This paper investigates using nonlinear finite element analysis (FEA) to determine the failure pressure and failure location for pressure vessels. The method investigated by this paper is to predict the pressure-vessel failure point by identifying the pressure and location where the total mechanical strain exceeds the actual elongation limit of the material. A symmetrically shaped component and a nonsymmetric shaped component are analyzed to determine the failure pressure and location. Data were then gathered by testing each pressure vessel to determine its actual failure pressure. Comparing the FEA results with experimental data showed that the fea software predicted the failure pressure and location very well for the symmetric shaped pressure vessel, however, for the nonsymmetrical shaped pressure-vessel, the fea software predicted the failure pressure within a reasonable range, but the component failed at a weld instead of the predicted location. This difference in failure location was likely caused by varying material properties in both the weld and the location where the vessel was predicted to fail.

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