Expert ForumsProcess Design

Topic: Re: Oil pipe design

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Please consider the following suggestions to your system as several key questions are raised with your query. Oil transfer system configurations are similar to water transfer and other liquid piping systems in their components. However, the differences in physical properties must be factored in, primarily the differences in viscosity, density, and solids/asphaltenes content.
Depending on how many oil barrels must be transferred and the rate that they must be transferred, you have several reliable options. The simplest transfer system is a relatively inexpensive drum pump readily available from a number of manufacturers. Drum pumps can be electrically- or air-driven and can often be operated with only a discharge hose. The addition of a ball or gate valve on the discharge hose will enable positive shutoff, if desired.
The use of gravity by raising the location of the barrel relative to the receiving container can greatly facilitate the transfer rate. If the oil has a high viscosity, heating of the barrel may be required. The pour point of the oil will provide an indication of the minimum temperature for transfer using a pumping system. Regardless of the system used, the barrel from which the oil transfer is taking place must be vented to avoid collapse of the barrel.
Depending on the oil’s solids and asphaltenes content and whether these constituents are acceptable in the receiving container, a filter may or may not be needed. Diaphragm pumps will tolerate solids and sludges without a filter and centrifugal pumps may be an option if the viscosity is relatively low or moderate and the solids are not abrasive. If the material from the drum must be filtered prior to the receiving container, the filter should be downstream of the pump and pressure gages to monitor the pressure drop across the filter during operation and isolation valves on each side of the filter to unplug or clean it are advisable.
There are several excellent text and reference books that discuss liquid pumping system physics and describe in detail the use of Bernoulli’s equation; many with the general title of fluid mechanics. Please consider your company or local library for texts often used in instructing fluid mechanics courses.