# Propane Tank Problem: Will Any Propane Vent at 125 psi?

• nineeyes
In summary, the problem involves a rigid tank containing 90% by volume propane at -40 F, which is then heated to 80 F with a pressure relief valve set at 125 psi. The specific volume in the beginning and end is needed to determine if any propane will be vented, and if so, how much. The specific volume at state 1 is determined using the given percentage volume and specific volume, while the specific volume at state 3 must be found using a database. The difference in density between the two states can then be multiplied by the tank volume to determine the amount of propane vented.
nineeyes
I've been having some trouble with the following Question.
{ A rigid tank contains 90% by volume propane at -40 F. The tank is then heated to 80 F. A pressure relief valve in the tank is set at 125 psi. Will any propane be vented. If yes, how much? Tables for propane at http://www.elyenergy.com/pdf/CO37.pdf }

Please let me know if I'm doing this completely wrong.

I was told that 90% by volume meant that 90% of the propane was liquid.

I got v1 by using $$v_1=.9(.02763)+.1(3.13)$$

I was thinking that there were 3 states.

The first process would be const. volume, up to 125 psi

State 1 -- isochoric (v = const.) --> State 2

state 1
T1 =-40 F
v1=.337 ft^3/lbm
P1 = 16.2 psi
state 2
T2 = 70.54 F
v2 = .337 ft^3/lbm
P2 = 125 psi

then once it reaches 125 psi, I thought that it would be an isobaric, const. pressure, process until it reached 80 F.
State 2 -- isobaric --> State 3

State 3
T3 = 80 F
v3 = ??
P3 = 125 psi

I was thinking if I could find v3, I could use it to find the amount (lb_mass) of propane that was vented. But I'm having some trouble with finding v3, not really sure how to solve for it. I'm pretty sure its in the super heated region though.
Any help would be great, thanks.

Last edited:
Hi nineeyes, now I see why you wanted the specific volume over in the mech eng forum.

Why multiply percentage volume by specific volume? The units will be ft^6/lbm. That doesn't make sense.

What you said about state 1 and 2:
State 1 -- isochoric (v = const.) --> State 2
is true assuming you don't loose any product because of the relief valve lifting. In fact it will be true to state 3, so long as the relief valve doesn't lift, but we don't know if it will lift or not. Note also that the 125 psi set pressure for a relief valve is typically referring to gauge pressure, not absolute pressure.

You can simplify the problem quite a bit because you are essentially given enough information to determine the specific volume in the beginning, and at the end. The problem is figuring out what these specific volumes are. Also, specific volume is just the inverse of density, and I'd prefer to use density.

The density (or specific volume) will stay constant unless the relief valve lifts, so let's look at what the density is at state 1, and the density at state 3. The difference can be multiplied by the volume of the tank to give you how much vented:

State 1: .9 (ft3) * 36.19 (lbm/ft3) + .1 (ft3) * .163 (lbm/ft3) = 32.587 (lbm/ft3)

State 3, superheated density at 125 psig (139.7 psia) and 80 F = 1.293 (lbm/ft3)

Mass vented is (32.587 - 1.293) * Volume

You're right that you need the state of the fluid at 80 F and 125 psig, and that really is difficult without some database.

Hello, thank you for sharing your thoughts and calculations on the propane tank problem. It seems like you have a good understanding of the different states and processes involved in this scenario. However, I believe there may be a misunderstanding regarding the 90% by volume measurement.

In this context, 90% by volume refers to the amount of space in the tank that is occupied by propane gas. This means that 10% of the tank is filled with liquid propane, while the remaining 90% is filled with propane gas. This is important to note because it affects the calculations for finding the amount of propane that will be vented.

To find the amount of propane that will be vented, we need to first determine the volume of the tank and the volume of the gas at different states. From the given information, we know that the initial volume of the gas (state 1) is 90% of the total volume of the tank. We can calculate this using the ideal gas law, where V1 = nRT1/P1.

Using the given temperature and pressure values, we can calculate the initial volume of the gas to be 3.524 ft^3. This means that the initial volume of the liquid propane is 0.392 ft^3.

Moving on to state 2, we know that the temperature and pressure have changed, but the volume of the gas remains the same (since it is trapped in a rigid tank). This means that the volume of the liquid propane must have decreased in order to make room for the expanding gas. Using the ideal gas law again, we can calculate the final volume of the liquid propane (V2) to be 0.041 ft^3.

Now, using the table provided, we can find the density of propane at state 2 (80 F and 125 psi) to be 0.017 lbm/ft^3. Multiplying this by the volume of the liquid propane (0.041 ft^3) gives us a mass of 0.0007 lbm.

To answer the question, yes, some propane will be vented at 125 psi. The amount is small, but it is still being vented. I hope this helps clarify any confusion and guides you in the right direction for solving the problem. Good luck!

## 1. What is the propane tank problem?

The propane tank problem refers to the potential risk of a propane tank venting at 125 psi, which is the maximum safe pressure for propane storage.

## 2. Why is 125 psi the maximum safe pressure for propane storage?

The maximum safe pressure for propane storage is determined by industry standards and regulations, which have been established to ensure the safe handling and use of propane. Exceeding this pressure can result in a potential hazard.

## 3. Will any propane tank vent at 125 psi?

No, not all propane tanks will vent at 125 psi. The pressure at which a propane tank will vent depends on various factors such as the temperature, tank size, and the amount of propane inside the tank.

## 4. What happens if a propane tank vents at 125 psi?

If a propane tank vents at 125 psi, it can pose a potential safety hazard. The sudden release of high-pressure gas can cause fires, explosions, and harm to individuals and property.

## 5. How can I prevent a propane tank from venting at 125 psi?

You can prevent a propane tank from venting at 125 psi by regularly maintaining and inspecting your tank, ensuring proper ventilation, and following safety guidelines and regulations when handling and using propane. It is also important to monitor the pressure in your tank and never exceed the maximum safe pressure.

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