The ASME Boiler and pressure vessel code Section VIII Division 2 and the European unfired pressure vessel code EN13445 Part 3 Design by Analysis parts dealing primarily with steel pressure vessels have been around for the last ten to fifteen years. The culmination of work on pressure vessel design by analysis address failure modes directly and are very efficient in order to guarantee that the designed and fabricated steel pressure vessels are fit for their purpose. The ASME Boiler and pressure vessel code Section X and the European codes BS EN13923 and BS EN13121 are some of the existing codes that cover design methods for composite pressure vessels. In these codes various failure criteria and damage mechanics models are possible but as such no comprehensive and robust design by analysis methods have been effectively established to encapsulate all composite pressure vessel failure modes. For instance the design of fibre-reinforced composite pressure vessels is still heavily reliant on experimental testing and prototype verification as opposed to the well-established design by analysis methods applicable to steel pressure vessels. Nonetheless a number of damage mechanics models ranging from mesoscale to microscale models have been established in other research work done on composite materials. This paper reviews the different composite pressure vessel design methods identified in the codes and standards and assesses damage mechanisms that can be used within a design by analysis context to design against possible modes of failure such as the limit load mode of failure, the progressive deformation mode of failure, the fatigue mode of failure and the buckling mode of failure. Damage mechanisms can also be used to develop criteria that allow a stress analyst deduce whether the material has failed, how it has failed and whether it has lost its capability to carry the load actions applied to it. The paper also highlights requirements for design methods based on the finite element method, and the necessary experimental validation required for different damage mechanisms leading to the different modes of failure.

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