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nitrogen generators for leak testing

Onsite Nitrogen Generators for Nitrogen Leak Testing and Detection

Nitrogen gas is used in a variety of industries, including the manufacture of pipe and tube products, to test the integrity, strength, and capability of the materials being manufactured. Since nitrogen is an inert gas that’s completely odourless and typically has a very low moisture content, it won’t leave behind lingering elements that could have a potentially negative reaction with materials being manufactured and is an ideal gas to use for leak testing the structural integrity of the materials being produced. Onsite nitrogen generators are ideal for producing the nitrogen required for leak testing and are a good investment for manufacturers that regularly perform these types of functions.

What Is a Nitrogen Leak Detection Test?

The purpose of nitrogen gas testing for leak detection is to safely analyze the integrity of materials being produced in the plant environment without compromising the safety and health of onsite personnel. These protocols ensure that all materials being tested meet specified performance requirements.

Prevention of contamination as well as testing material strength are key driving factors in conducting nitrogen leak detection tests. Having an onsite nitrogen generator for leak testing is a great solution for companies that undertake this quality assurance process. Of course, there are other advantages to investing in PSA nitrogen generators and membrane nitrogen generators, including tank blanketing and testing the integrity of newly built pipeline networks.

Nitrogen Pressure Testing for Leaks

Nitrogen pressure testing is an important protocol that must be administered before new industrial pipelines and/or pressurized parts such as brake lines or heat exchangers are deemed safe for full operational use. Essentially, this process tests the capabilities, strength, and integrity of pipeline system or part by releasing highly pressurized gaseous nitrogen directly through the system.

The exact process varies depending on the systems or components that are being tested, but the basic idea is the same: to test for and identify system defects and leaks before putting the system into operation. Several parameters are tested during this process including leak checking the stability of the joint fittings, the maximum capacity of the pipeline, system pressure ratings and the durability of each component.

An onsite nitrogen generator for leak checking is an effective ready-to-use and cost-effective solution that will ensure your pipelines, pressure components or parts are fully prepared for the task at hand.

Advantages of Using Nitrogen Pressure Testing

As you can see, there are numerous advantages to using nitrogen pressure testing on your industrial equipment. Here are a few additional reasons why many manufacturers prefer using gaseous nitrogen in lieu of other gases for leak testing.

  • Nitrogen is readily available and easy to source, especially if you have an onsite nitrogen generator for leak testing.
  • Gaseous nitrogen is completely non-toxic. In fact, 78% of the air in the earth’s atmosphere is composed of nitrogen gas.
  • As an inert gas, nitrogen doesn’t have adverse reactions when exposed to other elements, gases, chemicals, materials, or elements. It’s completely safe for onsite personnel and pipelines.
  • Nitrogen gas is a cost-effective alternative to tracer gas testing.
  • It’s a high-performance gas that improves the accuracy of leak checking and testing functions.
  • Gas and chemical leaks are dangerous enough on an industrial site. The reason nitrogen gas is used for leak testing is because it’s non-flammable and doesn’t pose any additional risks like other substances do.
  • Under high pressure, nitrogen gas can move quickly through pipeline networks to immediately detect defects and leaks.
  • Older or used pipes might have remnants of other substances left behind, such as oil. Nitrogen gas doesn’t react with other substances and therefore won’t contaminate the pipeline.

The Nitrogen Pressure Testing Process

Because nitrogen gas is dry and inert, nitrogen pressure testing is a feasible alternative to hydrostatic and pneumatic testing protocols, both of which expose equipment and pipelines to varying levels of moisture. Excessive or minimal amounts of residual moisture can lead to corrosion and rust within a part or pipeline system. As an added bonus, nitrogen gas also removes oxygen, which can negatively react with certain materials, from the confines of the tested components as it tests for leaks and other defects.

The pressure testing process varies depending on the specific operations and applications for which it’s being used, but there are a few basic principles that are common. Prior to testing, specific components are typically separated from the rest of the system usually by shutting off or closing connecting valves or removing certain pieces temporarily.

At this point, nitrogen gas is released into the system at a low pressure to purge the test component of all contaminants. Low pressure testing typically operates at no more than 25% of the components normal pressure rating standard. This phase is sustained for a reasonable amount of time to ascertain there are no leaks or defects.

During the testing period, the applied pressure will be gradually increased into a state of high pressure testing to slowly test the integrity of the entire part or system as the component reaches its full capacity of operation.

Personnel will then visually inspect the system for nitrogen leaks by applying a soapy solution to the exterior of the test component. Gas bubbles will start to form if there’s a leak or defect in certain areas of the test component. These indicate the exact locations that require repairs.

Onsite Nitrogen Generators for Efficient Leak Checking and Detection

Advanced Gas Technologies is the leading North American supplier of cutting-edge, high-quality, and cost-effective onsite PSA and membrane nitrogen generators. We provide comprehensive services that include installation, maintenance, repairs, and part replacements as needed. Contact us today to learn more.

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