorporates thread or flange connections for fitting to pipework. The element is often of greater diameter than the pipework in order to compensate for pressure drop and therefore the housing is enlarged accordingly.
How does Flame Arresters work?
Flame arresters are passive devices with no moving parts. They prevent the propagation of flame from the exposed side of the unit to the protected side by the use of wound crimped metal ribbon or wire mesh type flame cell element.
This construction produces a matrix of uniform openings that are carefully constructed to quench the flame by absorbing the heat of the flame. This provides an extinguishing barrier to the ignited vapour mixture.
Under normal operating conditions the flame arrester permits a relatively free flow of gas or vapour through the piping system. If the mixture is ignited and the flame begins to travel back through the piping, the arrester will prohibit the flame from moving back to the gas source.
Types of Flame Arrestor:
Usage and applications:
Flame arresters are used:
- to stop the spread of an open fire
- to limit the spread of an explosive event that has occurred
- to protect potentially explosive mixtures from igniting
- to confine fire within an enclosed, controlled, or regulated location
- to stop the propagation of a flame traveling at sub-sonic velocities
They are commonly used on:
- fuel storage tank vents
- fuel gas pipelines
- safety storage cabinets for paint, aerosol cans, and other flammable mixtures
- the exhaust system of internal combustion engines
- the air intake of marine inboard engines
- davy lamps in coal mining
- overproof rum and other flammable liquors
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