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Pressure vessels enter into many phases of human activity and, consequently, the services derived from pressure vessels lead to a tremendous variety of applications and associated engineering problems. The most important of these engineering problems cover various aspects of public safety and economics, and are noncompetitive. Because they are the responsibility of the entire engineering community and are of national concern, there has been a recognition by leaders in industry and government that the burden of finding solutions must be handled on a cooperative basis and that this effort can best be supported by equitable contributions from industry and/or public funds.

Such cooperative action was organized in the form of the Pressure Vessel Research Committee (PVRC) by the Welding Research Council in 1945.

With the more exacting demands of modern applications, the problems have multiplied and the resulting complexity requires careful planning. To this end, the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Committee established the ASME Special Committee to Review Code Stress Basis in 1955. This committee submitted an outline for needed pressure vessel research to PVRC in April 1959, consisting of eighteen topics. This outline served as an effective guide for PVRC research during the next seven years. Although the total program outlined had not yet been completed in 1966, PVRC believed that it should be brought up to date at that time.