When engineers design pressure vessels, they take into account many types of forces acting on the vessel, such as static loads, in order to ensure the vessel can withstand those forces. Understanding what forces are applied and how the system responds is a critical step in any engineering design process. This guide will introduce you to static loads and help you understand what they are and why they’re important.
Loads in engineering refer to applied forces – or a force that acts on some or all of the system you are studying. They’re split into a few different categories to better describe how those loads are affecting the system, like static loads and dynamic loads.
Almost every structure designed to be used will have loads applied to it at some point in its life, even if it only sits on a shelf. The force of gravity pulling an object towards the center of the Earth is one of the most common loads encountered, and is usually an example of a static load.
Static loads are a category of applied forces that are added to the system at a constant rate. In other words, they don’t change over time. Gravity is a great example of this, since it’s a constant force that pulls on an object in the same direction, down. Other examples could be the weight of something placed on top of a system, like a parked car on a bridge, or a duck floating in a pond.
When designing pressure vessels, engineers have to pay attention to the static loads the vessel is likely to experience. These might include some of the following:
How these affect a pressure vessel will depend on the individual design and how it is planned to be used. It’s part of why it’s important to keep in mind the requirements for how the pressure vessel will be used from the very beginning of the design process.
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