Inspectioneering

Pressure Vessels

Pressure Vessels are containers which are designed to hold liquids, vapors, or gases at high pressures, usually above 15 psig. Examples of common pressure vessels used in the petroleum refining and chemical processing industries include, but are not limited to, storage tanks, boilers, and heat exchangers. Each individual vessel has its own operating limits built in by design that it has to work under, refered to as its design pressure and design temperature. Operating outside of these limits could damage the equipment and potentially lead to loss of containment or catastrophic failure.

Because they work under immense pressures, a ruptured pressure vessel can be incredibly dangerous, leading to poison gas leaks, fires, and even explosions. For this reason, pressure vessel safety is imperative. There are several standards and practices that cover the construction, maintenance, and inspection of pressure vessels. Chief among these standards are ASME Section VIII and API 510.

ASME Section VIII is the section of the ASME Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC) that covers pressure vessels. It gives detailed requirements for the design, fabrication, testing, inspection, and certification of both fired and unfired pressure vessels.

API 510, "Pressure Vessel Inspection Code: In-Service Inspection, Rating, Repair, and Alteration" is an inspection code, written and published by the American Petroleum Institute, that covers the in-service inspection, repair, alteration, and rerating activities for pressure vessels and the pressure relieving devices protecting these vessels.

When it comes to inspections, most pressure vessels should be examined once before being placed into service and again every 5 years after every alteration or major repair. An inspection can be internal, external, or both and should involve a thorough examination, a thickness evaluation, a stress analysis, an inspection of the vessel’s pressure release valves, and a hydrostatic pressure test. It is also important to perform a surface inspection, examine the insulation and any structural connections, and finally inspect any welds or joints.

 

Related Topics

Aboveground Storage Tanks (ASTs) Boiler Tubes Boilers Bolts Bull Plugs Coker Units Cooling Towers Crude Distillation Unit (CDU) Deaerators Fin Fan Coolers Fired Heaters Fixed Equipment Flanges Flare Systems Furnace Tubes Glass-lined Equipment Heat Exchangers HF Alkylation Units Hydrocracking Unit Hydrotreater Pipelines Piping Pressure Relieving Devices (PRDs) Rotating Equipment Turbines Valves

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Articles
  • May/June 2003 Inspectioneering Journal
    By John Reynolds at Intertek

    Next year, the API Inspector Recertification Program (ICP) will be recertifying inspectors who have held their API certifications for more than 6 years. Things have changed this time though, and inspectors will be required to pass a short exam covering material that has changed in the past 6 years.

  • March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Paolo Torrado at Engineering and Inspection Services, LLC.

    An issue that arises frequently in the oil and gas industry is poor or missing documentation of pressure vessels. It is common in the industry to repurpose old equipment, bring equipment back into operation after a long period of time out of service, or rerate equipment due to debottlenecking of process units.

  • January/February 2015 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Hugo Julien, P.E. at GCM Consultants, and Serge Bisson at GCM Consultants

    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 pressure vessels back in the mid 1940’s. This article will help you by highlighting the main requirements of, and differences between, the hydrostatic test for new pressure vessels fabricated according to ASME Section VIII, Division 1 and the hydrostatic leak test for new piping systems made under ASME B31.3.

  • July/August 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Jeremiah Wooten at Inspectioneering, LLC.

    The Province of Alberta has a long history of pressure equipment safety dating back to 1897 when the first boiler laws were introduced to regulate the new technology of steam boilers. Boiler inspectors were hired, and soon thereafter the Alberta Boilers Branch was established as the government organization that administered those laws.

  • July/August 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
    By A.C. Gysbers at The Equity Engineering Group, Inc.

    One of the more common inspection monitoring programs for pressure vessels is to perform thickness measurement at Corrosion Monitoring Locations (CMLs) to allow monitoring of minimum thicknesses and provide estimates for corrosion rates. These minimum thicknesses and corrosion rates are critical in supporting risk based inspection techniques or in setting half-life prescriptive re-inspection intervals.

  • Partner Content

    Facilities are facing increasing challenges, including justifying inflated budgets, managing contractor hours, ensuring regulatory compliance and qualifying the work being completed. To help facilities manage evolving inspection requirements, PinnacleART offers Fixed-Price Inspection (FPI), meaning we will develop and execute a comprehensive Risk-Based Inspection plan for one fixed-price. Yes, you read that right – one fixed-price.

  • May/June 2014 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Hugo Julien, P.E. at GCM Consultants, Serge Bisson at GCM Consultants, and Guy St-Arneault, P.E. at GCM Consultants

    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?

  • September/October 2002 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Greg Alvarado at Inspectioneering Journal

    John has primary responsibility for NDE consulting and troubleshooting for BP around the world in the refining, chemical and gas processing industries. We at the IJ thought it might be valuable to spend some time chatting about his background, challenges he has faced recently and what he feels are some of the biggest challenges ahead for the Inspectioneering community.

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            • News
              International Pressure Equipment Integrity Association, February 21, 2017

              2017 will be IPEIA’s 21st annual conference with a entire week of industry activities. There is a full roster of presentations, including three keynote speakers for the conference.

            • News
              MarketsandMarkets, May 11, 2016

              The global pressure vessel market is projected to reach $184.87 billion (USD) by 2021 according to a report recently released by MarketsandMarkets. The report segments the pressure vessel market on the basis of end-user industry, type, material, and region.


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