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Revision / Edition: 07      Chg:      Date: 00/00/07



The use of reinforced thermoset plastic (RTP) vessels, operating at pressures not exceeding 15 psig external and/or 15 psig internal above any hydrostatic head, that contain corrosive and otherwise hazardous materials, dictates the need for rules and/or stress analysis concerning materials of construction, design, fabrication, quality control, and inspection of such equipment. In developing rules for RTP, the Committee has adapted the principles of rules included in Section VIII, Division 1, of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, wherever they are applicable.

Adaption of standard rules to RTP requires recognition of differences that exist between metallic materials and RTP. These differences are addressed in the remainder of this Introduction.


In the absence of ASTM standards, RTP laminate specifications (Part 2) have been developed for use with this ASME Standard. These specifications include laminate composition and properties. Laminates (composites) manufactured by contact molding and by filament winding are covered.

These materials of construction are not available in commerce as mill shapes such as sheet and plate for forming and joining by the Fabricator. They are produced in situ on a mandrel or mold by the Fabricator during fabrication of RTP equipment components. Each Fabricator, as part of his or her shop qualification to this Standard, must demonstrate capability to produce laminates meeting the requirements of the laminate specifications.

Assembly of components such as shells, heads, and nozzles requires joining by secondary bonding. This operation involves fit-up, surface preparation, and overwrapping with a laminate of composition equivalent to the laminates being joined. Secondary Bonders must be qualified individually by the procedures detailed in Appendix M-5.


Design by formulas and by stress analysis are both included in this Standard. Consideration is given both to ultimate strength and to limiting strain. Time and temperature dependence of RTP laminate properties is recognized.

The ultimate stress consideration is required to assure safety against catastrophic failure over a reasonably long term. The design factors of Subparts 3A and 3B include consideration of variability of quality in the laborintensive fabricating operation. The strain considerations are required to assure long-term operation under cyclic stress (fatigue) without cracking the resin matrix of the composite laminate, thus maintaining maximum corrosion resistance. More than 20 years of successful experience, together with test data, have shown these considerations to be valid.


Reliance is placed on careful auditing of the Fabricator’s Quality Control Program and close visual inspection of equipment during fabrication and of finished equipment.

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