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APPENDIX S

DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS FOR BOLTED


FLANGE CONNECTIONS

S-1 BOLTING the design pressure, and on this basis it may be thought
that 50% extra bolt stress above the design value will
The primary purpose of the rules for bolted flange
be sufficient. However, this is an oversimplification
connections in Appendices 2 and Y is to ensure safety,
but there are certain practical matters to be taken into because, on the one hand, the safety factor against
consideration in order to obtain a serviceable design. leakage under test conditions in general need not be
One of the most important of these is the proportioning as great as under operating conditions. On the other
of the bolting, i.e., determining the number and size hand, if a stress–strain analysis of the joint is made,
of the bolts. it may indicate that an initial bolt stress still higher
In the great majority of designs the practice that has than 11⁄2 times the design value is needed. Such an
been used in the past should be adequate, viz., to analysis is one that considers the changes in bolt
follow the design rules in Appendices 2 and Y and elongation, flange deflection, and gasket load that take
tighten the bolts sufficiently to withstand the test pres- place with the application of internal pressure, starting
sure without leakage. The considerations presented in from the prestressed condition. In any event, it is
the following discussion will be important only when evident that an initial bolt stress higher than the design
some unusual feature exists, such as a very large value may and, in some cases, must be developed in
diameter, a high design pressure, a high temperature, the tightening operation, and it is the intent of this
severe temperature gradients, an unusual gasket arrange- Division that such a practice is permissible, provided
ment, and so on. it includes necessary and appropriate provision to insure
The maximum allowable stress values for bolting against excessive flange distortion and gross crushing
given in Table 3 of Section II, Part D are design values of the gasket.
to be used in determining the minimum amount of It is possible for the bolt stress to decrease after
bolting required under the rules. However, a distinction initial tightening, because of slow creep or relaxation
must be kept carefully in mind between the design of the gasket, particularly in the case of the “softer”
value and the bolt stress that might actually exist or gasket materials. This may be the cause of leakage in
that might be needed for conditions other than the
the hydrostatic test, in which case it may suffice merely
design pressure. The initial tightening of the bolts is
to retighten the bolts. A decrease in bolt stress can
a prestressing operation, and the amount of bolt stress
also occur in service at elevated temperatures, as a
developed must be within proper limits, to insure, on
result of creep in the bolt and /or flange or gasket
the one hand, that it is adequate to provide against all
conditions that tend to produce a leaking joint, and on material, with consequent relaxation. When this results
the other hand, that it is not so excessive that yielding in leakage under service conditions, it is common
of the bolts and /or flanges can produce relaxation that practice to retighten the bolts, and sometimes a single
also can result in leakage. such operation, or perhaps several repeated at long
The first important consideration is the need for the intervals, is sufficient to correct the condition. To
joint to be tight in the hydrostatic test. An initial bolt avoid chronic difficulties of this nature, however, it is
stress of some magnitude greater than the design value advisable when designing a joint for high temperature
therefore must be provided. If it is not, further bolt service to give attention to the relaxation properties of
strain develops during the test, which tends to part the the materials involved, especially for temperatures where
joint and thereby to decompress the gasket enough to creep is the controlling factor in design. This prestress
allow leakage. The test pressure is usually 11⁄2 times should not be the controlling factor in design. This

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S-1 APPENDIX S — NONMANDATORY S-1

prestress should not be confused with initial bolt stress compression of the gasket, consideration must be given
Si used in the design of Appendix Y flanges. to the selection of gasket type, size and material that
In the other direction, excessive initial bolt stress will prevent gross crushing of the gasket.
can present a problem in the form of yielding in the From the foregoing, it is apparent that the bolt stress
bolting itself, and may occur in the tightening operation can vary over a considerable range above the design
to the extent of damage or even breakage. This is stress value. The design stress values for bolting in
especially likely with bolts of small diameter and with Table 3 of Section II, Part D have been set at a
bolt materials having a relatively low yield strength. The conservative value to provide a factor against yielding.
yield strength of mild carbon steel, annealed austenitic At elevated temperatures, the design stress values are
stainless steel, and certain of the nonferrous bolting governed by the creep rate and stress-rupture strength.
materials can easily be exceeded with ordinary wrench Any higher bolt stress existing before creep occurs in
effort in the smaller bolt sizes. Even if no damage is operation will have already served its purpose of seating
evident, any additional load generated when internal the gasket and holding the hydrostatic test pressure,
pressure is applied can produce further yielding with all at atmospheric temperature, and is not needed at
possible leakage. Such yielding can also occur when the design pressure and temperature.
there is very little margin between initial bolt stress Theoretically, the margin against flange yielding is
and yield strength. not as great. The design values for flange materials
An increase in bolt stress, above any that may be may be as high as five-eighths or two-thirds of the
due to internal pressure, might occur in service during yield strength. However, the highest stress in a flange
startup or other transient conditions, or perhaps even is usually the bending stress in the hub or shell, and
under normal operation. This can happen when there is more or less localized. It is too conservative to
is an appreciable differential in temperature between assume that local yielding is followed immediately by
the flanges and the bolts, or when the bolt material overall yielding of the entire flange. Even if a “plastic
has a different coefficient of thermal expansion than hinge” should develop, the ring portion of the flange
the flange material. Any increase in bolt load due to takes up the portion of the load the hub and shell
this thermal effect, superposed on the load already refuse to carry. Yielding is far more significant if it
existing, can cause yielding of the bolt material, whereas occurs first in the ring, but the limitation in the rules
any pronounced decrease due to such effects can result on the combined hub and ring stresses provides a
in such a loss of bolt load as to be a direct cause of safeguard. In this connection, it should be noted that
leakage. In either case, retightening of the bolts may a dual set of stresses is given for some of the materials
be necessary, but it must not be forgotten that the in Table 3 of Section II, Part D, and that the lower
effects of repeated retightening can be cumulative and values should be used in order to avoid yielding in
may ultimately make the joint unserviceable. the flanges.
In addition to the difficulties created by yielding of Another very important item in bolting design is the
the bolts as described above, the possibility of similar question of whether the necessary bolt stress is actually
difficulties arising from yielding of the flange or gasket realized, and what special means of tightening, if any,
material, under like circumstances or from other causes, must be employed. Most joints are tightened manually
should also be considered. by ordinary wrenching, and it is advantageous to have
Excessive bolt stress, whatever the reason, may cause designs that require no more than this. Some pitfalls
the flange to yield, even though the bolts may not must be avoided, however. The probable bolt stress
yield. Any resulting excessive deflection of the flange, developed manually, when using standard wrenches, is
accompanied by permanent set, can produce a leaking
joint when other effects are superposed. It can also 45,000
Sp
damage the flange by making it more difficult to effect 冪d
a tight joint thereafter. For example, irregular permanent
distortion of the flange due to uneven bolt load around
the circumference of the joint can warp the flange face where
and its gasket contact surface out of a true plane. Sp the bolt stress
The gasket, too, can be overloaded, even without d p the nominal diameter of the bolt
excessive bolt stress. The full initial bolt load is imposed It can be seen that smaller bolts will have excessive
entirely on the gasket, unless the gasket has a stop stress unless judgment is exercised in pulling up on
ring or the flange face detail is arranged to provide them. On the other hand, it will be impossible to
the equivalent. Without such means of controlling the develop the desired stress in very large bolts by ordinary

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S-1 2001 SECTION VIII — DIVISION 1 S-2

hand wrenching. Impact wrenches may prove service- dition) or atmospheric temperature (gasket seat-
able, but if not, resort may be had to such methods ing), as may apply, psi
as preheating the bolt, or using hydraulically powered J p rigidity index ≤ 1.0. If the value of J, when
bolt tensioners. With some of these methods, control calculated by the appropriate formula in (d) be-
of the bolt stress is possible by means inherent in the low, is greater than 1.0, the thickness of the
procedure, especially if effective thread lubricants are flange t should be increased and J recalculated
employed, but in all cases the bolt stress can be until it is within the above limit.
regulated within reasonable tolerances by measuring the KI p rigidity factor for integral- or optional-type
bolt elongation with suitable extensometer equipment. flanges [see (c) below]
Ordinarily, simple wrenching without verification of KL p rigidity factor for loose-type flanges [see (c)
the actual bolt stress meets all practical needs, and below]
measured control of the stress is employed only when All other notation used in this paragraph is defined in
there is some special or important reason for doing so. 2-3.
S-2(c) Experience has indicated that a KL value of
0.2 for loose-type flanges and KI of 0.3 for integral
or optional flange types are sufficient for most services.
Other values may be used with the User’s agreement.
S-2 FLANGE RIGIDITY S-2(d) Formulas
Integral- and optional-type flanges designed as inte-
S-2(a) Flanges which have been designed based on
gral type:
allowable stress limits alone may not be sufficiently
rigid to control leakage. This paragraph provides a 52.14MOV
method of checking flange flexibility. Jp (1)
LEg2o ho KI
The flexibility factors provided in (c) below have
been proven through extensive user experience for a Loose-type flanges with hubs:
wide variety of joint designs and service conditions;
however, their use alone does not guarantee a leakage 52.14MOVL
Jp (2)
rate within established limits, and accordingly their use LEg2o ho KL
must be considered as only part of the system of
joint design and assembly requirements to ensure leak Loose-type flanges without hubs and optional flanges
tightness. designed as loose-type:
S-2(b) Notation
E p modulus of elasticity for the material of the 109.4MO
Jp (3)
flange at the design temperature (operating con- Et3ln(K)KL

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