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This module should take the user through pressure vessel design

application (PVDA). The necessary background is built by the modules “

Mechanical Design Fundamentals” and “Reinforcement Calculations”.

Shape

designed and fabricated in a fairly small number of shapes. These are

generally Shapes of Revolution. The important basic shapes are:

cylinder, sphere (or hemi-sphere), ellipsoid (or hemi-ellipsoid), torus, cone

(or frustum of a cone) and a flat plate. Using these shapes, several composite

pressure vessel shapes can be constituted.

layer utilizing one of the basic shapes.

Size

The spatial dimensions of each of these shapes can be defined in terms

of a few size primitives. For example, a sphere is completely defined by

its diameter. A cylinder is completely defined by its diameter and length etc.

diameter”. One of them is entered by the user. The other one is calculated

after the vessel wall thickness (t) is arrived at suitably. The relationship

between the ID and OD is as follows.

OD = ID – 2t.

The values for essential size parameters for each of the shapes comprising

the composite vessel shape need to be provided by the user. Connectivity of

shapes in adjacent layers allows internal fixation of sizes of some shapes.

Wall Thickness

Design codes provide formulae for calculating the minimum wall

thickness for the standard shapes. The application of the formula for any

specific shape requires the user to provide design temperature, design

pressure, material of construction and its allowable stress at the design

temperature, fabrication and inspection procedure and weld quality

factor or weld joint efficiency. The thickness calculated using

applicable code formula is the regulation thickness. This much thickness

must be available uniformly everywhere in the vessel body.

allowance and mill tolerance. The next available commercial plate

thickness is then the recommended wall thickness.

Available wall thickness is the thickness left after deducting the mill

tolerance and corrosion allowance from the recommended wall thickness.

This is obviously more than or at least equal to the regulation thickness. The

maximum pressure that the shape can withstand with this available thickness

while still complying with the regulation thickness formula is calculated.

This is the Maximum Working Pressure (MWP) allowed by the

recommended wall thickness.

After fabrication and assembly, the vessel is tested for its pressure

integrity. The test if often carried out at a pressure higher than the design

pressure as well as the maximum working pressure. It is rated so as to

develop in the weakest vessel portion stresses equivalent to the yield stress

of the material of construction. The hydrotest pressure is obtained by

multiplying the MWP by a factor greater than 1. Logically it is 1-5, the

safety factor used in getting allowable stress from material’s yield stress.

Adjacent vessel shapes (as in adjacent layers of a composite shape)

need to be connected. These could be welded on flange connected. PVDA

allows the user to specify suitable connection choice. Flanged connection, if

selected need to be properly designed.

depends on the service and vessel dimensions. Similarly, a wide choice is

available for gasket material. The choice is governed by the service and

flange type.

Diameter, Gasket Width, Bolt Circle Diameter, number of Bolts, Diameter of

each Bolt, flange outer diameter and flange thickness. PVDA supports these

calculation steps for a given choice of flange type, flange surface, gasket

material, gasket thickness and bolt material.

Nozzle Calculations

The openings required for operational and maintenance reasons on

various shapes of the vessel are in the form of pipes welded on to the vessel

after cutting an appropriately sized opening.

using the pressure thickness calculation formula for cylinder.

Reinforcing pad increases the vessel wall thickness around the opening if

necessary by welding a collar around it. The thickness of the collar is

designed using area compensation method. The formulae are specific to

different shapes on which openings are cut. PVDA supports these

calculations.

and calculations for specific user-made choice.

Thermal Insulation

A process vessel operating at super-ambient or sub-ambient

temperature needs to be insulated to minimize heat egress or ingress

respectively. Insulation also is needed as a safety measure so that the skin

temperature (exposed surface temperature) of the vessel parts is not very

high. The insulation thickness can be calculated on one or more of the three

criteria, namely, based on maximum allowable skin temperature, maximum

tolerable rate of heat egress/ ingress or economic criteria (considering the

capital investment vis-a-vis cost of heat energy lost). PVDA supports the

three design criteria.

as well as economics. PVDA supports choice of insulation from among a list

available in the data base as well as a user-defined insulation.

Reinforcement Calculations

Theoretical Basis

Consider an infinite, flat, uniformly thick plate of a metal subjected to

tensile load along one direction. The load is such that it develops tensile

stresses σ y all along its skin as shown

σy σy σy σy

σy σy σy σy

punctured in this plate. The radius of the hole is ‘a’.

An easy visualization of this is offered by considering the induced stresses

as pathways for transmission of load across the plate. These pathways are

disrupted due to the cutting of a hole into the whole.

One thus expects a uniform stress pattern to be disrupted and stress

“intensification” along the edges of the hole aligned to the stress direction

and also a stress “rarification” in the vicinity of the hole in the transverse

direction.

calculate stress levels at a point defined by polar coordinates ( r ,θ ) as shown

in the figure is as follows.

σt

r

σ a 2 σ 3a 4

σt = 1 + − 1 + 4 cos 2θ

2 r 2 2 r

quantitative feel of the stress intensification around the opening.

well as 3 O’clock and 9 O’clock positions. From symmetry considerations,

one can home in on 12 O’clock ( θ = 0 ) and 3 O’clock ( θ = 90 ) positions for

further study. Let us see what is the situation on the edge of the hole ( r a = 1 )

along these directions and also as one moves away from the edge, one radius

at a time (i.e. at r a = 2,3,4,........etc. ).

5

4

3

2

1

1 2 3 4 5

The calculations and the stress profiles offer important insights into

the implications of making an opening.

edge have intensified to 3 times their value before making an opening. Stress

increases to 3 σ y . This intensification attenuates very fast and the stress is

1.21 σ y even as one moves a radius away from the edge of the hole. It

reduces further and there is no intensification of any consequence beyond

r a = 5.

The situation along the 12 O’clock axis is even more interesting. The

tangential position along this axis is transverse to the original stress lines.

There were no stresses along this direction initially. Cutting of a hole,

however, induced a compressive stress σ y at the edge of the opening. The

compressive stress reverses within one radius, becomes tensile and then dies

down fast.

reducing the yield stress of the MoC at design temperature by a factor of

safety. Most commonly recommended factor of safety is 1.5

Sy

Sa =

1.5

This, when coupled with the observed stress intensification around the

opening, indicates the engineering unacceptability of stress intensification.

For example, let the plate be stretched initially such that the tensile stresses

reach the allowable level for the MoC. When the hole is punctured, a stress

intensification factor of 3 would mean that the stresses would reach a level

of 3 Sa or 2 Sy. The plate would thus yield plastically and deform around the

opening. This may not be acceptable. Something therefore needs to be done

around the opening to keep the intensified stresses within the allowable as

much as possible.

as thick as the requirement to keep stresses within allowable prior to cutting

an opening). This would be uneconomical. Keeping in mind that the stress

intensification attenuates with a circle of double the radius of the opening

and fall below engineering safely margines, one therefore considers the need

to provide a ‘collar’ or reinforcing pad to strengthen the stress carrying

cross-section of the plate locally.

We thus carry from the theory two points.

1) Something needs to be done because the stress intensification

might take the stresses beyond engineering safety margines.

2) This ‘something’ needs to be done only within a circle of double

the diameter of the opening.

Let us now revisit some of the assumptions behind the theory giving

us the formula that led to above conclusions.

One of the assumptions was regarding the plate being flat. Pressure

vessels and their closures are essentially not so. However the dimensions of

the shape on which an opening for the nozzle is made is much larger as

compared to the nozzle diameter. The nozzle thus sees a reasonably flat

surface around it, if not a perfectly flat one. We therefore persume that the

assumption is not that restrictive as to make the theory inapplicable in

practical situations.

Our vessels are of finite dimensions. However, as the stress intensification

attenuates within few radiuses from the hole, whether the plate exits beyond

that or not is not of much concern. This assumption is, therefore, not

considered to be very restrictive.

the hole. The assumption was necessary to ensure that the hole remained

circular inspite of stress intensification. Practically sized holes would actual

deform and attain an over shape. This deformation actually helps

redistribution and alleviation of stresses. Stress levels in the case of finite

sized openings are thus likely to be more benign than what the theory

predicts. Theory thus offers more alarming estimates. Use of the theory for

practically sized nozzles is therefore acceptable.

inducing unidirectional stresses in the plate. In practical situation, we have a

2-D scenario. For example, a cylinder pressurized from inside or outside

experiences stresses in circumferential direction (Hoop’s stresses) as well as

axial direction. A sphere and other shapes as well, have stresses in 2

orthogonal directions.

Stress intensification can be quantified using superposition. Effect of

stresses in one direction is superimposed on the same calculated for stresses

in the other direction.

case of cylinders and spheres. The order of severity of stress intensification

is

flat plate cylinder sphere

(High Low)

ascertained and the pad thickness is arrived at using the area compensation

method stipulated by the codes. It is applicable to a cylindrical nozzle

provided on any shape of a vessel or a closure.

simple. It identifies the load bearing metal cross-sectional area which is lost

due to the act of making an opening. It attempts to compensate this area loss

by providing extra thickness in the affected vicinity of the hole.

be lost due to an opening. Consider the flat plate again. Let it be stretched in

one direction such that the stresses are just equal to the allowable stress. Let

the plate thickness be ‘t’ everywhere. We now contemplate to remove a

circular area of diameter ‘d’ in a lane of width ‘d’ as shown below.

d

The load bearing metal cross-section that would be lost because of

removing a disc of diameter ‘d’ is clearly not the area of the circle. Instead it

is a rectangle of width ‘d’ and thickness ‘t’.

t

t d

thickness ‘t’ of outer diameter ‘2d’ and inner diameter ‘d’. This would

provide an extra area of d t / 2 on either side of the lost area ‘d t’ as shown.

2d

d t

calculations are somewhat more elaborate and incorporate the decision steps

leading to the wall thickness calculations wherein the regulation thickness

gets corrected for corrosion/erosion allowance and mill tolerance on plate

thickness before the next available commercial thickness is recommended.

subjected to an internal design pressure of P . Let the corrosion allowance be

∈ and mill tolerance ± M % . Let the recommended plate thickness be T .

thickness t ( = ( OD − ID ) 2 ) be required to be provided on this vessel/pipe

(header). Let the mill tolerance be m% . Corrosion allowance and design

pressure would be ∈ and P as for header. This is so because the vessel and

nozzle face identical service conditions.

It helps to consider the steps that go in recommending the header and

branch thickness. Regulation thickness is calculated, corrosion allowance is

added, mill tolerance is provided and the next higher commercial thickness

is recommended. There is often an extra thickness available in the header

design. This amounts to an extra area available in the affected zone to handle

stress intensification. Compensation area can take advantage of this

discount. Often, this extra area available is more than the area lost. No extra

area by way of reinforcing pad is required in this case. The nozzle is then

said to be ‘self compensating’.

There is thus some extra thickness (and hence area) available in the nozzle

itself. It is believed that this extra thickness available in the nozzle up to a

height of H 1 above the header OD can be accounted for in the area available.

of H 2 is also considered as providing extra area to handle stress

intensification.

opening is more than the area ‘available’ (due to over design) in the header

portion, nozzle portion above the header and the nozzle portion inside the

header. This area accounting has several nuances further to try and avoid

provision of a reinforcing pad.

equal to the diameter of the hole and height equal to the ‘thickness’. Each

term requires to be qualified further.

life. Corrosion would have caused increase of the nozzle ID (which is the

size of the opening also) to d i + 2 ∈ over this period. This is therefore

considered as the design basis for the diameter of the opening to be used in

reinforcement calculations. As a consequence, the affected area on the

header extends to a circle of diameter 2( d i + 2 ∈) . Reinforcing pad, if at all

provided, will have this as its OD.

What is indeed lost is the regulation thickness. The rest which comprised of

the allowances, tolerances and extra is not consequence here. Regulation

thickness would have helped keep the stresses at allowable level. This

thickness is what is ‘missed’ as an opening is made.

Couple of other points are also very important. The opening for the

nozzle is unlikely to be located on an existing weld joint of the header or its

vicinity. A weld or an opening is a weakness in the structure and fabrication

wisdom would dictate that these should not occur simultaneously. If this is

so, then the regulation thickness for the header should be calculated using

Weld Joint Efficiency value as 1 in the appropriate regulation thickness

formula for the header shape. The regulation thickness thus may not be

imported directly from previous calculations done at the time of header

design. Note that this consideration reduces the value of regulation

thickness, thereby lowering the estimate of area lost.

Another point is regarding the choice of the formula to be used for the

regulation thickness itself. It should be the code formula for a shape ‘seen’

by the nozzle. It may not make difference if the nozzle is placed on a sphere,

hemisphere, cylinder, flat plate or an ellipsoidal closure. For a dished

(torispherical) closure or a cone housing a nozzle, it does make a difference.

is actually a sphere with diameter double that of the vessel. While designing

the closure, formula pertaining to the dished closure would have been used.

While calculating regulation thickness to be used in calculating area lost,

one should use formula for a sphere instead. Note that this consideration also

reduces the value of regulation thickness, thereby lowering the estimate of

area lost.

Similar is the case for nozzle on a cone. The thickness of the cone is

arrived at using the base diameter of the cone. As one moves towards the tip

of the cone, the regulation thickness requirement decreases and extra

thickness increases. To avail of this extra thickness in reinforcement

calculation, one should calculate the regulation thickness afresh using cone

diameter at a level corresponding to the center of the opening. Note that this

consideration also reduces the value of regulation thickness, thereby

lowering the estimate of area lost. In fact, a properly located nozzle on a

cone can often be made ‘self compensating’.

Let us now put together the balance sheet of the load bearing metal

area affected due to an opening.

Area Lost

AL = ( d i + 2 ∈)TR

consideration.

Area Available

From Header:

A1A = ( d i + 2 ∈)( T − TR − ∈ − M T )

M% is the mill tolerance for header, then

M

MT = T

100

AA2 = 2 H 1 ( t − t R − ∈ − mT )

m

( mT = t )

100

AA3 = 2 H 2 ( t − 2 ∈ −mT )

of the nozzle is subject to same pressure on either side of its wall. The

differential pressure on this wall is thus zero. There is thus no regulation

thickness requirement. At the same time, corrosion is eating into this wall

from inside as well as outside. Corrosion over the expected service life is

thus twice the corrosion allowance.

sharing the extra stresses) are given as follows.

H 1 = (d i + 2ε )(t − ε )

H 2 = (d i + 2ε )(t − 2ε )

thickness of the nozzle, t R , is imported directly from its previous

calculations done for deciding nozzle thickness. No correction for weld joint

efficiency is required in this calculation as the entire nozzle with its seam

welding (if any) is in the affected area.

The balance sheet attempts to hammer down the estimate of area lost.

The area available is estimated by looking for as much area available in the

vicinity as possible. In fact, even ‘weldment’ area in the affected rectangle is

accounted for in area available if such estimates are available.

(

AD = AL − A1A + AA2 + AA3 + AA4 )

The deficit area is provided in the affected zone welding a reinforcing pad of

thickness t P given as

AD

tP =

(d i + 2 ∈)

The formula is self explanatory in view of the discussions above and the

figure.

is of the same material as that of the header/nozzle. This would normally be

the case, as welding together dissimilar metal could lead to galvanic

corrosion. However, considering the fact that the pad is not exposed to the

corrosive process fluid, if a dissimilar material is chosen for the pad for

economic considerations, an appropriate correction to the pad thickness is

called for.

allowable stress ( S apad ) is lower than that of the header/nozzle (Sa). Logically,

the revision is as follows.

AD Sa

tP =

d i + 2 ∈ S apad

material. The calculation formula should thus be

AD AD Sa

t P = max , pad

di + 2 ∈ di + 2 ∈ Sa

recommended.

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