Inerting of centrifuges for safe operation


  • Prepared for presentation at American Institute of Chemical Engineers 39th Annual Loss Prevention Symposium, April 10–14, 2005, Atlanta, GA.


Many centrifuging operations are hazardous because the feed slurries and wash liquors contains flammable liquids. In addition, ignition sources are frequently present. To avoid fires and explosions in centrifuges, purging is commonly applied before operation begins, and blanketing is done during operation, to lower the oxygen concentration below the limiting oxygen concentration of the flammable liquid. This communication discusses and describes the three commonly used inerting systems: monitoring by flow, monitoring by pressure, and monitoring by oxygen analysis. Details are given for each method, including schematic drawings and inerting procedures. General requirements for an effective centrifuge inerting system are discussed. Also, design considerations are presented for oxygen analyzer systems to avoid problems in their use. © 2005 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog, 2005