The required thickness of welding tees is neither specified in ASME (2012, “Factory-Made Wrought Buttwelding Fittings,” American Society of Mechanical Engineers, New York, Standard No. B16.9-2012) nor is a clear calculation method provided in codes such as ASME (2016, “Process Piping,” American Society of Mechanical Engineers, New York, Standard No. B31.3-2016). This can lead to uncertainty regarding the pressure capacity of a tee fitting, particularly one that has suffered from erosion or corrosion. Code methods including area replacement (ASME, 2016, “Process Piping,” American Society of Mechanical Engineers, New York, Standard No. B31.3-2016) or pressure-area (ASME, 2015, “Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section VIII Division 2,” American Society of Mechanical Engineers, New York, Standard No. BPVC-VIII-2-2015; BSI, 2014, “Unfired Pressure Vessels Part 3: Design,” BSI, London, UK, Standard No. BS EN 13445-3) do not directly account for the effect which the curvature of the crotch region may have on the stress state in the tee. The approach adopted in this work is to liken the geometry of the tee crotch to the intrados of a torus or pipe bend. The shell theory applicable to the torus is adapted for the tee in order to derive a relationship for circumferential membrane stress. An equivalent tube radius is assigned by determining the local radius of shell curvature in the plane passing through the crotch center of the curvature. The actual stresses in the tee crotch are significantly reduced by the adjoining straight portions. This effect is difficult to quantify theoretically and has thus been investigated by means of finite element analysis (FEA)-based assessments. An empirical relationship was then established providing a conservative correlation between the theoretical stresses and the program calculated local stress intensities.

References

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