Pressure Vessels – Definition, Types & Uses of Pressure Vessels



Pressure vessels are used to store and transmit liquids, vapors, and gases under pressure in general. The pressure of these finds will exert pressure equally in all direction on the walls and ends of the pressure vessels. Because of the internal loading, stresses are including on certain sections of the cylinder (pressure vessel) wall.

The pressure vessels (cylindrical or spherical tanks) are generally used in engineering to store fluid under pressure.

Types of pressure vessels:

Following are the main types of pressure vessels:

  • According to the end construction
  • According to the dimensions

Pressure vessel according to the end construction:

According to the end construction, the pressure vessels are may be open of end or closed end. A simple cylinder with a piston is an example of open-end vessel whereas a tank is an example of closed end vessel. Due to the fluid pressure circumferential or hoop stresses are include in case of open ended vessels whereas longitudinal stresses in addition to circumferential stresses are induced in case of closed ended vessels.

Pressure vessels according to dimensions:

According to the dimensions pressure vessels may be of thin shell or thick shell. The deciding factor among thin and thick shells is its wall thickness and shell diameter if the ratio t/d is less than 1/10 the vessel is said to be thin shell and if the ratio is greater than 1/10 it is said to be a thick shell. Thin shell are used in boilers, tanks and pipes whereas thick shells are used in high pressure cylinder, tanks gun barrels.

Uses of pressure vessels:

The pressure vessels are used fluid to store such as liquid vapors and gases under pressure. Major uses of pressure vessels are as follows.

  • Pressure vessels are used in steam boilers
  • Pressure vessels are also used in storage of chemical in chemical plants
  • Use in storage of petroleum products (petrol, diesel etc)
  • It is also used in engine cylinders.


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