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Proceedings of the ASME 2014 Pressure Vessels & Piping Conference

PVP2014
July 20-24, 2014, Anaheim, California, USA

PVP2014-28958
Writing and Reviewing FEA Reports Supporting ASME Section VIII, Division 1 and 2 Designs Practical Considerations and Recommended Good Practice
Trevor Seipp
Becht Engineering Canada Ltd.
110-259 Midpark Way, S.E.
Calgary, AB CANADA
Tel: 403-668-7274
Fax: 403-256-3520
Email: tseipp@becht.com

Mark Stonehouse
Becht Engineering Canada Ltd.
110-259 Midpark Way, S.E.
Calgary, AB CANADA
Tel: 403-668-8675
Fax: 403-256-3520
Email: mstonehouse@becht.com

Section VIII, Division 2 for the type of analysis being


performed, then those rules must be followed.
The FEA is not complete without a detailed report
describing the work performed, details of the loads,
boundary conditions, mesh discretization, material
properties, and compliance with all Part 5 requirements.
Since ASME Section VIII, Division 2, Part 5
approaches the design-by-analysis requirements from a
protection against failure modes perspective, it is
imperative that the analyst determine all reasonably
possible failure modes, create a modeling approach that
will be appropriate for each failure mode, and ensure that
an appropriate margin against failure is maintained.

ABSTRACT
Finite element analysis (FEA) is used, with increasing
frequency, to supplement or justify the design of an ASME
Section VIII, Division 1 or 2 pressure vessel. When this
occurs, good engineering practice indicates that a
competent engineer should review the finite element
analysis report. In some jurisdictions, it is required that a
Professional Engineer review and certify the report.
This paper discusses some of the practical aspects of
both writing and reviewing a good quality FEA report both in the context of the technical perspective and in the
context of Code compliance. This paper will serve as a
practical assistant to an engineer reviewing an FEA
report, as well as a guide to an engineer preparing an FEA
report. Aspects such as properly following Code
requirements, following appropriate Design By Analysis
methodologies, and applying good design practices will
be discussed.

FEA REPORT
The goal of the report writer should be to clearly
describe the work performed with sufficient detail that
another analyst could, with applicable referenced
drawings and documentation, independently duplicate the
analysis.
A quality FEA report consists of the following detailed
sections:

INTRODUCTION
FEA can be used to support pressure equipment
design where the configuration is not covered by the
applicable rules in the ASME code. Whether the pressure
vessel design is considered an ASME Section VIII
Division 1 [1] or a Division 2 [2] vessel, all finite element
analysis for pressure vessels should follow the
methodology in ASME Section VIII, Division 2, Part 5 (it is
recommended to use the latest Edition, as improvements
are continually being made) unless that type of analysis
is not covered in Part 5. If specific rules exist in ASME

Executive Summary
This should be standard practice and should briefly
describe how the FEA was used to support the design,
the FEA model, the results and conclusions. This section
should be no more than one page, and should be written
primarily for the non-technical reader.

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Introduction
A good introduction should lay out the scope of the
FEA, justification for using FEA, the software used, the
type of analysis (linear elastic, elastic-plastic, etc.), and
the material properties. For example, if the report is in
support of a Division 1 vessel, then reference should be
made to article U-2(g), with an explanation of how the as
safe as provision is accomplished.
A complete description of the material properties
should be provided. Simply referring to the material
specification is not sufficient. The authors recommend
that a mixture of tabular data as well as graphical data be
used to efficiently provide this data especially if material
properties as a function of temperature are used.

justified. When symmetry is used, its use must be


justified, such that the rationale for the partial model is
described with an explanation of the boundary conditions
used to compensate for the missing model sections. It is
recommended that symmetry models NOT be used when
performing buckling calculations.
When contact is
included in the analysis, such parameters as the normal
and tangential conditions should also be presented and
justified.
Material Properties
A complete description of the material properties
used in the analysis should be provided. The source for
these material properties should also be provided. When
available, material properties should be obtained from
ASME Section II, Part D [3].
When the material properties vary with temperature,
the variation of the material properties should be
presented either in tabular form or in a graph that
demonstrates that variation. All physical properties, such
as: Youngs Modulus, the coefficient of thermal
expansion, thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity,
specific heat capacity, density and Poissons ration
should all be reported. Strength parameters such as the
allowable stress, and minimum specified yield and
ultimate strengths should also be reported as appropriate.
If the analysis is not linear-elastic, then the appropriate
monotonic or cyclic elastic-plastic true stress-true strain
(either with hardening or perfectly-plastic) should be
detailed as functions of temperature.

References
All drawings, calculations, and other supplemental
information referenced in the report should be detailed in
the References section. Since significant changes can
occur in drawings after the FEA report is prepared, it is
highly recommended that both the Revision Numbers and
the dates of all reference material be included in the list.
The Edition of the Code of Construction should also be
listed, as should the edition of ASME Section VIII, Division
2. Since the Edition of the Code of Construction is
dictated by the fabrication contract, it may be not current
by several years. Despite that, the authors highly
recommend that the current Edition of Division 2 be used
at all times.
Model Description
Dimensional descriptions should be provided from the
referenced drawings.
The authors experience as
reviewers has shown that it is useful to provide some
basic dimensional details if for no other reason than to
provide the reviewer something to verify from the
drawings. Some critical dimensions should also be
explicitly described in the report. If there are any
geometric simplifications used, those also need to be
discussed and justified. The type (2D, 3D, axisymmetric,
etc.) and the order of the elements should also be
reported. If different types of elements are used, then a
description of how the different elements are connected
together should be provided.
There should be a significant description of the mesh,
particularly the mesh size. Mesh features such as the
number of elements on fillet radii should also be reported.
The accuracy of the model, by way of the discretization,
should be indicated. A convergence study is expected
although it is not explicitly required for every FEA.
Boundary conditions, loads and other similar
interactions must also be detailed. It is most helpful when
the loads, supports, and restraints are described and
shown graphically. The method of restraining the model
against rigid-body motion should be described and

Presentation of Results
Depending on the type of analysis being performed
the results that need to be presented may vary. As part
of generally accepted good practice, the results should
show enough details to demonstrate an appropriate
analysis of the failure modes being checked.
The results in most analyses will include
displacements, deformed shape with un-deformed shape
superimposed, stress plot with an appropriate color
contour to establish some sense of the magnitude of the
stress profile of the model with respect to an allowable
stress. When plotting multiple stress contour plots for
comparison, it is most useful when the contour
scheme/intervals are identical.
Analysis of Results and Conclusion
This section of the report should follow the approach
in ASME Section VIII, Division 2, Part 5.
Each Failure Mode must be demonstrated in the
results, however, the presentation of the results should be
as simple and clear as possible. Hundreds of pages of
stress plots need not be presented. On the contrary,
industry best practice is to be as concise as possible with

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the results. The report should only present those results


specifically relevant to the conclusions.
In general, all of the above requirements should be
presented in paragraph-form. All figures should be
referenced in the text of the report if they cannot be
referenced, perhaps they are not important/relevant.
Based on the authors experience, even a long and
complicated FEA report should not be longer than 45
pages. Conversely, even a simple report will likely be 12
pages long, just to satisfy the requirements listed above
and below.

Reporting of the results of the limit-load analysis and


the elastic-plastic analysis need only consist of a
confirmation that a converged solution has been obtained
with the required design margins. Where appropriate, a
plot of the extent of the plastic region should be provided.
Protection Against Local Failure
Paragraph 5.3 discusses the evaluation methods
available for protection against local failure.
Two
alternative analysis methods are presented:
Elastic analysis method
Elastic-plastic analysis method

FAILURE MODES
From a technical perspective, the analyst must
evaluate the design for all failure mechanisms in 5.2, 5.3,
5.4, and 5.5 of Part 5. The analyst is required to create a
modeling approach that will be appropriate for each failure
mechanism, and ensure that an appropriate margin
against failure is maintained. The appropriate margins for
each failure mode depend on the Code of Construction
for the component being evaluated. Part 5 of ASME
Section VIII, Division 2 approaches the design-byanalysis requirements from this protection against failure
modes perspective. The 2013 Edition provides rules for
protection against four critical failure modes. For each
failure mode, the analyst is required to present a modeling
approach and discuss how it is appropriate.

The analyst shall describe the method selected, and


the rationale for the selection. If the elastic-plastic
analysis method is used, each step of 5.3.3.1 shall be
detailed. As shown by Seipp [5], extra care must be taken
in this failure mode with respect to mesh discretization;
the same discretization used for Protection Against
Plastic Collapse may be inadequate for Protection
Against Local Failure.
Protection Against Buckling Failure
This check only needs to be performed when there
exists compressive stresses due to the design loads. If
this check does not need to be performed, a single
statement to that effect needs to be included in the report.
Paragraph 5.4 discusses the evaluations methods
available for protection against buckling failure. Note that
each evaluation method has a particular design factor.
Three alternative methods are presented:
Bifurcation buckling analysis performed using an
elastic stress analysis without geometric
nonlinearities to determine the pre-stress in the
component.
Bifurcation buckling analysis performed using an
elastic-plastic analysis with the effects of nonlinear geometry to determine the pre-stress in the
component.
Non-linear buckling analysis performed in
accordance with the elastic-plastic stress
analysis method, and explicitly considering
imperfections.

Protection Against Plastic Collapse


Paragraph 5.2 discusses the evaluation methods
available for protection against plastic collapse. Three
alternative analysis methods are presented:
Elastic stress analysis method
Limit-load method
Elastic-plastic stress analysis method
The analyst shall describe the method selected, and
the rationale for the selection. Special attention shall be
paid to the cautions in Paragraphs 5.2.1.2, 5.2.1.3, and
5.2.1.4.
All loading scenarios referenced by Paragraph 5.2
shall be evaluated. Each step in 5.2.2.4, 5.2.3.5, or
5.2.4.2 (Assessment Procedure) shall be detailed.
Post-processing of results for the elastic stress
analysis method shall be performed in strict accordance
to the rules of Paragraph 5.2.2.3 and Annex 5.A. Stress
classification lines shall be described in the body of the
report and shown graphically. If the built-in stress
linearization methods of the finite element analysis
software are used, compliance with the linearization
methods in Annex 5.A must be demonstrated. (Note that
the default built-in linearization in some software is NOT
compliant with 5.A.4.1.2, and modifications to the default
setting must be made.)

The analyst shall describe the method selected, and


the rationale for the selection.
The analyst shall
demonstrate that simplification of the model does not
result in exclusion of critical buckling mode shapes. The
analyst shall also describe how the modeling approach
will account for axisymmetric as well as non-axisymmetric
buckling modes.

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Protection Against Failure From Cyclic Loading


Paragraph 5.5 discusses the evaluation methods that
must be performed, and provides alternatives for fatigue
analysis and protection against ratcheting.
If the component under evaluation has been
screened using the screening criteria in paragraph 5.5.2,
then the analyst need only report that the screening
criteria has been satisfied.
Otherwise, a fatigue
assessment in accordance with 5.5.3 must be performed.
Three alternative methods are provided for fatigue
assessments:
Elastic stress analysis and equivalent stresses
Elastic-plastic stress analysis and equivalent
strains
Analysis of welds elastic stress analysis and
structural stress

This Division of Section VIII does not contain


the rules to cover all details of design and
construction. Where complete details are not
given, is intended that the Manufacturer, subject
to the acceptance of the Inspector, shall provide
details of design and construction which will be as
safe as those provided by the rules of this
Division
There exist no other rules currently in ASME Section
VIII Division 1 to provide guidance for the performance of
FEA. However, there are several considerations that are
specific to the application of Division 2, Part 5 for a
Division 1 vessel that constitute good industry practice.
When an elastic analysis is performed, the allowable
stress for all product forms except bolting need to be from
Section II, Part D, Table 1 and Table 1A (i.e. the allowable
stress for Section VIII Division 1 construction). Bolting
material allowable stresses should be determined from
Section II, Part D, Table 3.
Limiting values that are not calculated using the
allowable stress, S, such as fatigue and compressive
allowable stresses, can be determined from the current
rules in Section VIII Division 2.
The Design By Analysis Rules in ASME Section VIII,
Division 2, Part 5, as described above, should be
followed. This is only possible for temperatures not in the
creep regime.
All of the load case combinations of the applicable
Division 2 assessment procedure need to be considered
in addition to any other combinations defined by the User.
In evaluating load cases involving the pressure term, P,
the effects of the pressure being equal to zero need to be
considered.
All of failure mechanisms in 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, and 5.5 of
Part 5 need to be evaluated. In 5.3, a component is
exempt from the Local Failure Criteria evaluation if the
component design is in accordance with the standard
details of Part 4. That said, there are many details
permitted in Division 1 that are not permitted in Division 2.
If the component being evaluated is not covered by a
standard detail from Part 4, then an evaluation per 5.3 is
required.
When elastic-plastic analysis is performed, the
required load case combinations from ASME FFS-1/API579 [4] Table B1.4 Note 6 need to be used, applying an
RSFa=1.
Evaluation of the test condition per paragraph 4.1.6.2
of Section VIII, Division 2 is not mandatory, but
consideration of the test condition per UG-22(j) of Section
VIII, Division 1 is mandatory.

The analyst shall describe the method selected, and


the rationale for the selection. Each step in 5.5.3.2,
5.5.4.2, or 5.5.5.2 shall be detailed. Where fatigue
strength reduction factors (FSRFs) are required in the
elastic stress analysis method, the rationale for the choice
of FSRF shall be detailed, including appropriate
references to published recommendations.
Regardless of whether or not a fatigue assessment is
required, all components are required to complete the
evaluation for protection against ratcheting.
Two
alternative methods are provided for protection against
ratcheting:
Elastic stress analysis
Elastic-plastic stress analysis
The analyst shall describe the method selected, and
the rationale for the selection, and the results of the
assessment.
Protection Against Additional Failure Modes
The analyst must also consider all other additional
failures modes (such as those that may be described in a
UDS). Although no rules for these types of analyses exist
in Part 5, the analyst must ensure that an appropriate
margin against failure is maintained. All methods must be
fully described, and the rationale for each method must
be justified.
SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR DIVISION 1
An FEA cannot be used to supersede existing rules
in ASME Section VIII, Division 1. However, where no
Code rules exist for a given situation, an FEA may be
required.
When performing an FEA on a Division 1 pressure
vessel, or a component of a Division 1 vessel, the analyst
is applying Article U-2(g) of Division 1 which states:

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REVIEWING AN FEA REPORT


The recommendations provided above in this paper
represent the authors opinions on what constitutes good
practice when it comes to preparing an FEA report.
Based on these guidelines, the foregoing also forms a
type of checklist for reviewing and/or certifying any
reports. The absence of any of these essential items
represents a deficiency that should be discussed with the
author of the FEA report.
CONCLUSION
The use of FEA for a design implies that the design is
different from that typically undertaken in a Design-ByRules context.
Therefore, engineers should hold
themselves to a high standard for such Design-ByAnalysis approaches. Performing an FEA, writing a
report, and reviewing that report should adhere to the
highest reasonable standard. The guidelines presented
in this paper should be considered as the minimum of
such high standards.
An FEA, whether performed on an ASME Section VIII
Division 1 or 2 vessel, should follow the rules of ASME
Section VIII Division 2 Part 5. A quality, complete FEA
report will include sufficiently detailed sections including
an Executive Summary, Introduction, References, Model
Geometry, Results, Analysis of Results and Conclusion.
The report must demonstrate evaluation against all
applicable failure modes as defined in Part 5.
These guidelines are a good guide for both engineers
preparing an FEA report, as well as engineers who are
reviewing and/or certifying an FEA report.
REFERENCES
1. ASME, 2013, ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel
Code, Section VIII Division 1, American Society of
Mechanical Engineers, New York, NY
2. ASME, 2013, ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel
Code, Section VIII Division 2, American Society of
Mechanical Engineers, New York, NY
3. ASME, 2013, ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel
Code, Section II Part D, American Society of
Mechanical Engineers, New York, NY
4. API 579-1/ASME FFS-1, Fitness For Service,
American Petroleum Institute/American Society of
Mechanical Engineers, 2007
5. Seipp, Trevor G., An Evaluation of The Protection
Against Local Failure in ASME Section VIII, Division
2: Finite Element Model Considerations, ASME
PVP2013-98028, ASME Pressure Vessels and
Piping Conference, July 2013.

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