Research Papers: Design and Analysis

Analysis of Thermal and Mechanical Behavior of Pipe Flange Connections by Taking Account of Gasket Compression Characteristics at Elevated Temperature

[+] Author and Article Information
Toshimichi Fukuoka

 Kobe University, 5-1-1, Fukaeminami, Higashinada, Kobe 658-0022, Japanfukuoka@maritime.kobe-u.ac.jp

Masataka Nomura

 Kobe University, 5-1-1, Fukaeminami, Higashinada, Kobe 658-0022, Japannomura@maritime.kobe-u.ac.jp

Takashi Nishikawa

 Graduate School of Maritime Sciences, Kobe University, 5-1-1, Fukaeminami, Higashinada, Kobe 658-0022, Japansekkei.kakou@gmail.com

J. Pressure Vessel Technol 134(2), 021202 (Jan 11, 2012) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4005388 History: Received May 31, 2010; Accepted October 24, 2011; Revised October 24, 2011; Published January 11, 2012; Online January 11, 2012

Sealing of contained fluids is the primary performance required for pipe flange connections. It is well known that the leakage is likely to occur when contained fluids at high temperature are concerned. Due to the differential thermal expansion of each part, bolt preloads that tighten a pair of pipe flanges tend to decrease. Therefore, it is significantly important for the joint safety to estimate the amount of bolt preload reduction at the design stage. In this paper, a finite element approach is proposed to analyze thermal and mechanical behavior of pipe flange connections at elevated temperature, by incorporating the stress–strain curves of sheet gaskets measured in the temperature range which covers its usual service condition. Then, the reduction rate of bolt preloads at elevated temperature is systematically evaluated. The analytical objects are pipe flange connections tightened with aramid sheet gaskets. When a pipe flange connection is subjected to thermal load, the gasket stress usually decreases along unloading curves. The temperature dependency of gasket stiffness is considered by defining Young’s modulus in unloading E*, which can be introduced into FE formulation using ordinary solid elements. Numerical results show that bolt preloads are decreased by as much as 30% of the initial value when using aramid sheet gaskets of 3 mm thickness. The effectiveness of the proposed numerical method has been confirmed by comparing the numerical results of bolt preload reduction to experimental ones.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Loading and unloading curves of sheet gaskets at room and elevated temperatures

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Figure 2

Test equipment for measuring gasket compression characteristics at elevated temperature

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Figure 3

Stress–strain curves of aramid sheet gasket at 50°C and 100°C

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Figure 4

Variation of gasket stress and strain when subjected to thermal load

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Figure 5

Definition of Young’s modulus in unloading E* for unloading process

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Figure 6

Objective pipe flange connection and FE model

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Figure 13

Comparison between numerical and experimental results on bolt stress residual rate

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Figure 12

Variation of bolt stress residual rate and bolt temperature with time

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Figure 11

Schematic diagram of experimental setup for heating experiment of pipe flange connection

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Figure 10

Test bolt with thermocouples and strain gages attached

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Figure 9

Variation of bolt stress residual rate with time

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Figure 8

Tresca stress distributions of pipe flange connection

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Figure 7

Temperature distributions of pipe flange connection



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