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In this page I will talk about the pipe rack design philosophy. Pipe rack is the main artery of any plant. This carries the pipes and cable trays (raceways) from one equipment to another equipment within a process unit (called ISBL piperack) or carries the pipe and cable trays from one unit to another unit (called OSBL pipe rack). Some times you will also find the AIR COOLED HEAT EXCHANGERS on the pipe rack. There are different types of pipe rack: Continuous Piperacks (conventional pipe rack) system Non-continuous Piperacks system Modular Pipe rack Conventional / Continuous Pipe rack Continuous Piperacks (conventional pipe rack) system: This is essentially a system where multiple 2-dimensional (2D) frame assemblies (commonly called bents), comprised of two or more columns with transverse beams, are tied together in the longitudinal direction utilizing beam struts (for support of transverse pipe and raceway elements and for longitudinal stability of the system) and vertical bracing to form a 3D space frame arrangement. Piperacks supporting equipment such as air-cooled heat exchangers must utilize the continuous system approach. Step-1: Data collection for pipe rack design: Due to the fast track nature associated with most of the projects, often the final piping, raceway, and equipment information is not available at initiation of the piperack design. Therefore, as a Civil/Structural Engineer, you should coordinate with the Piping group, Electrical, Control Systems, and Mechanical groups to obtain as much preliminary information as possible. When received, all design information should be documented for future reference and verification. In the initial design, the Engineer should use judgement when applying or allowing for loads that are not known, justifying them in the design basis under "Design Philosophy" (a part of your calculation) The following should be reviewed for design information: Plot plans and equipment location plans 3D model showing piping layout, cable tray layout, Piperack bent spacing and elevation of support levels in the transverse direction , Elevation of longitudinal beam struts and locations of vertical bracing. and location of pipe bridge, if any. Piping orthographic drawings. Vendor prints of equipment located on the rack, e.g., air coolers and exchangers.The vendor prints should include the equipment layout, mounting locations and details, access and maintenance requirements, and the magnitude and direction of loads being transmitted to the piperack. Electrical and control systems drawings showing the routing and location of electrical and instrumentation raceways and/or supports. Underground drawings that show the locations of buried pipes,concrete structures and foundations, duct banks, etc. in the area of the piperack. Pipe rack construction material (Steel, Cast-in-situ concrete, Pre-cast concrete) shall be as per project design criteria. Please note that, Unless specifically explained in the project design criteria, no allowance or provisions should be made for future additions for pipe or raceway space and related loading. Step-2: Design loads consideration: Following loads are to be considered for the pipe rack design: Piping Gravity load (D): In the absence of defined piping loads and locations, an assumed minimum uniform pipe load of 2.0 kPa should be used for preliminary design of piperacks. This corresponds to an equivalent load of 6 in (150 mm) lines full of water covered with 2 in (50 mm) thick insulation, and spaced on 12 in (300 mm) centers. This assumption should be verified based on coordination with the Piping Group, and concentrated loads should also be applied for any anticipated large pipes. When the actual loads and locations become known, as the project develops, the structural design should be checked against these assumed initial load parameters and revised as required. A concentrated load should then be added for pipes that are 12 in (300 mm) and larger in diameter. The concentrated load P should be: P =(W - s x p x d), s = Spacing of piperack bent, p = pipe weight considered (kPa), d = pipe diameter W = pipe concentrated load. Where consideration of uplift or system stability due to wind or seismic occurrences is required, use 60% of the design gravity loads as an "all pipes empty" load condition.

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Loading due to hydrostatic testing of lines should be considered in the design if applicable. Coordinate the testing plan(s) with Construction, Startup, and/or the Piping Group as necessary, in order to fully understand how such loads will be applied to the piperack structure. Under most normal conditions, multiple lines will not be simultaneously tested. The hydro-test loads do not normally need to be considered concurrently with the other non-permanent loads, such as live load, wind, earthquake, and thermal. Typical practice is to permit an overstress of 15% for the hydro-test condition. Because of these considerations, the hydro-test condition will not normally govern except for very large diameter pipes. Electrical Tray and Conduits (D): Electrical and control systems drawings and/or the project 3D model should be reviewed to determine the approximate weight and location of electrical trays, conduits, and instrumentation commodities. Unless the weight of the loaded raceways can be defined, an assumed minimum uniform load of 1.0 kPa should be used for single tier raceways. Self weight of Pipe rack (D): The weight of all structural members, including fireproofing, should be considered in the design of the piperack. Weight of Equipment on pipe rack (D): Equipment weights, including erection, empty, operating, and test (if the equipment is to be hydro-tested on the piperack), should be obtained from the vendor drawings.The equipment weight should include the dead weight of all associated platforms, ladders, and walkways, as applicable.Special Loads: Special consideration should be given to unusual loads, such aslarge valves, expansion loops, and unusual piping or electrical configurations. Live Load (L): Live load (L) on access platforms and walkways and on equipment platforms should be considered, as applicable. Snow Load (S): Snow load to be considered on cable tray and on large dia pipes. This load shall be calculated per project approved design code and project design criteria. Generally, you need to consider 100% snow load on top tier and 50% on other tier of pipe racks. Wind Load (W): Transverse wind load on structural members, piping, electrical trays,equipment, platforms, and ladders should be determined in accordance with project approved design code. Longitudinal wind should typically be applied to structural framing, cable tray vertical drop (if any), large dia pipes vertical drop (if any) and equipment only. The effects of longitudinal wind on piping and trays running parallel to the wind direction should be neglected. Earthquake Loads (E): Earthquake loads in the vertical, transverse, and longitudinal directions should bedetermined in accordance with the project design criteria. Vertical, transverse, and longitudinal seismic forces generated by the pipes, raceways, supported equipment, and the piperack structure should be considered and should be based on their operating weights. Pipes must be evaluated for seismic loads under both full and empty conditions and then combined with the corresponding gravity loads. Friction Loading (Tf): Friction forces caused by hot lines sliding across the pipe support during startup and shutdown are assumed to be partially resisted through friction by nearby cold lines. Therefore, in order to provide for a nominal unbalance of friction forces acting on a pipe support, a resultant longitudinal friction force equal to 7.5% of the total pipe weight or 30% of any one or more lines known to act simultaneously in the same direction, whichever is larger, is assumed for piperack design. Friction between piping and supporting steel should not be relied upon to resist wind or seismic loads. Anchor and Guide Loads (Ta): Piperacks should be checked for anchor and guide loads as determined by the Pipe Stress Group. It may be necessary to use horizontal bracing if large anchor forces are encountered. For conventional pipe rack systems, it is normally preferred to either have the anchors staggered along the piperack so that each support has only one or two anchors, or to anchor most pipes on one braced support. For initial design, when anchor and guide loads are not known, use a longitudinal anchor force of 5.0 kN acting at midspan of each bent transverse beam (refer project design criteria). Guide loads are usually small and may be ignored until they are defined by the Pipe Stress Engineer. For non-continuous pipe rack systems, piping may be transversely guided or anchored at both cantilever frames and anchor bays. Longitudinal anchors may be located only at anchor bays. Please note that, all friction forces and anchor forces with less magnitude, (say ~ 5.0 kN), applied to the top flange of the beam, may be considered as resisted by the total beam section. When anchor loads have large magnitude and are applied to the top flange of the beam, the effect of torsion must be addressed.If the beam section is inadequate to take care of this torsional force, alternatives to be considered, such as provide horizontal bracings at the load locations. Step - 3: Load Combinations and allowable deflection of pipe rack: You need to create the load combinations per your project design criteria. However, I have refered here some load combinations. Please note the following: Earthquake load is a factored load. For load combinations that include wind or earthquake loads, use only the non-friction portion (anchor and

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guide portion) of the thermal loads, i.e., friction loads are not combined with wind or seismic loads. Friction loads are considered to be self-relieving during wind and earthquake and should only be combined with anchor and guide loads when wind or earth-quake loads are not considered. Hydrostatic test loads need not be combined with wind and earthquake loads unless there is a reasonable probability of the occurrence of either of these loads during hydrostatic testing. For calculation of foundation soil bearing pressures or pile loads, stability checks against overturning, sliding, and buoyancy, and deflection checks, the following unfactored load combinations (ACI 318) shall be used: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. D D + L + SL + Tf + Ta D + Tf + Ta D + 1.3W + Ta D + L + 0.5SL + 1.3W +Ta D + L + S +0.65W + Ta 0.9De + 1.3W + Ta D + E/1.4 + Ta D + 0.2S + E/1.4 + Ta 0.9De + E/1.4 + Ta

Load Combinations for design of foundations (ACI 318): 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 1.4D 1.4D + 1.7L +1.7S 1.4D + 1.4Tf +1.4Ta 0.75 (1.4D + 1.7L + 1.7S + 1.4Tf + 1.4Ta) 0.75 (1.4D + 1.7L + 1.7S + 1.4Ta) + 1.6W 1.2D + 0.2S + 1.0E + 1.2Ta 0.9De + 1.6W + 1.2Ta 0.9De + 1.0E + 1.2Ta

Steel Design load combinations: (AISC - LRFD) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 1.4D 1.2D + 1.6L + 0.5S + 1.2Tf + 1.2Ta 1.2D + 1.6S + 0.5L + 1.2Tf + 1.2Ta 1.2D + 1.6S + 0.8W + 1.2Ta 1.2D + 1.6W + 0.5L + 0.5S + 1.2Ta 1.2D + 1.0E + 0.5L + 0.2S + 1.2Ta 0.9De + 1.6W + 1.2Ta 0.9De + 1.0E + 1.2Ta

De is the minimum dead load on the structure. FINAL ANCHOR AND GUIDE LOAD CHECK: Where the design of transverse beams has been based on anchor loads as explained in step-2,a final check of beams (and other affected members) should be made when final definition of these loads is available from the Pipe Stress Engineer.Based on the Engineer's experience and judgement, an overstress in any element (of up to 10%) can be considered, provided proper justification is given. Where such overstress cannot be properly justified, modifications should be made to the piperack structure in order to bring the stress levels within the normal allowables. Modifications could entail the addition of horizontal bracing to the transverse beams to resist significant loads from the anchor(s), replacing and/or adding members, strengthening members (i.e.,cover plating, etc.), and/or relocating the anchor and guide load(s). ALLOWABLE HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL DEFLECTION: Allowable deflections of piperack structures shall be as per project design criteria. However, you can consider the following as limit of deflection:Lateral deflection produced by load combinations that include wind or seismic forces:Piperacks supporting equipment: h/100, unless a more stringent requirement is given by the manufacturer of the equipment.Piperacks supporting piping and raceway only: h/200 or as per project design criteria.Lateral deflection produced by sustained static forces such as pipe and anchor loads: h/200 or as per project design criteriaVertical deflection of beams due to gravity pipe loads:as per project design criteria h is the total height of the pipe rack structure. Step-4: Framing of Continuous/Conventional Pipe rack: Frames Main piperacks are usually designed as moment-resisting frames in the transverse direction. In the longitudinal direction, there should be at least one continuous level of beam struts on each side. For piperacks with more than one tier, the beam struts should be located at a level that is usually equal to one-half tier spacing above or below the bottom tier. Vertical bracing in the longitudinal direction should be provided to carry the longitudinal

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forces, transmitted through the beam struts, to the baseplate / foundation level. Transverse Beam Transverse beams must be capable of resisting all forces, moments, and shears produced by the load combinations. Transverse beams are generally a moment-resisting frame, modeled and analyzed as part of the frame system. The analysis model must reflect the appropriate beam end conditions. In the design of beams, consideration should be given to Large pipes that are to be hydro-tested. Anchor and friction load with large magnitude (see step-2, anchor and friction load) Central Spine: For steel piperacks with spans of more than 6 m, a center spine consisting of a system of horizontal braces and struts located at midspan of each level of piping should be considered . This additional light horizontal framing greatly increases the capacity of the transverse pipe support beams to resist friction and anchor forces, and also serves to reduce the unbraced length of the beam compression flange in flexure and to reduce the unbraced length of the beam about the weak-axis in axial compression. This concept reduces the required beam sizes and provides a mechanism for eliminating or minimizing design, fabrication, or field modifications that could otherwise be required due to late receipt of unanticipated large pipe anchor forces. Longitudinal Beam Strut For typical continuous piperack systems, the longitudinal beam struts should be designed as axially loaded members that are provided for longitudinal loads and stability. Additionally, the longitudinal beam struts that support piping or raceway should be designed for 50% of the gravity loading assumed for the transverse pipe or raceway support beams, unless unusual loading is encountered. This 50% gravity loading will account for the usual piping and raceway take-offs. Normally, the gravity loading carried by the beam struts should not be added to the design loads for the columns or footings since pipes or raceway contributing to the load on the beam struts would be relieving an equivalent load on the transverse beams. Concentrated loads for large pipes may be treated as in step-2. For any continuous piperack system where the anticipated piping and raceway take-offs are minimal or none, the 50% loading criteria does not apply. In such cases, the beam struts should be designed primarily as axially loaded members. Do not provide beam struts if they are not needed for piping or raceway support, or for system stability. Conversely, the 3D model should be checked to verify that beam struts subjected to unusually large loads (such as at expansion loops) have been given special consideration. All longitudinal beam struts, including connections, should be designed to resist the axial loads produced by the longitudinal forces. When designing the longitudinal beam struts for flexural loads, the full length of the beam should be considered as the unbraced length for the compression flange. Vertical Bracing When moment-resisting frame design is not used in the longitudinal direction, vertical bracing should be used to transmit the longitudinal forces from the beam struts to the foundations. Knee-bracing or K-bracing is most often used for this purpose. Unless precluded by equipment arrangement or interferences, bracing should be placed equidistant between two expansion joints. Design calculations and drawings must reflect a break in the beam strut continuity between adjacent braced sections through the use of slotted connections or by eliminating the beam struts in the bays designated as free bays. The maximum length of a braced section should be limited to 48m to 50m. If the braced bay is not located equidistant from the free bays, the maximum distance from the braced bay to a free bay should be limited such that the maximum total longitudinal growth or shrinkage of the unrestrained segment does not exceed 40 mm. Column The columns must be capable of resisting all loads, moments, and shears produced by the load combinations.A moment-resisting frame analysis should normally be used to determine the axial load, moment, and shear at points along the columns.The frame analysis model should be based on the following: Consider column base as hinge. Use 4 bolt connections for safety purpose For design of steel columns subjected to flexural loads, the distance between the base and the first transverse beam or the knee brace intersection should be considered as the compression flange unbraced length. Please click here for continuous piperack sketch.

Non-conventional Pipe rack Pipe rack

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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Please do not print or copy of this page or any part of this page without written permission from Subhro Roy. Disclaimer: This page is prepared based on experience on Civil Engineering Design. All definitions and most of the explanations are taken from different text books and international design codes, which are referenced in the contents. Any similarity of the content or part of with any company document is simply a coincidence. Subhro Roy is not responsible for that.

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