Types of Pressure Vessels: What You Need To Know

Useful in various applications, pressure vessels are enclosed containers designed to hold liquids and gases at a pressure level that’s significantly different from that of its immediate environment. Quality pressure vessel fabrication is a must to ensure that these product containers can prevent product loss under extreme pressures without damage to product or system. 

In this article, you’ll learn about the different types of pressure vessels.

Industrial applications for pressure vessels exist in the oil, fuel, pharmaceuticals & food and beverage industries. Depending on its use, a pressure vessel manufacturer makes different types of containers. Here are three main categories of pressure vessels according to their purpose: 

Process vessels. Found in high pressure compressors and other manufacturing facilities, the process vessel is a vital component tasked in handling gases and liquids at extreme pressure and temperatures. Each process vessel can feature different controls and fittings, depending on which part of the manufacturing process they’re playing and system design. They’re also commonly used along with other types of pressure vessels. Fluitron is a process tank manufacturer for laboratories. 

Storage vessels. As its name implies, this vessel is used to store gases and liquids for a period of time. These vessels come in different sizes and orientations (some are vertical cylinders while others are in horizontal positions). Depending on what needs to be stored, this container can have a closed top and open bottom, a coned bottom, or a flat bottom, among other configurations. They typically have a different inner lining material to safeguard the quality of the product they contain. 

Heat exchangers. Several industrial processes can’t be completed safely and effectively because of the presence of heat. Heat exchangers are a type of pressure vessel used to transfer heat between fluids. They’re used in various heating and cooling processes, and are commonly utilized by power generation stations, sewage facilities, and petroleum refineries. 

By Shape

Pressure vessels can also be grouped by shape. Most commonly, a pressure vessel can either be spherical or cylindrical. 

Spherical pressure vessels. If a vessel is being used for storing high-pressure liquids, the end-product of the pressure vessel fabrication process should be spherical in shape. Because of its shape, these spherical containers can facilitate the even distribution of stress on its surface, eliminating weak points that can cause leakage, contamination, or both. Compared to its cylindrical counterpart, a spherical pressure vessel is typically more costly to manufacture. 

Cylindrical pressure vessels. This type of pressure vessel is commonly used for storage purposes. However, unlike a sphere-shaped container, it has more weak points because of the uneven distribution of stress. To address this issue, manufacturers choose thicker metal materials for the final product to withstand the pressure. Another option is to make the end parts of the container hemispherical. 

Keep in mind that not just everyone can manufacture these vessels. First, the company should have valid accreditation and a qualified staff. They should manufacture according to the ASME standards for high quality pressure vessels. A custom reactor vessel for example is used to contain explosions and therefore needs to maintain its integrity during these explosions.

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