Pressure vessels are ubiquitous in modern society and commonly go unseen by the general public. However, industrial pressure vessels are essential to the continual processing and manufacturing by industrial and commercial concerns and therefore have a direct impact on the both the economic and physical well being of society. With this complex interaction ongoing, it would be easy to assume that pressure vessels are widely varied in design, when in fact, there are three common types and these are found in many industrial and commercial applications. There are specialized application pressure vessels such as reactors and regeneration vessels, however most correspond to the three common types.
The most prolific of all pressure vessels are the various storage vessels required for industrial processes. These typically correspond to either the vertical or horizontal variety, although some spherical storage vessels are in use. Used primarily to store liquids, these pressure vessels are also available in a range of sizes. Depending on the exact role or product to be stored, they are constructed using different materials with carbon steel being the most common material type. In many cases, internal liners of a different material are used in addition to the vessel’s external material. This allows a material to be used for the external construction that would be at a detriment if exposed to the product. Therefore allowing the storage vessel to produced for a less cost, than that of using a special material.
The second most common type, and almost as prolific as storage vessels, is the heat exchanger. Found in almost every aspect of life, from food service to industrial plants, heat exchangers make modern processing and manufacturing possible. It is widely known that heat, by its very nature, can be a negative aspect to many industrial processes and as such has to be removed or reused to provide for this concern. Thus it is critical that any heat exchanger design have an emphasis on the material chosen to ensure that the vessel can be operated at peak optimization for extended periods. Carbon steel is a common material but usually more stringent alloys are used to ensure longevity and proper functioning.
Put simply, process vessels are components in which various processes are performed. Such as breaking down a product, combining product, removing various elements or aspects of a product and more. Process vessels work in conjunction with the other three common types. They are usually specialized designs for their specific process and require unique construction materials or multiple material types.
Naturally, these three common types can be further defined by other aspects. What is critical and vital is that all require three important elements, a proper design, appropriate material selection and quality construction. A deficiency in any one or all of the three can pose a serious challenge for both the process and delivery of the end objective.