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An air receiver is essential to every compressed air system to act as a storage medium

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Introduction

An air receiver is essential to every compressed air system to act as a storage medium between the air compressor and a consumption system. The air receiver helps in maintaining a constant pressure in a system by minimizing the fluctuations of a compressor cycling on and off. Most industry will have such a compressed air system in place for various applications. Typical uses of compressed air are for tyre inflation, air powered tools, pneumatic cylinders, painting, cleaning, air motors, conveying systems, pneumatic controls and breathing air.

Most air receivers are of simple design consisting of a shell and two dished heads. The air receiver shown in Figure 1 is typically used in marine installations (ships engine room) to provide starting air (amongst other things) for both main and auxiliary engines at a pressure of around 3 MPa.

As a design engineer, working for a company who manufacture bespoke and one off air receivers, you have been tasked with optimizing the shell and head thickness for a specific medium pressure vessel which is to provide compressed air at a pressure of 7.5 MPa. The optimized design is to be based on the 'limit load' determined from a non-linear limit load analysis (using Solidworks Simulation FEA software) and the 'load factor taken from the relevant 'design code.

Figure 2 shows a 90 degree quadrant of the top half of the air receiver you are to optimize. The shell and header thickness could be assumed to be the same. The header is to be of hemispherical construction and welded to the shell cylinder. The geometry of the top half of the vessel is a mirror image of the bottom half. The vessel geometry therefore is predominantly symmetric apart from the single air outlet pipe in the top half of the vessel and the single air inlet pipe in the bottom half. You have been advised by the senior design engineer to only model a 90 degree quadrant of the vessel (as in Figure 2) using appropriate boundary conditions on the 'cut faces' of the air receiver to simulate the vessels inherent geometrical symmetry. A non-linear finite element analysis can be time consuming and therefore costly to the company.

1.2 Individual dimensions and design data

You can obtain the dimensions of your specific vessel from the 'individual student data' document available on CANVAS (supplementary to this document). Due to space limitations where the air receiver is to be located, the outer diameter of the vessel must be fixed at D, =

 

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