Research Papers: Operations, Applications & Components

Analysis of Expansion Joints Movement Test in FCC Unit

[+] Author and Article Information
Jordana L. B. C. Veiga

950, Avenue Horacio Macedo,
Cidade Universitaria Rio de Janeiro,
Rio de Janeiro 21941-915, Brazil
e-mail: jordana@petrobras.com.br

Jorivaldo Medeiros

950, Avenue Horacio Macedo,
Cidade Universitaria Rio de Janeiro,
Rio de Janeiro 21941-915, Brazil
e-mail: jorivaldo@petrobras.com.br

José Carlos Veiga

Teadit Industria e Comercio Ltda.,
8939, Avenue Martin Luther King Rio de Janeiro,
Rio de Janeiro 21530-012, Brazil
e-mail: jccveiga@teadit.com.br

Contributed by the Pressure Vessel and Piping Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF PRESSURE VESSEL TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received December 23, 2011; final manuscript received March 12, 2014; published online June 24, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Allen C. Smith.

J. Pressure Vessel Technol 136(5), 051601 (Jun 24, 2014) (7 pages) Paper No: PVT-11-1230; doi: 10.1115/1.4027201 History: Received December 23, 2011; Revised March 12, 2014

The turboexpander is an equipment that works under very critical conditions requiring very low allowable nozzle forces and moments. A solution to minimize the piping loads transmitted to the equipment is the use of expansion joints (EJ). A usual piping stress analysis normally is not enough to guarantee the turboexpander reliability. This paper shows the results obtained in a movement test realized on metallic bellows EJ used in a turboexpander piping system. The EJ were designed according to the expansion joints manufacturer association code (EJMA), the diameters range from 0.457 to 2,898 m, the material of the bellows is Inconel 625 LCF and the shell materials are “killed” carbon steel, for refractory lined EJ or stainless steel 304H. A special test device was developed to apply the design movements on the EJ at the factory. A digital dynamometer was used for data acquisition and the tests were performed on 16 EJ of two distinct types: hinged and gimbal. The EJ were pressurized with water during the test. The reactions and corresponding displacements for each step of the test were recorded during loading and unloading.

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EJMA, 2003, Standards of the Expansion Joint Manufacturers Association, 8th ed., Expansion Joint, New York.
NEMA SM 23, 1991, “Steam Turbines for Mechanical Drive Device.”
Medeiros, J., Torelli, M., and Nunes, W. P., 2000, “Experiência na implantação das linhas do turbo expansor na unidade de craqueamento catalítico de resíduo da Recap,” VII Encontro de Caldeiraria e Tubulações, Petrobras.
Nayyar, M. L., 2000, Piping Handbook, 7th ed., McGraw-Hill, New York.
Telles, P. C. S., 2001, “Industrial Piping: Materials, Projects, Assembly,” 10th ed., Editora LTC, Brazil (in Portuguese).
Medeiros, J., Veiga, J. L. B. C., and Veiga, J. C., 2008, “Large Expansion Joint Movement Test,” Rio Oil and Gas Expo and Conference, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, (in Portuguese).
Center for Chemical Process Safety, 1993, “Guidelines for Engineering Design for Process Safety,” Center for Chemical Process Safety/AIChE.


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Fig. 1

Schematically drawn of a turboexpander inlet line ideal layout [3]

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Fig. 2

Movement types of an expansion joints: (a) axial, (b) angular, and (c) lateral

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Fig. 3

Expansion joints types: (a) axial, (b) tied universal, (c) hinged, and (d) gimbal

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Fig. 4

Expansion joint in the test position (unit in mm): (a) schematic draw of the test device and (b) actual test device

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Fig. 5

Test device: (a) dynamometer used during the test, (b) angle measurement device, and (c) load application

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Fig. 6

Loading and unloading schematic drawing

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Fig. 10

Applied moment on each expansion joint—ATM pressure load condition

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Fig. 7

Images from the EJ during the tests

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Fig. 8

Applied moment on each expansion joint—design load condition

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Fig. 9

Applied moment on each expansion joint—operating load condition



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