This paper reports the results of experiments and finite element simulations on the structural response of piping systems to internal detonation loading. Specifically, the work described in this paper focuses on the forces that are produced at tee-junctions that lead to axial and bending structural responses of the piping system.

Detonation experiments were conducted in a 2-in. (50 mm) diameter schedule 40 piping system that was fabricated using 304 stainless steel and welded to ASME B31.3 standards. The 4.1 m (162-in.) long piping system included one tee and was supported using custom brackets and cantilever beams fastened to steel plates that were bolted to the laboratory walls. Nearly-ideal detonations were used in a 30/70 H2-N2O mixture at 1 atm initial pressure and 300 K. Pressure and hoop, axial, and support strains were measured using a high-speed (1 MHz) digital data acquisition system and calibrated signal conditioners.

It was concluded that detonations propagate through the run of a 90° tee with relatively little disturbance in either direction. The detonation load increases by approximately a factor of 2 when the detonation enters through the branch. The deflections of the cantilever beam supports and the hoop and axial pipe strains could be adequately predicted by finite element simulations. The support loads are adequately predicted as long as the supports are constrained to the piping.

This paper shows that with relatively simple models, quantitative predictions of tee forces can be made for the purposes of design or safety analysis of piping systems subject to internal detonations.

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