Bolted joints inserting gaskets such as box-shape flange connections have been widely used in mechanical structures, nuclear and chemical industry, and so on. In automobile industry, box-shape connections are applied in oil-pan structure. They are usually used under internal pressure as well as other loadings such as thermal, impact loadings and so on. In designing the box-shape flange connections with gaskets, it is important to evaluate the sealing performance of connections under internal pressure. An important issue is how to evaluate the sealing performance in the connections by using the contact gasket stress distributions at the interfaces and how to determine the initial clamping bolt force (preload) for preventing leakage. In this paper, the stresses of box-shape flange connection with gaskets subjected to an internal pressure are analyzed using the finite element method (FEM), taking into account a hysteresis in the stress-strain curves of the gasket. The contact gasket stress distributions of the connections under the internal pressure are analyzed. The leakage tests were conducted using an actual box-shape flange connection with a gasket. Using the contact gasket stress distributions at the interfaces under an internal pressure (Helium gas was used) and the amount of the leakage measured in the experiment, the sealing performances are evaluated experimentally and numerically. Furthermore, the effect of the nominal bolt diameter, the bolt pitch and flange cover seating types (raised face / flat face) is examined on the sealing performances of box-shape flange connections. Discussion is made on the sealing performance in the above connections.

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