A recent Joint Industry Project under the management of the Institute of Petroleum has been concerned with the failure scenario in which a shell and tube heat exchanger with a low pressure rated shell and with a high pressure tube-side suffers tube failure. For water filled shells, the ensuing scenario is one in which a gas bubble rapidly grows around the burst site generating a rising pressure wave within the shell. This pressure wave is eventually relieved when the protective hardware operates leaving a residual lower pressure tail as the water is driven out of the shell. Tube failure for a shell protected by a relief device therefore gives rise to a transient pressure pulse whose characteristics are influenced by the failure site geometry and location and the locations and dimensions of the relief points.
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