Threaded closures for pressure vessels have been in use for decades. Much work has been done to develop safe threaded closures. Threaded closures are very advantageous when there is a need for opening the vessel at intervals for maintenance purposes.
Heat Exchangers are a typical application where there is a need for opening the vessel to get good access to the inside and outside of the tubes for mechanical cleaning, thus maintaining heat transfer efficiency. These are known as Screw Plug Heat Exchangers and are basically U-tube heat exchangers. The tube side normally operates at high pressure and temperature and is closed by a threaded end closure.
Two problems are often encountered in screw plug heat exchangers. These are:
1. Leakage through the gasket at the tubesheet causing intermixing of shell side and tube side fluids, which is unacceptable
2. Jamming of the threaded plug due to deformation of channel barrel
In an earlier paper (PVP2016-63137) these problems were studied for a vessel designed to ASME Section VIII Div. 1. It was found that leakage through the tubesheet gasket could be eliminated by changing the gasket to a grooved metal gasket with covering layers as defined in ASME B16.20.
Preventing leakage from the tubesheet gasket is extremely necessary to get the ultra-low sulphur requirements for clean fuel.
In the work reported in this paper, a procedure for obtaining leak-free performance on a vessel designed to ASME Section VIII Div. 2 was developed and verified using a prototype.
Code formulae for calculation of thickness of various parts normally consider only the need to limit the component stress to be within allowable limits defined in the Code. Allowable stresses for Section VIII Div. 2 construction may be about 18 % higher than the allowable stress for Section VIII Div. 1 construction at design temperature, thereby allowing thinner sections for the same design conditions.
As the thinner sections would deform more, the likelihood of jamming of the end cover could be more severe in ASME Section VIII Div. 2 constructions. Hence this study was additionally undertaken to verify the adequacy of the earlier proposed design methodology, i.e., use of an additional steel ring shrunk fit to the end of the channel to prevent flaring of the channel and jamming of screw threads, for Section VIII Div. 2 constructions.