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Definitions of DESIGN PRESSURE, OP, MAWP, MAOP AND PSV RELIEF

SCENARIOS

1. The Operating Pressure (OP) - This is the Pressure at which the device /
equipment /pressure vessel is operating at under normal operating conditions.
Simply put, you could say the general Pressure conditions in the equipment on a
regular basis.

2. The Maximum Operating Pressure (MOP) - This is the Maximum Operating


Pressure that the engineer considers will encounter in the process operation,
including a margin for any possible surges or fluctuations in the Pressure.

3. The Design Pressure (DP) - As per the ASME B31.3 Definition, this is the
most Severe and Coincident Condition, Internal or External due to the service
that the equipment is likely to be subject to. Meaning that it is the worst possible
Temperature and Pressure Case the fluid can exert on the Vessel / Equipment.
This is decided by the Process Design Engineer based on the fluid service
existing, and varies with the fluid too. The engineer decides it based on previous
experience and a sound judgement.

4. The Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP) –

There are two definitions for this.

Process Definition (Applicable to Vessels)

It is the maximum operating pressure deemed safe or allowable by the relevant


Process Engineer during design. You could say the upper limit of MOP allowed.

Fabrication Method Based Definition (Applicable to Pipelines only)


MAOP is not to be confused with the MOP. It is a parameter usually applicable to
pipelines and not pressure vessels.
It is used to verify the wall failure conditions for pressurized pipelines.

NOTE : This definition is not applicable to pressure vessels in general


since ASME doesn’t mention it. It’s usage is in general very limited so this
formula is not to be considered for any design/calculation. It is just to give
an understanding. Please don’t use the formulae below for vessels as they
apply to pipelines and not pressure vessels.

It is a parameter that checks for the failure of the pipeline based on the Pressure
experienced. As an example, it is calculated below as shown for Steel Pipes:

P = (2St/D) x F x E x T
Where
S = Grade of Pipe;
T = thickness of Pipe;
D = Diameter of Pipe;
F = Design Factor;
E = Longitudinal Joint Factor;
T = Temperature Derating Factor.

Pls Refer to the following Links -


http://www.northeastgas.org/pdf/m_friend_moap.pdf
http://www.ingaa.org/File.aspx?id=12366

(This information is related to Natural Gas Transportation Pipelines, not industrial


process pressure vessels. It doesn’t apply to the ASME VIII pressure vessel
code, which is the almost universal, accepted vessel design code.)

5. The Maximum Allowable Working Pressure (MAWP) –

This is defined as the Maximum Pressure experienced by the Weakest point


of the Equipment before failure. It is mistakenly referred to as design pressure
but, simply put it tells us the Maximum pressure that the weakest point in the
equipment can withstand as per code (Also referred to as Design Pressure of the
weakest point, but not the general Design pressure as such).
(This pressure value is still ALLOWABLE for safe operation. You are simply not
allowed - by code, or law - to exceed it. There is still an operating “cushion” that
is higher than the MAWP before material failure is expected; we simply are not
allowed to go there or tolerate it for safe, common sense reasons.)

The temperature stresses have a major role to play in the failure of the
equipment and it is the unpredictability of this factor that makes it difficult to
calculate theoretically. The MAWP is usually determined by the manufacturer of
the equipment based on fabrication procedures, and backward correlations etc.
and is usually stamped on the equipment.
The MAWP is subject to change over time due to corrosion wear and thus
reduces over time. So please consult the fabricator of the vessel on changes in
this aspect.

The MAWP is a result of the criteria, calculations, welding procedures, and


ultimate plate selection of the vessel fabricator. It is a value that is totally out of
the control or realm of the process design engineer and normally lies in the
hands of the fabrication engineer that ultimately wins the purchase order with a
successful bid.
The Range of values and ascension of the above pressures is as mentioned
below:
OP < MOP < DP < MAWP

PSV RELIEF SCENARIOS

For PSV Relief you have an amount of overpressure allowed above the set
pressure before the valve fully opens. This overpressure is defined and explained
as per API 520, 521, 526.
If the PSV Set Pressure=MAWP, then we call the Overpressure as
Accumulation.

1. When we have a single PSV to a pressure vessel (Non Fire Case)


- the Maximum Allowable Set Pressure for the PSV is = 100% X MAWP.
- Allowable Overpressure for this Case is a maximum of 10%
thus making the overall maximum allowable Accumulated Pressure as 110% X
MAWP.

2. When we have a single PSV to a pressure vessel (Fire Case)


- the Maximum Allowable Set Pressure for the PSV is still = 100% X MAWP.
- Allowable Overpressure for this Case is a maximum of 21% thus making the
overall maximum allowable Accumulated Pressure as
121% X MAWP.

3. When we have multiple PSVs to a pressure vessel (Non Fire Case)


- the Maximum Allowable Set Pressure for the PSV is 100% X MAWP (For the
first PSV) and 105% X MAWP (For any subsequent PSVs)
- Allowable Overpressure for this Case is a maximum of 16% thus making the
overall maximum allowable Accumulated Pressure as 116% X MAWP (For all
Valves).

4. When we have multiple PSVs to a pressure vessel (Fire Case), - the


Maximum Allowable Set Pressure for the PSV is 100% X MAWP (For the first
PSV) and 105% X MAWP (For any subsequent additional PSVs), and 110%
X MAWP (For any supplemental PSV's).

- Allowable Overpressure for this Case is a maximum of 21% thus making the
overall maximum allowable Accumulated Pressure as 121% X MAWP (For all
Valves).
5. A conservative estimate would be to set the PSV at 90% of the MAWP so that
there is a margin for overpressure without reaching the maximum possible value.
An even more conservative method is to set the PSV at = Design pressure of
the equipment since there is no need to go beyond that and use the MAWP.

But take care not to lower the Setpoint too much due to which it will cause the
PSV to open up for every small fluctuation due to being too close to the operating
pressure. Maintain a sufficient Operating Margin between the Operating
Pressure and the Set Point.

6. The MAWP is measured and verified during fabrication and stamped.


Hydrotests or Pneumatic Tests are done for the Equipment. The usual Pressure
for the Hydrotest of the equipment is 130% of MAWP (Earlier used to be 150%)
and for pneumatic it is around 110% of the MAWP.

7. PSV Set Pressure's and overpressures depend on the respective cases so I


would suggest you refer to the Specs I mentioned and understand them
thoroughly. This document isn’t exhaustive since there are unlimited scenarios
where there is a possibility of variation. There are also numerous posts and
spreadsheets on this topic and related, so I would suggest you make good use of
them.

Regards,
Shantanu
References : API 520-I, 520-II, 521, ASME BPVC