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Tutorial on Auto-Refrigeration/Brittle Fracture Preventions


This tutorial will describe the major steps for the evaluation of a process unit for auto-refrigeration and brittle fracture.  Major topics include:

  • Auto-Refrigeration and Brittle Fracture basics
  • Vessel identification – potential for auto-refrigeration/brittle fracture
  • API 579 / ASME FFS-1 Recommended Practice for Fitness-For-Service methods of evaluation of carbon steel equipment for brittle fracture
  • The Process Hazards Analysis (PHA) techniques used
  • Example scenarios
  • Operator training in prevention, identification and mitigation of potential auto-refrigeration excursions
  • Post excursion inspection considerations

The tutorial will close with an open panel discussion by multiple ethylene producers who will also share their experiences with auto-refrigeration (near miss incidents, PHAs, mitigation, etc.). The tutorial is aimed at entry level to seasoned veteran engineers that desire to have a better understanding of this multidiscipline process safety risk.


Proceedings from the Ethylene Producers Conference, AIChE Spring National Meeting, New Orleans LA, March 31 – April 2, 2014.