In this study, the integrity of a manhole structure made of a 78 in. high density polyethylene (HDPE) stub-end, steel ring, and blind flange, sealed with a compressed nonasbestos fiber (CNAF) gasket is investigated by means of a parametric finite element analysis (FEA). A coupled thermomechanical nonlinear FEA model is built, comprising of a heat transfer and a structural model, which allows modeling the complex thermal and mechanical loads and their interactions present during the operation of the manhole. The temperature-dependent elastic–plastic HDPE material constitutive behavior and the temperature-dependent nonlinear response of the CNAF gasket are accounted for in the model. Factors influencing the performance and integrity of the manhole such as stud-bolt pretorque level (Tb), internal pressure (Pi), and outer temperature (To) are considered. Based on the results, the integrity and performance of the structure are assessed in view of a leakage through the gasket criterion and a yielding of the HDPE stub-end criterion. The FEA results reveal that both Tb, Pi, and To significantly influence the performance (i.e., leakage) of the gasket and the integrity (i.e., yielding) of the HDPE stub-end. At 40 °C, it is possible to find a safe operational window for a range of Tb and Pi values, where no leakage through the gasket or yielding of the stub-end occurs. However, as the temperature is increased this safe operational window decreases considerably, and at 80 °C safe operation cannot be guaranteed where leakage, yielding, or both simultaneously, will lead to loss in performance and integrity of the manhole structure.

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