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Pipeline Flushing Velocity

Pipeline Flushing Velocity

We have a short-run diesel fuel pipeline that has been installed in quite a dusty, dirty environment.  We need to flush the line to prevent downstream contamination of components. Debris in the line ranges from very fine to 50-75 micron.  

My question is:  What fluid velocity/Re number do we need to achieve to maximize the transport flushing effect?

System details:
1) Piping will be flushed with diesel fuel.
2) Pipe is sch 40 carbon steel black pipe with line sizes of 3" and 4".
3) I have a pump available which can deliver 350 gpm at 100 psi.  For flushing, and without overrunning the pump, I expect we'll be able to achieve 450 gpm or slightly higher.
4) We want to filter down to at least 20 micron on the discharge end of the pipe.  
5) Pipeline segments to be cleaned have distances that range from only a few meters to over 650 feet.

Please advise, and thanks in advance for your assistance.


RE: Pipeline Flushing Velocity

You can try running at around 10 ft/sec to see what you can clean.  Be careful with valve openings, closings and pump starts and stops at that velocity.  

To get what that doesn't clean, if necessary you might try running a series of cleaning pigs.  Cleaning pigs will be much more effective than running at a higher velocity.  Additionally, if there are some gum residues and plaque coatings you want to get at, running batching pigs with a solvent or specialized detergent between them might loosen them up.

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." -Albert Einstein

RE: Pipeline Flushing Velocity

The line pigging is a good suggestion or as an alternative and since this sounds like new construction you may want to consider pulse air blows followed by recirculation with diesel through a bag filter.

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