ASME Pressure Vessels

A pressure vessel is a entirely closed container designed to hold liquids or gases at a higher or lower pressure than the ambient pressure. ASME pressure vessels refers to the US design and operating standards for pressure vessels.

The theoretical ideal shape of a pressure vessel (for greatest strength) is a sphere; however, due to the engineering complexities involved, most ASME pressure vessels take the form of a metal cylinder closed with convex endcaps. Pressure vessels must be welded to produce a secure enclosure that can withstand the pressure differential, and the welding or pressure vessels is governed by ASME standards as well.

Manufacturers of ASME Pressure Vessels

  • Anderson Dahlen is a US-based manufacturer of custom fabricated ASME Pressure Vessels for the food, dairy, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries. Anderson Dahlen can fabricate pressure vessels with ASME section VIII division 1 certification as well as dimple heat transfer jacketed tanks with ASME section VIII division 1 certification.

Pressure Vessel Safety and Governance

The contents of pressure vessels are often under enormous pressures, and failure of the pressure vessel could result in an explosion-like decompression. As a result of the high safety hazard of pressure vessels, they are goverened by strict safety regulations that are backed by legislation — so the safety regulations carry with them the force of law.

Within the US, the ASME regulations govern the safe design and operation of pressure vessels. Specifically, the following ASME sections apply:

  • ASME Code Section VIII Division 1: US standard, design by formula. Division 1 is the standard ASME pressure vessel regulation used throughout the US and widely adopted worldwide.
  • ASME Code Section VIII Division 2: Alternative Rules, design by analysis.
  • ASME Code Section VIII Division 3: Alternative Rules for Construction of High Pressure Vessel

The ASME standards for pressure vessels lists a great many types of materials that may be used in the construction of pressure vessels, as well as which materials are suitable for which tolerances. Pressure vessels are designed to be used up to very specific pressure and temperature ranged. These are known as Design Pressure and Design Temperature. Use of a pressure vessel outside of its pressure or temperature range is highly dangerous and possibly illegal.

ASME Pressure Vessel Applications

Pressure vessels have nearly limitless applications, from an air brake on a car to the habitat of a space vessel — which is itself a giant pressure vessel (keeping the interior pressure one atmosphere higher than the exterior). Similarly a submarine is a giant pressure vessel (keeping the interior pressure lower than the exterior pressure — which rises at a rate of one atmosphere for every 33 feet beneath the water).

Other common examples of pressure vessels include oxygen tanks used in hospitals and by divers, distillation towers, and ASME pressure vessels are used heavily for a variety of hydraulic and pneumatic applications. Specialized pressure vessels are often used in manufacturing process, particularly in the beverage and pharmaceutical industries.

Pressure vessels can also be used to store a gas in a liquid state — the application of pressure forces it into a lower energy state, which is typically a super cold state. Common air conditioners work under this principle: a compressor forces a gas into a pressurized state and into liquid form — then that liquid is circulated to the front of the air conditioner where it absorbs heat and boils into a gas to recirculate.

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