safety valve

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safe·ty valve • n. a valve opening automatically to relieve excessive pressure, esp. in a boiler. ∎ fig. a means of giving harmless vent to feelings of tension or stress.

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safety valve, device attached to a boiler or other vessel for automatically relieving the pressure of steam before it becomes great enough to cause bursting. The common spring-loaded type is held closed by a spring designed to open the valve when the internal pressure reaches a point in excess of the calculated safe load of the boiler. Safety valves are installed on boilers according to strict safety regulations.