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How are Pressure Vessels Designed?

Pressure vessels are designed to maintain a difference in pressure between the vessel’s interior and the environment. They’re used across industries including aerospace, manufacturing, transportation, and more, but even though they’re common they have some particular design requirements that need to be met to operate safely and efficiently.

What factors need to be considered when designing a pressure vessel?

There’s a lot that goes into pressure vessel design. The first step is determining what pressures, environment, and any other requirements the vessel may have. Some vessels are used in environments where corrosion is more of a concern, so different materials and protective measures may need to be used. Some will need to withstand higher pressure differentials, or have specific mounting and plumbing requirements.

Factors to consider when planning a pressure vessel:

  • Operating pressures and temperatures
  • Material choice
  • Corrosion
  • Dimensions and volume
  • Where it will be located and how it will get there
  • Plumbing and mounting
  • Maintenance and portability

There might be other things to consider depending on the needs of your project, so if you’re not sure what else you need it’s best to talk to people with professional experience designing custom vessels.

ASME standards for pressure vessels

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) maintains a set of industry standards for pressure vessel design, manufacture, and maintenance. These standards are determined by a team of industry experts and are used worldwide. They’re not just for pressure vessels, either. ASME standards are used across industries for everything from nuts and bolts to nuclear technology.

The ASME standards for pressure vessels were updated for 2023 to incorporate the latest advances in technology and research. They cover topics including design, manufacturing, and operation for pressure vessels and boilers.

How are pressure vessels designed?

Once the main requirements have been established, engineers create the design by calculating the stresses and strains expected, adding a factor of safety, choosing materials, and creating the dimensions of the vessel. Technicians and machinists cut metal to the design specifications, weld pieces together, and assemble the vessel. They also often have input on the vessel’s design, since the design has to be manufacturable with the machines and materials readily available.

Learn more

Here at Rexarc, we have expert pressure vessel designers who can answer your questions. Reach out to us today!



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