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# Piping Stress Analysis Basics Free e-course

## 1: History and Purpose of Flexibility Analysis

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) B31 Code for Pressure Piping was developed with the expectation that piping system designers would be familiar with the concept of flexibility. For this reason the B31 Codes never described or discussed in any depth the intention of either performing a flexibility analysis or the results expected therefrom. The flexibility equation, also referred to as the thermal expansion or displacement stress equation, SE = SQRT(Sb^2 + 4 St^2) was incorporated into the 1955 Edition of B31.1 in Section 6, Chapter 3, Expansion and Flexibility. In 1955 the B31.1 book had different sections for different applications, i.e., Section 1 for power piping, Section 2 for industrial gas and air piping, Section 3 for refinery and oil transportation piping, Section 4 for district heating piping, and Section 5 for refrigeration piping. But prior to 1955, in 1952, the B31.8 Gas Transmission and Distribution Piping book was published, initiating the publication of the separate applications books we have today, i.e., B31.1 Power Piping, B31.3 Process Piping, B31.4 Liquid Transportation Piping, B31.5 Refrigeration Piping, and B31.9 Building Services Piping. Each of these applications books, when published, incorporated the flexibility equation following a B31 code model outline developed in the 1950's. B31.8 also incorporated the flexibility equation even though B31.8 did not follow the model outline owing to the fact that B31.8 was published prior to the development of the B31 model outline. The allowable flexibility stress-range for the 1955 Edition of B31.1 was based on the expectation of elevated temperature operation and ductile behavior, and first introduced the concept of self-springing or shakedown to ASME pressure component design. Generally, the flexibility allowable stress-range was permitted to approach two times yield. However, the pipeline codes, B31.4 and B31.8, never adopted the twice yield allowable stress-range (shakedown) concept because it was expected that pipelines would experience nonductile behavior. Code revisions over the years since 1955 have not served to clarify the concept of flexibility and in many ways have obscured it. For example, B31.1 deleted a stress equation which implied the methodology typically used for flexibility design. The purpose of performing a flexibility analysis is to determine that, barring interferences and assuming a supportable geometry, the anchor-to-anchor piping configuration (layout) is acceptable. Adequate flexibility is required to avoid an expansion (or contraction) induced fatigue failure and to limit anchor loads on equipment. A flexibility analysis typically (and traditionally) evaluates the range of stresses encountered by piping system service startup and shutdown. It is generally assumed that the startup-shutdown stress-range will bound the other thermal expansion or displacement stress-ranges. The piping flexibility is evaluated between equipment and structural anchors without locating any intermediate supports. Weight stresses, then, would not be known. It is presumed that the intermediate supports for weight and other loads can be added after determining that a piping system has adequate flexibility without significantly increasing the flexibility stress-ranges. This is reflected in the circa. 1955 B31 books having an allowable thermal expansion stress-range SA = f(1.25Sc + 0.25Sh) and permitting an additional thermal expansion stress-range allowance of Sh - SL, when the stresses due to weight and other sustained loads, SL, were known. After the flexibility analysis has determined that the piping has adequate flexibility, using the

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## Piping Stress Analysis Basics Free e-course

allowable thermal expansion or displacement stress-range, SA, then span tables and/or engineering judgment is used to locate intermediate supports for weight and other loads. If the thermal displacements at a proposed support point are negligible (i.e., very small), then a rigid support can be located at that point. If the vertical thermal displacements are significant at locations where weight supports are proposed, springs (variable or constant) can be used. If the lateral thermal displacements are significant at locations where lateral supports are proposed, gapped supports usually can be used. By use of support types that offer minimal restraint throughout the startup-shutdown excursion, the flexibility stress-range is not significantly increased and could be expected to be bounded by the additional thermal expansion allowance, Sh - SL. (Note: Sh - SL is available in CAEPIPE as an Analysis Option (under Code) "Use liberal allowable stresses," for certain piping codes that allow for it). The entire flexibility design and analysis process assures that the effects of fatigue due to thermal expansion, or more generally the restraint of free-end displacements, are minimized. However, some caution in performing the flexibility analysis is necessary to see that other frequently occurring normal and abnormal operating condition stress-ranges do not envelope the startup-shutdown stress-range or to see that supports do not unduly restrain the load induced expanding (or contracting) piping system. Author: Mr. Ron Haupt, P. E., of Pressure Piping Engineering (www.ppea.net) is a member of several piping code committees (B31, B31.1, B31.3, BPTCS, and others). He consults with us in the capacity of Nuclear QA Manager.

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## 2: Piping Flexibility - General Considerations

Suppose that we have two vessels, T-1 and T-2, say 50 ft. apart and that we have to run a pipe from T-1 to T-2 between two nozzles at the same elevation. Obviously, the most economical way of doing this from the purely Piping aspect would be to join them with a straight pipe as shown in fig. 1 below.

Figure 1 Now further suppose that everything is in carbon steel and the vessel T-1 has its temperature raised to 350o F. When the valve A is opened, there will be an expansion between the centers of T-1 and T-2 which can be found in the usual manner, viz. Expansion rate for carbon steel at 350F= 2.26 ins/100 ft. (This value is taken from ANSI B31.3 Table 319.3.1A) Therefore Expansion = 50/100 x 2.26 = 1.13 inches. One of two things can now happen (1) As the pipe expands it will dent the sides of the vessels as shown in fig. 2.

Figure 3

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## Piping Stress Analysis Basics Free e-course

If the vessels are comparatively thin and the pipe of large diameter so that it can withstand a high load before buckling, then the first case applies and the vessel walls will bend inwards to accommodate the 1.13 inches expansion; if, on the other hand, the vessels are thick and the pipe of small diameter, the alternative condition shown in fig. 3 will occur. Now it is possible to calculate the stresses in the pipes and vessels for both of the systems illustrated, but even if they come within the range of allowable stresses neither case would be regarded as good engineering practice in the great majority of applications. However, if the plot had been laid out differently, it would have also been possible to run the pipe in two sections at right angles to each other, as shown in fig. 4.

Figure 4 With this configuration for the piping, as the point B moves out to B1 it is able to bend the leg BC into the position B1C, and the longer the leg BC, the easier it becomes to bend. It is a simple matter to calculate the minimum length l of BC which will allow the expansion to be absorbed whilst the stresses are restricted to a given value, and fig. 4 illustrates the simplest concept of all in the field of Flexibility Analysis, namely that of Minimum Leg Length. Article Excerpted From SST 101: Piping Stress Analysis Seminar Notes.

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## Increasing flexibility is shown from left to right

A system for determining flexibility on an increasing scale is illustrated above. Each prism shows pipe running between points A and F. In the one at the far left, the pipe cuts across the face of the prism with leg CD. For this case, the pipe could cut across any face or into the body of the prism. If calculation shows such a line to be overstressed, another route must be chosen. The center sketch shows the same anchor points A and F, but the pipe now runs along the edges of the prism. The pipe could be run along any of the edges but not across the surface or through the prism. This route is more flexible than that on its left. Suppose that the pipe in the center sketch is still overstressed. The sketch at far right shows the line going outside the prism into space. It runs along the edges and then into space to form a loop between points C and F. This route is the most flexible of the three possible routes. It is important to point out that the first route shown (far left) is the usual one and piping is not necessarily overstressed because it follows this path. The three sketches are used only to show the successive paths of increasing flexibility. The prisms provide a means of visualizing, at a glance, a softer piping system. Even the path at far right, however, can be overstressed if the loop between points C and F is not large enough. In laying out hot piping, one should at least consider the following: 1. The expansion of turbines, towers, heat exchangers etc. must be added to the pipe expansion. 2. A heat exchanger is generally fixed at one end and free to slide at the other. 3. Long radius elbows are more flexible than five diameter bends. The elbows produce lower forces but higher local stresses because of the flattening of a curved member when it flexes. The five diameter bend flattens less therefore produces higher forces but lower local stresses. These local stresses are of course, in the bend or elbow itself. 4. Pumps, turbines and compressors must have low forces on them as required by the manufacturer and in compliance with API 610/617 and NEMA SM-23. If the stress in the piping adjacent to the equipment is limited to 5,000 psi, the forces will generally be acceptable.

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## Piping Stress Analysis Basics Free e-course

5. Dead weight of piping must in most cases be carried by independent supports and not by the pump, turbine or compressor. In the case of heat exchangers and vessels and other non-rotating equipment, some of the piping dead weight loads may be transferred to the nozzles but the designer MUST check with the equipment designer first. 6. Always run a line with a thought as to how it will be supported. Lines should be grouped whenever possible. If a line needs to be re-routed for the better support, this should be done. 7. Cold spring is not the answer to lowering stresses in overstressed piping. The Piping code does not permit this. It allows only a one third reduction in forces and bending moments if the line is cut short by 50 percent of its total expansion.
8. The stress at flanged connections should be limited to 10,000 psi.

Article Excerpted From SST 101: Piping Stress Analysis Seminar Notes.

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## 4: Location of Supports and Restraints

The scope of the Pipe Support function is stated in the relevant clause of the applicable Piping code, repeated here verbatim:

## 321.1.1 Objectives (From ANSI B31.3 code)

The layout and design of piping and its supporting elements shall be directed toward preventing the following: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9)
(10)

Piping stresses in excess of those permitted in the Code; Leakage at joints; Excessive thrusts and moments on connected equipment (such as pumps and turbines); Excessive stresses in the supporting or restraining elements; Resonance with imposed or fluid-induced vibrations; Excessive interference with thermal expansion and contraction in a piping system which is otherwise adequately flexible; Unintentional disengagement of piping from its supports; Excessive piping sag in systems requiring drainage slope; Excessive distortion or sag of piping (e.g. thermoplastics) subject to creep under conditions of repeated thermal cycling; Excessive heat flow, exposing supporting elements to temperature extremes outside their design limits.

Placing Dead Weight Supports Guidelines for placing deadweight supports Locate dead weight supports using recommended spacing from the code (B31 etc.). Consider existing support points. Decrease span by half off equipment. Decrease span for concentrated loads. Support concentrated loads. Support offset loads. Decrease span for extra lagging or insulation.

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## Piping Stress Analysis Basics Free e-course

Locate supports at changes in direction (no overhung corners, top or bottom of risers). Select type (rigid, spring, or constant support) based on thermal expansion analysis. Preferred Attachment to "Structure" Guidelines for dealing with structures when connected with piping.
Apply loads to columns and beams near main-member intersections to minimize bending effects. Avoid the introduction of unnecessary torsion or lateral bending effects. Avoid the introduction of movements or transverse loading to slender members (such as wind bracing) and particularly to compression members where instability controls the design. Confine connections to an independent structure or a foundation when dealing with piping subject to pulsating flow or transmitted mechanical vibration, unless a careful and comprehensive analysis assures that the structures, buildings, etc., are of adequate strength with nonresonant frequency and sufficient stiffness to control amplitude within the bounds required by general comfort level of personnel. Provide anchors and extremely flexible and nonresonant intervening pipe runs (e.g., expansion joints) to machinery that introduces mechanical vibrations, in order to isolate the effect by reducing transmissibility.

Preferred Points of Attachment to Pipe Guidelines for selecting preferred attachment points on piping
On a pipe rather than on piping components such as valves, fittings, or expansion joints. Under highly localized loading, flanged or threaded joints may leak and valve bodies may distort with resulting seat leakage or binding. Attachments to heavy components, however, may be acceptable and even desirable where the effect can be properly provided for. On straight runs rather than on sharp radius bends or welding elbows, since these are already subjected to highly localized stresses on which the local effects of the attachment would be superimposed. Furthermore, attachments on curved pipe which extend well along the length or circumference of the bend will seriously alter the flexibility of the component. On pipe runs which do not require frequent removals for cleaning and maintenance work. As close as practical to heavy load concentrations such as vertical runs, branch lines, motor operated or otherwise heavy valves, and minor vessels such as separators, strainers, etc.

Article Excerpted From SST 101: Piping Stress Analysis Seminar Notes.

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## Piping Stress Analysis Basics Free e-course

Piping imposes loads on equipment nozzles. These loads may exceed the allowables provided by the manufacturer or contained in guidelines such as the API 610. The following guidelines may be helpful in reducing these piping loads on nozzles connected to equipment. 1. If the dead loads exceed the allowable, - Ensure the piping system is adequately supported, - Remove unneeded supports; they may be the cause of the problem. 2. If the thermal loads exceed the allowable, - Check the design and operating temperatures. Consult the process engineer to obtain correct or reasonable values for different operating conditions. 3. Try modifying the piping support system and layout - Add expansion loops if apt, - Use expansion joints or other flexible joints, - Consider spring mounted pumps, - Modify the layout of piping by rerouting, - Use guides or anchors at strategic locations, - Use reinforcing pads on vessel nozzles.

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## 7: Introduction to Code Terminology Used By CAEPIPE

Many times, engineers from non-piping backgrounds get assigned to piping stress jobs. One of the their most frequently asked questions is: What do SL, SE, SH, SA, etc. mean? Reply: These notations are commonly found in ANSI piping codes such as B31.1, B31.3, B31.8 etc. A few international codes contain and use the same notations, too. Briefly, CAEPIPE or any similar program that performs code compliance calculations needs to calculate three types of stresses, generally. They are Sustained, Expansion and Occasional stresses. These notations arise mainly out of stress calculations. Sustained Stress: SL, Corresponding allowable stress, called hot allowable stress (because the allowable is given in the code for the specific input temperature): SH Expansion Stress: SE Corresponding allowable stress (also called allowable displacement stress range),: SA Occasional Stress: SL+SO (stress is calculated based on a combination of sustained and occasional loads) P: Allowable pressure for straight pipes and bends Slp : Longitudinal pressure stress MA, MB and MC: Resultant moments due to sustained, occasional and expansion loads, respectively. Z: Section modulus of pipe (pi /32) * (D4 d4)/D Where D = OD of pipe, d = ID of pipe, and pi = constant (3.14159) One can become familiar with this terminology after a cursory perusal of the code (Design section). Or, scan through the pages of Appendix A of the CAEPIPE Users Manual. Conclusion: We hope this brief primer got you started in the field of piping stress analysis (for newbies) and was a useful refresher for experienced analysts. Should you have found any errors or relevant omissions, please inform us (info@sstusa.com) so we can correct them. In case, you still have not downloaded CAEPIPE, we strongly urge you to do so because of its many benefits. As trite as this may sound, CAEPIPE will certainly save you money and time. You ought to give it a chance to prove it to you.

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