This paper details the methodology of validating a furnace heat treatment stand subjected to elevated temperatures using Finite Element Analysis (FEA). An initial heat treatment stand was designed for use with a superfluous vessel, which was then analysed and validated with a tested to destruction experiment. A revised design of heat treatment stand was then developed for Post Weld Heat Treatment (PWHT) of an actual vessel, supported by the validated analysis methodology.

A 3D model of each stand was created in Abaqus using shell elements for the beam and plate sections, and spring elements for bolts. This analysis incorporated a full contact model to correctly capture the flexural characteristics of the individual components during loading of the stand. An elastic-perfectly-plastic Limit Load Analysis (LLA) was initially used to determine the expected plastic collapse load for both designs of stand at a range of temperatures. This was followed by a buckling analysis to capture how susceptible the stand was to elastic structural instability. In order to determine the sensitivity of the structures to buckling, initial elastic imperfections were seeded into a post buckling LLA; other sensitivity studies included centre of gravity offset and consideration of creep.

The test to destruction of the stand has provided validation for the analysis methodology. The analysis of the revised design has shown acceptable margin exists at PWHT temperatures.

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