A History of Steaming Pressure: The Wonders of Perfecting the Pressure Vessel's Technology

The pressure vessels and pressure systems technology’s struggle to create the perfect design for efficiency.


Morelos, Mexico -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/30/2014 -- Pressure vessels have many applications and are widely used both in private and industrial sectors, in which transportation and storage of an array of pressurized gases and fluids are the top priorities. They are designed strictly according to the appropriate design codes and standards governing its manufacturing, installation and operation, for it will cause a substantially safety hazard if inadequately designed.

The development of pressure vessels dated back to the time of Sir George Stephenson, known as the “Father of the Railways”. He explored the possibility of utilizing the steam engine for self-propulsion when early steam engines are only stationary affairs. He was commissioned to rebuild a broken pumping engine and then to build a locomotive at the Killingworth mine in the northeast of England. This had been a success and soon, he set up a locomotive manufacturing company with his son Robert, and named it Robert Stephenson and Company.

George Stephenson and his colleagues developed pressure vessels and pressure systems technology from practical experience. There were no safety inspectors back then but as responsible engineers, they struggled to ensure both safety and their reputation.

An example of one of the first welded pressure vessel stands in front of the Combustion Engineering offices at the Chattanooga in the USA. This vessel was hideously designed, was cheap to manufacture and was only visually inspected with no standards, but represented a major step in the development of pressure vessel technology. One of the earlier vessels’ problems, boiler explosions, led to 732 deaths.

As design rules were developed, there was a conscious effort to avoid failure. The technical issues covered in the design rules for pressure vessels have been, and are still being, developed to guard against anticipated failure modes.

Along with the development of computers, computer aided design had led to enormous step forward in pressure vessel technology. Analysis has become the most crucial part and replaced experience and testing as basis of the design.

Today, there is a good provision of national standards relating to basic pressure vessel design. Many of these have developed independently but all owe a great deal to the ASME codes.

And as of March this year, KAIST spearheaded a milestone in the development of pressure vessels in terms of design, cost, and efficiency by successfully launching its first box-shaped, large size pressure tanks for storage and transit of pressurized gas and fluids.

"Our box-type pressure vessel represents ground-breaking research. This innovative technology will dramatically change the rules of the game for industry concerning production, transportation, and storage of fluids under high pressure and at low temperatures." Professor Pål G. Bergan, KAIST researcher, said.

For pressure vessels manufacturers, the continuous evolution of the technology holds a promise of steaming innovation in the industry.

About MPGIA SA de CV

MPGIA SA de CV is professional services company providing qualified personnel, technical consulting and advising on the implementation of quality systems for the development and installation of projects in the metal mechanic field, both in the industrial and in the commercial sectors. MPGIA SA de CV, is located in Cuernavaca city, in the state of Morelos, Mexico. MPGIA SA de CV’s objective is to guarantee their clients the highest quality in product fabrication and technical services assistance, supported by the experience and expertise their personnel, in order to satisfy the needs of the metal mechanic industry.