The leakage rates of bolted flanged connections change with service time due to the gasket contact stress relaxation and degradation of gasket material. The nonuniform distribution of gasket contact stress has significant influence on the leakage behavior of the connections. In order to predict the time-correlated leakage rates accurately, both appropriate approaches to dealing with the gasket residual contact stress and a corresponding time-correlated leakage model of sealing elements are needed. In this paper, an analytical model has been developed to determine the maximum contact stress at gasket outer diameter in consideration of creeps of flanges, bolts and gasket coupled to the axial deformation compatibility equation. The analysis was verified against the finite element numerical simulation considering the nonlinear behavior of gasket and material creep. The analytical results of the maximum contact stress of gasket and its change over time compared well with those obtained by finite element method. A time-correlated leakage model of nonmetallic gasket sealing connections based on the porous medium theory was established, in which the effects of the gasket material degradation and contact stress relaxation on the sealing performance were taken into consideration. Furthermore, a leakage rate prediction method was proposed. Some long-term sealing performance tests were performed on two types of gaskets to obtain the coefficients in the leakage model. The leakage rate prediction method proposed in this paper was also validated against the experimental data presented by other researchers, and the errors between the predicted values and the experimental results were within 18%.

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