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Understanding the Importance of ASME Codes for Pressure Vessels

August 17, 2018

Safety of pressure vessels is an important concern in various industries. Why? Pressure vessels are specially designed close containers used to hold gases, volatile liquids, and semi-solids at varying pressures. Thus, it becomes mandatory to take extreme care regarding the specifications and features during the engineering, design and fabrication phase. Any negligence or a gap during this phase may lead to fatal accidents or injuries at the worksite. This is where ASME Codes come into the picture. Are you eager to know how do these codes contribute to the safety of the vessels? Read the post to know more.

ASME Code for Pressure Vessels


A Brief Introduction to ASME Codes

The ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, also abbreviated as BPVC, is a standard regulating the design, manufacturing, and operation of pressure vessels. These codes are regulated by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). The pressure vessels and boilers that do not meet the standards set by ASME are generally not legally permitted for use in the USA.

ASME’s Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC) Section VIII describes all mandatory requirements for the construction of pressure vessels. This section is divided into three divisions:

  • Division 1: This describes various requirements governing the design, fabrication, testing, inspection, as well as certification of vessels, which are required to withstand external and internal pressures above 15 psi.

    The pressure is created in various ways from firing the source, direct or indirect heat application, or any other means. The division discusses various requirements that apply to the construction material of vessels, as well as the various fabrication methods employed, including brazing, welding, forging, etc.

    The division also includes several mandatory, and less important appendices detailing additional design criteria, as well as methods of nondestructive inspection, and testing standards. There is also a mention on use of U, UV, and UM designators.
  • Division 2: This division details design, materials, and nondestructive testing methods critically than division 1. The division permits higher design stress values than division 1. The rules in this division are applicable for pressure vessels used for diving. There is a mention on the use of UV and U2 designators.
  • Division 3: This division defines detailed guidelines for pressure vessels, which are required to withstand the external and internal pressures exceeding 10,000 psi. This division does not set any maximum or minimum pressure limits for any of the aforementioned divisions. The rules for the use of UV3 and U3 designators are also included.

We hope this has aided your understanding of how ASME Codes contribute to the safety of pressure vessels. When making a decision on sourcing these vessels, it is important to go to a reputed ASME pressure vessel manufacturer like BEPeterson. The company has been engineering, designing, and manufacturing ASME code pressure vessels, since its inception in 1935.