For new ASME pressure vessel designs that have a design pressure less than 10,000 psi (70 MPa), it is commonly questioned whether Section VIII, Division 1 or Division 2 should be used as the code of construction. Each code offers specific advantages and disadvantages depending on the specific vessel considered. Further complicating the various considerations is the new Mandatory Appendix 46 of Division 1 which allows the design rules of Division 2 to be used for Division 1 designs. With the various options available, determining the best approach can be challenging and is often more complex than only determining which code provides the thinnest wall thickness.

This paper attempts to address many of the typical considerations that determine the use of Division 1 or Division 2 as the code of construction. Items to be considered may include administrative burden, certification process, design margins, design rules, and examination and testing requirements. From the considerations presented, specific comparisons are made between the two divisions with notable differences highlighted. Finally, sample evaluations are presented to illustrate the differences between each code of construction for identical design conditions. Also, material and labor estimates are compiled for each case study to provide a realistic comparison of the expected differential cost between the construction codes.

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