When designing branch connections in low pressure large diameter piping systems as in Figure 1, thicker is not always better. The flexibility factors in ASME B31.3 1 for branch connections do not assist the designer in taking credit for flexibility that may exist in a large diameter intersection. Since the stress intensification factors (SIFs) are relatively high for large diameter piping, many stub-in branch connections will require a pad to meet the code displacement stress limits. In an ASME B31.3 Piping analysis the stiffness of the branch connections is considered to be as stiff as a straight piece of pipe modeled as a beam. This is a simplifying assumption that can lead to expensive conservatism for the component and possibly non-conservatism for nearby equipment especially when large diameter pipe is considered. Branch connection flexibility is often negligible when compared with piping flexibility of straight pipe perpendicular to the deflection and bends which can ovalize under in-plane bending moments. However, studies at KBR show branch connections in large diameter pipe can contribute significant flexibility to a close coupled piping system.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.