In the thin shell analysis of welded pad reinforced nozzles in pressure vessels, no contact between pad and vessel is often assumed. The significance of this contact force to the stress distribution in the structure is little known. In this paper, stress results from the finite element analysis, which includes the contact force between the pad and the vessel, are reported. A comparison of the finite element results with those from thin shell analysis and experiments shows that the finite element method with contact assumption yields improved theoretical prediction for the stress distribution. The effect of both the gap and friction between the pad and the vessel are also investigated.

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