Flanges are products that are suitable for heat exchangers. It plays an integral portion and works well in the processing operation. Many things affect the operational capacity of the flanges, including high-pressure equipment like leakages.
Leakage is not acceptable in the process equipment. Based on heat exchangers, usability and application depend, and they also help in decreasing productivity. Further, many procedures contaminate heat transfer fluids. Therefore, it also creates issues of environmental hazards and safety. Leakage in flanges also leads to life-threatening issues like fire. Hence, it is necessary to identify the leakage in flanges right after the detection.
Meaning of flanges
Flanges possess many components, such as bolts, gaskets, and rings. The bolts hold the flanges in one plane and help support the exchanger. Therefore, it is essential to determine the cause and identify the location after the flange leakage.
Possible causes of flange leaks
There are many possibilities for the flanges to leak. These are:
Unequal bolt stress
Cramped working environment surroundings or improper bolting process of the flange makes a few bolts loose. In addition, unequal bolt stress crushes and tightens the gasket. These stress conditions lead to leakages, especially in high temperatures and after the relaxation of heavily loaded bolts.
Improper flange alignment
Improper flange alignment tends to develop local crushing and unequal gasket compression, resulting in subsequent leakage. Unequal flange centerline alignment results in flange leakage and unequal gasket compression.
Improper gasket centering
When the gasket installation is off-centered to the flange faces, it results in uneven gasket compression. Also, it makes the joints quite prone to further leakage. The spiral wound and double jacket gasket come with a centering ring that extends to the bolts’ inner edge. The right cut of the gasket makes it easier for the exterior diameter to meet the bolt’s inner edge.
Damage and dirt to flange faces
Various damage to the flanges is in the form of external and internal scratches, scaling, weld spatters, protrusions, and dirt. Also, the flanges with warped seating surfaces increase the chances of leakage. It may lead to uneven gasket compression and ultimately results in flange leakage.
The additional load on flanges
Huge piping networks tend to create load at the flange locations. Such needing events and forces loosen the bolting portions. These flange distortions may also lead to leakages.
Random changes in thermal energy fluctuations may result in flange deformation for a limited time. The varied temperature around the flange leads to problems with the flange locations. Sheet metal shields are necessary as it helps in protecting the flanges against snow and rain impingement. These conditions develop heat gradients throughout the flange and lead to flange leakage. Metal shields also protect the flanges at a uniform temperature.
Unsuited flange surface
If the flange comes with deeper serrations in comparison to the specified. It helps in preventing the arrangement of spiral wounds or double-jacketed gaskets. This leads to preventing the space for leakage.
Benefits of immediate leak identification
Many leakage repair and detection methods are available. It helps in saving the entire piping system. With proper flange leakage detection, petroleum refineries help control the emissions from the leaked portions. Further, it helps improve plant workers’ safety levels, reduces emission costs, and supports the environment.
It would help if you kept in mind that there’s no perfect material to fix bad flanges. You can contact Texas Flange anytime for other general procedures or specific applications.