What is a Pressure Vessel ?

  A pressure vessel is a closed container that is designed to hold the contents at a certain pressure. Gas or liquids can be kept at pressures different from the ambient temperature. Examples include hot water storage tanks and diving cylinders. Submarines and space ships are basically giant pressure vessels.

  Pressure vessels are most commonly made of steel because steel is strong and can resist impacts. The cylinder can also be made of other metals, carbon fibers, or polymers. They are often lined with metal, ceramics, or other polymers. Lining protects the structural integrity of the pressure vessel and gives added protection against leaking.

  The most stable design for a pressure vessel is a sphere-shaped tank. The pressure in a pressure vessel naturally bows the walls of the vessel out. A sphere-shaped vessel takes advantage of that natural tendency. Despite this, most pressure vessels are not sphere-shaped because a sphere is difficult and expensive to make. As a result, most pressure vessels are cylinder-shaped with rounded caps on each end.

  Common forms of pressure vessels include thin-walled vessels, storage tanks, and transportable containers. Thin-walled vessels are those with a diameter that is 10 times or more the thickness of the wall. Storage tanks are a kind of super thin-walled vessel. Transportation vessels are mass produced thin-walled vessels. The least common type is the thick-walled vessel. This is a vessel with a diameter that is less than 10 times the thickness of the wall.

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