Abstract

Process industries typically utilize bellows expansion joints (compensators), which offer both axial flexibility and circumferential strength on convolutions. These components are utilized in pipe structures as well as their connections to vital process equipment’s, such as boilers, fixed tube heat exchangers, pressure vessels, pressure relief equipment, pulsation dampeners, etc. The expansion-contraction operation of the compensators attached to the pipes produces different thrusts and stresses, rendering process equipment vulnerable to catastrophic failure if there is an axial misalignment or lateral offset in connection. For the purpose of maintaining structural integrity, it is essential to determine the meridian stresses generated on bellows compensator under various operating conditions. This study examines the quantitative effects of combined lateral shift and angular rotational misalignment on meridional stress levels for the heat exchanger shell bellows. Mainly the generation of the stresses on the U-shaped convolution profile is multifaceted and difficult to evaluate. An experimental setup has been designed to make it easier to see the combined angular rotation and offset at various levels and to improve evaluating the stress levels for analysis purposes. The paper presents the results pertaining to meridional deflection-based stresses. The analysis process signifies the assessment of structural integrity to enable designers to implement mitigating measures regarding the installation of bellows compensators and adequate support conditions.

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