A pressure vessel is a tank or vessel that holds liquid, vapor, or gas at a pressure which is substantially different from the surrounding pressure, generally speaking. Compressed gas cylinders, such as oxygen tanks, heat exchangers, autoclaves, and boilers all utilize pressure vessels.
When a pressure vessel fails, the result can be catastrophic. The pressurized material inside will release in a dramatic manner if the vessel suddenly loses its ability to contain its intended load. In addition to a violent release of contents under pressure, the material in the vessel may be hazardous, causing suffocation, fires, explosions, or other harm to those in the vicinity. Therefore, safety in their design, use, and maintenance is imperative.
Vessels are often designed to meet a “leak-before-burst” standard, allowing the vessel to develop a crack in its wall and release the contents slowly, reducing pressure, rather than fracturing suddenly across the length or width of the vessel. Safety valves or relief valves are often incorporated into the design to ensure that a safe pressure is maintained.
Regular inspection is necessary to identify potential failure points. Methods used to do so include visual inspection, which can encompass both the exterior and interior of the tank; ultrasonic testing, which uses high-frequency sound waves to detect flaws on and below the surface of the material, and to measure its thickness; radiographic testing, which is essentially an x-ray of the vessel or a portion of it; magnetic particle testing, where the magnetic field is used to detect discontinuities in ferromagnetic materials; liquid penetrant testing, which uses a small amount of liquid to reveal cracks and pits in the surface; and pressure testing, using water, air or nitrogen in combination with dyes or tracers to determine where cracks are originating.
Encorus Group’s service offerings include both the design and inspection of pressure vessels. We take safety seriously. Our engineers have designed ASME Section VIII (Divisions 1, 2, and 3) and ASME Section III pressure vessels for over twenty years. Our inspectors hold the API 510 certification required for the inspection of in-service pressure vessels as well as NBIC certification, and have inspected over 15,000 collective pressure vessels. We are on top of the changing requirements for pressure vessel design and inspection, and keep up with the latest education and guidance available.
Let us help you keep your employees and equipment safe!