Fired Heater Safety: Common Failure Factors | AIChE

You are here

Fired Heater Safety: Common Failure Factors

Understand common failure mechanisms of fired heaters to prevent disruptions and ensure safe operation.

Fired heaters use controlled combustion of fuel to heat a process fluid. The heat of combustion is transferred to the process fluid in the radiant section (or firebox) and the convection section (Figure 1).


Figure 1. Fired heaters transfer heat generated from combustion to a process fluid. The main sections of a fired heater include the burner, the firebox (i.e., radiant section), the convection section, and the stack.

While any type of process involving combustion carries hazards and safety concerns, the hazards are even greater when a combustible process fluid is heated inside tubes. Hence, fires and explosions are significant risks of fired heater operation. As the size and complexity of fired heaters increase, so do the safety concerns. This article briefly reviews the basics of combustion, fire, explosions, and flammability limits and further discusses the main factors that cause failures in fired heaters and impact safe operation.

Would you like to access the complete CEP Article?

No problem. You just have to complete the following steps.

You have completed 0 of 2 steps.

  1. Log in

    You must be logged in to view this content. Log in now.

  2. AIChE Membership

    You must be an AIChE member to view this article. Join now.

Copyright Permissions 

Would you like to reuse content from CEP Magazine? It’s easy to request permission to reuse content. Simply click here to connect instantly to licensing services, where you can choose from a list of options regarding how you would like to reuse the desired content and complete the transaction.