Rupture discs – an introduction

Why rupture discs

Rupture discs are, next to safety valves, the most commonly used pressure protection devices in industrial plants. They protect vessels and pipelines from deformation and other damage. The main objective is to optimally protect and, at the same time, minimize the downtime of the system.

What is a rupture disc

Rupture discs are safety devices with precisely defined breaking points, which respond to a specific pressure and are used for pressure relief in a diverse range of applications. They are used to protect against overpressure or vacuum within a process, for the protection of man, environment and machine. Originally a very simple solution, rupture discs have evolved enormously in response to growing industry requirements such as alternating pressures or higher process temperatures, and the increasing technological innovation of processes in recent years. The greatest advantage of rupture discs over electronic, pneumatic, or spring-loaded safety systems is the failsafe performance of rupture discs - this makes them the most economical and most important safety device in industrial enterprises. High reliability is important to prevent unnecessary downtime of the system. How failsafe a rupture disc is, however, significantly depends on the workmanship and the material used.

Design of rupture discs

Rupture discs for pressure relief are round or square, consist of one or more layers, and are either flat or domed.

REMBE Zugbelastete Berstscheibe DODOD F         REMBE Umkehrberstscheibe KUB<sup>®</sup>



Many rupture discs are equipped with, for example, laser-created  breaking points. These can be simple or specifically-shaped/angled cuts. This part of the rupture discs is known as the rupture element.

REMBE Umkehrberstscheibe KUB<sup>®</sup>






Different applications require different types of rupture discs. They are made of metals or plastics, from one or more layers, and they can be domed or flat. Domed rupture discs either have the dome towards the process (reverse-acting rupture disc), or away from the process (forward-acting rupture discs). Within these different varieties, there is a broad range of possible combinations.

For example, plastic film is sandwiched between metal layers for triple-layered rupture discs, in order to reach  extremely low burst pressures. The materials used range from various stainless steels to higher quality materials such as Inconel, Hastelloy, or Tantalum, and also include coatings or plastic liners such as PTFE or FEP.


Rupture discs are either installed directly between flanges, or inserted into a corresponding rupture disc holder, which is then mounted between flanges. In some cases the rupture disc is already soldered or welded into the holder by the manufacturer. These holders are then fitted with the necessary connections, such as a specified thread (NPT, G or customer-specific thread connection systems,  e.g. VCR) or various flanges (ISO-K, KF, ISO-F, CF)).


REMBE Maßgeschneiderte Kompaktberstscheibe UKB-LS                         REMBE Stopfenberstscheiben



A large number of rupture discs and other safety devices are installed in industrial plants. A broad range of signaling options are available, to immediately receive information about the triggering (opening) of a rupture disc. The easiest way to achieve this is with a trip wire which is attached to the rupture disc, and is connected to the process control system. With the opening of the rupture disc, the wire breaks, the circuit is interrupted and the triggering of the rupture disc is communicated to the process control system. If there are particularly high demands for leak-tightness, non-invasive signaling methods (e.g. NIMU magnetic proximity sensor ) are used.

REMBE Signalgeber NIMU






Type of rupture discs

Reverse-acting rupture disc
The dome of the rupture disc faces the process and allows for very high operating pressures (see also: key rupture disc technical information on) and very high operating pressure ratio.  

Forward-acting rupture discs
The dome of the rupture discs is faced away from the process.

Compact rupture discs
These are usually very small nominal pipe size of reverse-acting or forward-acting rupture discs which are often adhesively bonded or soldered to the housing / holder.

Rupture disc technical information

Dimensions: The diameter of the rupture disc is specifically matched to the diameter of pipes or flanges as the nominal pipe size DN (Diamètre nominal)  or as NPS (Nominal Pipe Size).

Burst pressure (also referred to as set pressure): This is the pressure at which the rupture disc opens. The burst pressure is selected  such that the rupture disc opens before there is any system damage. The burst pressure is above the prevailing pressure during normal operation (also referred to as working pressure or process pressure) and below the pressure resistance (MAWP) of the respective system.

Example: At an operating pressure (working pressure) of 1 bar and a 2 bar pressure resistance (MAWP) of the system, the burst pressure is at maximum 2 bar or lower, depending on the type of rupture disc.

Burst tolerance: Defines the tolerance around the defined burst pressure, which opens the rupture disc. If a rupture disc type has a burst tolerance of +/-10%, and the defined burst pressure is 1 bar, the rupture disc will open between 900 mbar and 1.1 bar.

Depending on applicable and regulations, the burst tolerance is at +/-10% (e.g. Pressure Equipment Directive 2014/68/EC), or +/-5% (e.g. ASME section VIII, Division 1), or +/-3% for very high burst pressures. Other burst tolerances are possible depending on the requirements of the respective process.

What to be aware of when selecting a rupture disc?

Reliable and economical rupture discs are not standardized products, but are always individually tailored to the specific process conditions in question. Numerous parameters are taken into account for the manufacture of rupture discs, in order to ensure optimal function.


These include, for example:

  • The system to be protected and process particularities
  • Burst pressure
  • Burst temperature
  • Permissible overpressure or vakuum
  • Process medium
  • Working pressure (operating pressure)
  • Vacuum resistance
  • Pulsation
  • Nominal Bore
  • Necessary vent area, or required flow rate

Contact us and we will gladly provide you with a comprehensive consultation on the rupture discs which are suitable for your individual process, taking into account all relevant parameters - for minimal downtime and maximum safety.

All designs shown here refer to rupture discs designed to relieve unwanted overpressure and/or vacuum. Rupture discs are also used for explosion safety. These rupture discs, also referred to as explosion vents, are often rectangular and have a much larger footprint. More information about this topic can be found under explosion protection - explosion vents.

Rupture discs from REMBE® - minimum downtime, maximum safety

REMBE® rupture discs are technically sophisticated safety devices, which are individually manufactured and tested for each application. They open at a precisely predefined pressure, relieving that pressure from the system.  Our rupture discs can be used as primary or secondary relief devices. In combination with a safety valve they are often an economically attractive option which protects the valve against product contamination or corrosion damage.

All REMBE® rupture discs are made in Germany and certified according to PED (2014/68/EU), as well as all common and industry-specific international regulations and standards. These include ASME sec. VIII, Div. 1, KOSHA (South Korea) and TR ZU 012 / 2011, TR ZU 010 / 2011, TR ZU 032 / 2013.



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