Piping supports and restrains are required to follow the design requirements as mentioned in ASME B&PV Code, Section III, Subsection NF. One of the requirements indicates the necessity of calculating the critical buckling stresses for the members that are subjected to a compressive loading. This paper discusses the prescribed requirements in the Code that specifically address the considerations of the stability and buckling load capacities of linear piping restraints (i.e., struts). The finite element modeling of various strut geometries and the results of the buckling analyses of a slender (slenderness ratio Kl/r greater than or equal to 100) structural members using various finite element solution techniques are presented herein. Specifically, three types of finite element analysis are conducted in an effort to define the critical buckling load for the subject structural member, and include the traditional linear (Eigen value) Euler method; the nonlinear, second order large deformation method; and finally, the nonlinear large deformation method that incorporates nonlinear elastic-plastic material behavior. These techniques are employed for a hollow cylindrical structural member (i.e., a strut assembly) with varying cross sections along its length. Finite element model consists of three dimensional hexahedral elements in combination with beam elements for the general purpose a finite element solver ANSYS. The critical buckling load is calculated in each case, thereby predicting the load at which instability will occur in the structural member. The results obtained from the aforementioned techniques are then compared both numerically and qualitatively with an appropriate explanation of the purpose and usefulness of each particular result with respect to the intent of the ASME B&PV Code, Section III, Subsection NF requirements. The results show significant variations (as expected) based on differences in the assumptions and techniques employed in the respective analyses.

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