Safety relief valve (SRV) is still the ultimate security component of pressure vessels or piping equipment. It does not take the place of a regulating or control valve but it aims to protect devices and people by preventing damage due to overpressure in the system. This is ensured by discharging an amount of fluid when excessive rising pressure occurs. For the incompressible flows, the discharge coefficient of the relief valve can be modified by cavitation development under specific operating conditions. Then, the sizing of the valve doesn’t correspond to the flow discharged resulting in severe damage.

This study aims to demonstrate the capability of numerical modeling to predict the evolution of discharge coefficient under cavitation conditions. URANS simulations have been performed with ANSYS CFX 13.0 using Shear Stress Transport modeling. A Rayleigh-Plessey model is used to predict the development of cavitation in the relief valve. A modification of the saturation vapor pressure is proposed in the cavitation model to take into account the turbulent effects on the cavitation development.

Additionally a Plexiglas mock-up has been built for flow visualization and two valve discs are used to measure the discharge coefficient or the flow force acting on the valve. Numerical and experimental approaches are compared first by analyzing qualitative results through flow visualization and also by evaluating hydraulic characteristics of the SRV.

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