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Technical Changes in ASME B31.3 for 2004

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Technical Changes in ASME B31.3 for 2004 Page 1 of 4 P ROCESS AND P OWER










Technical Changes in ASME B31.3 for 2004

The 2004 edition of ASME B31.3 contains significant technical changes. This note describes some of these changes.

B31.3 Website

New interpretations, as well as errata, are posted on the ASME B31. 3 website ( the URL is Alternatively, you can go to the ASME website,; click on Codes and Standards, click on Committee Pages; click on B31 Code for Pressure Piping; then click on B31.3 Process Piping Section Committee. Code Cases will also be posted on the website.

Weld Joint Strength Reduction Factors

Weld joint strength reduction factors were added to ASME B31.3 in the 2004 edition. These apply at temperatures above 510EC (950EF), and are based on consideration of the effects of creep. They apply to longitudinal and spiral weld joints in pressure design, and to circumferential weld joints in evaluation of stresses due to sustained loads, SL. They were added because weldment creep rupture strength has been determined to be lower than base metal creep rupture strength in some circumstances. The designer may determine the weld joint strength reduction factor for the specified weldments based on creep rupture test data. This is encouraged to develop factors specific to the base material/weld material combinations used in the design. Because it is impractical at this time to establish factors for specific materials, a simplified linear reduction factor was provided, to be used in the absence of more applicable data. The factor varies linearly from 1.0 at 510EC (950EF) to 0.5 at 815EC (1500EF).

The designer can use other factors, based on creep tests. The tests should be full thickness cross-weld specimens with test durations of at least 1000 hours. Full thickness tests are required to be used unless the Designer otherwise considers effects such as stress redistribution across the weld.

The factor is applied to the allowable stress used when calculating the required thickness for internal pressure and when evaluating longitudinal stresses due to sustained loads. The factor is not included when evaluating occasional loads because of their short durations. A reduction of short term allowable stress based on long term creep strength is not appropriate or required.

The weld joint strength reduction factor is not applied to the allowable stress range for displacement stresses, S A , because these stresses are not sustained. The displacement stresses relax over time. The allowable stress criteria for displacement stress range is designed so that the piping system will self-spring so that the highest level of displacement stresses only occurs at the hot condition once over the lifetime of the piping system.

Occasional Loads

The 2004 edition includes an alternative allowable stress for occasional loads for components at elevated temperatures, where the allowable stress is controlled by time dependent creep properties of the material. These creep properties are based on 100,000-hour time periods; they are not relevant to short-term loadings, such as earthquakes. Therefore, for occasional loads of short duration, such as surge, extreme wind, or earthquake, at temperatures above 427EC (800EF), it is permitted to use 90% of the material yield strength at temperature times a strength reduction factor for materials that have ductile behavior. The yield strength can be from ASME BPVC, Section II, Part D, Table Y, or can be determined in accordance with ASME B31.3 para. 302.3.2(f).

The strength is multiplied by a strength reduction factor. This is included because some materials, low alloys in particular, undergo aging at elevated temperatures, which decreases the yield and tensile strength over time. Austenitic stainless steels are not subject to this effect, so no reduction factor is applied to them. A factor of 0.8 is applied to all other alloys in the absence of more applicable data. This factor is based on low-alloy data. Although this is known to be conservative for a variety of materials, the benefit of permitting design for occasional loads based on yield strength greatly outweighs the penalty of the 0.8 factor.

f factors

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Technical Changes in ASME B31.3 for 2004

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In the 2004 edition, the maximum permissible value of f was increased from 1.0 to 1.2, with certain limitations. A value of 1.2 corresponds to 3125 cycles. The rationale for allowing a factor as high as 1.2 is that stresses are permitted to be as high as two times yield when f = 1.2. Thus, the desired shakedown behavior is maintained. This change reduces the conservatism introduced when the original criteria were developed. The limitations are that:

1. the specified minimum tensile strength of the material must be less than 517 MPa (75 ksi)

2. the maximum value of S c and S h are limited to 138 MPa (20 ksi) when using a f factor greater than 1.0

3. the material must be ferrous

4. the metal temperature must be less than or equal to 371EC (700EF)

The first and second limitations address a concern regarding the conservatism of the present f factors for high strength steel. There is a concern that the present rules overestimate the fatigue life for high strength steel components, so the limitations avoid further reducing the conservatism. The third limitation addresses similar concern, but for non-ferrous alloys. The f factors were originally developed based on fatigue testing of carbon steel and austenitic stainless steel piping components; their application to other alloys such as aluminum and copper are not necessarily conservative. The fourth limitation is included because the rationale for increasing f to 1.2 does not apply to components operating in the creep regime.

In the 2004 edition, the equation for f was extended from a maximum of 2,000,000 cycles, to an unlimited number of cycles. The minimum value is f = 0.15, which results in an allowable displacement stress range for an indefinitely large number of cycles.

Alternative Rules for Flexibility Analysis

Alternative rules for performing flexibility analysis were added, as Appendix P, in the 2004 edition. These rules are considered to be more comprehensive; they were designed around computer flexibility analysis. To compute stress range, S E , the difference in stress states, considering all loads, is computed.

The overall intent of the appendix is to provide alternative flexibility analysis evaluation procedures, that are technically consistent in terms of criteria with the rules in the base Code, but provide for evaluating operating conditions with all loads rather than thermal stress in isolation of other loads. The reason for this approach is that there can be an interaction between the various loads (e.g. weight, pressure, thermal expansion) that can be lost when considering one load separate from the others. This is particularly true when there are nonlinear effects, such as the lift off of supports, and restraints with gaps that permit some movement. The desirability of providing these new, alternative rules comes from two issues:

1. Current computer analysis programs can easily evaluate the combined loads accurately. When the flexibility analysis rules were originally written for the Code, these calculations were done by hand, and the rules had to be simplified.

2. Current computer analysis programs permit consideration of nonlinear effects, which create substantial difficulties in interpretation and evaluation of results, using rules in the base Code.

The intent of the B31.3 rules is to limit stress range to a twice yield (or yield plus hot relaxation strength in the creep regime) (both reduced by a further safety factor) shakedown limit and to also evaluate the stress range with respect to fatigue damage. There is also a limit on the maximum combined stress, sustained plus displacement, to limit ratchet. Appendix P accomplishes these same checks using operating load cases. Operating load cases include all loads that are present in any operating condition. Note that sustained stress limits remain unchanged in the base Code, and are in addition to the rules provided in the new appendix.

The stress range is calculated as the difference in stress between various operating conditions. Thus, if a support is lifted off in one condition and not another, that effect contributes to the stress range. Calculating the stress range based on combined loads is a more precise and comprehensive method of evaluating stress range. The stress range is limited to S oA , the maximum permissible operating stress range. This is the same as the presently permitted displacement stress range. In addition, the maximum operating stress is limited to S oA , to preserve the aforementioned ratchet check.

Complex systems involving multiple conditions of operation, with supports responding in different manners, can be rigorously evaluated using the Appendix P, whereas significant expertise and judgment in interpretation of the results are required to otherwise evaluate such systems.

The rules in Appendix P also include stress due to axial loads in the flexibility analysis. These stresses are sometimes significant, and there is a warning statement in the Code [para. 319.2.3 (d)] that they should be included when significant. In Appendix P, they are always included, so their effect is included in case it is significant. Note that this change also is recognition of the impact of using computer analysis. Prior to computer analysis, inclusion of these axial

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Technical Changes in ASME B31.3 for 2004

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loads would have been problematic, and really pointless extra work in most cases since it is generally not a significant effect. With computer analysis, its inclusion is essentially effortless to the analyst.

One of the problems of including stress due to axial loads is determination of what stress intensification factor to use. Based on judgment, except for elbows, the user is directed to use the out-plane SIF for the component, in the absence of more applicable information. This is the higher of the two SIF’s that are provided. It is saying, considering a tee, that the effect of axial load in the branch is the same as bending, using the higher of in-plane and out-plane SIF’s. For elbows, again based on judgment, no SIF is used. This is because axial load on one side is bending on the other end of the elbow, so that the effect of axial load on fatigue should already be considered. Note that it is the bending that causes the ovalization that causes the increase in stress in elbows.

Together with the change in rules, the definition of severe cyclic service is addressed so that it is consistent with Appendix P. Further, the paragraph on cold spring and support loads is made into a verbal description of the procedure.

The equation for calculating stress is revised to the following, to include stress due to axial loads:

test this

test this


a = stress due to axial force = i a F a /A p


a = axial force, including that due to internal pressure

i a = axial force stress intensification factor. In the absence of more applicable data, i a =1.0 for elbows and i a =i o from Appendix D for other components.


p = cross sectional area of the pipe


= S E , stress range, or S om , maximum operating stress

Both the maximum operating stress range, S E and the maximum operating stress, S om , are limited to S A . The limitation on maximum operating stress was included to address concerns regarding ratchet.

Pipe Stress Example

A new appendix, Appendix S, was added, to provide examples of piping stress analysis. The first release of this appendix includes one example, the plan is to include additional examples in future editions.

Pipe Bends

The rules provide limits of ovalization for pipe bends. The requirements are more stringent for piping under external pressure than internal pressure. A new paragraph, 306.2.1 (b) is added that permits exceeding these limits, if the bend is qualified for the pressure in accordance with para. 304.7.2.

Thermoplastics in Flammable Fluid Service

Thermoplastics are now permitted in above ground flammable fluid service, provided all of the following are satisfied.

1. The size of the piping does not exceed DN 25 (NPS 1)

2. Owner’s approval is obtained.

3. Safeguarding per Appendix G is provided.

4. The precautions of Appendix F, para. F 323.1 (a) through F 323.1(c ) are considered.

Expansion Joint Hardware

Specific design requirements for expansion joint hardware were added to Appendix X.

Appendix V

Appendix V provides a method for assessing the effect of short term variations at elevated temperatures. An example was added to this appendix.

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There are also some interesting interpretations that have been issued. Here are two of them.

Repair and Replacement

The scope of the Code is new piping; it does not include repair. However, the issue of replacement is less clear. While an earlier interpretation indicated that replacement was covered by ASME B31.3, a recent interpretation stated that the subject of replacement was not addressed. The wording of the Code scope had been changed between those two interpretations, and the committee is perhaps more rigorous now in issuing interpretations that are clearly supported by specific requirements in the Code.

From a practical standpoint, if an entire piping system is to be replaced, it should be constructed to the current Code and

if a small portion of a piping system is to be replaced, it should be replaced in kind (as a repair). Where to draw the line

between these two extremes is a matter of judgment.

When a new piping system is being attached to an existing piping system, the demarcation is at the connection to the existing system. The new piping, exclusive of the attachment to the existing system, is governed by ASME B31.3. The connection to the existing system is not considered new construction, but is rather subject to the requirements of a post construction code, such as API 570. It is for this reason that inquiries with respect to hot taps have answered, indicating they were not addressed or in the scope of ASME B31.3. With respect to leak testing, the new piping is required to be pressure tested; it can be leak tested prior to tying it in to the existing system. For the connection to the existing system, alternatives to leak testing are provided in API 570.

Flexibility Analysis Temperature

What temperature should be considered in the flexibility analysis? The Code requires that the metal temperature be considered. Design temperature is only used in the Code for pressure design. Interpretation 19-41 addresses this.

Question: In accordance with ASME B31.3, 2002 Edition, does the phrase, “maximum metal temperature…for the thermal cycle under analysis” in para. 319.3.1(a) require the use of the design temperature (defined in accordance with para. 301.3) in “determining total displacement strains for computing the stress range”, S E ?

Reply: No.

It is common to evaluate piping flexibility for the design temperature, but it is not a Code requirement. It is certainly

permitted, but in all cases, the worst case temperature conditions must be evaluated. For example, the temperature may be higher during a low pressure steam out than the design temperature. Consider another example with two operating

conditions with a carbon steel line, 100 kPa (15 psi) at 315EC (600EF) and 1400 kPa (200 psi) at 205EC (400EF). The design condition would be 1400 kPa (200 psi) at 205EC (400EF) since that governs the pressure design. However, the 315EC (600EF) condition would govern in the flexibility analysis.

Sustained Load Code Case

A Code Case is presently under discussion that would provide a specific equation that can be used for the longitudinal

stress evaluation. As presently envisioned, stresses due to axial and torsional loads are included as well as those due to bending moments. A stress index for sustained loads equal to 0.75i is specified for use, in the absence of more

applicable data. The 0.75 factor was included as a pragmatic solution, considering the benefits of providing a specific, albeit questionable, value outweighs leaving the issue unresolved.

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