The stress field in and around bulges in cylindrical and oval pressure vessels is examined using linear elastic finite element models. The effects of bulge size and shape on axial and hoop stresses are examined under internal pressure loading. Stress components at the center of the bulge, in the entire bulge, and in the vessel outside the bulge are analyzed both on the inside and outside surfaces of the vessel wall. In addition, the effects of vessel ovality (out-of-roundness) and the location of a bulge relative to ovality on these stress components are studied. This study provides engineers with a detailed look at bulging-induced stresses and the limitations of stress-based fitness-for-service assessment of bulges in pressure vessels such as refinery coke drums.

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