Pressure Vessel Testing - Edgevarsity Blog Edgevarsity
Pressure Vessel Testing

Pressure Vessel Testing

We all know that non-destructive testing is crucial to understand various aspects of the weld, such as weld strength, quality and material. But, one critical step that should be undertaken before carrying out non-destructive testing is Visual Testing or Visual Inspection.

Visual Inspection is the first non-destructive test method that is carried out to confirm the absence of any material or dimensional defects in pressure vessels.

This test is mainly carried out to detect discontinuities associated with structural failure methods.

This topic is a crucial part of the oil and gas courses for mechanical engineers.

Before proceeding ahead, Let’s see what the types of pressure vessels are.

Types of Pressure vessels

In any online course for piping engineering, the type of pressure vessels account for a major functionality aspect.

Storage Tanks

Storage tanks are the most commonly used type of pressure vessel. They come in various structures and sizes, but they are all designed to store liquids and gases under pressure. They are used to hold fuel oil, liquefied hydrogen or compressed natural gas, or other valuable materials in the oil and gas industry’s crucial applications. These tanks are often made from carbon steel, but they can also be coated with a different material on the inside.

Heat Exchangers

Heat exchangers are another type of pressure vessel. Heat exchangers transfer heat between mediums, which are often liquids. As the name suggests, heat exchangers are helpful for both cooling and heating processes. Heat exchangers can be found in furnaces in homes, but they are also essential to processing and manufacturing plants.

Process Vessels

Process vessels are designed to hold and store liquids, and they are used for an integrated operation in refineries, oil and gas production facilities, etc. Types of process vessels are:

  • Drums
  • Reactors
  • Columns
  • Gravity separators

Method of Visual Inspection for Pressure Vessels

As we know, the primary testing method is visual Inspection. This method of Inspection can give a good overview of a vessel’s general condition. 

The first condition to be fulfilled is that the surface of a vessel is clean and well-lit. Then the pressure vessel inspectors will visually examine and observe the different parts of the pressure vessel under test. They will carefully scrutinise all components, such as any welded seams, maybe around appendages or along the length of the vessel’s shell.

They would note the structural condition of the vessel whether it appears to be in good working condition or observe issues like cracking, corrosion, erosion or hydrogen blistering. While a visual inspection can reveal some problems, it limits you to specific primary observations. However, the other non-destructive testing methods can further tell whether a pressure vessel’s construction and function are sound.

Why is Pressure Vessel Inspection crucial?

Pressure vessel testing is required at a majority of the stages of its use. For example, if a pressure vessel holds a poisonous gas, a small fissure could result in a dangerous gas leak. Even if the material inside isn’t dangerous, a ruptured pressure vessel may lead to an explosion or a severe fire. This kind of event will also tend to pause all other operations on hold for indefinite periods.

An accident from a pressure vessel could severely damage other equipment within the vicinity of the pressure vessel. It could cost a lump sum to replace the damaged equipment.

One cannot know for sure unless the pressure vessels are tested. 

Regular inspections can make all the difference in preventing a dangerous accident or failure. The frequency of Inspection for Pressure vessels depends on various factors, but a general rule of thumb is that it is necessary and safe for pressure vessels to be inspected every five years. 

These inspections should be thorough and involve a visual inspection, followed by a hydrostatic pressure test, stress analysis and Inspection of any pressure release valves.

This was just an overview of one of the crucial equipment in the oil and gas industry. To know more about pressure vessels and essential information as a part of oil and gas training courses online, check the Oil and Gas Piping Engineering course.

If you are looking for a job-oriented course after graduation in Oil and gas-related domains, you have a vast number of opportunities in this field. Regular upskilling and adequate preparation will take you high in this discipline.


by Debashree P

Debashree is an Aeronautical engineer by education and a curious researcher by passion. She is passionate about engineering and technology. She is an avid technology writer who has a knack for developing content for websites, newsletters, blogs, articles, advertising and marketing materials based on the requirements. Technologies of her interest include Aviation, Oil & Gas and AI.