The most common design of Pressure Vessel

pressure vessels

What is the most common design of pressure vessel?

The most common design of a pressure vessel is the cylindrical shape with two dished or curved end closures, known as heads. This design is often referred to as a “cylindrical pressure vessel with dished ends” or simply a “cylindrical vessel.” It is a widely used and versatile configuration due to its structural stability and efficiency in handling both internal pressure and various types of loads.

Key features of this common pressure vessel design include:

 Cylindrical Shell:

The primary body of the vessel is cylindrical, which provides structural strength and is well-suited for containing pressurized fluids or gases. The cylindrical shape helps distribute stresses evenly, making it a stable configuration.

 Dished or Curved Heads:

The ends of the cylindrical shell are closed with dished or curved heads. These heads are often designed to be hemispherical, ellipsoidal, or torispherical in shape. The curved heads help evenly distribute stress at the ends of the vessel, enhancing its strength.

 Nozzles and Openings:

Nozzles and openings are strategically located on the cylindrical shell and heads to allow for the connection of pipes, valves, and other equipment. These openings are designed with reinforcements and follow specific guidelines to ensure structural integrity.

 Supports and Skirts:

Pressure vessels are typically supported by skirts or legs to provide stability and even weight distribution. The design of these supports considers factors such as vessel weight, wind loads, seismic forces, and thermal expansion.

 Pressure Relief Devices:

Pressure relief devices, such as relief valves, are integrated into the vessel to protect it from overpressure situations. These devices are designed to open and release excess pressure when it exceeds safe limits.


The choice of materials for this common pressure vessel design depends on factors such as the type of fluid or gas being contained, operating temperature and pressure, and corrosion resistance requirements. Common materials include carbon steel, stainless steel, and various alloys.

 Welding and Joints:

Welding and joining techniques are used to assemble the components of the pressure vessel, including the cylindrical shell, heads, and nozzles. Proper weld design and quality control are essential for structural integrity.

 Insulation and Linings:

In some cases, pressure vessels may require insulation to maintain temperature stability. Additionally, linings or coatings may be applied to protect the interior from corrosion, abrasion, or chemical reactions.

 Instrumentation and Accessories:

Pressure vessels often include instrumentation and accessories to monitor and control their operation. These may include pressure gauges, temperature sensors, level indicators, and safety interlocks. Accessories like manways (large access openings) and sight glasses facilitate maintenance and inspection.

 Non-Destructive Testing (NDT):

To ensure the integrity of welds and materials, pressure vessels undergo non-destructive testing (NDT) during fabrication and maintenance. Common NDT methods include radiographic testing (X-rays), ultrasonic testing (sound waves), magnetic particle testing (detecting surface cracks), and dye penetrant testing (revealing surface defects).

 Quality Control and Documentation:

Rigorous quality control processes are essential throughout the fabrication process to ensure that the vessel conforms to design specifications. Detailed documentation, including material certificates, inspection reports, and weld logs, is maintained for traceability and compliance.

 Pressure Testing:

Pressure vessels undergo hydrostatic testing to verify their structural integrity and leak-tightness. During this test, the vessel is filled with a liquid and pressurized to levels exceeding its design pressure. This test ensures that the vessel can safely withstand its intended operating conditions.

 Safety Features:

Pressure vessels incorporate safety features designed to protect the vessel and personnel in the event of overpressure or other emergencies. These safety features include pressure relief devices (e.g., relief valves and rupture discs), which are set to release excess pressure when necessary.

 Modular Design:

In some applications, pressure vessels may be designed in a modular fashion, allowing for easy assembly and disassembly. Modular designs facilitate transportation and installation in constrained spaces.


While the cylindrical pressure vessel with dished ends is the most common design, it’s important to note that pressure vessels can be highly customized to meet specific requirements. This customization may involve variations in size, shape, materials, and internal configurations to accommodate unique operational needs.

 Industry-Specific Variations:

Different industries may have variations of the common pressure vessel design to meet their specific needs. For example, the petrochemical industry often requires vessels with additional features like heat exchanger tubes or agitators.

This common design is found in a wide range of applications, including but not limited to petrochemical processing, chemical manufacturing, power generation, and water treatment. Its simplicity, efficiency, and adaptability make it a preferred choice for various industries. However, it’s essential to note that pressure vessel designs can vary significantly based on specific operational requirements, and custom designs may be necessary for specialized applications.


In the realm of industrial solutions, Red River emerges as a pioneer, offering a diverse range of custom-engineered products and facilities. Among our specialties is the design and production of Custom/OEM Pressure Vessels, meticulously crafted to meet individual client requirements, ensuring performance under various pressure conditions. Our expertise extends to the domain of prefabrication, where Red River leads with distinction.

The company excels in creating prefabricated facilities, modules, and packages, reinforcing its stance as a forerunner in innovation and quality. This proficiency is further mirrored in their Modular Skids offering, where they provide an array of Modular Fabricated Skid Packages and Packaged equipment. Each piece is tailored to client specifications, underlining their commitment to delivering precision and excellence in every project they undertake.

Pressure Vessel line art

Pressure Vessels

Custom/OEM Pressure Vessels designed to fit your needs.

Prefabrication line art


Red River is a leader in prefabricated facilities, modules and packages.

Modular skid line art

Modular Skids

Modular Fabricated Skid Packages and Packaged equipment manufactured to your specifications.


Need action? Ready to Get Started?

We are here to make it happen. Request a quote!