The juncture of a small cylindrical nozzle to a large cylindrical vessel is very common in the pressure vessel industry. Upon fabrication, it is required that the whole structure is subjected to pressure testing. The test can be expensive as it necessitates pressurizing the whole structure typically having a large volume. Hence, it is proposed to make a “local test,” which is considerably simpler as it involves capping the small nozzle and testing only a relatively small portion of the structure. This paper investigates the accuracy and reliability of such an alternative test, using the finite-element method. Two different finite-element types are used in the study, specifically a shell-based element and a solid-based element. The verification of the finite-element results for two different cases shows that the models used in the study are valid. It also proves that the two element types yield very similar stress results. In addition, the study includes a numerical investigation of more than 40 different nozzle-to-vessel junctures with a wide range of parameters for the nozzle and vessel. The results indicate that the use of cylindrical caps that are slightly larger than the nozzle is not recommended as it produces stresses that are significantly different from those for the original required pressure test. As such, the study provides an estimate of the smallest size of the cap that may be used in the local test to generate stresses that agree with the full test. For most practical geometries, it is shown that the size of the cap needs to be at least 2–30 times larger than that of the nozzle, depending on the geometrical parameters of the juncture.

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