A comprehensive test method for inline flame arresters



The certification test standards that presently exist for flame arresters are highly inadequate for inline applications. A proper flame arrester test method should ensure that a unit will work with any flame front conditions that it could be exposed to in actual use. When evaluating flame arrester performance, it is just as dangerous to neglect deflagration testing as detonation testing. The comprehensive inline flame arrester test method outlined here involves exposing a unit to the entire flame propagation pressure spectrum. This includes low, medium and high pressure deflagrations as well as overdriven and stable detonations. The test method also takes into account the following factors: flow restriction on the protected side of the flame arrester, flame propagation through a flowing gas, initial system pressure and temperature, and specified gas mixture. Flow restriction on the protected side of the flame arrester has a very significant effect on performance and has not previously been given consideration in flame arrester testing. Besides moving flame front test, endurance burn testing and hydrostatic pressure testing are also discussed here. Major regulatory organizations have recently adopted these findings as the basis for new standards proposed to cover an inline flame arrester test method.