Testing equipment under pressure

A couple of buildings up the hill from our dock, the University of Washington has the oceanography building. In early December, the oceanography department threw their annual Christmas party. While there, one of my friends that works in the building and showed me the pressure vessel. The building was built around the pressure vessel.

The vessel is basically three stories deep and when fully pressurized can produce over 10,000 p.s.i. (pounds per square inch). Just about any type of instrument that is designed to be placed on the ocean floor is first tested in the vessel as long as it can physically fit.

Not only is the vessel available to science and engineering departments, but outside companies can also rent time at very reasonable rates.

It’s hard to photograph something like this as most of it isn’t visible. It is a cool perk of the job to see cool stuff like this.

The top of the pressure vessel with the cap (plug) off.


The plug goes in and makes a 1/4 turn to lock in place.


The top of the vessel showing the locking grooves.


When they come up to full pressure, they do it at night and clear out the building of personell in case something fails. If it were to fail, there probably won’t be much left of the building.

So there you have it. More posts soon.


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