The gasket fundamental characteristics such as the stress-strain curves of compressed sheet gaskets (CSG) and the spiral wound gaskets (SWG) and the relationship between the average gasket stress and the leak rate using rigid platens were measured. Then, using the measured data of the gasket properties, the mechanical characteristics of bolted pipe flange connections under internal pressure are examined such as the contact gasket stress distribution, hub stress and changes in axial bolt forces (the load factor) using FEM. FEM code employed is ABAQUS. Using the obtained gasket stress distributions and the fundamental gasket relationship between the gasket stress and the leak rate, the leak rates of bolted pipe flange connections are predicted. In addition, the effect of nominal diameters (from 2” to 24”) on the mechanical characteristics is examined. For verification of the FEM calculations, experiments to measure the load factor, the hub stress and the leak rates were performed using 2” and 24” bolted pipe flange connections. The FEM results of the load factor, the hub stress and the leak rate are in a fairly good agreement with the measured results. The value of the load factor is found to be positive for 2” pipe flanged joints, while it is negative for 24” pipe flanged connection due to the flange rotation. It is noticed that the values of the load factor decreases with an increase of the nominal diameter of pipe flanges. The hub stress is kept constant when the gasket stress is held constant for each connection with each nominal diameter while it increases as the nominal diameter increases according to ASME codes. In addition, the leak rate increases as the nominal diameter increases.

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