I have a client that has an old shell and tube condenser that is not rated for full vacuum on the shell side. Based on the operating conditions, I've determined that the vapor mass could condense in about 1 second if the shell side were closed in and the cooling water left running, requiring almost 1,000,000 CFH air flow through a vacuum vent to keep the shell from collapsing. If this were a tank, I would size a vacuum vent for these conditions, but the vent will be huge compared to the shell and I'm wondering if this is practical. I'm inclined to recommend administrative controls (per API-521) until they can replace the unit with one that is rated for full vacuum.
Any feedback on this issue? Never bumped into a condenser that was not rated for full vacuum.
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