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Process Control Case Histories by Gregory K. McMillan

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Compressor Surge Control: Traveling in the Fast Lane

Let’s say that instrumentation starts to become boring and you want to add a little excitement to your life. Volunteer to work on the surge controls for the next compressor project. There is nothing quite like the experience of standing next to a compressor going into surge. Noise from the collapsing voids within the unit and flexing of the intake duct during flow reversals have caused even the oldest and bravest control system designers to set records for the 60-yard dash. And operators always appreciate the exercise they get acknowledging radial vibration and axial thrust alarms; of course, if a unit stays in surge for about 20 seconds, the alarms will stop—at which time, iron will have been ...

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