The design of safety relief valves depends on knowledge of the expected force-lift and flow-lift characteristics at the desired operating conditions of the valve. During valve opening the flow conditions change from seal-leakage type flows to combinations of sub-sonic and supersonic flows It is these highly compressible flow conditions that control the force and flow lift characteristics. This paper reports the use of computational fluid dynamics techniques to investigate the valve characteristics for a conventional spring operated 1/4” safety relief valve designed for gases operating between 10 and 30 bar. The force and flow magnitudes are highly dependent on the lift and geometry of the valve and these characteristics are explained with the aid of the detailed information available from the CFD analysis. Experimental determination of the force and flow lift conditions has also been carried out and a comparison indicates good correspondence between the predictions and the experiment. However, attention requires to be paid to specific aspects of the geometry modeling including corner radii and edge chamfers to ensure satisfactory prediction.

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