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E N G I N E E R I N G

C O N S U LTA N T S

FLANGE STRESS ANALYSIS


GUIDANCE NOTES

APRIL 2005

TECHNIP 35 R01A.DOC

DOCUMENT CONTROL

REVISION HISTORY
Rev

Date

Description

26/4/05

First issue

By

Check

AGK

PACM

DISTRIBUTION
Mr Duncan Warwick
Technip Offshore UK Limited
Enterprise Drive
Westhill
Aberdeen
Aberdeenshire AB32 6TQ
Tel
01224 271703
Fax
01224 271271
E-mail DWarwick@technip.com

ISSUED BY
Eur Ing Alan Knowles
Trevor Jee Associates on behalf of Jee Ltd
26 Camden Road
Tunbridge Wells
Kent TN1 2PT
Tel
01892 500 775
Fax
01892 544 735
E-mail aknowles@tja.co.uk
Trevor Jee Associates 2005. The moral rights of the author have been asserted. The text of this work may be
quoted in any form (written, visual, electronic or audio), up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) words without
express written permission of the publisher. Notice of copyright must appear on either the title, copyright or
acknowledgements page of the work in which it is quoted, as follows: Quotations from [name of work] are
copyright 2005 Trevor Jee Associates. Used by permission.

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CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................................................5
1.1
1.2

CONCLUSIONS .......................................................................................................................6
2.1

MAXIMUM SHEAR STRESS .....................................................................................................14


VON MISES EQUIVALENT STRESS........................................................................................14

DESIGN METHODOLOGIES.................................................................................................17
6.1
6.2
6.3
6.4

SCOPE.........................................................................................................................................8
LOADING ON FLANGES.............................................................................................................8
FLANGE FAILURE MODES ........................................................................................................9
DESIGN APPROACHES .............................................................................................................9
SUMMARY OF CODES AND METHODS .................................................................................10
ASME B16.5 22 CLASS SPECIFICATION ..................................................................................11
RECOMMENDED PROCEDURE ..............................................................................................12

STRESSES USED IN ANALYSIS..........................................................................................14


5.1
5.2

FUTURE WORK ..........................................................................................................................7

OVERVIEW OF DESIGN PROCESS.......................................................................................8


4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4
4.5
4.6
4.7

ALLOWABLE STRESSES ...........................................................................................................6

RECOMMENDATIONS ............................................................................................................7
3.1

BACKGROUND ...........................................................................................................................5
OBJECTIVES...............................................................................................................................5

ORDER OF CONSIDERATION AND OF DESIGN....................................................................17


NON-STANDARD FLANGES ....................................................................................................17
STANDARD WELD-NECK FLANGES.......................................................................................18
SWIVEL RING FLANGES..........................................................................................................18

DISCUSSION OF DESIGN METHODS .................................................................................20


7.1
7.2
7.3
7.4
7.5
7.6
7.7
7.8

OVERVIEW ................................................................................................................................20
SIMPLIFIED STRESS ANALYSIS .............................................................................................21
THERMAL GRADIENT ANALYSIS............................................................................................23
LOW TEMPERATURE FLANGES.............................................................................................24
AGGRESSIVE ENVIRONMENTS INCLUDING SOUR SERVICE ............................................24
FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS ...................................................................................................25
COFLEXIP PROGRAMME ........................................................................................................25
TECHNIP MATHCAD SHEETS .................................................................................................26

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FLANGE GRADES, BOLTS AND GASKETS .......................................................................27


8.1
8.2
8.3
8.4

FLANGE MATERIAL GRADES .................................................................................................27


METRIC AND IMPERIAL STUD BOLT SIZES ..........................................................................28
BOLT TENSIONS ......................................................................................................................28
GASKETS ..................................................................................................................................30

RELEVANT READING...........................................................................................................36

10 REFERENCES .......................................................................................................................39

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1 INTRODUCTION

1.1

BACKGROUND
Technip Offshore UK Limited (Technip) have been developing calculation methods
to verify flange and bolt stresses on externally loaded flanges. This has included
writing three MathCAD sheets 1, 2 & 3 for weld neck and swivel ring flanges, which
cover both the PD 5500 4 and ASME VIII 5 codes. These sheets take as the starting
point that a flange has been selected, so the type, material, and pressure/temperature
rating are known. They then check whether that flange can withstand applied
bending and tension.
A software package developed by Coflexip 6 is also used by Technip to design fixed
weld neck and swivel ring flanges to ASME VIII 5 code, using RX, R and BX
gaskets. It again allows bending and tension to be applied at the joint but it ignores
temperature derating. It calculates the bolt torque required during make up and
stresses under operating and test conditions are examined.
Technip have asked Trevor Jee Associates:
1. To write the technical guidance on how Technip designs flanges.
2. To research allowable stresses and bolt loads and to include advice on this in the
technical guidance.
Trevor Jee Associates is an independent company which carries out pipeline
engineering consultancy and associated training for the oil and gas industry.

1.2

OBJECTIVES
The overall objective of this study is to produce a guidance document covering the
calculation methods used to verify flange and bolt stresses for externally loaded
weld neck and swivel ring flanges.
The main tasks are:
Determine allowable stresses
Write guidance document
Manage project

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2 CONCLUSIONS

2.1

ALLOWABLE STRESSES
The stresses which are allowed depend upon the method being used.
With the standard flanges of ASME B16.5 22 and API TR 6AF 24, there is no need to
examine the yield or permitted stress. The approach is to determine a classified
flange for a particular temperature and pressure rating. The flange manufacturer
selects suitable materials.
With ASME VIII 5, the yield and membrane stresses are listed for US steels. These
are derated depending on operating temperature.
With PD 5500 4, the permissible stresses are listed for BS and European steels.
These are derated depending on operating temperature.
With FEA, providing all external forces and moments have been considered for
installation, hydrotest and operational conditions, then it is permissible to assess the
equivalent von Mises stress in the bolts and flange with the corresponding material
yield value suitably de-rated for temperature.

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3 RECOMMENDATIONS

3.1

FUTURE WORK
3.1.1 COFLEXIP METHOD
It is recommended that a check be made on the existing Coflexip software. This
requires a review of the coding pages of manual.
From a reading of the Coflexip manual, it would appear that the minimum yield
stress rather than the de-rated permissible stress intensity may have been used.
It is recommended that a retrospective review be undertaken to clarify what
permissible stresses were used as input to their flange design. If the minimum yield
stress was used directly, then a list of currently installed flange locations should be
drawn up.
3.1.2 MATHCAD SHEETS
It would be convenient for designers to have assistance in selecting dimensions and
stresses. For this, it is recommended that look up tables be written in Excel to select
standard flange sizes, and to select suitable material stresses. These could be
embedded into MathCAD.
The existing MathCAD sheets are incomplete and unverified.
It is recommended the MathCAD sheets for weldneck and swivel ring flanges be
developed and verified.
3.1.3 THERMAL GRADIENT
The thermal gradient can introduce additional bending stress in the flange faces.
It is recommended that the critical temperature differential causing excessive
additional stresses due to a thermal gradient be identified.

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4 OVERVIEW OF DESIGN PROCESS

4.1

SCOPE
This report limits itself to a discussion of subsea flanges for pipelines and
spoolpieces. These are weld-neck and swivel flanges in carbon steel. For subsea
use, it is common to use an iron or soft steel ring gasket located in a groove within
the bolt circle diameter.
Occasionally, corrosion resistant alloys are used for flanges and in this instance,
matching suitable materials are used for these rings. The consequences of these
materials properties are discussed.

4.2

LOADING ON FLANGES
4.2.1 FLANGE FORCES AND LOAD COMBINATIONS
Subsea flanges are subject to:
Internal pressure due to the contained liquid
External hydrostatic pressure
Axial loading due to residual lay tension and temperature effects in pipeline
Bending moments due to thermal effects or misalignment of spool piece
Thermal reduction in strength of flange and bolting material due to the
temperature of the contained liquid
Thermal stresses due to the temperature gradient between the inside and outside
walls of the flange
Shear across the joint, which can only be resisted by the gasket
It is normal to consider the following conditions as a minimum:
Bolt tightening at installation
Hydrotest
Operational conditions

4.2.2 DESIGN AND ASSEMBLY CONSIDERATIONS


During initial assembly, there is no hydrostatic pressure differential and generally
zero or very low axial forces and bending moments. Bolts are tensioned to a stated
value for gasket seating.

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The joint is then pressure tested, during which some movement of either the pipeline
or spoolpiece may take place, subjecting the flanges to axial and bending
displacement. Finally, in operation, temperature effects and further expansion may
impose additional axial and bending movement.
During these subsequent stages, the bolts are not normally adjusted in a subsea
situation although onshore, this can occur. This means that the initial tension
applied to the bolts needs to be sufficient to maintain sufficient force on the gasket
to ensure a seal without any increased bolt tension resulting in yielding.
Any design process needs to verify as a minimum the three conditions of assembly,
hydrotest and operation.
Allowance should be made when assessing stresses for the reduction in crosssectional area at end of life due to corrosion.

4.3

FLANGE FAILURE MODES


4.3.1 INSTALLATION FAILURES
Flange leakage can be caused during installation by many conditions, including:
Incorrect flange or groove facing
Incorrect gasket size or material
Dirty or damaged flange faces
Inaccurate or uneven bolt stress reliance on the torque of the nuts rather than
measuring bolt extension may result in under- or over-tensioned bolts
These can be classified as lack of care in specification or installation.
4.3.2 OPERATIONAL FAILURES
Flanged joints can fail by:
Overstressing of the flange material
Yielding of the bolt material
Leakage through the gasket seal interface
High vibration levels in adjacent pipeline and spool causing repetitive damage
to the gasket and groove or loosening of the bolts
In many cases, a combination of material overstress eventually results in gasket
leakage. The last failure is due to inadequate support of the joint.
Flange failures do not result in rupture of the pipeline itself. However, for
hazardous product lines, any leak (however minor) should be considered as a
failure, and must therefore be taken seriously.

4.4

DESIGN APPROACHES
4.4.1 NON-STANDARD WELD-NECK FLANGES
For non-standard weld-neck flanges, it is necessary to:
5
4
Derive using ASME VIII or PD 5500 or
Analyse using finite element analysis.

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4.4.2 STANDARD WELD-NECK FLANGES


For standard weld-neck flanges, it is possible to:
22
28
24
Select from ASME B16.5 , API 605 or API TR 6AF ,
5
4
Derive using ASME VIII or PD 5500 or
Analyse using finite element analysis.
4.4.3 NON-STANDARD SWIVEL RING FLANGES
There are no standard sizes for swivel ring flanges larger than 346 mm (135/8in) of
API 17D 27. It is necessary to:
27
For small well head flanges, select directly from API 17D or
5
4
Derive using ASME VIII or PD 5500 or
Analyse using finite element analysis.

4.5

SUMMARY OF CODES AND METHODS


Each of the codes and methods has pros and cons:
4.5.1 ASME B16.5 22
Is limited to standard Classified US weld neck flanges only (<24in ND)
Does not allow for applied moments or tension
23
Cannot be used for high pressure flanges such as API 6A
Provides a list of ASTM steel grades for flanges and bolts
4.5.2 API 605 28
Equivalent to above
Is limited to standard US weld neck flanges only (26in to 60in ND)
4.5.3 API 17D 27
Equivalent to above for weld-neck and tapered swivel ring flanges for subsea
wellheads
5
Is limited to 5 000 and 10 000 class rating up to 346 mm (13 /8in) ND
4.5.4 API TR 6AF 24
Is limited to standard API flanges only
Concentrates on small diameter at higher working pressures
Only method to explicitly allow for thermal gradient stresses
Uses a graphical method based on results of FEA. This is difficult to adapt into
a convenient spreadsheet for design over a range of temperatures and pressures
Reported that six of the standard flanges did not work! They leaked or yielded.
4.5.5 ASME VIII 5
Provides general approach to design of non-standard flanges
Uses yield and membrane stresses, derated depending upon operating
temperature
Provides tables for US steels
Latest version is in metric but with imperial bolts
4.5.6 PD 5500 4
Provides general approach to design of non-standard flanges
Uses design stresses*, derated depending upon operating temperature
(*equivalent to ASME VIII 5 yield and membrane stresses)
Provides tables for UK and European steels
Does not give formulae for derivation of F, V and f (though same as
ASME VIII 5 so the latter may be used)
Requires reduction in stress for larger diameters (>1 m) See Clause 3.8.3.4.2.

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4.5.7 COFLEXIP PROGRAMME


Calculates non-standard weldneck and swivel ring flanges
5
Based on ASME VIII method
Seems to use yield strength rather than the correct allowable temperaturederated values
5
The swivel ring deviates slightly from ASME VIII loose ring analysis
4.5.8 EN 1092 31, EN 1591 32 & 33 & EN 1759 34
Not yet fully released
Provides standard dimensions of Classified metric DIN type and imperialconverted ASME flanges
Method of analysing non-standard flanges and gaskets
4.5.9 FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS
Can calculate non-standard weldneck and swivel ring flanges
Can allow for all applied moments, thermal and tensile effects
Compares von Mises equivalent stress with temperature de-rated yield
Needs a substantial investment of time and effort to set up and run the model
It is the only method available if the temperature gradient effect needs to be
included
Can be used to design all flange shapes including the tapered swivel rings of
API 17D 27

4.6

ASME B16.5 22 CLASS SPECIFICATION


4.6.1 PROCEDURE AND LIMITATIONS
Most flanges are specified to a class by the pipeline engineer rather than fully
designed by him. The manufacturer can then select suitable material and supply a
flange to that class; a flange that has been certified as adequate for the particular
service by the regulatory body.
ASME B16.5 22 covers standard flanges in carbon steel for use with pipelines. It
includes blank (blind) flanges, threaded, lapped and slip-on designs as well as the
weld-neck flanges that are being considered in this document. It does not cover
swivel ring flanges.
The latest version of the document is in SI units with imperial unit conversions in
Annex F.
The dimensions of the flanges are provided for a number of classes: 150, 300, 400,
600, 900, 1500, 2500. It is common to see these written as 150# etc, and they are
sometimes mistakenly referred to as 150 lb etc. Whereas there is somewhat of a
correlation between working pressure and Class (in pounds) at around 441C
(825F) for the more common materials, this is not a consistent for all materials and
flange Classes (especially Class 150 flanges).
The standard flanges are sized by consideration of the material, temperature and
pressure, in order to determine the Class. No consideration is made of moment or
tension from the pipeline, nor is there any allowance for thermal gradient through
the flange.

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To accommodate these other stresses, it is common to go up one class for subsea


spools, where large moments or thermal loads may occur. That is to say, if
Class 900 has been calculated, then Class 1500 would be specified.

4.7

RECOMMENDED PROCEDURE
Figure 1 shows a simplified flow diagram of this recommended approach.
Initially, all internal pressures, temperatures and pipeline bore should be
determined.
Select a standard flange if possible as the basis for the design. However, it should
be noted that ASME B16.5 22 only specifies standard weld neck flanges up to
610 mm (24in) nominal diameter. Larger flanges must be to API 605 28.
For standard flanges not subject to external moments or tension stresses, it is
possible to look up their requirements in ASME B16.5 22 tables for a suitable class.
There are no standards for the dimensions of swivel ring flanges other than the
limited selection of small wellhead designs of API 17D 27. However the swivel ring
flange must mate with the weld-neck flange and bolt sizes, so some standardisation
is necessary.
Use ASME VIII 5 or PD 5500 4 for design of non-standard weld necks or swivel ring
flanges. The preference on which of these codes is used depends upon the materials
being supplied and where the flanges will be installed. The former code should be
used for American steel and US waters; the latter code is better for European steel.
If the calculated stresses are too high compared with the de-rated maximum shear
stresses (Secton 5.1) then it will be necessary to revisit the initial size of flange and
reanalyse.
If there is a severe thermal gradient (which could cause additional bending stress in
the flange), then it may be possible to minimise this effect using insulation.
However, if this is not possible then it may be necessary to check the stresses using
Finite Element Analysis (FEA).
Only use FEA as a last resort. It is the only method that can capture all effects but
does involve a substantial design effort. Check the equivalent stress (Section 5.2)
against yield. If this is too high then the flange dimensions need to be adjusted.
A fundamental consideration with all the above design procedures is the selection of
the correct bolts and gaskets. Guidance is given in Section 8.
It is recommended that the design should follow the three stages find a similar
standard size of flange; develop using ASME VIII 5 or PD 5500 4; then check using
FEA if necessary.

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flange dimensions known bore,


determine temperature and pressure of product

look-up
table in
Excel

swivel ring

match bolt diameter


and positions of the
mating standard flange

flange
type?

weld-neck

2in to 24in
use sizes from
ASME B16.5 or
API RP6

yes

MathCAD
US/UK
steel?

design to ASME VIII

UK

select from API TR6 AF2


or undertake FEA

external
momt or
force?

design to PD 5500

yes
graphs
or
FEA

26in to 60in
use standard
sizes from
API 605

flange
stresses

flange
stresses

US

nominal
diameter
?

no

insulate?

severe
thermal
gradient?
yes

no
select rating from
ASME B16.5 or
API 605

no

end

Figure 1 Flow chart for flange design


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5 STRESSES USED IN ANALYSIS

5.1

MAXIMUM SHEAR STRESS


Both ASME VIII 5 and PD 5500 4 make use of the maximum shear stress. This is
compared with a basic allowable stress equal to the lesser of 2/3 the yield or 1/3 the
ultimate.
The latter limit prevents rupture. It is an essential limit when following the method
set out in these two codes.
When calculations were undertaken by hand, this method was easier to use than the
equivalent stress method.
Maximum shear stress theory is slightly less accurate but is always conservative
compared to von Mises for ductile materials. However, von Mises method should
not be used for brittle materials that might be subject to rupture.
A full explanation of the ASME VIII 5 stress definitions and combinations is
described in Appendix 4-1 and Figure 4-130.1. See also Section 7.2 for a discussion
of the stress intensity design approach.

5.2

VON MISES EQUIVALENT STRESS


Finite Element Analysis (FEA) commonly determines the equivalent stress from the
component stresses using von Mises equivalent stress theory. It then compares this
to an allowable stress equal to 2/3 the minimum specified yield.
It is common to modify this allowable stress by a design case factor based on the
probability of occurrence of a particular load combination. This may be greater or
lesser than 1.0. For example, API RP 2A-WSD 7 permits an increase in allowable
stress (from 60% to 80% of yield) for stresses due to combinations of environmental
loads.
Von Mises method has been shown to more accurately predict the onset of yield for
ductile materials than the older method.

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The three principal stresses should be calculated at all critical points of the flange.
At locations with axisymmetric geometry such as found in plain pipe, the principal
stresses will usually be in the axial, hoop and radial directions. (For nonaxisymmetric geometry, the directions may be different.)
API 8 have defined that the principal stress components should be classified as one
of the following:
Primary

Secondary

Any normal or shear stress that is necessary to have static


equilibrium of the imposed forces and moments. A primary
stress is not self-limiting. Thus, if a primary stress subsequently
exceeds the yield strength, either failure or gross structural
yielding will occur.
Membrane

p is the average value across the thickness of a


solid section excluding the effects of
discontinuities and stress concentrations. For
example, the general primary membrane stress in
a pipe loaded in pure tension is the tension
divided by the cross-sectional area. p may
include global bending as in the case of a simple
pipe loaded by a bending moment.

Bending

b is the portion of primary stress proportional to


the distance from the centroid of a cross section,
excluding the effects of discontinuities and stress
concentrations.

q is any normal or shear stress that develops as a result of


material restraint. This type of stress is self limiting, which
means that local yielding can relieve the conditions that cause the
stress, and a single application of load will not cause failure.

Table 1 API definition of stresses


Combining the stresses at each cross-section is commonly done using von Mises
yield criterion as defined by the following equation:

e =

(1 2 )2 + ( 2 3 )2 + (3 1 )2
2

Where:
e = von Mises equivalent stress
1, 2, 3 = principal stresses
5.2.1 API 6AF2 26
This adopts the same approach as ASME VIII 5 Division 2 Appendix 4. In Section
4.3, it recommends design stresses be limited to:
ST = 0.83 SY and
Sm = (2/3) SY

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Where:
Sm = design stress intensity at rated working pressure
ST = maximum allowable general primary membrane stress intensity at
hydrostatic test pressure
SY = material minimum specified yield stress
Alternatively, it permits combining triaxial stresses based on hydrostatic test
pressures and limiting them to:
S E = SY
Where:
SE = maximum allowable equivalent stress at the most highly stressed distance
into the wall, computed by the distortion energy theory method
S

Y = material minimum specified yield stress


The distortion energy theory method is more commonly known as the von Mises
equivalent stress method.

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6 DESIGN METHODOLOGIES

6.1

ORDER OF CONSIDERATION AND OF DESIGN


We will discuss non-standard flanges first because the design of these is a general
case. Standard flanges can then be understood as a special case.
However, it is recognised that common design practice is to start with a standard
flange and then check that it is suitable for any applied moments and forces.

6.2

NON-STANDARD FLANGES
6.2.1 RECOMMENDED STEPS FOR DESIGN
Following the simplified flow diagram of Figure 1, the following steps should be
undertaken for the design of non-standard weld-neck flanges:
Determine the diameter, temperature, pressure, moments and axial tension
Determine flange dimensions by selecting a standard flange of the correct bore
5
4
Use ASME VIII or PD 5500 to pick suitable material and to calculate the
flange stresses. Use could be made of a MathCAD sheet or the Coflexip
programme 6
Increase flange dimensions if stresses exceed the maximum shear stress
(Section 5.1) and repeat analysis
Insulate to counter any severe thermal gradient or carry out a full FEA using the
flange sizes as a basis.
6.2.2 ASME VIII 5 AND PD 5500 4
These codes consider in detail the pressure, moment and loads on the flange. They
provide a method of sizing weld-neck and the other flange types considered in
ASME B16.5 22. But in addition, it provides a method of sizing swivel ring flanges
by adapting the lap joint flange design.
However, the method makes some assumptions:
For make-up there is no moment or tension in the system, only bolt tension.
There is no allowance for shear or thermal gradient stresses during operation.
6.2.3 COFLEXIP PROGRAMME 6
The Coflexip programme 6 generally follows the method described in ASME VIII 5
and PD 5500 4 to design non-standard flanges.

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However, the appendix at the end of the guidance notes seems to indicate the use of
material yield stress rather than the temperature de-rated permissible stress. It is
important that the correct material property be used namely the basic allowable
shear stress. Refer to Section 5.1.

6.3

STANDARD WELD-NECK FLANGES


6.3.1 DESIGN USING STANDARD FLANGES
Standard dimensions have been determined for weld-neck type flanges in US and
European pipe diameter.
With the standard flanges of ASME B16.5 22 and API TR 6AF 24, there is no need to
examine the yield or permitted stress. The approach is to determine a classified
flange for a particular temperature and pressure rating. The flange manufacturer
selects suitable materials.
However, the tables assume that there are no applied moments or axial forces acting
on the flange. Nevertheless, it is possible to select a standard flange from the tables
and then check to ensure it will withstand the applied forces and moments in
operation. This would then assist with size selection for a non-standard flange
design.
6.3.2 RECOMMENDED STEPS FOR DESIGN
Following the simplified flow diagram of Figure 1, the following steps should be
undertaken for the design of standard weld-neck flanges:
Determine the diameter, temperature and pressure
Determine the Classified flange dimensions by selecting a standard flange of the
correct bore using ASME B16.5 22 , API 605 28 , API TR 6AF 24 or equivalent
European standard.
24
If designing to API TR 6AF , then the effect of thermal gradient has been
included. Otherwise, insulate to counter any severe thermal gradient.
6.3.3 WELD-NECK FLANGE DIMENSIONS AND PRESSURES
The dimensions for standard weld-neck flanges up to 24in diameter are given in
Tables 5 and 8 through 22 of ASME 16.5 22. The dimensions are given in mm apart
from the stud bolts, which are in inches.
API 6A 23 gives standard flange dimensions for higher operating pressures.
A new combined code is being produced which specifies both the US and modified
DIN standards. This is EN 1092 31 and EN 1759 34.

6.4

SWIVEL RING FLANGES


6.4.1 DESIGN USING SWIVEL RING FLANGES
There are no standards for the dimensions of swivel ring flanges other than the
limited ratings and sizes smaller than 346 mm (135/8in) of API 17D 27. Instead,
these are usually proprietary items but must be designed to match the bolt diameter
and spacing and the gasket size for that of the matching weld neck flange. They are
similar in principle to lap joint flanges and can be designed to ASME VIII 5 or
PD 5500 4. The swivel inner hub profile and full thickness of the swivel outer can
give the flange the same strength and external load capabilities as a weld neck
flange.

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The figure to the left of Figure 2 shows how the flange hub is commonly socketed
into a recess in the ring. The codes, however, only provide design methods for the
simple ring-type, lap joint flange shown to the right. The additional steel of the
socketed ring helps stiffen it to resist toroidal bending of the flange faces.

Figure 2 Socketed and simple ring type swivel ring flanges


The shape of flanges of API 17D 27 is similar to that on the left, but the tapered
ring/hub interface is at an angle of 25 rather than vertical. If this style of flange
were to be required at a non-standard size or rating, then full finite element analysis
(FEA) would be required.
6.4.2 RECOMMENDED STEPS FOR DESIGN
Following the simplified flow diagram of Figure 1, the following steps should be
undertaken for the design of swivel ring flanges:
Determine the diameter, temperature, pressure, moments and axial tension
Design the mating weld-neck flange dimensions
5
4
Use ASME VIII or PD 5500 to pick suitable material and to calculate the
flange stresses. Use could be made of a MathCAD sheet or the Coflexip
programme 6
Increase flange dimensions if stresses exceed the maximum shear stress
(Section 5.1) and repeat analysis
Insulate to counter any severe thermal gradient or carry out a full FEA using the
flange sizes as a basis.

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7 DISCUSSION OF DESIGN METHODS

7.1

OVERVIEW
7.1.1 WELD NECK FLANGES
Pipeline flanges 610 mm (24in) nominal diameter or less for hydrocarbon transport
are commonly sized according to the standard imperial dimensions set out in
ASME 16.5 22. For each diameter, there are a number of classes to match the
pressure and temperature rating of the pipeline. Originally, the flanges were for
land-lines but the same dimensions can be used with external overpressure for
subsea use.
However, no account is made by this method for the stresses induced by a thermal
gradient.
DIN produced an equivalent set of standard flanges for metric pipe diameters. Both
are now listed in the new EN 1092 31 and EN 1759 34.
API has produced ranges of flanges for high pressure hydrocarbon and wellhead
use. Additional work has recently been undertaken by API to make allowance for
thermal gradient. This was undertaken using finite element analysis and published
as sets of graphs.
7.1.2 LARGER FLANGE DIAMETERS
Some subsea pipelines used for hydrocarbons are larger than the standard diameters
of flange given above. API 605 28 gives dimensions of flanges from 660 mm to
1524 mm (26in to 60in).
Alternatively, two design codes, ASME VIII 5 and PD 5500 4 may be used for nonstandard weld-neck flanges. Both use a similar approach to determine the stresses.
7.1.3 SWIVEL RING FLANGES
There are no standard sizes for swivel ring flanges other than the limited selection
from API 17D 27. However, for subsea use, it is necessary to be able to marry up the
alignment of the boltholes on either side of the flange connection without imparting
torque into the pipelines.
The approach of ASME VIII 5 and PD 5500 4 can be used for swivel ring flanges.

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7.2

SIMPLIFIED STRESS ANALYSIS


Both ASME VIII 5 and PD 5500 4 use an analysis method developed in the 1930s. It
was based on the Taylor Forge method, further developed by Walters et al 9 .
Additional information on the method is given by Singh 10 . It simplifies the
problem to a 2 dimensional balance of bolt, pressure and gasket reaction forces
using plain shells.

Bolt load
Flange
hub
Tapered
hub

Shell

Gasket reaction

Pressure
load

Figure 3 Simplified axial forces in flange


The flange tends to rotate due to the moment from the combination of axial loads of
the bolts, gasket and pressure. Refer to Figure 3. To this must be added the rotation
due to the internal pressure, which is more pronounced in flanges without a tapered
hub section. Refer to Figure 4.

Figure 4 Radial deflection of shell and flange with internal pressure load
The bolts are deemed to be a point load as if they were spread in a thin continuous
membrane around the flange at the bolt centreline. Other axial forces are deemed to
act at the centreline of the gasket or shell (see Figure 3 for definition). To this is
added the internal pressure during operations.
An initial value of bolt force must be selected to account for makeup. This can then
be checked for overstressing (or slackening) in operational use.
The method can incorporate tensile forces and applied external moments. But no
allowance is made for thermal gradient stresses.
7.2.1 ASME VIII 5 MAXIMUM SHEAR STRESS
ASME VIII 5 uses the concept of stress intensity, which is defined as twice the
maximum shear stress; which in turn is equal to the algebraic difference between the
maximum and minimum principal stresses:
SI = 2 max = 1 - 3

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The stresses permitted by ASME VIII 5 are given in Tables 1A and 1B of Section II,
Part D Material Requirements Tables for ferrous and non-ferrous alloys. The
permitted operational tensile membrane and yield stresses (Sm and Sy) for each
material are reduced with increasing operating temperature. Values for a full
selection of carbon, low and high alloy steels and nickel alloys are given. The same
section also gives guidance for quenched and tempered steel and clad pipe.
Section 3-350 of ASME VIII 5 provides the maximum allowable flange and nozzle
stresses (Sf and Sn) are compared with the maximum longitudinal, radial and
tangential (SH, SR, and ST) stresses, defined in Section 3-340 (a). Note that for
weld-neck and swivel ring flanges, the flange and nozzle are normally from the
same material; but the thickness or final treatment may cause the allowable stresses
to differ slightly. In other types of welded flange, they may be made from two
different materials.
The code recommends that design stresses be limited to:
SH the lesser of 1.5 Sf or 2.5 Sn
SR S f
ST S f
(SH + SR)/2 Sf
(SH + ST)/2 Sf
7.2.2 HYDROTEST
Note that in the US, it is common to pressure test at 1.25 times the MAOP at the
flange (API RP 1110 11 , ASME B31.4 12 and B31.8 13 ) rather than the 1.5 times
specified elsewhere in the world (including the UK under the old BS 8010 14 ) and
for some in-company procedures.
The ratio of ST/Sm = 0.83/(2/3) = 1.245. This means that where the test pressure is
the higher value, the flange membrane stress may reach yield.
7.2.3 PD 5500 4 NOMINAL DESIGN STRESS
This British Standard (formerly BS 5500) closely follows the approach of
ASME VIII 5. However, in Tables K.1-5 through K.1-7 of Appendix K, it provides
the minimum tensile, the minimum yield and the nominal design strength values
(Rm, Re and fN) for UK grades of steel at a range of temperatures. This also gives
guidance on the maximum design lifetimes for steel running at very hot
temperatures (>350C or more). Such temperatures are normally outwith the design
condition of subsea pipeline flanges.
The method used by PD 5500 4 for deriving minimum yield/proof stresses for
elevated temperatures is that described in BS 3920 15 , now superseded by
BS EN 10314 16 .
Section 2.3 of the code shows the derivation of nominal design strength. In the
following, variables are:
fE = nominal design strength
Rm = minimum tensile strength specified at room temperature
Re = minimum specified yield strength at room temperature
Re(T) = minimum specified yield strength at elevated operating temperature

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For carbon, carbon manganese and low alloy steels, the following strengths apply:
Up to 50C, fE = Re/1.5 or Rm/2.35, whichever is the lower value
With a known value of elevated temperature Re(T), for 150C and above,
fE = Re(T)/1.5 or Rm/2.35, whichever is the lower value
Without a known value of elevated temperature Re(T), for 150C and above,
fE = Re(T)/1.6 or Rm/2.35, whichever is the lower value
Between 50C and 150C, based on linear interpolation of the above
For austenitic stainless steels, the following strengths apply:
Up to 50C, fE = Re/1.5 or Rm/2.5, whichever is the lower value
With a known value of elevated temperature Re(T), for 150C and above,
fE = Re(T)/1.5 or Rm/2.5, whichever is the lower value
Without a known value of elevated temperature Re(T), for 150C and above,
fE = Re(T)/1.45 or Rm/2.35, whichever is the lower value
Between 50C and 150C, based on linear interpolation of the above

7.3

THERMAL GRADIENT ANALYSIS


API TR 6AF1 25 and 6AF2 26 consider thermal forces due to the bending induced in
flanges when the product is hot and the exterior is cold.
They assessed the full range of standard flanges for leakage due to lack of pressure
on the gasket or failure of the flange or bolt. In addition to thermal gradient,
temperature derating combined with internal pressure and moments were applied.
Tables were derived for the full range from finite element studies.

Figure 5 Finite element mesh used by API TR 6AF 24


The FE mesh in Figure 5 shows a simple flange with no taper to the hub. The
element size is reduced at the stress concentration point between the flange and the
shell. It seems to be common to model the pipeline thickness in two or three
elements. It is important to model a quadrant of flange in 3D because of the effect
of the applied moment and to examine bending in the space between the boltholes.
At the holes themselves, the elements are adjusted to form a ring around the bolts.

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However, in this model, the gasket has not been examined in detail. Compare this
with the FE mesh shown in Figure 7, which models the groove and gasket in detail.
Figure 6 shows a typical thermal gradient (in F) and the resulting stresses in the
flange obtained from the analysis. If the outside of the flange is insulated, the
thermal gradient is more even (the outside is almost as warm as the inside) and there
is little additional stress.
Thus, it may be possible to ignore the effects of thermal gradient stresses if the
flange is well insulated.
However, the bolts need to be de-rated to take account of the hotter operating
temperature.

Figure 6 Thermal gradient (in F) and flange stress plots

7.4

LOW TEMPERATURE FLANGES


Most concern is given to de-rating of material stresses for high temperatures due to
the product. However, strength can also reduce with extreme low temperatures.
A guidance document 17 is given for flanges made from ASTM A105 material
subjected to low temperatures down to -29C. Such flanges may be at risk from
brittle failure. The document is valid for standard weld neck flanges conforming to
dimensions given in ASME B16.5 22 and also non-standard flanges with a nominal
thickness range of 32 mm to 102 mm.

7.5

AGGRESSIVE ENVIRONMENTS INCLUDING SOUR SERVICE


Where the aggressive nature of the product demands additional corrosion resistance
API recommends design to NACE MR 01 75 18 and the use of type 6B flanges.
It is possible to replace the carbon steel flanges with CRA material or to use clad
steel. The latter should be returned up around on the inside of the groove for the
gasket. ASME VIII 5 gives guidance on clad pipe in Section AM-220.

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7.6

FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS


A proprietary FEA service offered by Welding Units (www.welding-units.co.uk) for
flange design does model the gasket and adjusts the mesh locally in the hub to a
smaller size around the groove. Refer to Figure 7.

Figure 7 FE mesh used by Welding Units


Typical cell sizes are shown in Figure 5 and Figure 7. It is necessary to analyse a
quarter of the flange in 3D to allow for externally applied moments as shown in
Figure 5. For extreme conditions, it is usual to assume the worst position of the bolt
aligned on the quarter axis.
All conditions need assessing including the stress for thermal gradient (see example
in Figure 6), which causes toroidal bending in the flange.
Checks should be made for bolt, gasket, flange membrane stress and body stress
under all load combinations. It is possible to include plasticity in design for
secondary stresses.

7.7

COFLEXIP PROGRAMME
Some guidance on materials is provided in Appendix C. Information is provided for
stainless steel flanges because these are commonly used with flexible pipelines and
risers. However, no values are given for temperature de-rating. Also, the values
given are for material yield strengths rather than the correct figures for de-rated
shear stress intensity required by ASME VIII 5 and PD 5500 4.

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The programme simplifies the design of swivel ring flanges. It calculates the ring
stresses following Section 3-340 (b) rather than (a). That is: it assumes the
longitudinal and radial stresses in the ring to be zero. This then means that the
tangential stress has no reduction from the radial stress moment contribution. It also
assumes a simple ring rather than the socketed ring shown in Figure 2.
There is a minor discrepancy in the manual for one value used to determine the
value for Y. The ASME VIII 5 code on page 248 Figure 3-340.1 uses a constant of
5.71690 whereas the manual quotes 5.717690. Since these are very close, it is not
possible to determine if this is a typographic error, or if the programme itself uses
the wrong value.

7.8

TECHNIP MATHCAD SHEETS


7.8.1 INPUT DESIGN STRESSES
It is recommended that design stresses be input from the tables rather than scaled
from the ultimate stresses. These need to be de-rated for operating temperature.
7.8.2 EXTERNALLY APPLIED MOMENT
Because the ASME VIII 5 and PD 5500 4 methods both simplify the bolts to a single
point load, there is no need to find the moment of inertia of the bolt plane.
7.8.3 DERIVATION OF HUB CONSTANTS
Two of these sheets use the formulae from ASME VIII 5 to derive values for F, V
and f. In PD 5500 4, the formulae are not provided, necessitating the use of the
graphs. However, the graphs in the two codes are identical and are derived from the
same underlying theory.
For the ASME VIII RTJ Flange_Master.mcd a hidden section on page 5 is used to
derive values of F, V and f. However, values for F and V then seem to have been
misread from the graphs and re-defined as new inputs. Also, the value for the
longitudinal stress due to the applied bending moment (SH1) has been omitted from
page 6.
The note on page 252 of ASME VIII 5 Division 2 Table 3-340.1 referring to integral
flanges states that certain values shall be given to F, V and f if there is no taper to
the nozzle (that is, if g1 = go). However, this hidden section would derive incorrect
values for F and V in this condition.
In the 12in PD 5500 sheet.mcd 1 sheet, despite the values of h/ho and g1/go being
correct, it would appear that the value for V on sheet 7 of 8 has been misread from
the graph. It is a factor of 10 too high. Subsequent variables are then incorrect.
7.8.4 COMPARISON OF CALCULATED WITH PERMISSIBLE VALUES
On the final line of ASME VIII RTJ Flange_Master.mcd , the sheet derives stress
limits which are both more than and less than 1.0. It is recommended that this line
be an automatic check rather than an input.

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8 FLANGE GRADES, BOLTS AND GASKETS

8.1

FLANGE MATERIAL GRADES


8.1.1 API
API 6A 23 classifies suitable materials in Tables 5.1 and 5.2 by pressure. For
flanges, only three grades are given, reproduced here in Table 2. They do not
correspond to named steels, merely grades.
API material
designation

0.2% Minimum
yield strength

Minimum
tensile strength

45K
60K
75K

248 MPa (45 ksi)


414 MPa (60 ksi)
517 MPa (75 ksi)

483 MPa (70 ksi)


586 MPa (85 ksi)
655 MPa (95 ksi)

Table 2 API material properties for flanges


The allowable steel grade for each API pressure rating is reproduced in Table 3.
Pressure
rating
MPa (kip)

13.8

20.7

34.5

69.0

103.4

138.0

(2)

(3)

(5)

(10)

(15)

(20)

Material

45K

45K

45K

60K, 75K

75K

75K

Table 3 API material applications for weld neck flanges


8.1.2 US STEELS
Tables 1A and 1B of Section II, Part D of ASME VIII 5 gives specified minimum
yield and tensile along with appropriate design strength intensity values, Sm for
elevated temperatures to 482C (900F) or more. The list includes carbon and low
alloy steels, high alloy steels, quenched and tempered steels, nickel and nickel
alloys.
PD 5500 4 enquiry case 5500/91 of September 2003 permits the use of ASTM and
API materials. The response tabulates de-rated temperature values in metric units.

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8.1.3 UK AND EUROPEAN STEELS


Table K.1-6 of PD 5500 4 gives appropriate design strengths for steel forgings
following the method of BS 1503 19 . These include values for carbon manganese
steels and alloy, martensitic and austenitic stainless steels at elevated temperatures
to 480C or more. However, BS 1503 19 has now been replaced by BS EN 10222 20 .

8.2

METRIC AND IMPERIAL STUD BOLT SIZES


It is common to find imperial flanges but with metric sizes of bolts. The
preliminary standard prEN 1759-1 34 Annex F gives guidance as to the equivalents
up to M39.
Imperial
diameter
(inch)

Pitch
(threads
per inch)

Metric
equivalent
(mm)

Pitch
(mm)

13 UNC
11 UNC
10 UNC
9 UNC
8 UNC
8 UNC
8 UNC
8 UNC
8 UNC
8 UNC
8 UNC
8 UNC
8 UNC
8 UNC
8 UNC
8 UNC
8 UNC

M14
M18
M20
M24
M27
M30
M33
M36
M39
M42
M45
M48
M52
M56
M64
M72
M76

2.0
2.5
2.5
3.0
3.0
3.5
3.5
4.0
4.0
4.5
4.5
5.0
5.0
5.5
6.0
6.0
6.0

/2
/8
3
/4
7
/8
1
11/8
11/4
13/8
11/2
15/8
13/4
17/8
2
21/4
21/2
23/4
3
5

Table 4 Suggested metric bolt sizes


These are similar to the Technip recommendations given in Appendix C of the
Coflexip work procedure 6, and reproduced here in Table 4. The only difference
between the two is for 5/8in bolts, which the former recommends as M16 and
Coflexip recommend as M18.
Sizes smaller than M14 (in) should not be used. Occasionally larger sizes than
listed such as M90 (3in) may need to be used but these are hard to handle by
divers.

8.3

BOLT TENSIONS
Bolt selection is an important consideration in the design of flanges. Although not
part of the present scope, some information is supplied here as guidance.

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8.3.1 ACCEPTABLE LOADS


Bolts are generally tensioned to approximately 50% of yield. See discussion of bolt
tensions in API TR 6AF2 21 .
During operation, this is allowed to increase to 83% or reduce to 37.5%, depending
upon the combination of loads. With increased temperature and internal pressure
alone, the load in bolts tends to decrease. Eventually, the gasket will cease to seal.
However, for subsea flanges, it is not common to further adjust the bolt tensions
after the make-up operation, so the initial tension must maintain the seal during the
subsequent hydrotesting and operation load combinations. Bolt re-adjustment
occasionally does take place with landline flanges, in particular with large
diameters.
8.3.2 TORQUE
It is normal to specify a make-up tension for the bolts. The contractor can then
pretension to this level prior to closing down the nuts.
Alternatively, a torque wrench can be used to achieve this amount of pretension.
However, the amount of torque that is applied is heavily dependent upon the
lubrication applied to the nuts, washers and stud bolts.
A procedure of tightening bolts generally follows a four stage make-up:
The bolts are brought to 30% of their required torque following a pattern (12, 6,
3, 9; 1, 7, 4, 10; 2, 8, 5 and 11 oclock for a twelve bolt flange)
The same pattern brings the bolts to 60% of the specified torque
The full torque is applied following the same order
Finally, full torque is repeated.

It should be noted that most codes have been written assuming that bolts will be
torqued up using a wrench, or in some cases, simply using a spanner (with no check
on their torque).
Nevertheless, PD 5500 4 recognises that where controlled tensioning of bolts is
undertaken (the normal subsea practice), then the values in the table may be
increased by 20%. During testing, the design stress may be multiplied by 150%.
8.3.3 BOLT MATERIALS
Permitted stresses in bolting materials are given in ASME VIII 5 Table 3 Section II
Part D. These provide values for low and high alloy steels and nickel alloys,
respectively. The allowable bolt stress is reduced depending upon the temperature
and diameter of the bolt. Note that the temperature is not necessarily the same as
that of the flange or product.
PD 5500 4 (in Table 3.8-1) provides recommended design stresses for UK grades of
steel bolts over a range of temperatures. The root areas for common sizes of both
metric and imperial bolts are given in Table 3.8-2.
Commonly, uncoated ASTM Type B7M or L7M studs are used with 2HM nuts.
8.3.4 CATHODIC PROTECTION
It is possible to coat the bolts with PTFE but care should be taken to ensure they
make electrical contact for cathodic protection.

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Bolt yield strengths greater than around 700 MPa may suffer from hydrogen
embrittlement. For higher strength bolts, Type L7 or B7 with 2H nuts can be used.

8.4

GASKETS
8.4.1 MAKEUP AND OPERATIONAL STRESS
Care needs to be taken when loading the bolts to ensure that there is sufficient
tension to guarantee no leakage after makeup and yet prevent over crushing of the
gasket during operation. Refer to Figure 8 for the following discussion.

Gasket
Stress

Crushing Limit
4

Make-up Stress
3

Seating Stress
2

5
Gasket Deflection

Figure 8 Simplified comparison of gasket deflection and stress


When the bolts are first tightened up, the gasket follows a non-recoverable path
shown above between points 1 and 2. During this stage, the gasket is deformed to
match the flange faces to make a seal. The point at which the gasket provides the
minimum effective seal is known as the gasket seating stress.
The region marked 2-4 is the useful sealing range of the gasket. The value of the
seating stress can be found in the associated codes for the particular gasket.
However, the crushing limit must usually be obtained from gasket manufacturers
because it is not specified in the codes. When the gasket is compressed beyond its
crushing limit, some form of breakdown usually occurs, varying according to the
type of gasket.
If the gasket is tightened to some value between points 2 and 4 and then the gasket
is unloaded (by internal pressure or bolt loosening) then reloaded, it will follow a
path such as points 3-5-3, rejoining the original curve.

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8.4.2 GASKET MATERIAL


For subsea flanges, there are three classes of gasket material listed in ASME VIII 5,
Table 3-320.1. Gaskets are selected to be softer and more flexible than the material
of the flanges in order that they seat properly, ensuring a good seal.
The suggested design values for m and y given in the code and reproduced below in
Table 5 are described as generally proving satisfactory in service. A similar table
is given in PD 5500 4 (Table 3.8-4).
Ring joint
material
Iron or
soft steel
Monel or
4% to 6% chrome
Stainless steels

Gasket
factor, m

Minimum design
seating stress, y

5.50

124 MPa
(18.0 ksi)
150 MPa
(21.8 psi)
180 MPa
(26.0 ksi)

6.00
6.50

Table 5 Recommended gasket factors, m and y


Design code API 6A 23 provides guidance on the Rockwell hardness for different
gasket materials. This is reproduced in Table 6.
Ring gasket material
Soft iron
Carbon and low alloy steel
Stainless steel
Corrosion resistant alloys

Maximum hardness
HRB 56
HRB 68
HRB 83
To manufacturers specification

Table 6 Recommended gasket hardness


For land-based facilities (where it is possible to re-seat flanges during maintenance
operations), it is common to use other gasket materials and shapes. For offshore
use, the approach normally demands a metal-to-metal seal and an octagonal or oval
ring joint fitted into a groove in the face of the flange.
In the event of an external fire, metal gaskets are able to resist temperatures similar
to that of the flange material. Leakage of hydrocarbon product due to gasket failure
would result in the line contents feeding the fire. Use of non-flammable metal
gaskets helps prevent this.
8.4.3 API GASKET SHAPES
Four cross-sections of gasket are permitted with appropriately shaped grooves.
These are the BX, RX and R (octagonal and oval) from API 6A 23, which are
reproduced in the figures below. API 17D 27 has similar shaped grooves and gasket
types.
Even when non-standard flanges are to be designed, it is recommended that the
groove dimensions and tolerances should follow these standards.

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OD
ODT
C

G
23
/16"
45 max

23

R
D

Break
sharp
corner
1

/32 R

23
A
Type BX
Gasket

Type BX
Groove

Figure 9 API Type BX pressure-energised gasket and groove


API 6A 23 provides standard dimensions for Type BX gaskets, which are given up to
a nominal size of 726 mm corresponding to a ring diameter of 852.75 mm. In the
above figure, tolerances are as listed in Table 9:
Dimension

Description

A*
C
D
E
G
H*
N
OD
ODT
R
23

Width of ring
Width of flat
Hole size
Depth of groove
OD of groove
Height of ring
Width of groove
Outside diameter of ring
Outside diameter of flat
Radius of ring
Angle

Tolerances (mm)
+0.20, -0
+0.15, -0
0.5
+0.5, -0
+0.10, -0
+0.20, -0
+0.10, -0
+0.0, -0.15
0.05
See note

Table 7 Type BX tolerances


* A plus tolerance of 0.20 mm for width A and height H is permitted, provided the
variation in width or height of any ring does not exceed 0.10 mm throughout its
entire circumference.
Note: Radius R shall be 8% to 12% of the gasket height H.
One pressure-passage hole is required per gasket on the centreline.
The API Type SBX pressure-energised ring gaskets from API 17D Table 906.1 are
of a similar profile as type BX but with slight differences in tolerances. Sizes up to
640 mm OD are specified. They also have a pair of pressure holes linking to the
inside of the flange to prevent pressure lock when the connection is made
underwater. Raised flange faces are assumed to touch with the Type BX gasket
only.

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23

23

23

R1

R2

C
A
OD
Type RX
Gasket

Type RX
Groove

Figure 10 API Type RX pressure-energised gasket and groove


API 6A 23 presents standard sizes for Type RX gaskets up to an outside diameter of
ring of 600.87 mm. In the above figure, tolerances are as listed in Table 8:
Dimension

Description

A*
C
D
E
F
H*
OD
P
R1
R2
23

Width of ring
Width of flat
Height of chamfer
Depth of groove
Width of groove
Height of ring
Outside diameter of ring
Average pitch diameter of groove
Radius in ring
Radius in groove
Angle

Tolerances (mm)
+0.20, -0
+0.15, -0
+0, -0.8
+0.5, -0
0.20
+0.2, -0
+0.5, -0
0.13
0.5
max

Table 8 Type RX tolerances


* A plus tolerance of 0.20 mm for width A and height H is permitted, provided the
variation in width or height of any ring does not exceed 0.10 mm throughout its
entire circumference.
Note: The pressure passage hole illustrated in the RX ring cross-section is for rings
RX-82 through RX-91 only. The centreline of the hole shall be located at the midpoint of dimension C. The hole diameter shall be 1.5 mm for rings RX-82 through
RX-85, rings RX-86 and RX-87; and 3.0 mm for rings RX-88 through RX-91.
The API Type SRX pressure-energised ring gaskets from API 17D Table 906.2 are
of a similar profile as type RX but with slight differences in tolerances. Sizes up to
140 mm OD are specified. They also have a pair of pressure holes linking to the
inside of the flange to prevent pressure lock when the connection is made
underwater.

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23

23

23
F
H

R1

R2

C
A

Type R
Octagonal

Type R
Oval

Type R
Groove

Figure 11 API Type R gaskets and groove


API 6A 23 presents standard sizes for Type R gaskets up to a pitch diameter of
groove and ring of 584.20 mm. In the above figures, tolerances are as listed in
Table 9:
Dimension

Description

A
B
C
E
F
H
P

Width of ring
Height of oval ring
Width of flat on octagonal ring
Depth of groove
Width of groove
Height of octagonal ring
Average pitch diameter of ring
Average pitch diameter of groove
Radius in ring
Radius in groove
Angle

R1
R2
23

Tolerances (mm)
0.20
0.5
0.2
+0.5, -0
0.20
0.5
0.18
0.13
0.5
max

Table 9 Type R tolerances


For pipeline diameters requiring gaskets larger than given in the tables, the
appropriate tolerances need to be adopted.
8.4.4 SELF-ENERGISING GASKETS
Gaskets Type BX and RX are deemed to be self-energising. Note that for these, the
outside diameter of the gasket is specified. Compare this with Type R octagonal or
oval gaskets where the mean diameter is specified.
For self-energising gaskets, the pressure must be considered to act on the face of the
flange out to the outside of the gasket groove.
8.4.5 PRE-TESTABLE GASKETS
Although it is possible to adjust the bolts at the hydrostatic leak test stage, it is
normal to tension them up only once during assembly, to a level that will need no
further adjustment.

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Figure 12 KaMOS gasket in groove


Gaskets are available that can prove the leak tightness of the joint at assembly
bly stage.
One such proprietary product is the patented KaMOS system shown in Figure 12.
Details of this gasket are available at http://www.karmsund.no/eng_index.htm.
These seal tests work by pressurising the gaps at the foot of the gasket grooves
through holes in the octagonal gaskets, as shown in Figure 13. Any lack of seal
between faces of the grooves and the gasket will then indicate adjustment is needed.

Seals

Figure 13 KaMOS testing of seal


Other similar systems are available, such as from Grayloc, Vector and Oilstates. It
should be noted, however, that not all clients accept this approach to testing.

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9 RELEVANT READING
This section lists the main sources of data regarding flanges and their design, along
with a brief discussion of their content and relevance.
ASME B16.5 22 this publication provides a simplified method for determining the
class of flange needed. It considers pressures and temperature derating for ten
different flange material groups. No allowance is made for bending moments,
tension or temperature. Dimensions for standard flanges up to 24in are tabulated.
ASME VIII 5 this is the main source of design for American flanges. The whole
code covers the design of pressure vessels. Flange design is covered in Division 2.
PD 5500 4 this is the main UK source for the design of flanges. Again, like the
ASME VIII 5 code, it covers the design of pressure vessels. The method for the
design of flanges follows a similar underlying code to that of ASME VIII 5
Division 2. Section 3.8 is specific to bolted flanged connections and sixteen
standard working forms are provided to help with flange designs of various types.
Weld-neck flanges are Form 1 and swivel ring flanges can be determined by
adapting Form 5.
API 6A 23 this provides permissible stresses and standard sizes for flanges and
gaskets based on ASME VIII 5 methods, specifically for wellhead equipment.
Pressures classes considered in API 6A 23 are 2, 3, 5, 10, 15 and 20 ksi with nominal
sizes from 71/16in to 21in, though the larger diameters do not cover the maximum
pressure classes.
API TR 6AF 24 this was developed from earlier work and provided an improved
method of flange design as compared with traditional, more conservative methods,
such as designing for pressure loads only. This covered the determination of rating
charts for API 6B and API 6BX flanges but did not consider the effects of
temperatures greater than 121C.

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The effect of temperature on load capacity affects:


the yield strength (and thus the allowable stresses) of the flange and bolt
materials
thermal stresses caused by thermal gradients across the flange and between the
bolts and the flange. This can cause bending of the flange faces.
API TR 6AF1 25 this study has examined the effect of elevated temperatures on
inside bore of standard weld-neck flanges with the outside at 0C and subject to
wind-induced forced cooling. The elevated temperatures are 176.6C and 343.3C.
The analyses were undertaken using simple ANSYS axisymetric models and four
different materials combinations.
API TR 6AF2 26 this study extends the work of API TR 6AF1 25. It considers the
effect of applied moments and tension combined with the temperature profile
through the flange. All seventy of the API 6A 23 flanges were modelled as a 3D
finite element mesh.
For this work, the SESAM FE package was used. These flange and bolt material
combinations are:
Carbon and low alloy steel flanges with two types of bolt
Martensitic, ferritic and precipitation hardening stainless steel flanges
Austenitic and duplex stainless steel flanges
Suitable derating factors are derived. Graphs are presented for each flange diameter
and material combination to enable the limiting loads to be determined.
It should be noted that gasket leakage tended to be the governing case for the
smaller flanges and for higher pressure operations. This may be due to conservative
assumptions made in the analysis for gaskets. Stresses in flanges tended to have
little reserve beyond the gasket leakage level. The bolt stresses did not govern for
any case. They were typically within of their yield strength due to make-up,
pressure, tension and bending moment loads when they are made-up to around half
their yield.
With insulated flanges, the temperature profile is more constant across the
thickness. This results in a higher capacity of the flanges to resist the other loads.
API 17D 27 this provides sizes for weld neck and swivel ring flanges suitable for
subsea wellhead equipment. The present study excludes these designs. Tapered
swivel ring 346 mm (135/8in) flanges at Class 5000 and 10 000 are specified for
wellheads.
API 605

28

this provides sizes for standard flanges between 26in and 60in.

ISO 7005-1

29

the ISO code covering both DIN and ASME flanges.

BS 1560-3.1 30 This gives the dimensions of steel flanges for the petroleum
industry. Standard weld neck flanges are specified. It equates to ANSI B16.5 22.

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BS EN 1092-1 31 this is based on ISO 7005 29 but only specifies dimensions of


DIN type flanges at temperatures and pressures from PN 2.5 to PN 100 and
diameters DN 10 to DN 4000. It includes a range of different types of flanges
including weld-neck, which it designates as Type 11. Note that these flanges have
slightly changed from the older DIN pressure rating. This code also considers
swivel ring flanges (combination Type 34 short weld neck with Type 03 loose plate
flange).
BS EN 1591-1 32 and BS EN 1591-2 33 these provide a detailed design method for
flange and gasket selection. Blank and weld-neck flanges are included. Any size of
flange can be designed using this code.
prEN 1759-1 34 the companion to EN 1092-1 31 covering ASME flanges. The
prefix pr indicates it is not fully released.

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10 REFERENCES

1 Technip MathCAD workbook 12in PD5500 Flange.mcd, dated 17/01/2005


Design Gas Exp 12" ASME 16.5 1500# WN Flange (8 pages)
2 Technip MathCad workbook ASME VIII RTJ Flange_Master.mcd, undated
14" ASME 16.5 600# RTJ Topside End - Installation Loads (6 pages)
3 Technip MathCad workbook ASME VIII RTJ Swivel Flange_Master.mcd, dated
17/01/2005 Hub design for 40" ASME 16.5 900# RTJ Swivel Flange - Max
Moment Capacity (9 pages)
4 PD 5500 : 2003 British Standards published document Specification for
unfired fusion-welded pressure vessels incorporating Amendment N 1 and
Corrigendum N 1 (successor to BS 5500) Section 3.8 Bolted flange
connections
5 ASME VIII : 2004 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers Boiler
and Pressure Vessel Code, Section VIII, Division 1: Design and Fabrication of
Pressure Vessels and Division 2 and Division 2: Alternative rules
6 Detailed work procedure Ref 04 DIE T 202 revision 2 October 1997 Fixed
flange and swivel flange design Software package: Flange Rel 1.2
7 API RP2A-WSD, Dec 2002 by American Petroleum Institute Recommended
practice for planning, designing and constructing fixed offshore platforms,
working stress design
8 API Recommended practice 2RD by the American Petroleum Institute, June
1998 Design of risers for floating production systems (FPSs) and Tension-leg
platforms (TLPs)
9 E O Walters, DB Wesstrom, DB Rossheim, F S G Williams Trans ASME Vol
59, 1937 Formulas for stresses in bolted flanged connections
10 K P Singh and A I Soler Arcturus Publishers, New Jersey, 1984 Mechanical
design of heat exchangers and pressure vessel components
11 API RP 1110 by the American Petroleum Institute, March 1997 Pressure
testing of liquid petroleum pipelines
12 ASME B31.4 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2002
Pipeline Transportation Systems for Liquid Hydrocarbons and Other Liquids
13 ASME B31.8 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2003/2004
Gas transmission and distribution piping systems
14 BS 8010 Part 3 : 1993 Code of practice for pipelines. Pipelines subsea: design,
construction and installation replaced by PD 8010

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15 BS 3920 : 1973 Derivation and verification of elevated temperature properties


for steel products for pressure purposes superseded by BS EN 10314
16 BS EN 10314 : 2002 Method for the derivation of minimum values of proof
strength of steel at elevated temperatures
17 Un-numbered document by the Belgian Chemical Risks Directorate, Technical
Inspectorate, Administration of Labour Safety, Federal Ministry of Employment
and Labour, July 2002 Recommendations for pipe flanges made in forged steel
complying with ASTM A 105
18 NACE MR 01 75 Part 1 Rev 1 2001 (ISO 15156-1) Petroleum and natural gas
industries Materials for use in H2S-containing environments in oil and gas
production General principles for selection of cracking-resistant materials
19 BS 1503 : 1989 Specification for steel forgings for pressure purposes now
superseded by BS EN 10222
20 BS EN 10222 Steel forgings for pressure purposes Part 1 : 1998 general
requirements for open die forgings; Part 2 : 2000 ferritic and martensitic steels
with specified elevated temperature properties; Part -3 : 1999 Nickel steels with
specified low temperature properties; Part 4 : 1999 Weldable fine-grain steels
with high proof strength; and Part 5 : 2000 Martensitic, austenitic and austeniticferritic stainless steels
21 API TR 6AF2 Second edition : 1999 by the American Petroleum Institute
Technical Report on Capabilities of API Flanges under Combination of Loading
Phase II
22 ASME 16.5 : 2003 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers Pipe
Flanges and Flanged Fittings NPS through NPS 24 Metric/Inch Standard
(Formerly published by the American National Standards Institute as
ANSI 16.5.)
23 API 6A nineteenth edition, July 2004, by the American Petroleum Institute
Specification for wellhead and christmas tree equipment
24 API Bulletin 6AF First edition : 1989 by the American Petroleum Institute
Capabilities of API Flanges under Combination of Load
25 API TR 6AF1 Second edition : 1998 by the American Petroleum Institute
Technical Report on Temperature derating on API Flanges under Combinations
of Loading
26 API TR 6AF2 Second edition : 1999 by the American Petroleum Institute
Technical Report on Capabilities of API Flanges under Combination of Loading
Phase II
27 API 17D (also known as ISO 13628-6) with two supplements to June 1996, by
the American Petroleum Institute Specification for subsea wellhead and
christmas tree equipment
28 API 605 revision March 88, by the American Petroleum Institute Large
diameter carbon steel flanges (nominal pipe sizes 26in through 60in, Classes 75,
150, 300, 400, 600, and 900)
29 ISO 7005 Metallic flanges
30 BS 1560-3.1 : 1989 Circular flanges for pipes valves and fittings (Class
designated) Part 3: Steel, cast iron and copper alloy flanges Section 3.2
Specification for steel flanges
31 BS EN 1092-1 : 2001 Flanges and their joints circular flanges for pipes, valves,
fittings and accessories, PN designated Part 1 Steel flanges incorporating
Corrigendum N 1
32 BS EN 1591-1 : 2001 Flanges and their joints design rules for gasketed circular
flange connections Part 1 Calculation method

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33 BS EN 1591-2 : 2001 Flanges and their joints design rules for gasketed circular
flange connections Part 2 Gasket parameters
34 prEN 1759 : 2000 Flanges and their joints circular flanges for pipes, valves,
fittings and accessories, Class designated

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