While inherently resistant to corrosion, sight glasses can begin to corrode under the right circumstances, particularly if the wrong material is spec’d for the application. If a sight glass happens to corrode, it becomes increasingly vulnerable to sight glass failure. When glass fails, it is often sudden and catastrophic, damaging your system, putting workers at risk, and causing unplanned downtime. That’s why it’s important to understand the dangers of sight glass corrosion and failure so that you can adequately prepare for them… and avoid a costly disaster.
The purpose of a sight glass is to allow plant managers and engineers to look inside of their systems without disrupting the environment within. Often referred to as viewing glasses, they offer you a way to see the levels of liquids or gases that are traveling through a critical point of your design, monitor pressure changes, and virtually anything else that sight glass windows could allow you to do. With their widespread use, sight glasses have become critical to operations such as steam pipelines, chemical processing, pharmaceutical processing, and food processing.
Improperly specified, installed or maintained sight glasses can represent the weakest link in a processing system. The wrong glass or materials used will limit observation, require extra maintenance and replacements, and even fail under pressure with catastrophic results – since glass can fracture at 5 miles/second!
Keeping an Eye on Sight Glass Safety
If improperly specified, installed or maintained, sight glasses can be the weakest link in a processing system because they can limit observation capabilities, require frequent maintenance or replacement, or make it difficult to illuminate the vessel in which they’re installed.
Michael Bosley, one of L.J. Star’s Product Support Specialists, took part in ASME Bioprocessing Equipment (BPE) Committee Meetings, held May 7-10, 2018, in San Diego, California. As a leading supplier to the biotechnology industry, we take our responsibility to participate in advancing the industry very seriously. By participating in the work of these committees, we hope to stay on the leading edge of evolving technologies; at the same time, we want to share updates on the topics these committees are weighing with you, so you can stay up to date on industry trends.
A sight glass, which can also be referred to as a sight port window or a sight window, is an observation window that allows you to look at fluid stored under high temperatures, extreme pressures, and other extreme environmental conditions. They are typically made of robust glass substrates that are used to analyze conditions in industrial equipment, chemical reactors, and more.
Sight glasses are used in industries ranging from refineries to craft breweries. They allow you to look inside equipment without having to worry about explosions, corrosion, or other types of damage. Perhaps because of their widely-varied applications, sight glasses are called by different names. Broadly speaking, a sight glass is any kind of window on a process vessel
Say green energy, and the first words that spring to most minds are likely either solar power or wind power. But there’s another important player in the alternative energy marketplace─biogas generation.
Biogas is produced when organic matter breaks down in the absence of oxygen. It’s produced by anaerobic digestion by bacteria or fermentation of biodegradable materials such as manure, sewage, municipal waste, or plant material. Like solar and wind power, it’s a renewable energy source. It can be used as a fuel in a variety of applications; when cleaned and compressed, it can power motor vehicles.