An Introduction to Flame Arrester Technology

By on November 26, 2019

A flame arrester (or arrestor) is a device that permits gas to pass through but stops a flame to prevent a more massive explosion or fire. There’s a wide variety of situations where flame arresters are used. It is highly essential to understand how these products work and their performance restrictions for someone who selects flame arrester. This article will provide you introductory knowledge about flame arresters and their uses in different industries.

Now, let me give you a background about flame arresters and how they came into existence.

Flame Arresters Discovery in 1815

Discovered in 1815, Sir Humphry Davy, a chemist and an inventor, began to a solution to enclose the lamp flame firmly with a tall cylinder of plain-woven wire screen known as metal gauze. It was to prevent miners’ oil lamps from inflicting explosions once Firedamp (a flammable gas consisting of methane found in coal mines) seeped into the mine shafts.

flame arrester

Flame Arresters Today

Today, flame arresters of various varieties are applied in many industries. And they all set off the same principle, and that is to eliminate heat from the fire as it tries to travel through narrow passages with metal walls or different heat-conductive material. As an example, most flame arresters manufacturers use layers of metal ribbons with crimped corrugations.

Flame arresters are utilized in approximately 22 industries like pharmaceutical, purification, oil exploration and production, sewerage treatment, mining, landfills, bulk liquids transportation, power generation, and more.  In some cases, the flames involve heat-releasing reactions apart from oxidation. Processes that generate the flammable or reactive gases comprises of mixing, separation, reacting, blending, drilling, and digesting. These processes involve various configurations of tools/equipment and mixtures of gas.

There are 2 Types of Flame Arresters :

  1. End-of-line, also known as vent-to-atmosphere arresters – its application is to prevent a fire in the atmosphere from entering an enclosure.
  1. In-Line (also known as deflagration and detonation flame arrestors) – it is being installed in pipes to prevent flames from passing.

*deflagration means rapid combustion and detonation means uncontrolled explosion.

Here are the different uses of a Flame Arrester:

  • To prevent the spread of an open fire
  • To prevent explosive mixtures from igniting
  • To limit the spread of the existing explosion
  • To stop the proliferation of a fire traveling at subsonic velocities
  • To confine the fire inside a controlled location

More details about Flame arresters that you should know:

  • Flame arrestors are passive safety devices that do not rely on a power source, have no moving components, and do not require human attention except for frequent cleaning.
  • Flame arrestors are sized based mostly upon the anticipated nature of the flame (especially how quick it moves) and on the anticipated intensity of the pressure pulse created by the flame
  • Flame arrestors are classified into 12 classes depending on the degree of the flame hazard (NEC Groups B, C, D).
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