Thermo-Mechanical Evaluation of the Performance and Integrity of a HDPE Stub-End Bolted Flange Connection

[+] Author and Article Information
Imad Barsoum

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Petroleum Institute, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 2533, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Zuheir Barsoum

Department of Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering, Division of Lightweight Structures, Royal Institute of Technology - KTH, Teknikringen 8, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

Didarul Islam

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Petroleum Institute, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 2533, Abu Dhabi, UAE

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4043844 History: Received November 20, 2018; Revised May 21, 2019


In the current study the integrity of a manhole structure made of a 78" HDPE stub-end, steel ring and blind flange, sealed with a compressed non-asbestos fiber (CNAF) gasket is investigated by means of a parametric FEA. A coupled thermo-mechanical non-linear model is built, which allows modelling the complex thermal and mechanical loads and their interactions present during operation of the manhole. The temperature-dependent elastic-plastic HDPE material behavior and the temperature-dependent non-linear response of the CNAF gasket are accounted for in the model. Factors influencing the performance and integrity of the manhole such as stud-bolt pre-torque level (Tb), internal pressure (Pi) and outer temperature (To) are considered. Based on the results, the integrity and performance of the structure is assessed in view of a leakage through-gasket criterion and a yielding of the HDPE stub-end criterion. The FEA results reveal that both Tb, Pi and To significantly influence the performance (i.e. leakage) of the gasket and the integrity (i.e. yielding) of the HDPE stub-end. At 40 C it is possible to find a safe operational window for a range of Tb and Pi values where no leakage through the gasket or yielding of the stub-end occur. However, as temperature is increased this safe operational window decreases considerably, and at 80 C safe operation cannot be guaranteed and leakage, yielding or both simultaneously, will lead to loss in performance and integrity of the manhole structure.

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