Pressure Vessel Heads’ Role In Submarines

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How Pressure Vessel Heads Are Used in Submarines

Pressure vessel heads are one of the most versatile components in the world today, utilised in all kinds of industries, from mining to hospitality. But did you know these amazing parts also play a vital role in submarines? As a pressure vessel head is responsible for maintaining these underwater vessels’ structural integrity and safety, only the highest-performing heads are used. Interested in learning more about the role of pressure vessel heads in submarines and underwater exploration? APV Heads does a deep dive into how these versatile components are used.

Pressure Hulls

Pressure vessel heads are an integral part of the pressure hulls in submarines. The pressure hull is the watertight enclosure that houses the crew and vital components of the submarine and keeping it securely sealed is critical. The pressure vessel heads help seal the ends of the pressure hull, maintaining its structural integrity and providing a barrier against external water pressure.

Forward and Aft Bulkheads

Pressure vessel heads are typically utilised in submarines’ forward and aft bulkheads. These bulkheads serve as watertight divisions within the pressure hull, separating different sections of the submarine. The heads ensure the integrity of these bulkheads, preventing water ingress and maintaining the necessary pressure differentials.

Ballast Tanks

The ballast tank of a submarine is responsible for controlling the submarine’s buoyancy and stability. They work by filling and emptying with seawater or air. The heads in the ballast tanks help maintain the tanks’ structural integrity, ensuring their water tightness and pressure containment, and they’re a vital element in this process.

Air Flasks

When travelling under the ocean, submarines need access to compressed air for various systems, including emergency buoyancy, pneumatic controls, and diver operations. So, pressure vessel heads are employed in air flasks or air banks on submarines. These components help to contain the compressed air, with the heads in the air flasks ensuring the pressure containment and integrity of the stored air.

Compressed Gas Storage

Submarines use pressure vessel heads to store compressed gases, such as breathing air and oxygen. Additionally, they need access to other gases used for life support systems, fuel cells, and various equipment. Pressure vessel heads provide pressure containment and maintain the integrity of the gas storage compartments, making them vital.

Hydraulic Systems

Pressure vessel heads are used in hydraulic systems onboard submarines. These systems utilise pressurised hydraulic fluid to power various mechanical and control systems, including propulsion, steering, weapon handling, and diving planes. The heads ensure pressure containment within the hydraulic systems, allowing for reliable and efficient operation.

Dependable Pressure Vessel Heads for Every Industry


Pressure vessel heads play critical roles in submarines, enabling them to navigate underwater environments and carry out their missions effectively. APV Heads have manufactured pressure vessel heads for over 70 years for various industries and applications. Chat with our team today to discover the APV Heads difference.