A rupture disc, also known as a bursting disc or burst diaphragm, is a non-resealing, sacrificial, pressure relief device used for protection of a pressure vessel from potential damage from overpressure or vacuum conditions.
A rupture disc is a sacrificial safety device because it has a one-time-use membrane that fails or ruptures at a predetermined differential pressure, either positive or vacuum. The membrane is usually made out of metal, but nearly any material (or different materials in layers) can be used to suit a particular application. Rupture discs provide i
mmediate response (within milliseconds) to an increase or decrease in system pressure, but once the rupture disc has ruptured it will not reseal. Major advantages of the use of rupture discs compared to using pressure relief valves include leak-tightness, no maintenance and cost. Rupture discs are commonly used in petrochemical, chemical, pharmaceutical, food processing and oilfield applications.
They can be used as single or primary protection devices. They can also be used as a secondary device along with another safety device such as a conventional pressure relief valve (PRV). Rupture discs are very often used in combination with pressure relief valves, isolating the valves from the process, thus saving on valve maintenance and creating a leak-tight pressure relief solution.
Rupture disc sizes range from under 1/4" to 3’ or more, depending upon the industry application. Rupture discs and vent panels are constructed from carbon steel, stainless steel, hastelloy, graphite, and other materials, as required by the specific use environment.
Rupture discs are widely accepted throughout industry and specified in most global pressure equipment design codes (ASME, PED, etc.). Rupture discs can be used to specifically protect installations against overpressure scenarios or can be designed to act as one-time valves.