A flame arrester is a passive device that allows gas to pass through it by stopping the propagation of a flame. Sir Humphrey Davy discovered the first flame arrester in 1815 to safeguard miners from explosions caused by using naked flames in mines. The Davy lamp kept a candle within a fine gauze mesh screen, which permitted light to pass through it whilst averting flames from ignited pockets of methane evading from the lamp. The mesh acted as a heat sink, cooling the flame, and preventing it from igniting gas outside the lamp.
With modern technology at present, a Flame Arrestor is a device that allows gas to pass through it but stops a flame to prevent a more significant fire or explosion. There is a vast variety of situations in which flame arrestors are helpful. They are used in many industries like refining, pharmaceutical, chemical, petrochemical, oil exploration & production, liquid transportation, and pulp & paper.
Flame arresters are mainly used to stop the spread of an open fire, limit the spread of an explosive event that has occurred, protect potentially explosive mixtures from igniting, and confine fire within enclosed, controlled, or regulated locations. They are commonly used on Fuel storage tank vents and Fuel gas pipelines. To paint Safety storage cabinets, aerosol cans, and other flammable mixtures are some applications of Flame arrestors.
Flame arrestors should be used only for the conditions of which they are intended and tested. Since the depth of an arrester is specified for certain conditions, the changes in the temperature, pressure, or composition of the gases entering the arrester can be regulated. This can cause the flame’s spatial velocity to increase, making the depth of the arrester insufficient to stop the flame front (“flow”). Therefore, the deflagration may remain downstream of the arrestor.
For combustion to occur and a flame to be present in Flame arrestors, the reaction requires three elements such as oxygen, ignition, and fuel. Therefore, when a flammable mixture is burnt, the flame will spread from the source within the volume of the combustible fuel-air mix. Within pipeline systems, this propagation is usually upstream (flashback) against the flow of gas.
There are different types of flame arresters, and most of them fall into two major categories. The first category, “End of the line” vent is an atmosphere arrester used to prevent an atmospheric fire or explosion from entering an enclosure. The second category, In-Line, is used to avoid the propagation of an explosion within a pipeline.
Therefore, all kinds of industrial businesses worldwide can require flame arresters. The most prominent ones are end-of-line deflagration, in-line deflagration, and in-line detonation. Additionally, flame arresters should meet current ATEX and ISO legislation and standards.
Finally, the flame arrester element is finished up with a matrix of channels. Therefore, the flames can be quenched as it passes through by removing heat energy from the reaction. The height and length of the channels are tuned by offering the least resistance to gas flow whilst still quenching a flame.
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