The choice of the right cryogenic piping makes a difference in how the different industries are able to handle these substances, which often present their own needs and safety measures.
Broadly speaking, there are a number of functions that any cryogenic piping design must be sure to fulfill:
- Insulation, in order to curtail heat transfer and losses
- They must be flexible enough to guarantee they respond well to thermal stresses
- Their materials must be chosen accordingly to the substances that will be stored within and guaranteeing all resources are optimized
- Their accessories, such as cryogenic valves, must be specifically designed to work within cryogenic environments
- The right security standards and measures are followed
Considering these conditions, choosing the right cryogenic piping supplier plays a key role in companies being able to access equipment that is reliable and cost-efficient.
Keep reading to find out key findings from any cryogenic piping design guide to understand the requisites to choose the right cryogenic piping.
What exactly is cryogenic piping?
Cryogenic piping consists of a system of pipes designed to process substances at very low (cryogenic) temperatures.
Because working with cryogenic liquids typically poses a number of specific challenges (increased corrosion and deterioration, as well as particular safety risks), cryogenic piping is a class of its own in terms of piping structures.
Cryogenic piping is used to transport cryogenic substances such as LIN, LOX, LAR, LNG, LHe, and LH2, among others. Their goal is to transport these liquids and protect them against the entry of heat and its gasification, properly insulating them.
In order to do so, there are a number of insulation methods, vacuum-jacketed insulation being one of the most efficient for high-standard cryogenic requirements.
Additionally, other equipment needs in this sort of structure include vacuum-jacketed valves, flexible lines, bayonet connections, vapor vents and vent heaters and vacuum-jacketed manifolds.
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Cryogenic Piping Features
Choosing the right size for cryogenic piping plays a role in minimizing heat losses and increasing a system’s lifespan.
As such, sizes are determined according to the flow requirements for a particular system, the pressure that it will be operating at, the types of equipment that are connected to the pipe and potential restriction points.
Again, the choice of materials for cryogenic piping is critical in order to guarantee these systems’ performance. Materials must be resistant to impacts, corrosion, oxidation and sulfidation, ductile and strong, as well as being able to withstand abrasion, erosion, sizing or galling.
Additionally, different cryogenic substances require different temperature requirements and, as such, diverse materials might be more appropriate. Copper or nickel might be enough for the highest cryogenic temperature ranges (0cº – 45Cº); when it comes to more demanding cryogenic ranges, stainless steel is typically used.
Applications and uses
As the use of cryogenic substances revolutionizes a wide variety of industries, the following are the most common sectors demanding cryogenic piping installations:
- Ship conversion to LNG as a more sustainable maritime option. See the LNG ship conversion projects Cryospain has participated in.
- Food industry
- Transportation companies
- Industrial plants for the employment of technical gasses
Hazards and Challenges on Cryogenic Piping Treatment
Cryogenic materials present specific risks in their handling and storage, hazards to which cryogenic piping must respond to:
- Thermal burn injuries
- Skin freezing
- Eye damage
- Explosions and fire
In light of such dangers, there are a number of safety measures that must be undertaken in order to guarantee safety in a cryogenic environment:
- Safety begins at a design level, choosing the right materials and piping layout, as well as location, strength requirements and stress-handling capacities. For instance, in pipe-in-pipe systems, both deposits must be able to withstand load requirements in terms of buckling and expansion stress without failing or breaking.
- Adequate accessories must be included. Specific valves and piping support are used to avoid any related hazards
- Proper maintenance operations must be ensured, including the performance of professional vacuum leak testing
- The appropriate codes, standards and directives must be followed, as they’re established to guarantee safety in cryogenic piping projects. In the case of Cryospain, these are the ones considered in our systems: Directives (2014/68/UE, TRCU-032/2013 and ASME); Design code (EN13480 and ASME B31.3.); Welding code & NDT code (ASME IX/V, UNE-EN y and our own standard for Helium leak tests); when applicable, Class of maritime approval (RINA, Bureau Veritas, DNV y Lloyd’s Register).
All in all, these security measures should be accompanied by the study and consideration of adequate project costs while maximizing efficiency and security in design, guaranteeing each structure responds to the project’s specific needs.
Keep reading: Vacuum applications: endless uses for the industry
Cryospain: Cryogenic Piping Experts
At Cryospain, we put our experience and knowledge in the field of cryogenic engineering at the service of cryogenic piping for our clients.
As such, we design and produce high-vacuum, super-insulated pipes as well as all other equipment needs (such as purgers and phase separators, among others).
From the mechanical and thermal cryogenic piping design to its manufacturing and transportation, we take care of integral cryogenic piping projects, while also guaranteeing compliance with the most rigorous quality standards.
In fact, we also take part in the logistic side of our projects, guaranteeing detailed 3D models that predict how large loads are transported, and providing the right instructions and equipment for transportation.
Want to learn more about cryogenic piping?
At Cryospain, we’ve been in charge of over 7000 meters of successful vacuum-insulated cryogenic piping projects, adjusting them to each substance’s needs.
Get in touch with us and let’s talk about how we help you ensure you access the right type of equipment.