Dennis Hendershot Forum Moderator 19 Posts
Re: Is There a Danger With Water Spray Inside Heat Exchangers?30 October 2008 at 1:29pm
I am not aware of any incidents, but then my experience is largely limited to one company, plus what I happen to read about. You might have better luck by asking your company's insurance carrier, who might have access to a larger set of industry incidents. Of course, they also have an interest in convincing you to spend lots of your money to minimize their potential for incurring a loss! There are also industry databases that can be used (CCPS, Institution of Chemical Engineers in the U.K.), but you have to pay to get access to most of them, and I obviously don't have access. It might also be worth while asking somebody at NFPA, Bob Benedetti might be a good place to start.
We have flue gas heat exchangers for thermal oil, which has around a 400 degree Fahrenheit flash point and a chamber temperature around 700 degrees Fahrenheit. Standard insurance recommendations and NFPA (6-64) call for automatic water spray fire protection inside the heat exchanger. The theory is that the water spray, when discharged, will contact refractory, flashing to steam -- aiding the fire control for fires resulting from leaking/damaged HTF piping. However, we have management team members that are so worried about false trip and cold thermal stress to the refractory that systems are kept manual -- and may never be actuated, even in a fire situation. Do you know of loss experience data concerning water spray inside heat exchangers that can support use of water spray (or not). We manufacture OSB (oriented strand board) and factories do not have steady supply of steam for fire protection in HEs and HEs are so large that CO2 system costs are prohibitive.
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