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Pressure vessel

Overview: A pressure vessel is defined as a container with a pressure differential between inside and outside, these vessels have to be designed carefully to cope with the operating temperature and pressure.

Plant safety and integrity are of fundamental concern in pressure vessel design and these of course depend on the adequacy of design codes. Pressure vessels and tanks are, in fact, essential to the chemical, petroleum, petrochemical and nuclear industries. Generally speaking pressurized equipment is required for a wide range of industrial plant for storage and manufacturing purposes. The size and geometric form of pressure vessels vary greatly from the large cylindrical vessels used for high-pressure gas storage to the small size used as hydraulic units for aircraft. Pressure vessels are usually spherical or cylindrical, with domed ends. Pressure vessels are made in all shapes and sizes, from a few centimeters (cm) in diameter to 50 meters (m) or more in diameter. The pressure may be as low as 0.25 kilopascals (kPa) to as high as 2000 megapascals (MPa). Procedures of design: Pressure vessels as components of a complete plant are designed to meet various requirements as determined by the designers and analysts responsible for the overall design. The first step in the design procedure is to select the necessary relevant information, establishing in this way a body of design requirements. Once the design requirements have been established, suitable materials are selected and the specified design code will give an allowable design or nominal stress that is used to dimension the main pressure vessel thickness. Additional code rules cover the design of various vessel components such as nozzles, flanges, and so on. Following these rules an arrangement of the various components are finalized and analyzed for failure. Most of the types of failure relevant to pressure vessel design are stress dependent and therefore it is necessary to ensure the adequacy of the stress distribution and check against different types of postulated failure modes. The proposed design is finally iterated until the most economical and reliable product is obtained. The functional requirements cover the geometrical design parameters such as size and shape, location of the penetrations, and so on. Some of these parameters may have to be fixed in collaboration with the overall design team, but in a majority of situations the pressure vessel designer acts freely on the basis of his or her experience. In the design of pressure vessels safety is the primary consideration the design is a compromise between consideration of economics and safety, the resulting design should achieve an adequate standard of safety at minimum cost. Nevertheless, safety cannot be absolutely assured for two reasons. First the form of loading during service may be different and more severe than was anticipated at the design stage, our knowledge is seldom adequate to provide a qualified answer to the fracture of materials, state of stress under certain conditions, and so on, however it is possible to establish preventive measures based on semiempirical methods, the pressure vessels could be classified according to the severity of their operations since this will affect both the possibility of failure and its consequences. These considerations lead to the classification of vessels ranging from nuclear reactor pressure vessels at one end to underground water tanks at the other. The design factor used in the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code is intended to account for unknown factors associated with the design and construction

of the equipment. Typically it is assumed that the material is homogeneous and isotropic. In the real world the material has flaws and discontinuities, which tend to deviate from this assumption. In 1925, the rules for construction of power boilers were written using a design factor of 5 which was subsequently reduced to help conserve fabrication costs.


This type of storage vessel is preferred for storage of high pressure fluids or gases. A sphere is a very strong structure. The even distribution of stresses on the sphere's surfaces, both internally and externally, generally means that there are no weak points. Spheres however, are much more costly to manufacture than cylindrical or rectangular vessels. Storage Spheres need ancillary equipment similar to tank storage - e.g. Access manholes, Safety valves, Access ladders, earthing points.. etc. An advantage of spherical storage vessels is, that they have a smaller surface area per unit volume than any other shape of vessel. This means, that the quantity of heat transferred from warmer surroundings to the liquid in the sphere, will be less than that for cylindrical or rectangular storage vessels.