Case Study

Stress analysis of low-cost, low-weight safety device used to deflect jet fires

Rob Kulka

By Engaged Expert

Rob Kulka

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Rob is a chartered mechanical engineer with over 15 years’ experience in structural integrity assessment and asset management, through the use of complex computational analysis, damage tolerance assessment, mechanical testing, and safety case development.

The Challenge

The customer was developing a safety protection device that would deflect jet fires from leaking pipe flanges away from personnel and equipment. The device had to withstand high pressures from the leak as well as extremes of low and high temperature, with minimal metallic content.

Stress analysis

The Solution 

The principal challenge was to demonstrate that the device would survive and function in the event of a worst-case accident. Element’s team of fluid dynamics experts simulated the leak and the flows and temperatures in the flange cover, then linked these results to stress analysis models to predict the performance of the device. Whilst some essential changes were identified to maintain integrity, it was possible to confirm that the basic design was sound.

The Result

The effectiveness and integrity of the device were clearly demonstrated to the relevant approval body, allowing the customer’s client to proceed with a design that saved millions of dollars by dispensing with a heavy structural firewall. The customer was also able to take the approved design and promote it to other operators worldwide.

Stress analysis

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