Working Pressure

Definition - What does Working Pressure mean?

The working pressure is the amount of force being applied to the internal walls of a pressure vessel under normal operating conditions. Having a pressure vessel at its working pressure means it is experiencing the pressure force that it was designed to run at. Exceeding the specified working pressure could be hazardous.

Corrosionpedia explains Working Pressure

Working pressure is not an exact number; it typically is a range of pressure values that can be fairly wide for some applications. For critical applications or pressure vessels designed with a relatively low safety factor, the acceptable working pressure range could be very narrow, from a minimum value to the maximum allowable working pressure.

Exceeding the maximum allowable working pressure puts the pressure vessel in a condition for which it was not intended, and a system failure could occur. It is important to stay within the working pressure range because that is what the pressure vessel was designed for.

The working pressure can be determined by a variety of methods, including:

  • An engineering team performs several types of computer analyses.
  • Performing destructive testing.
  • Using calculators given by industry standards. The American Petroleum Institute is an organization that helps define what the working pressure of a pressure vessel system should be.
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