FEA Stress Analysis

Code books contain equations to design simple vessel shapes like cylindrical shells. What about shapes that are not found in code books? What about standard shapes used in arrangements or sizes not covered by the rules? This is the job for Finite Element Analysis (FEA).

A solid model is created. The model is split into small pyramids or cubes – a mesh of simple shapes that can be calculated by the laws of physics. Loads are applied to the mesh and displacements are calculated. Displacements are converted into stresses and both can be seen. Code rules separate areas of the model that are acceptable from those that are overstressed, and if required, the solid model is modified, and the process repeated until successful.

FEA can be used for much more. Wind and seismic loads can be input. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) can determine shell temperature distributions which are used to calculate thermal displacement and stresses. Stresses are used to calculate the permissible cycle life (fatigue life).

The use of FEA is increasing. Users see the value in knowing the code permitted cycle life of their vessel. Designers can use irregular shapes more appropriate to their process needs. Inspectors are insisting on FEA for items that code rules do not do well – see the obround nozzle article below.

Introduction to FEA

If you are new to FEA we suggest starting with these pictorial guides.


FEA Samples and Articles

These are our most read FEA samples and articles. More can be found in the FEA blogs below.




FEA Blogs

More samples and articles, validation of our software and methods by comparison with published articles and FEA techniques.



Finite Element Analysis at PVEng

We use FEA to design and validate fittings and vessels that can not be designed by rule-based codes like VIII-1 or B31.3. We are experts in the specialized field of pressure equipment design by FEA to validated ASME VIII-2 methods.

  • SolidWorks Simulation and Abacus software
  • Pressure and thermal stress analysis
  • Permissible service life (fatigue life)
  • Wind and seismic analysis
  • Leg, saddle and clip design
  • Frequency and vibration analysis
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

Pressure Vessel Engineering has used Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to design and verify thousands of pressurized components. We have the knowledge and experience to get the job done right.

Other Services

ASME Code DesignWe work to many ASME standards to design and validate pressure vessels, boiler, fittings and piping systems.

Pipe Stress AnalysisPipe stress analysis is mandatory for British Columbia registration and it is recommended practice for many other systems.

Canadian Registration Number (CRN)We are Canada’s largest independent registrar of fittings, vessels and piping under the CRN program registering for more than a thousand customers.

About Us

Pressure Vessel Engineering has twenty years of successful experience in the pressure vessel field working for more than a thousand customers.

  • Six Professional Engineers on staff licensed to stamp and sign off on designs for use in all Canadian jurisdictions.
  • Fast and professional assistance from our team.

Need help? Our contact information is to the right.