Most current flange design methods use an equivalent pressure to treat bolted flange connections subjected to external bending loads. This oversimplified approach together with the lack of a proper assessment of the actual affected tightness make these methods inadequate for modern flange design. The substitution of the external applied moment by an equivalent pressure is excessively conservative and not realistic since it assumes that the achieved tightness is that of a gasket unloaded entirely to a minimum stress whereas in reality only a small section of it is, the rest of it is actually at a much higher stress. The successfulness of a valid analytical approach in yielding to an acceptable solution resides in its ability to account for the circumferential distribution of the gasket contact stress and its effect on leakage. This paper presents an analytical model based on the flexibility of the flange to treat flanges subjected to bending loads such as those produced by external moments and misalignments and capable of integrating leakage around the gasket circumference. The bolted joint sealing performance in the presence of such loads is evaluated using the new PVRC gasket constants Gb, a and Gs obtained from ROTT tests. The analytical results including leakage predictions are validated by comparison to those obtained numerically by FEA and experimentally on different size flanges. The over-conservatism of the equivalent pressure is demonstrated.

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