Development of a computer-aided fault tree synthesis methodology for quantitative risk analysis in the chemical process industry
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There has been growing public concern regarding the threat to people and environment from industrial activities, thus more rigorous regulations. The investigation of almost all the major accidents shows that we could have avoided those tragedies with effective risk analysis and safety management programs. High-quality risk analysis is absolutely necessary for sustainable development. As a powerful and systematic tool, fault tree analysis (FTA) has been adapted to the particular need of chemical process quantitative risk analysis (CPQRA) and found great applications. However, the application of FTA in the chemical process industry (CPI) is limited. One major barrier is the manual synthesis of fault trees. It requires a thorough understanding of the process and is vulnerable to individual subjectivity. The quality of FTA can be highly subjective and variable. The availability of a computer-based FTA methodology will greatly benefit the CPI. The primary objective of this research is to develop a computer-aided fault tree synthesis methodology for CPQRA. The central idea is to capture the cause-and-effect logic around each item of equipment directly into mini fault trees. Special fault tree models have been developed to manage special features. Fault trees created by this method are expected to be concise. A prototype computer program is provided to illustrate the methodology. Ideally, FTA can be standardized through a computer package that reads information contained in process block diagrams and provides automatic aids to assist engineers in generating and analyzing fault trees. Another important issue with regard to QRA is the large uncertainty associated with available failure rate data. In the CPI, the ranges of failure rates observed could be quite wide. Traditional reliability studies using point values of failure rates may result in misleading conclusions. This dissertation discusses the uncertainty with failure rate data and proposes a procedure to deal with data uncertainty in determining safety integrity level (SIL) for a safety instrumented system (SIS). Efforts must be carried out to obtain more accurate values of those data that might actually impact the estimation of SIL. This procedure guides process hazard analysts toward a more accurate SIL estimation and avoids misleading results due to data uncertainty.
Subjectquantitative risk analysis
fault tree analysis
fault tree synthesis
computer-aided fault tree synthesis
Wang, Yanjun (2004). Development of a computer-aided fault tree synthesis methodology for quantitative risk analysis in the chemical process industry. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from