O’Donnell Consulting performed a finite element analysis of a refractory lined autoclave, for use in the chemical industry.
The composite design of the vessel included refractory brick, mortar, membrane system and steel shell. The vessel was approximately 83 feet long and outer diameter of sixteen feet. Inside the steel shell were three layers of refractory brick. Between the steel shell and outermost brick was an elastomeric membrane, intended to accommodate geometric variations, as well as brick-to-shell differential thermal expansion.
The vessel was divided into a number of compartments, each with an associated agitator. The important parameters in the design of the autoclave were temperature and stress. Each material of construction had unique properties with respect to temperature. Finite element analysis was used to determine structural integrity of the vessel under various operating conditions.