Tag Archives: heat exchangers

Controlling the Seal Chamber Environment

Reducing the temperature in the seal chamber offers many benefits to the performance and reliability of a mechanical seal operating in hot service. This is one of the most effective ways to increase the vapor pressure margin and prevent the pumped fluid form flashing in the seal chamber or at the interface of the mechanical seal’s faces. Additionally lowering the seal chamber temperature also increases the fluid’s viscosity, providing a more stable fluid film at the interface of the seal faces.

One method of achieving a reduction in temperature is to circulate fluid form the seal chamber through a heat exchanger and return the cooled fluid back into the seal chamber. The heat exchanger is often referred to as a “seal cooler” since it is not part of the process, but just an auxiliary system component.

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Improper Gasketed Joints Can Be Deadly

Safety is a concern at any industrial site. An Occupational Safety and Health Administration compliance specialist has stated that safety should be more than priority: “Priorities in an organization can and usually do change. Safety and health need to be a core value of the organization.”

Safety can be a case of values versus priorities. When it comes to sealing devices, perceived dangers sometimes are overlooked. The case of an explosion at a refinery in Anacortes, Washington, shows how deadly accidents can occur when safety risks are distorted.

A heat exchanger, known as E-6600E, catastrophically ruptured at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes on April 2, 2010. Highly flammable hydrogen and naphtha at more than 500 degrees F were released from the ruptured heat exchanger and ignited, causing an explosion and an intense fire that burned for more than three hours.

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