A pressure vessel used to manufacture crystals for use in devices including cell phones, had exploded, causing serious damage to the plant. O’Donnell Consulting performed a forensic investigation on the explosion – performing metallurgical testing and evaluations, as well as extensive finite element analysis.

The same finite element model built for thermal analyses was also used for structural and stress analyses. The model was subjected to the design and operating conditions and also to the cyclic operating pressure and temperature transients. Analyses were performed for the maximum design and operating pressures at design and ambient temperatures.

To simulate the startup process, the outer surface of the vessel was heated to the operating condition using thermal transient analysis. Following an operation cycle, the vessel is cooled down to the ambient condition. Proper thermal boundary conditions, including heat transfer coefficients are applied to all appropriate inner and outer surfaces of the vessel.



We perform forensic investigations on vessels, heat exchangers, ductwork and other plant & process equipment.

Give us a discuss your engineering challenges.

Related Projects

Failure Analysis on Cracks found in Pressure Swing Absorber Vessels
Fatigue Life Analysis of High Cycle Vessels used to Produce Hydrogen

Similar Services

Failure Analysis Services
Materials/ Metallurgical Consulting
Finite Element Analysis


Tom O’Donnell, PE
Publications – Pressure Vessels, Heat Exchangers, Weld Applications, Fatigue, Elevated Temperature
Links to Engineering Resources

(412) 835-5007

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