Engineering mechanics analysis of cannon pressure vessels is described with special emphasis on the work of the late US Army Benet Laboratories engineer David P. Kendall. His work encompassed a broad range of design and analysis of high pressure vessels for use as cannons, including analysis of the limiting yield pressure for vessels, the autofrettage process applied to thick vessels, and the fatigue life of autofrettaged cannon vessels. Mr. Kendall’s work has become the standard approach used to analyze the structural integrity of cannon pressure vessels at the US Army Benet Laboratories.

The methods used by Kendall in analysis of pressure vessels were simple and direct. He used classic results from research in engineering mechanics to develop descriptive expressions for limiting pressure, autofrettage residual stresses and fatigue life of cannon pressure vessels. Then he checked the expressions against the results of full-scale cannon pressure vessel tests in the proving grounds and the laboratory. Three types of analysis are described: [i] Yield pressure tests of cannon sections compared with a yield pressure expression, including in the comparison post-test yield strength measurements from appropriate locations of the cannon sections; [ii] Autofrettage hoop residual stress measurements by neutron diffraction in cannon sections compared with expressions, including Bauschinger corrections in the expressions to account for the reduction in compressive yield strength near the bore of an autofrettaged vessel; [iii] Fatigue life tests of cannons following proving ground firing and subsequent laboratory simulated firing compared with Paris-based fatigue life expressions that include post-test metallographic determination of the initial crack size due to firing. Procedures are proposed for Paris life calculations for bore-initiated fatigue affected by crack-face pressure and notch-initiated cracking in which notch tip stresses are significantly above the material yield strength.

The expressions developed by Kendall and compared with full-scale cannon pressure vessel tests provide useful first-order design and safety checks for pressure vessels, to be followed by further engineering analysis and service simulation testing as appropriate for the application. Expressions are summarized that are intended for initial design calculations of yield pressure, autofrettage stresses and fatigue life for pressure vessels. Example calculations with these expressions are described for a hypothetical pressure vessel.

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