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Why oil draining is so dangerous-

Oil that is collected at a drain point of an active system is under pressure. The oil has some liquid refrigerant suspended in it. When the oil is taken out of the system it is done so by a pressure differential. Generally the lower pressure is atmospheric pressure. The storage pressure depends on what the system pressure is where the oil is being drained from. The warmer the oil, the greater the amount of suspended ammonia will be in it. This also means that the starting pressure from where the oil is
being drained is higher. When the oil is metered out from the starting pressure to the atmospheric pressure at the outlet of the oil drain valve, there is an expansion of the
ammonia. Do you remember that when ammonia expands (pressure is reduced) that there is a corresponding reduction in temperature?
The cold ammonia is causing the oil to congeal (thicken up). The oil can become as thick as a paste. This cause s the rate of flow to decrease through the oil drain valve.
The impatient operator sees that the oil flow has slowed or stopped, so he opens the drain valve even more. This opening of the valve and stoppage of flow may be repeated a few times. Suddenly, there is no more oil coming from the oil drain valve. What is coming from the valve is dangerous white aerosol cloud of liquid
ammonia and gas. Unless the operator is very fortunate and can get the oil valve closed a very serious and possibly, lethal ammonia release has just been started. One relatively inexpensive and very effective prevention measure for this hazard is to install ΒΌ turn, self-closing ball valves that are now available for oil draining points.

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Industrial refrigeration articles and mechanical services articles for refrigeration industry engineers, and companies. We provide qualified refrigeration expertise, information and articles for the industrial refrigeration industry on a weekly basis. Our knowledge bas is published worldwide for the indusrty.
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