Fiber Reinforce Plastic composite flanges have recently experienced a spectacular development in the area of pressure vessels and piping. The current procedures used for the design of these flanges are a major concern because of their inappropriateness to address the anisotropic behavior of composite materials. The current ASME code design procedure of composite flanges of section X uses the same analytical method as the one of section VIII division 2 which treat the flanges as isotropic materials such as metallic flanges.

This study deals with FRP bolted flange joints integrity and bolt tightness. A new developed analytical FRP model that treats anisotropic flanges with and without a hub is presented. The model is based on the anisotropy and a flexibility analysis of all joint elements including the gasket, bolts and flanges. It is supported experimentally with tests conducted on a real NPS 3 class 150 FRP bolted flange. Furthermore, three different numerical models based on 3D anisotropic layered shell and solid element models were conducted to further compare and verify the results obtained from the new developed analytical approach. The results show that the new model has potential to be used as an alternative tool to FEM if an accurate method to analyses the stresses and deformation of problematic FRP bolted joint applications.

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