# External Pressure

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File: PVE-3473 Last Updated: May 18, 2011 By: LB

External Pressure

1 - The Basics - Failure Mechanisms
The mechanism of external pressure failure is different from internal pressure failure. Different methods are required to design vessels to safely handle this different failure mechanism. Internal pressure failure can be understood as a vessel failing after stresses in part or a large portion exceeds the materials strength. In contrast, during external pressure failure the vessel can no longer support its shape and suddenly, irreversibly takes on a new lower volume shape. The following 3 pictures show vessels of reduced volume after external pressure failure. The forth picture shows an internal pressure failure for contrast.

A storage tank tested crushed after hydrotest when a plastic sheet blocked the top vent during draining

Vacuum failure of a barometric condenser (vacuum vessel) after the internal support rings failed

http://www.pveng.com/ASME/ASMEComment/ExternalPressure/ExternalPressure.php

7/13/2011

The shell needs to be 0. If there is no internal vacuum then the length used for the external pressure calculation is the length of the jacket.External Pressure from Simple Jackets Simple jackets made from rolling plate welded to the shell at both ends create zones of external pressure.pveng. FEA results show that the shell will collapse at 8.External Pressure Page 4 of 10 A vessel divided into zones using a stiffening ring (See companion calculations starting on page 9. (page 13) 4 .1x the 15 psi applied pressure. The code rules are excessively conservative in this case.160" thick under the jacket per UG-28.php 7/13/2011 . More rings could be added to lower the required thickness further. External pressure L exists for the length of the jacket (See companion calculations starting page 15. The vacuum ring has successfully separated any action on one side of the ring from affecting the other side. http://www. but provides no guidance on the design.1x factor of safety with a thinner shell and a vacuum ring added.063").) If a 24" long jacket at 30 psi is added to the outside of the straight shell. then the external pressure of 30 psi needs to be calculated for an effective length of 24". The required head thickness could also be reduced by adding some type of reinforcement.168".25 x 2.063" elsewhere for the 30 psi internal pressure (minimum code allowed thickness = 0.com/ASME/ASMEComment/ExternalPressure/ExternalPressure.225 to 0. VIII-1 allows for this.) The sample vessel shell reduces in required thickness from 0. Not bad for the addition of a 0. This is much greater than the 3x safety factor expected in the code and is acceptable.5" bar rolled the hard way. 8. but could be 0.

As the zones get shorter. The jacket closure is not stiff enough to function as a vacuum ring . See UG-28.3x. This goes above and beyond the VIII-1 code requirement which does not require UG-29 on jackets. The FEA shows the factor of safety is adequate at 4. See Fig UG-28 for a definition of L that shows the treatment of the zones as separate lengths.com/ASME/ASMEComment/ExternalPressure/ExternalPressure.8x.it now meets UG-29 requirements. The jacket closure ring is stronger . The factor of safety is 5.3x and experience indicates that this type of design is safe.php 7/13/2011 . This level of safety goes beyond what the code and practical experience indicates is necessary. http://www.two separate zones of external pressure are calculated.the jackets effects extend beyond the effective length of the jacket but the design is acceptable. The factor of safety is 5. (See companion calculations starting page 17. The effect of the pressure is now confined to the span of the jacket. Finite element analysis results show that the effect of the external pressure is not confined to the length of the jacket.5" and passes UG-29 rules for a vacuum ring. The simple jackets in the picture below do not connect . Action of the jacket has been isolated within the span of the jacket.External Pressure Page 5 of 10 The jacket rings are not functioning as vacuum support rings (action on one side of the ring is not isolated from the other side) but the factor of safety is acceptable at 4. Stronger end rings on the jacket can isolate the action inside the jacket area from the rest of the shell. The jacket closure per App 9-5 is not as strong as required by UG-29 but the outer jacket shell adds to the stiffness of the shell. A common mistake is to assume that the external pressure has to apply to the full vessel length or that the separate sections need to be treated as common.pveng.) The jacket closure is now 1" x 1.8x (Acceptable). the required thickness to pass external pressure calculations is reduced.

however these results cannot be applied to the head. attached well enough.php 7/13/2011 . but there are no code rules available for the half pipe on the head. We do not care whether the shape has pressure on an internal (concave) or external (convex) shape.188" (the lowest value provided for on the charts) for a 3" half pipe jacket pressurized up to 243 psi on shell or head. http://www.) If the shell is calculated using UG-28. then a thickness of only 0. What we care about is the distance between stay rods . A common mistake with half pipe jackets is not to calculate the required vessel thickness under the jacket to EE-2(1) or other methods. EE-2 is not mandatory so other methods such as UG-28. The code calculation could be based on the dimension L and the regular code calculations applied for the straight shell. A common mistake with half pipe jackets is to assume that the full head of a vessel under the jacket needs to be calculated for external pressure. The appendix EE half pipe calculation requires a wall thickness of 0.Stayed Surfaces for External Pressure Stayed surfaces provide freedom to the designer using jackets.095" is required.it is the same for the head and the straight shell.External Pressure Page 6 of 10 Two unconnected jackets (per Fig UG-28) 5 . Appendix EE contains rule EE-2(1) which provides a means of calculating the required shell thickness to handle the jacket pressure.this is only true if there is another source for external pressure other than the pressure in the half pipe jacket. and are the shell and jacket surfaces thick enough to support the span between stays. The length of the external pressure has been reduced enough that it often has no impact on the design (but it still needs to be calculated). burst test and finite element analysis are also available to the designer. Half pipe jackets per VIII-1 Appendix EE (See companion calculations starting page 22.are the stay rods strong enough. The accepted method of calculating the required shell thickness is to use the rules of appendix EE-2.Half Pipe Jackets Multiple unconnected jackets lead to the case of half pipe jackets. We do not care if the failure mechanism is the crushing type of collapse (external) or tearing (internal). The EE-2 method is very useful because no code rules exist for a head that is only partly exposed to external pressure. 6 . or the shape of the jacket itself. A common mistake with half pipe jackets is to assume that the vessel has to be designed for external pressure . No longer do we care about the shape of the object under the jacket.pveng.com/ASME/ASMEComment/ExternalPressure/ExternalPressure. This provides the same required thickness for the shell under the jacket regardless of the local shape of the vessel .

More than One Source of External Pressure External pressure calculations are more difficult with more than one source of external pressure . This inflation pressure is higher than the required burst pressure and is far in excess of any allowed external pressure for the vessel.External Pressure Page 7 of 10 Half pipe jackets per VIII-1 Appendix EE The rules for stayed design are found in VIII-1 UG-47 and work the same way as the design of flat heads found in UG-34 but now we look at the distance between stays instead of the diameter of the head. A common mistake with dimple jackets is to not calculate the required thickness of the head or shell but assuming that it will be adequate because it is thicker than the dimple jacket. The cases with the stay rods.a typical example is a vessel with an internal vacuum and pressure in a jacket.) If our vessel has a jacket supported by stays on a 6" spacing.with correctly spaced stay supports A dimple jacket is a form of stayed surface (See companion calculations starting page 25.) A common mistake with dimple jackets is to assume that the vessel has to be designed for external pressure . not included in the calculation set. Sample laser welded dimple jacket .php 7/13/2011 . The accepted method to calculate the required shell thickness is to use the rules of 17-5.this is only true if there is another source for external pressure other than the pressure in the jacket. The jacket portion is tested by burst test and can be used for any shape of vessel.4" dia The rules for the dimple jacket are found in Appendix 17. The complex shape of this locomotive firebox can be calculated as if it is a simple flat plate . Because the rules are designed for flat surfaces (the weakest shape found in pressure vessels) they will work for any shape of vessel or jacket.pveng. then the required head or cylindrical shell thickness is 0.modified flat plate calculations that can be used for any shape of vessel. (Equation 17-5 (2). The stays have to be 0.140 inch. Note that laser welded and inflated jackets have special restrictions regarding the burst test (last portion of section 17-5(a)(2). The dimple jacket has some strength from its shape that the shell does not have.164". The dimple jacket is a form of stayed jacket that can be any shape. If our vessel has a dimple jacket with a 6" spacing then the required head or cylindrical shell thickness is 0. The inflation pressure can be as high as 800psi. A shell of inadequate thickness can lead to yielding under hydrotest showing the location of the dimple welds from inside the vessel (the inside surface is no longer smooth).first calculate the complete vessel for the vacuum condition as if the jacket does not exist (see the first http://www. half pipe jackets and dimple jackets are the simplest .prior to inflation This laser welded dimple jacket will be inflated once it is rolled into the shape of a shell and welded to the rest of the vessel. The distinction between what is the vessel and what is the jacket is often not important. The internal (pressure vessel wall) thickness is calculated per 175 (b)(1) or (2) . This only works because the pressure inside a dimple jacket is not an external pressure.com/ASME/ASMEComment/ExternalPressure/ExternalPressure. 7 .

A common mistake is to attempt to calculate the entire vessel for an external pressure of P+V. Finally design the jacket for the pressure P. The F&D and SE heads are limited by the half pipe jackets found on them and need to be 0.it needs to be 0. The required thickness = 0. dimple and stayed surfaces .142" thick. More stiffeners can be added until the shells required thickness from vacuum pressure is equal to that required by the dimple/pipe/stay calculations.0.225" thick. The thickness under the half pipe jacket remains at 0. The straight shell external pressure calculation with vacuum ring was calculated on page 10. dimple and stayed surfaces Step 1: the external pressure is now 15+30 = 45 psi (vacuum +30 psi jacket pressure).169" less than required under the dimples.225" thick. Vacuum + external pressure on half pipe. 6 and 7 in the calculation set: The F&D head .External Pressure Page 8 of 10 cases above).200" (Page 29). This was calculated back at pages 5. Half pipe jacket The half pipe jacket increases the stiffness of the shell http://www. The minimum stayed thickness is now 0. stays or half pipe jackets.188" thick. the straight shell 0.php 7/13/2011 .188". the minimum thickness provided for in the appendix EE charts (Page 30). Vacuum + external pressure on half pipe.com/ASME/ASMEComment/ExternalPressure/ExternalPressure. Step 3: the maximum thickness from step 1 and 2 above is used.pveng.172" (Formula App 17-5 (2)).Vessel straight shell is supported by a UG-29 style vacuum ring The required thickness of the straight shell from the vacuum only load can be reduced by adding the vacuum stiffener as previously calculated. The required thickness under the dimple jacket rises to 0. Those required thicknesses now govern and the shell thickness cannot be further reduced by adding more vacuum rings. the SE head . Next calculate the shell for the local loads under the dimple/pipe/stay using the combined P + Vacuum. The straight shell is limited by the 15 psi external pressure .0.127" thick. Step 2: the whole vessel has to be calculated under the 15 psi external pressure.