Last Updated on May 24, 2024 by Nasir Hanif

The pressure inside vessels has to be kept in check at all times, or it can lead to disastrous consequences. If the pressure is too low, there is a risk of leakage. If it is too high, it can create an explosion risk or lead to an overheating situation.

Even though pressure vessel manufacturers in India are doing their best to produce quality equipment, a pressure vessel test ensures that the design, build, and material meet specific standards for safety and performance. There are a variety of tests used for the validation of pressure vessels. They include:

1. Visual Inspection

This method checks for surface cracks and dents. While this may sound basic and obvious, it is the first and most common test for checking pressure vessel conditions. If there are cracks, dents, or other visible defects, it is a good idea to re-create the vessel. These will ensure no risk of the vessel leaking or bursting due to these defects.

A visual inspection only examines the vessel’s surface’s condition, but it is the first step to ensuring everything is in order.

2. Radiographic Testing

Radiographic testing involves X-ray images of the vessel to check for internal flaws. This test detects corrosion and pitting on the inside of the vessel. For this test, the vessel is filled with a fluorescent liquid that will cause the flaws to show up clearly. The container is then X-rayed, and the images are used to identify defects.

Radiography is a non-destructive testing method that does not require cleaning or repair of the vessel’s design. It also does not require the removal of the vessel from the production line. You can avoid internal flaws in vessels by purchasing products from certified heavy equipment manufacturers, which will, in turn, reduce your overall maintenance costs.

3. Magnetic Particle Testing

Magnetic particle testing is like X-ray testing but it uses magnetic particles to locate flaws inside the vessel. Testers generate a magnetic field inside the vessel, and spray magnetic particles inside it.

These particles stick to the flaws so that you can quickly identify them. The materials inside the vessel can not affect this test, so it is helpful for all vessels. They commonly apply the method in the validation of storage vessels. Because storage vessels are subject to external force, ferrous particles can result from contact between the vessel’s design and a nearby item.

4. Ultrasonic Testing

The test uses sound waves to examine the weld quality and defects such as porosity. The vessel is filled with liquid for this test so the sound waves can travel inside it. These sound waves are generated by sending a current through a metal plate inside the vessel. This causes the plate to vibrate, which causes the liquid to vibrate and produce sound waves.

The sound waves are sent through the liquid to the other side of the vessel, where they reflect. Ultrasonic testing is commonly applied to validate pressure vessels made from composite materials such as carbon fibre.

5. Liquid Penetrant Testing

A technician will apply a specially formulated liquid to the welds during this testing process. Liquid penetrant testing examines welds and other areas inside the vessel that are difficult to reach.

A fluorescent liquid is applied to the vessel and allowed to dry. The fluid will flow into any crack, flaw, or weld. These will cause the damage or defects to appear as dark spots on the welds. They will look different from the unaffected area. 

The technician will then remove the liquid and use a solvent to remove it altogether. The method helps locate faults hidden behind other components, such as gaskets.

6. Pressure Testing

Pressure testing determines the maximum pressure the vessel can handle without being damaged. They shut the valve that fills the vessel off when the pressure reaches the desired level and maintain this pressure for a certain amount before lowering it. This test helps identify leaks, dents, and other defects that can reduce the vessel’s pressure rating. It also helps determine the vessel’s size and type of material needed.

Pressure vessels store and handle liquids and gases at high pressures. To ensure their reliability, operators should conduct various tests to ensure that vessels are safe and reliable for production.

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