A case study is presented for a heat exchanger subjected to a postulated beyond-design basis over-pressurization. Gasket behavior is explicitly modeled with commercial FEA software, and tuned to experimental data. Material (strain-hardening plasticity) and geometric nonlinearities are also accounted for. Both two-dimensional and three-dimensional analysis is performed and compared, and all results are compared with standard ASME Code design criteria for bolted joints leakage. Recommendations for use of FEA technology to assess the behavior of bolted joints subject to extreme loading behaviors are presented.

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