Pressure testing is a test carried on pressure systems to assess them for leaks. In new pressure infrastructure, it is often done to check the integrity of the pressure systems, and in established systems, it is done as a safety check. On new systems, this test is usually carried out before the pipeline starts working. Pressure testing is also called hydrostatic testing. Pressure testing helps in determining the pressure which the pipeline is able to accommodate, the capacity of the pipes installed, if there are any leaks, if the joint fittings are fitted well, and the reliability of the entire pressure pipeline system.
How it works
Pressure testing or hydrostatic testing is usually done on a newly installed pressure system or done as routine maintenance to gauge the safety and efficiency of a pressure system. It is safest done when the system is shut down. Even though pressure testing is not considered a destructing test, if the test pressure exceeds the maximum yield stress, for any reason, the system could rapture. In all cases, the pressure system has to be filled with appropriate fluid and pressure applied on the fluid. The pressure exerted on the fluid will be transmitted uniformly throughout the system and different points can be assessed for leaks or weakness.
Methods of pressure testing
Pressure testing can be done in three main ways in line with the requirements of international standards organizations.
The proof pressure method
The water jacket method
Direct expansion method
Specifications on conducting pressure testing
There are a number of international standards organizations procedures and guidelines on pressure testing. These are:
Relevance of pressure testing
Pressure testing is fundamental for every pipe or conduit systems transmitting fluids for the following reasons:
It helps with comparing the ultimate test pressure to the operating pressure in order to gauge if the system should keep working or be decommissioned.
Pressure testing can test up to more than 100% of the minimum yield stress
Determination of pressure vs Volume ratios
Assessment of leaks in pipelines
Helps in decision making concerning pressure systems
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