A general formula for plastic collapse load of elliptical heads under internal pressure is useful in plastic collapse design and integrity assessment of pressure vessels. Plastic collapse load of steel elliptical heads with different shapes and thickness was computed by finite element analysis using elastic-perfectly plastic constitutive model, and a formula with maximum relative error less than 6% was derived from the numerical results. The formula is a function of the yield strength of materials, the ratio of major axis Di to minor axis 2hi and that of outer diameter Do to inner diameter Di, and is applicable to steel elliptical heads with Di/2hi within 1–2.6 and Do/Di within 1.001–1.300.

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