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Technical Bulletin

Document Number:

TB-000021

Category:

Fabrication

Subject:

RT Designators for Section VIII, Division 1

Abstract:

A discussion on applying the RT Designator rules of UG-116(e)

Body:

To apply the RT designation rules of UG-116(e) correctly, it is necessary to understand a


few definitions. Section VIII-1 uses joint Category labels to concisely describe the
locations of weld joints in a pressure vessel.

Categories

Per UW-3, a joint category describes the location of a weld joint in a vessel. Four
categories (A, B, C, D) are used to describe the most common joints in a pressure vessel.
(Note: Not every weld joint is assigned a category; for example, welds attaching jacket
closure bars are not assigned a category.)
C

Illustration of Weld Joint Categories

Category A: Longitudinal welded joints within main shells, heads, cones, flat plates,
nozzles, and the attachment weld of a hemispherical head to a shell.
Category B: Circumferential welded joints within the main shell, cone, nozzles, and the
attachment joint between formed heads (ellipsoidal and torispherical) and shell.
Category C: Welded joints connecting flanges, tubesheets, flat heads to main shell, to
formed heads, to transitions in diameter, to nozzles, or any welded joint connecting one
side plate to another side plate of a flat-sided vessel.
Category D: Welded joints connecting nozzles to main shells, spheres, formed heads, flat
heads, flat-sided vessels.
Butt Joint - UW-3(b). A butt joint is any joint in which the angle a is 30 or less. Joints with
angles greater than this are not subject to radiography under the rules of Section VIII,
Division 1.

RT-1 - Fully Radiographed Vessel

Per UG-116(e)(1), a vessel is marked "RT-1" when all pressure retaining butt welds, other
than Category B and C butt welds associated with nozzles and communicating chambers
that neither exceed NPS10 nor 1 1/8 in. wall thickness, have been radiographically

examined for their full length per UW-51.

RT-1 Examples
FULL RT
NPS 20

NPS 4

Fig. (1)
FULL RT

Corner Joint- No RT
Flat Head

NPS 4

Fig. (2)
The radiography and joint efficiency rules only apply to butt joints in which a < 30; thus
the corner joint attaching the flat head to the shell in Fig. (2) is not required to be
examined by RT. The value of 30 is arbitrary; it represents an angle beyond which it
becomes increasingly difficult to interpret radiographs of the joints. Section VIII-1
compensates for the lack of NDE of corner joints by building in a joint efficiency factor
when sizing the welds.

RT-2 Vessels

Unlike an RT-1 vessel in which all butt welds are required to be fully radiographed,
radiographic examination in an RT-2" vessel focuses on those joints most critical to the
design of the vessel. An RT-2 vessel provides the best balance in terms of risk and
design economy. Lets see why that is.
UG-116(e)(2) defines "RT-2"as: when a complete vessel satisfies the requirements of

UW-11(a)(5) and when the spot radiography requirements of UW-11(a)(5)(b) have been
applied.

UW-2 requires full radiography for lethal service [UW-2(a)] and unfired steam boilers
[UW-2(c)]. Absent these mandated examinations, current Section VIII-1 rules permit a
Manufacturer to examine welds on a joint-by-joint basis. This feature is uniquely applied
for RT-2 vessels.

Referring to UW-11(a)(5), this paragraph requires that all Category A and D butt welds in
vessel sections and heads must be fully radiographed when designed with a joint
efficiency from column (a) of Table UW-12 [column (a) is associated with full
radiography]. Two additional conditions must be satisfied:
1.UW-11(a)(5)(a) all Category A and B welds connecting the vessel sections or heads
shall be Type No. (1) or (2) of Table UW-12.
2.UW-11(a)(5)(b) all Category B or C butt welds which intersect the Category A butt
welds in vessels sections or heads or connect seamless vessel sections or heads, shall
as a minimum, meet the requirements for spot radiography in accordance with UW-52.
Simplifying the above rules, in an RT-2 vessel, only the Category A welds in shells and
heads are fully radiographed and the intersecting Category B or C welds are spot
radiographed. But the vessel sections and heads are designed using the joint efficiency
associated with full radiography. Lets look at a couple of examples:

RT-2

seamless shell &


heads
NPS 4

SPOT RT
RT-1
NPS 4

Full RT

In this first example involving a seamless shell with two seamless heads, the RT-2
vessel only requires spot RT on the two Category B seams. However, if one welder welds
these two seams and they are equal to or less than 50, then only one spot RT will be
required. [see UW-52(b)(1)]. The two vessels are identical in thickness since in both
cases a joint efficiency equal to 1.0 will be used in the shell hoop stress calculation and
the head calculations. The shell axial stress calculations do not control the design even
though the joint efficiency E is equal to 0.7 for the RT-2 vessel. [assume Type 1 joints for
the girth seams].

FULL RT
RT-2
NPS 20

SPOT RT
Both vessels calculate to identical thickness
when designed for internal pressure only.
FULL RT
NPS 20

RT-1

The same is true in this second example, since the long seams have been subjected to
the same level of radiography. In a complex vessel, the savings due to reduced
radiography based on RT-2 vs. RT-1 can be more dramatic. As in the first example, the
number of spot RTs can be reduced depending on the number of weld increments [see
UW-52(b)(1)] in the vessel.

Some additional facts about UW -11(a)(5)(b)


1.To stamp a vessel RT-2, the rules stated above must be applied to the entire vessel.
2.The spot x-ray taken to satisfy UW-11(a)(5)(b) is not at all related to spot RTs required
by UW-11(b).
3.The spot x-ray taken per UW-11(a)(5)(b) is sometimes referred to as the "quality shot".
Looking back at the first vessel fabricated from seamless components, the stresses
acting on the Category B welds do not control the design for an internal pressure only
load case. The spot RT taken of these seams is a statistical "quality check" of the ability
of the welder to deposit sound weld metal.
RT-3 Vessels
An RT-3 vessel is one in which the entire vessel satisfies the spot radiography
requirements of UW-52. The only exception is for any Category B & C butt welds in small
nozzles and communicating chambers that neither exceed NPS10 nor 1 1/8" in thickness.
Furthermore, spot radiographs to satisfy the requirements of UW-11(a)(5)(b) cannot be
applied to any other increment.
In essence, spot radiography is a statistical check of a welders ability to deposit sound

weld metal. Per UW-52 (b)(1), only 1% (6 in. per 50 ft. of weld) of a welders work need be
radiographed. The location of the spot radiograph is to be chosen by the AI, however
when agreed to in advance, the fabricator may select the location of the radiograph. Each
50 ft. of weld placed by a welder is defined as a weld increment. A weld increment can be
made up of different joint types [Type 1 or 2], different weld processes [SAW, GTAW,
SMAW,] and extend across multiple vessels.

RT-3 Examples
NPS 4

Spot RT
Ex. (1) All welds made by same welder and total
less than 50 ft. - 1 Spot RT Required

NPS 20

SPOT RT

Ex. (2) Assume 3 weld increments requiring 3 Spot RT's


Design Efficiencies [All Type 1 Joints]:
Shell: Longitudinal Seam - E = 0.85
Circumferential Seams - E = 0.85
Heads: Seamless, however UW-11(a)(5)(b)
not satisfied; E = 0.85

The two sketches show a couple of typical examples of Spot RTd vessels meeting a
RT-3 marking requirement. One item to note is that the seamless heads are designed
with a joint efficiency of 0.85, since the additional requirements of UW-12(d) and
UW-11(a)(5)(b) have not been met. If an additional spot radiograph is taken to satisfy
UW-11(a)(5)(b) and hence design the heads with an E=1.0, then this would be a mixture
of RT-2 and RT-3 rules, and the correct marking would be RT-4. More on that later. To
summarize, spot radiography provides a reasonable alternative to either full or no
radiography conditions. Although there is a reduction in the design efficiency from that
used for full RT, often the savings in examination cost offset the increase in material cost.
It is interesting to note, that other foreign pressure vessel standards also contain spot
examination options, but unlike ASME, they typically require from 10-20% of the weld to
be examined

RT-4 Vessels .

The purpose of the RT marking system is to indicate that radiographic examination of


the vessel welds was performed, and to what extent. The simplest way to describe RT-4
is to state that as a minimum, one or more welds was RTd, but the extent of RT did not

satisfy an RT-1, 2, or 3 condition. Put another way, RT-4 means some radiographic
examination took place, but one cannot describe the amount or location with a simple
numbering system.
One common application of RT-4 is the vessel shown in Ex. (2) above. As depicted this is
an RT-3 vessel. However, if an additional spot RT is taken to satisfy UW-12 (d) and
UW-11(a)(5)(b), thus allowing the seamless heads to be designed with an E=1.0, then it
becomes RT-4. Why? Because there is a mixture of the RT-2 and RT-3 rules. This
situation is further clarified in the following code interpretation:
Interpretation:
VIII-1-89-210R
Subject: Section VIII, Division 1 (1989 Edition), UG-116(e) and UW-12 (d)
Date Issued:
June 17, 1991
File:
BC90-418*
Question: Which of the marking requirements under UG-116 (e) apply for a vessel that
consists of seamless ellipsoidal or torispherical heads when the vessel joints are spot
radiographed and after the circumferential seams attaching the heads are separately spot
radiographed per UW-11(a)(5)(b)?
Reply: RT-4.
The vertical tower shown below would be another example of an RT-4 vessel, where the
lower shell course of the tower is fully radiographed, while the remainder of the vessel is
spot RTd per UW-11(b) and UW-11 (a)(5)(b).
RT-4 Example

Spot RT

Full RT

Spot RT

SUMMARY

ASME Section VIII, Division 1 provides great flexibility to the vessel manufacturer in the
way of balancing radiographic examination of welds against design and fabrication
requirements. Once vessel fabrication is completed, the RT marking system of UG-116
(e) provides a shorthand system for identifying that radiographic examination was
performed, and to what extent.
References:

Section VIII, Division 1

Links:
Author:

John Swezy

Date:

11/18/2003 10:14:16 AM

Last Modified:

Alex Garbolevsky on 09/28/2007 08:21:00 AM

Approved:

Sandy Babka

Approval Date:

09/28/2007 08:20:49 AM

Expires: