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# Welded Pressure Vessel Calculation

1. Design Pressure

## A vessel must be designed to withstand the maximum pressure to which it

is likely to be subjected in operation. For vessels under internal pressure, the design
pressure (sometimes called maximum allowable working pressure or MAWP) is
taken as the pressure at which the relief device is set. According to Sinnott (2013),
a 10% margin between the normal operating pressure and the design pressure.
Design Pressure= 1.10 × (Operating Pressure)

2. Design Temperature

## The strength of metals decreases with increasing temperature so the maximum

allowable stress will depend on the material temperature. The maximum design
temperature at which the maximum allowable stress is evaluated should be taken
as the maximum working temperature of the material, with due allowance for any
uncertainty involved in predicting vessel wall temperatures.

3. Materials

Selection of a suitable material must take into account the suitability of the
material for fabrication (particularly welding) as well as the compatibility of the
material with the process environment. Pressure vessels are constructed from plain
carbon steels, low and high alloy steels, other alloys, clad plate, and reinforced
plastics. According to Peters (1991), a corrosion allowance of 0.010 to 0.015 in./yr,
or about 1/8 in. for a lo-year life is a reasonable value.

4. Fluid Service

## A vessel must be designed appropriately with the fluid to be service in the

vessel. Such considerations should be its properties.

## Vessel Fluid Service Operating Operating

Type Temperature Pressure
U-68 • Any service or • No limit • No
application limit
U-69 • Any application except • 700ºF – • 400 psi
as containers for lethal head
gases, ammonia, thickness
chlorine, natural or less than 1.5
manufactured fuel gas, in
propane and butane • 300ºF- head
are exempted from thickness
lethal classification. greater than
1.5 in

## U-70 • Any application in • 250ºF but • 200 psi

which plate thickness not to
does not exceed 5/8 in exceed the
boiling
temperature
at
atmospheric
pressure

## Class U-68 vessels are more expensive on account of construction details.

They must also be furnished with at least one manway to permit access for interior
welding. Class U-70 vessels are usually the least expensive, and may be
constructed as to require no manways.

5. Safety Factor

The filling capacity of most pressure vessels in the indu stry is 80% to provide
protection against overfill for tanks (20% safety factor).
(Source: Plant Design and Economics for Chemical Engineers by Peters and Timmerhaus,
Table 6, p. 37)

## 6. Diameter and Height

The most common ratio of height and diameter used for pressure vessels is
H=4/3D.
(Source: Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers 4th
ed., Branan, p. 224)

## 7. Calculate the volume of the vessel and choose

the head to be used for the roof and bottom.

## Standard ellipsoidal heads are somewhat

stronger than dished heads of the same gage.
Ellipsoidal heads are available in the same range of
outer diameter and gage as dished heads. Conical
head is obtainable in a range of sizes from 66 to 150
in outer diameter, varying by increments of 6 in and
gages from 5/8 to 1 ½ in, varying by increments of
1/8 in. Hemispherical head is Available in very
limited range of size but somewhat greater variety
of designs is commercially obtainable if
segmentable heads can be used. For high-pressure
vessels, hemispherical heads are usually the most economical.

## Type h Volume Area

Cylinder
𝟐
𝑫
𝝅 ×𝒉
𝟒
Standard 𝐕=
𝝅𝑫𝟑 𝐀 = 𝟏. 𝟎𝟗𝑫𝟐
𝟐𝟒
Ellipsoidal

Standard Dished 𝟐
𝐡 = 𝑳 − √𝑳𝟐 − 𝑫 ⁄𝟒
𝑽 = 𝟏. 𝟎𝟓𝒉𝟐 (𝟑𝑳 − 𝒉) 𝑨 = 𝟔. 𝟐𝟖𝑳𝒉

Conical 𝒉=
𝐭𝐚𝐧 𝑨(𝑫 − 𝒎) 𝐕 = 𝟎. 𝟐𝟔𝟐𝒉(𝑫𝟐 + 𝐀 = 𝟎. 𝟕𝟖𝟓(𝑫 + 𝒎)√𝟒𝒉𝟐 + (𝑫 − 𝒎)
𝟐 𝑫𝒎 + 𝒎𝟐 ) +𝟎. 𝟕𝟖𝟓𝒅𝟐

8. Determine the maximum allowable stress of the material you are using.

## For design purposes it is necessary to decide a value for the maximum

allowable stress (nominal design strength) that can be accepted in the material
of construction. In the API-ASME Code, it established the stress for vessels made
from carbon steel. Applying a suitable safety factor to the maximum stress that
the material could be expected to withstand without failure under standard test
conditions.

The basis for establishing the maximum allowable stress values in the ASME
BPV Code is given in ASME BPV Code Sec. II Part D, Mandatory Appendix 1.
𝑆 = 𝑆𝑢 × 𝐹𝑚 × 𝐹𝑎 × 𝐹𝑟 × 𝐹𝑠

## Fa= radiograph factor

The material factor, Fm, of a material is based on the group of carbon steels used:

##  Group A (Firebox Grades of Forge Welding and High Tensile Strength

Carbon Steels)= 1.0
 Group B (Flange grades)= 0.97
 Group C (Structural or Mild Steels)= 0.92

## The allowable fraction of Su that is based on the metal temperature or the

operating temperature is based on this table: (Source: Process Equipment Design,
Hesse & Rushton)

## Metal Temperature at Plate and Forged Steel, Cast Steel, %

deg F %
Up to 650 25 16.7
700 23.7 16.4
750 21 14.7
800 18 12.9
850 15 11.1
900 12 9.3
950 9 7.5
1000 6.2 5.7
Stress relieving is mandatory for other permissible steels when the plate
thickness shell or head at any welded joints exceeds 1 ¼ in., and for thinner plates,
when the thickness exceeds (D+50)/120, where D is the shell diameter in inches.
Radiographing and stress relieving are mandatory for vessels made of ASTM A-
150 steel and for ATM A-149.

## Radiographing and stress relieving are credited by multiplying the allowable

design stress by radiograph factor of 1.12 and stress relieving factor of 1.06. These
can only be employed when all the main joints of the vessel are radiographed. If
stress relieving and radiographing is not employed, it is taken as unity.

## 9. Calculate the thickness of the shell.

𝑝𝐷
t= +𝑐
2𝑆𝑒 − 𝑝

Where:
p= Design Pressure
S= Maximum Allowable Stress
e= Joint Efficiency
c= Corrosion Allowance

used.

## Type of Joint Efficiency Limitations

Single full fillet lap joints 0.55 May be used only for attaching heads
without plug welds convex to pressure with plate thickness
not exceeding 5/8 in

Single full fillet lap joints with 0.65 May be used only for circumferential
plug welds joints with plate thickness not exceeding
5/8 in

Double full fillet lap joints 0.65 May be used only for circumferential
joints with plate thickness not exceeding
5/8 in
Single welded butt joint 0.70 Cannot be used for joints over 5/8 in thick
without backing-up strips

Single welded butt joint with 0.80 Limited to the application to joints not
backing-up strips over 1 ¼ in thick

(vee or U type)

## 10. Calculate the thickness of the head:

Standard Ellipsoidal 𝒑𝑫
𝐭=
𝟐𝑺𝒆
Standard Dished 𝒑𝑳𝑾
𝐭=
𝟐𝑺𝒆
Conical 𝒑𝑴
𝐭=
𝟐(𝐜𝐨𝐬 𝑨)𝑺𝒆
Hemispherical 𝒑𝑫
𝐭=
𝟒𝑺𝒆
REFERENCES
Branan, C. (2002). Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers. Elsevier.

Green, D., Maloney, J., & Perry, R. (1997). Perry's Chemical Engineers' Handbook.
McGraw-Hill.

## Hesse, H. C., & Rushton, J. H. (1945). Process Equipment Design. Toronto,

Canada: D. Van Nostrand Company.

McCabe, W., Smith, J., & Harriott, P. (1993). Unit Operations of Chemical
Engineering. Mcgraw-Hill.

Peters, M., & Timmerhaus, K. (1991). Plant Design and Economics for Chemical
Engineers. McGraw-Hill.
Sinnott, R., & Towler, G. (2013). Chemical Engineering Design. Elsevier.