Based on a brief review of existing tubesheet (TS) design standards and the pertinent technical literature, a unified analytical method of stress analysis for fixed TS heat exchangers (HEXs), floating head and U-tube HEXs is proposed by removing the midplane symmetry (MPS) assumption, which assumes a geometric and loading plane of symmetry at the midway between the two TSs so that only half of the HEX or one TS needs be considered. The unified method can be successfully extended to the situations for different TS materials, unequal TS thicknesses, different TS edge conditions, different TS temperatures, pressures drop and dead weights on two TSs. The effects of pressure in TS perforations and temperature gradient in TS thickness direction are also considered by the unified method. Theoretical comparison shows that ASME method can be obtained from the special case of the simplified mechanical model of the unified method. Numerical comparison indicates that predictions given by the unified method agree well with finite element analysis (FEA), while ASME results are not accurate or not correct.

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