This paper proposes a method to calculate the maximum allowable bending moment on pipe flange connections for leak tightness design of piping systems in process plants. The method evaluates the gasket stress reduction due to the bending moment as well as internal pressure based on the load factor of the bolted-gasketed pipe flange connection and the equivalent axial force. It determines the critical load combination of pressure and bending moment causing leakage. The calculated maximum allowable bending moment has shown fairly good agreement with experimental results with reasonable conservativeness. The paper also shows the advantage of the proposed method against the conventional methods such as the equivalent pressure method, NC-3658.3 method, B31.8 method, and so on.

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