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Difference between MAWP and Design Pressure

Difference between MAWP and Design Pressure

Design pressure and MAWP are two important concepts to understand in the design of a piping system. The difference between them is often misunderstood, so it’s important to understand the basics. This post will explain the difference between MAWP and design pressure, and why they’re both important concepts in piping system design.

What is MAWP?

MAWP stands for maximum allowable working pressure. It is the highest pressure that a container, such as a pipeline, pipe, tank, or reactor, can safely withstand without risk of failure or rupture. MAWP is usually specified by the manufacturer and is often lower than the maximum pressure that the container can physically withstand. This safety margin allows for factors such as material fatigue, corrosion, and temperature variation. MAWP is an important design parameter that must be considered when designing and operating pressure vessels.

What is Design Pressure?

Design pressure is the force per unit area that a material can withstand without failing or being significantly deformed. It is usually expressed in pounds per square inch (psi) or megapascals (MPa). Design pressure is an important concept in engineering, as it allows engineers to determine the strength of materials and structures. Design pressure is often used in the design of pressure vessels, such as tanks and pipes. It is also used in the design of buildings and bridges. In general, the higher the design pressure, the stronger the material or structure.

Difference between MAWP and Design Pressure

MAWP is the maximum allowable working pressure. This is the pressure at which a vessel is allowed to operate. The MAWP is usually 10 percent below the Burst Pressure. MAWP is generally specified by the designer of the pressure vessel. Design Pressure, on the other hand, is a structural consideration used in the design of the pressure vessel itself. It is usually specified as a percentage of the MAWP. For example, a pressure vessel with a MAWP of 100psi might have a Design Pressure of 80psi. The MAWP would be the absolute maximum pressure that could be applied to the vessel, while the Design Pressure would be a lower limit that takes into account the strength of the materials used in construction. In summary, MAWP is set by the manufacturer or designer and should never be exceeded. Design Pressure is a safety consideration used in designing the pressure vessel itself.


Although MAWP and design pressure are related, they have different implications for piping systems. It is important to understand the difference so that you can ensure your system is designed and installed correctly.

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