The analytical prediction of the contact stress in tube-to-tubesheet joints subjected to hydraulic expansion is conducted without any consideration to reverse yielding that can occur inside the tube. Most existing models consider the tube and tubesheet to unload elastically when the expansion pressure is released. These models are therefore less conservative as the overestimate the contact pressure.

An analytical model that considers strain-hardening material behavior of the tube and tubesheet and accounts for reverse yielding has been developed. The model is based on Henckey deformation theory and the Von Mises yield criteria. The paper shows that reverse yielding that is present in tubes during hydraulic expansion unloading makes the joint less rigid and causes a decrease in the contact pressure depending on the gap clearance and the materials used. A good correlation between the analytical and FEM results is obtained on different treated cases which gives confidence on the developed model.

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