The performance of a Veriflo Excess Flow Shut-Off valve in a university laboratory setting was credited with saving human life and university equipment following a graduate student experiment gone bad.
A research scientist at a major university in the Northeast recently conducted an audit of its laboratories and determined there was a need for additional safety devices while research students and technicians were utilizing high-pressure bottled hydrogen in their experiments. While working with their local Parker Instrumentation sales person and their contacts at the specialty gas company that supported them, they determined that Veriflo FS190
Excess Flow Shut-Off valves would provide them with the cost-effective safety device they needed.
After evaluating the estimated and actual service conditions in the labs, the proper orifice sizes were selected, and the university ordered the FS190s from the gas company. Due to funding restrictions, it only ordered enough to be installed on the hydrogen gas bottles in one of the labs. The second lab would be outfitted with the next fiscal allocations. About 30 days after installation, there were several experiments being conducted with the high-pressure hydrogen in use. One of the graduate research students made a mistake, resulting in a leak and fire downstream of the FS190. The researcher heard a "pop," saw a flame and fire, and then it just went out. After the operator error, the FS190 sensed the flow increase and therefore the increased pressure drop across the orifice, as it was designed. The valve immediately tripped shut and prevented additional hydrogen gas from reaching the fire.
The performance of the valve resulted in the safeguarding of both human life as well as the equipment in the system. In a correspondence after the incident, the lab supervisor wrote to Parker, "I had recently installed one of your valves and it worked. The fire stayed small because the cylinder shut off. It could have been a different story without the valve!"
As a result of the proper sizing, selection and installation of the FS190 on the high-pressure hydrogen, no one was injured and there was minimal damage to the equipment. Immediately after this incident was investigated, the university authorized the purchase of additional FS190 valves for the second lab. It is now the standard practice for Veriflo FS190s to be installed on all flammable and hazardous gas bottles in use at the labs at this university.
For additional information about the FS190, proper sizing, selection and operation, contact Veriflo IPA Product Technical Support Specialist Nick Odell at the Veriflo Division or your local Instrumentation Territory Manager.