FEA of Pressure Vessel Components

Pressure vessel design and analysis including nozzles, supports and appurtenances. This includes stress, thermal, seismic/ vibration and fatigue to Engineering Codes as AWS, API and ASME B&PV – ensuring vessel structural integrity.

Whether it requires closed-form Design-By-Rule methods (ASME Section VIII Division 1) or finite element analysis with Design-By-Analysis (ASME Section VIII Division 2) – we have extensive experience in the design and analysis of vessels, maximizing reliability and controlling costs for owner-users. Experience includes:

Division 1 (Design by Formula) is a simple approach, using equations that produce a robust and proven conservative design. This approach works best on simple vessels, without any extreme geometric discontinuities (such as nozzles).
Division 2 (Design by Analysis) is often done with the use of finite element modelling to accurately predict stresses in complex vessels. This method provides room for reducing material usage while maintaining structural integrity.

Design & Analysis FEA of Clamp
Analysis of Vessel Head

We were asked to perform design and analysis of elevated temperature pressure vessels for treatment of radioactive waste. A particular vessel had to operate under a no-leak condition. The challenge was to attach the hemispherical head to the shell without causing distortions due to temperature differences. We thus designed a series of clamps to seal the two pieces together.

To see more projects, see Portfolio.


Pressure vessels are commonly used for different applications in various industries. These include:

  • Storage Vessels– hold gases and liquids typically in industrial applications
  • Boilers– a type of heat transfer equipment powered by electric, fuel, or nuclear energy
  • Distillation Columns– separate liquid mixtures based on the difference in their volatilities
  • Process Vessels– use different processes including decantation, distillation, and agitation
  • Decanters– allow for the separation of liquid-liquid and solid-liquid mixtures
  • Industrial Mixers– vessel that includes a blade powered by a motor
  • ASME Pressure Vessels– has ASME accreditation, which passes detailed inspection and code standards

We have experience with these and other types of vessels.

  • Petrochemical
  • Mining
  • Materials
  • Transportation
  • Aerospace
  • Energy
  • Chemical Reactors
  • Accumulator Tanks
  • Process Decanters
  • Autoclaves
  • Cryogenic Vacuum Chambers
  • LNG Storage Tanks
  • Liquid Oxygen (LOX) Tanks
  • Liquid Nitrogen (LIN) Tanks
  • Liquid Ammonia Tanks

Company President, Bill O’Donnell has co-authored numerous publications on Pressure Vessel Design – as well as on Elevated Temperature and Fatigue Analysis.

Fatigue evaluations of vessels and process equipment are performed per ASME Section III Class 1 and Section VIII Division 2. The fatigue design life evaluation procedures in Section III of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code were originally developed in the U.S. Naval Nuclear Program.

Those involved were Bill O’Donnell, (Bernie) Langer, W.E. (Bill) Cooper and James (Jim) Farr – who, in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s developed the initial formulation of this technology in the Tentative Structural Design Basis for Reactor Pressure Vessels and Directly Associated Components, which became known as “SDB-63.”

Section III of the ASME Code “Vessels in Nuclear Service” was the first to include specific Code rules to prevent low cycle fatigue failure. Its first edition was published in 1963; Section VIII, Division 2, “Alternate Rules for Pressure Vessels” followed in 1968.

Each of our engineers have over 30 years experience in the design and (thermal, stress, vibration and fatigue) analysis of pressure vessels and related equipment.

Give us a call to discuss your engineering challenges.

Related Links:

>> Tom O’Donnell, PE
>> Finite Element Analysis
>> Elevated Temperature Design & Analysis
>> Introduction to Fatigue Analysis
>> History of Fatigue Analysis
>> Links to Engineering Resources

>> Portfolio of Engineering Design & Analysis Projects

Learn from the experience of others. Especially when one such “other” is Dr. William O’Donnell, PhD, PE, Founder and President of O’Donnell Consulting Engineers, Inc., and ASME “Engineer of the Year” – his 50 years of experience in analysis of components including fatigue and fracture safety evaluations and failure analyses are now comprised in this volume.

If you are interested learning more in Engineering Design, Manufacturing and Construction, as well as Failure Analysis, then this book is a must have!


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Handbook of Lessons Learned

(412) 835-5007

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