A guide to technical terms used in cylinder technical specifications

Tube Burst Pressure Calculation

In working out the maximum pressure that a tube can take before bursting, the most common approach is to use Barlow's formula. This formula is used to estimate the maximum internal pressure a pipe can withstand for a given material at given dimensions.

The formula is:

P = (2 x S x t) / D


P = internal pressure - in pounds per square inch gauge (psig)

S = unit stress - in pounds per square inch (psi)

t = nominal wall thickness measured in inches

D = outside diameter of pipe meeasured in inches

It is also possible to add in a safety factor to make the calculation to leave additional headroom before catastrophic failure. In this case the formula looks like this:

P = (2 x S x t) / (D x SF)

Additional Key:

SF = Safety Factor Multiplier (commonly in the range 1.5 to 10)


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