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What Is Difference Between Constant And Superimposed Back Pressure

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#1 JKM


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Posted 13 March 2017 - 04:10 AM

Dear All,


Recently I came with this confusion. For the PSV datasheet Vendor Data Specifies three cells as below:

1. Under the Back Pressure : i) Constant

                                               ii) Variable

                                               iii) Total


As I understand


i) Constant Pressure: It means constant header pressure or superimposed back pressure. However my lead engineer says constant means positive pressure generated by the nitrogen purging. Not the superimposed back pressure. So according to my lead engineer constant should be nearly zero but according to me it should be around 1.5 barg as our maximum header pressure.


ii) Variable: As I understand it is built-up backpressure i.e. backpressure generated as a result of PSV opening. However my lead engineer says Variable pressure is total of self built-up backpressure + Backpressure generated by others.



I would appreciate if you can share your thought in order to clarify what exactly is the definition of i) Constant Back Pressure and  (ii)Variable Back Pressure




Edited by JKM, 13 March 2017 - 04:15 AM.

#2 flarenuf


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Posted 13 March 2017 - 05:30 AM

hello JKM


a constant backpressure in a header system is the pressure that exists due to the positive bP maintained by a purge gas ( as you rightly say negligible) plus any bP built up by  a constant flowing gas in the system.  So for example if a plant was starting up and venting continuously from a separator during this phase then there would be a constant bP throughout the header system.
Any PSV or vent valve would see this bP at the exit flange .
Under normal  operational conditions the constant bP in a system ( where hopefully all PSV's and vent valves are closed ) will be very small ) purge gas and any minor leaks into the system only )

a flowing backpressure on a valve is generated by the gas from that valve increasing the backpressure as it flows from exit flange to tip.

some folk make a mistake of only calculating the dP in the lateral/subheader from the valve  exit flange to the tie in point of the next header downstream and then adding that to the constant backpressure. This then omits the dP of the flowing gas from tie in point to tip

the total bP at an exit flange is therefore the pressure calculated by the total system gas flow from tip back to tie in point plus the dP contribution of relieving flow from tie in point back to valve flange

hope this explains it


#3 JKM


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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:35 PM

Dear Flarenuf,


Thanks a lot for your reply. Based on your explanation I paraphrase the terms as follows:


1)Constant Back Pressure: It is the positive backpressure generated by the purging gas or other continuously flow in the normal condition. 

2) Built-Up Back Pressure: The backpressure generated as the result of PSV itself relieving


Kindly correct if my understanding is wrong.


However I am still confused about the superimposed back pressure. As I understand it is the backpressure generated as a result of other PSV reliefs which are connected to header. When specifying the datasheet then it should be the worst case scenario i.e. all the PSVs releasing at the same time. Is it the part of the variable backpressure?  





#4 mirandomka


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Posted 17 March 2017 - 06:09 AM

There are two types of superimposed back pressure,constant and variable.
Constant BP= consultant superimposed BP
Variable superimposed back pressure can be any variable BP at the discharge flange that is not induced by the PSV relieving.
You do not have to assume all the PSVs are relieving at the same time for two reasons:
1. It's not realistic to assume worst case=all psv relieving. Usually we check for the single common worst cause.ie site wide power failure
2, usually we do not assume two PSVs which have no common relief causes will relieving at the same time.
For example such a PSV will only relieving during fire and there is no other vessel in the same fire zone, PSV's variable BP will be 0.

#5 breizh


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Posted 19 March 2017 - 03:04 AM

Hi ,

Consider the link attached




#6 afaruque


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Posted 28 March 2017 - 12:11 AM

from the link provided by Breizh :



    is the gauge pressure built up at the outlet side by blowing.
    is the gauge pressure on the outlet side of the closed Valve.
    is the gauge pressure built up on the outlet side during blowing (built-up backpressure + superimposed backpressure).
    is the increase in pressure over the maximum allowable working gauge pressure of the system to be protected.

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