Flares are prominent in hydrocarbon processing operations. From afar, they can be spotted burning with a high or low flame, supported by a tall steel structure (FIG. 1). Most of the time, they are in continuous operation burning waste. They also support operational and recuperation efforts during emergency situations. Flare burners are exposed to flame, making their entire construction vulnerable to elevated temperature damage. For this reason, they must be inspected thoroughly.
It is important to know the operating history of the flare burner to withdraw pertinent information before performing the inspection. Integrity operating windows (IOWs) should be defined and monitored for all flare systems.
Inspection program elements. To set up an inspection plan for flare burners, it is important to know about their type, construction details and materials of composition. Flare burners can be of the following types:
* Unassisted pipe flare
* Steam-assisted pipe flare
* Pipe flares with internal steam/air eductor tubes
* Air-assisted smokeless flares
* High-pressure smokeless flares.
Each type of flare has its own purpose and functionality. A basic difference is whether a flare is smokeless or non-smokeless. Based on this criterion, an appropriate flare burner is selected and constructed. Local regulations define the requirements for smokeless burning.
Smoking tendency is a...