Pressure vessels can lead to explosions

Pressure vessel safety

Pressure vessels are dangerous simply by virtue of being pressure vessels.  See the attack on the Boston Marathon.  Boring old pressure cookers were weaponized.  Imagine how much worse professional pressure vessels can be.

Here is an interesting paper on a bomb calorimeter explosion.  The clue is in the name.  Bomb calorimeters perform really high pressure work, and need to be carefully handled, using only the materials the manufacturer lists (e.g., no halogenated materials).

Yet it is not just misuse that can cause trouble.  Like all equipment, the vessels wear out.  Their material weakens and weakens and then one day…

So the following recommendations about the use of pressure vessels:

  • Make sure that everyone who is going to use a vessel can recite the appropriate materials to include in the vessel, blind
  • Moving parts should be replaced after 500 uses, or alternatively every 6-12 months (depending on the use)
  • Any corrosion or sign of damage means a part needs to be replaced.
  • All pressure vessels need to be carefully cleaned after each use.  The manufacturer should explain in detail how this is done.

2 thoughts on “Pressure vessel safety

  1. Different countries have enacted laws to protect the public where there is danger. And pressure equipment is potentially extremely dangerous. Even a small air receiver, with an internal pressure of just 230 psig, has the explosive energy of about 1 lb of dynamite.
    I liked your post.


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