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ASME Section VIII

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ASME publishes and maintains an International Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC) that establishes acceptable margins of safety. ASME Section VIII of the code is dedicated to pressure vessels. It gives detailed requirements for the design, fabrication, testing, inspection, and certification of both fired and unfired pressure vessels. It specifically refers to those pressure vessels that operate at pressures, either internal or external, that exceed 15 psig. The latest update was published in 2017.

Section VIII is divided into 3 sections, each of which cover different vessel specifications. Division 1 addresses the requirements for design, fabrication, inspection, testing, and certification. Division 2 provides requirements on materials, design, and nondestructive examination standards. Division 3 provides guidelines for pressure vessels operating at internal or external pressures above 10,000 psi. All 3 Divisions reference many other standards as outlined below.

ASME BPVC Section VIII, Div. 1

Division 1 largely contains appendixes, some mandatory and some non-mandatory, that detail supplementary design criteria, nondestructive examination techniques, and inspection acceptance standards for pressure vessels. It also contains rules that apply to the use of the single ASME certification mark with the U, UM, and UV designators.

Referenced ASME Standards - Division 1:

ASME BPVC Section VIII, Div. 2

Division 2 contains requirements for the materials, design, and nondestructive examination techniques for pressure vessels. Compared to Division 1, Division 2’s standards are far more rigorous, but allow for higher stress intensity values. The rules put forth in Division 2 can also apply to human occupancy pressure vessels, primarily in the diving industry. Like Division 1, Division 2 contains guidelines that apply to the use of the single ASME certification mark as it applies to the U2 and UV designators.

Referenced ASME Standards - Division 2:

  • API 579-1/ASME FFS-1: Fitness-For-Service
  • 3 Standards from the B1 Series on screw threads
  • 9 Standards from the B16 Series on pipe flanges and fittings
  • 4 Standards from the B18 Series on hex bolts
  • B36.10M: Welded and Seamless Wrought Steel Pipe
  • B36.19M: Stainless Steel Pipe
  • NQA-1: Quality Assurance Program Requirements for Nuclear Facilities
  • PCC-1: Guidelines for Pressure Boundary Bolted Flange Joint Assembly
  • PTC 25: Pressure Relief Devices
  • QAI-1: Qualifications for Authorized Inspection

ASME BPVC Section VIII, Div. 3

Division 3 provides rules that to pressure vessels that operate at pressures, either internal or external, exceeding 10,000 psi. Division 3 does not establish maximum pressure limits for either of the preceding Section VIII divisions, nor does it establish a minimum pressure limit for itself. Like the previous two divisions, it also provides rules that dictate the use of the single ASME certification mark with the U3 and UV3 designator.

Referenced ASME Standards - Division 3:

  • API 579-1/ASME FFS-1: Fitness-For-Service
  • 3 Standards from the B1 Series on screw threads
  • 4 Standards from the B16 Series on pipe flanges and fittings
  • 7 Standards from the B18 Series on hex bolts
  • B36.10M: Welded and Seamless Wrought Steel Pipe
  • B46.1: Surface Texture (Surface Roughness, Waviness and Lay)
  • PTC 25: Pressure Relief Devices
  • QAI-1: Qualifications for Authorized Inspection

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Articles about ASME Section VIII
July/August 2020 Inspectioneering Journal

Pressure vessel design is crucial in ensuring compliance with safety regulations and facilitating reliability and integrity. This article provides an overview of the ASME Section VIII approach to designing pressure vessels.

January/February 2020 Inspectioneering Journal

This case study discusses costly repairs that were needed on newly fabricated pressure vessels as a result of poor UT practices. The author shines a light on some industry problems that can be fixed with an understanding of what is actually required.

March/April 2019 Inspectioneering Journal

Brittle fracture and material toughness issues are important concerns in equipment design and FFS. These issues increase when temporary start-up and shutdown conditions require more detailed assessments than provided for in vessel and piping codes.

Authors: Greg Garic
May/June 2018 Inspectioneering Journal

There is concern in the industry over recent findings of reduced toughness fittings and flanges at risk of brittle fracture. This article provides an overview; possible contributors; measures taken to address; and a proposed FFS approach to address...

January/February 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

Are you still hitting the welded joints of pressure vessels with a hammer during hydrostatic testing? If yes, then you’re due for a refresher on the pressure testing requirements of ASME Section VIII Division 1 since this requirement was for...

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Our proprietary furnace tube inspection system, FTIS is an ultrasonic inspection technology capable of rapid, automated fired heater coil inspection in refinery fired heaters. The data captured by our furnace tube inspection system is...

May/June 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

Inspections, repairs, modifications, or Fitness-For-Service (FFS) assessments on an old, unfired ASME Section VIII (Div. 1) pressure vessel - Which ASME Section VIII (Div. 1) Code Edition should you use?

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