Chemical processing involves a variety of complex processes that require specialized equipment to carry out. One such piece of equipment is the pressure vessel

Pressure vessels are used in a wide range of chemical processing applications, making them essential components in the industry. This article will explore some of the types of pressure vessels and their applications in chemical processing.

What is A Pressure Vessel?

A pressure vessel is a container that is designed to hold gases or liquids at a greater than atmospheric pressure. These vessels are commonly used in industrial settings, where they are used to store and transport gases or liquids. 

Pressure vessels can be made from a variety of materials, including steel, stainless steel, aluminium, and composite materials. They are used in various industries, including oil and gas, chemical processing, and power generation. 

Pressure vessels are subject to strict safety regulations, as they can be dangerous if they are not designed, manufactured, and maintained properly.

Pressure Vessel Design

Pressure vessel design is a crucial aspect of engineering that involves designing and constructing containers that can safely hold gases or liquids under high pressure. These vessels are used in various industries, including oil and gas, chemical, and pharmaceuticals. 

The design process involves considering a range of factors, including the type of materials to be used, the maximum pressure the vessel will be subjected to, and the temperature range it will operate in. 

A well-designed pressure vessel can prevent accidents and ensure the safe operation of equipment, making it an essential part of many industrial processes.

What Pressure Vessels are Used in the Chemical Industry

Pressure vessels are commonly used in the chemical industry for various applications, such as storing and transporting gases and liquids under high pressure and/or temperature. These vessels are designed to withstand the extreme pressures and temperatures that are required for many chemical processes. 

They are typically used for applications such as chemical reactors, distillation towers, and storage tanks for highly reactive substances. Pressure vessels must meet strict safety standards and regulations to prevent any potential hazards or accidents. Proper maintenance, testing, and inspection are essential to ensure the safety and efficiency of these vessels.

Below we will go through some of the different types available and their applications. The vessels are available in a range of materials including carbon steel and stainless steel depending on the media, where these vessels are used and what they are being used for.

Examples of Pressure Vessels

Storage Vessels

One of the most common types of pressure vessel applications in chemical processing is storage. Pressure vessels are used to store a wide range of materials, including liquids, gases, and chemicals. The pressure vessel’s design and construction are tailored to the type of material being stored and the conditions it requires to remain stable and safe.

Reaction Vessels

Reaction vessels are used in chemical processing to carry out chemical reactions. Pressure vessels provide a controlled environment where reactions can take place safely and efficiently. The vessel’s design and construction are tailored to the specific reaction being carried out, including the materials used and the temperature and pressure required.

Distillation Columns

Distillation columns are used to separate different components in a mixture through distillation. A distillation column can be a vertical or horizontal pressure vessel with multiple trays or packing material inside. The mixture is heated, vaporised, and then separated with the vapour travelling through the column and condensing on the trays or packing material, resulting in separated components.

Heat Exchangers

Pressure vessels can also be used as heat exchangers in chemical processing. Heat exchangers facilitate the transfer of heat between two fluids, usually to cool or heat a process stream. A pressure vessel’s design and construction for heat exchange are tailored to the specific temperature and pressure requirements of the fluids being used.


Pressure vessels are essential components in the chemical processing industry, playing a vital role in many applications. They provide a controlled environment where chemical reactions can take place safely and efficiently, and materials can be stored under stable and safe conditions. As the industry evolves, pressure vessels will continue to play a significant role in chemical processing applications.

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