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Pneumatic test

Pneumatic strength testing uses air or an inert gas medium (e.g. nitrogen) to pressurize a system to 110% design pressure and a hold period is applied for a fixed amount of time. Strength testing is a technique used in the oil and gas industry to prove the mechanical strength and integrity of pressure containing components in a system. The objective is to test a system above its design pressure and confirm that it may be safely subjected to its maximum operating pressure under its normal use. In some circumstances, when hydrostatic testing is not possible, e.g. weight of hydro-test water is too high for pipe support system (gas service piping), introduction of water to the piping system is detrimental to the process (catalyst or reactor contamination, cryogenic service system etc..). In this case the components or systems may be tested with nitrogen. As the test medium is gaseous it has the ability to compress and contain a large amount of stored energy (typically 200 times greater than a hydrostatic test at the same free volume and pressure condition). Extreme caution is therefore required when using this technique. However, system design specifications must be reviewed and a detailed risk analysis completed before testing with a compressible medium