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Requirement of Flexibility in Piping Design: An

overview
 A rigid piping system experiences stresses during operation at high temperatures.
 Providing sufficient flexibility in routing is critical to ensure stresses in the piping system
is within acceptable limits.
 Be focused on providing flexible routing for large bore and temperature critical piping.
 Flexibility in piping connected to strain sensitive equipments like pumps, compressors,
columns, turbines, plate heat exchangers, etc. is a must.

What it means!!!

 The piping designer should be aware of the stress and support concepts in piping layout
which are the guiding principles behind flexible pipe routing.
 The piping designer should be aware of what pipe expansion means, how rigid piping
induces stress and how to provide minimum expansion length using guided cantilever
tables.
 Stress engineer is always there to review flexibility but piping designer uses best
judgment and coordinates with stress engineer as needed to design a flexible and
stable pipe route upfront.

How does it help!

 Understanding stress and flexibility concepts will help designer in reducing cycle time
for the preparation of an effective layout which is acceptable to the stress engineer.
 Increases the technical expertise of the designer in piping layout and design and also
gives a good understanding of pipe supporting norms.
 Will lead to better design, more effective and accurate material take-off & shorter
schedule.

Some Critical Equipments & Systems:

 Pump suction and discharge piping (High temp and sizes ≥ 12” more critical)
 Furnace and Reactor piping
 Column and Air Cooler piping
 Column and Reboiler piping – Two phase flow
 Compressor piping
 Turbine piping

Examples of Flexible Piping:

1. Pump Piping (Column/Vessel to Pump):

 Provide sufficient pipe leg perpendicular to pump suction axis so as to absorb suction
line growth. Refer Figure 1.
 Case 1 piping is more flexible as column nozzle is perpendicular to pump axis and
pumps set equidistant from column centerline helps minimize differential thermal growth
across pump axis.
Fig. 1: Typical pump routings

 Case 2 has column nozzle parallel to pump axis and this layout is less flexible because
thermal growth along pump axis has to be absorbed by offset loop.
 Cases 3 are preferred arrangement for higher temps and higher suction/discharge pipe
sizes.
 Provide min 5D straight run from first elbow to pump suction.
 First base support shall be adjustable.
 Consider low friction slide plate where required.

1. Furnace/Reactor layout and flexibility in piping design when interspaced with a


pipe rack. Refer Fig. 2.

 (Case 1) Common practice is to locate both Furnace & Reactor on same side of pipe
rack so that connected line on rack moves away from the equipments during thermal
expansion
 (Case 2) In alternate layout mid section of line on rack acts as pivot allowing pipe on
either side to move away from equipment due to thermal expansion (more loads on
nozzles).
Fig. 2: Typical Furnace reactor Layout
Tall Column Piping (Fig. 3)

 Considering column expansion is very critical to effective and efficient piping design.
 Column skirt expansion is also critical.
 Use the tables for standard pipe guide spacing for supporting of vertical lines.
 Avoid loop on vertical down comer alongside the column.
 First support is almost always a “Rest Support”.
Fig. 3: Typical column piping
Conclusions:

 Reduce stress by providing flexibility in the piping system and proper balanced
supporting to ensure uniform distribution of piping loads.
 Remember that pipe moves when hot and movement shall not be restrained by
adjacent pipe.
 Understand that different materials have different thermal coefficient of linear expansion
(i.e. SS expands more than CS).
 Most sustained case loads (dead loads) in a piping system can be addressed by the
designer by use of support span table and guide tables.
 Avoid fitting-to fitting routing of lines especially for higher sizes and temps
 Remember that expansion leg in the other direction/plane is good but in third
direction/plane is better (3-D loop better than 2-D)
 Piping design owns the ultimate responsibility for effective, economic and efficient
design

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Version 7.0

Reporting or proper documentation of a stress system


for issuing to client
Proper documentation of the stress calculation performed using Caesar II or any other stress
analysis software is very important as the report or documents are the final deliverable to client.
So one should incorporate each and every details of analysis, assumptions if any, basis of
design etc. in the final report. Every organization must have their standard format of reporting
but the same changes slightly from project to project depending on client requirement. In this
article I will try to highlight major points which must be included in the final report before sending
to client for approval.

 Each final report starts with a very nice front page. The front page normally includes the
project name; project no, client name with logo, PMC name with logo and the
performing organization or EPC consultant name with logo. It should also include the
name of the stress system and system number for which report is prepared.
 In the 2nd page normally it is better to include a table with revision details, name of
performer, checker and approver along with signature and report issue date. It informs
the client about responsible persons who are performing the analysis.
 Next sheet or page should include a brief content of all the major points with page
numbers which are included in the report. From this page the client will be able to know
whether all relevant points are incorporated and considered in the analysis or not.
 From next page onwards, the actual analysis report of each stress system starts.
Broadly the report should include the following major points:

1. Project Background: the project background can be included in 3-4 sentences


highlighting major points of the project. Many organizations use this as starting point of
introduction part of the report. However I personally do not prefer to include it.
2. Document Scope and Purpose: Every document must start stating the objective/ scope
and purpose of the document. In this part you can include the major system description.
A typical objective is included here for your reference: “The main objective of this
document is to furnish the findings of stress analysis performed on SYS-001 (Line 42”-
P-XXXXX-XXXXX line routed from Tie-in XXXX to Tank (T-XXXXX) inlet nozzle.” In a
similar way you can describe your system for which you are preparing the report.
3. Next you can include a list of all abbreviations what you are going to use in the report. If
you are not using abbreviated terms then this part is not required.
4. Now you have to include the lines which are included in that specific stress system.
After including the major system lines, you can include the reference lines with suffix
REF (Ex. 18”-P-1235-REF).
5. Next you have to include names and numbers of all reference documents which are
used in the analysis. Reference documents means you should include P&ID number
with revision, line list number with revision, PMS number with revision, Equipment TAG
and GA drawing number with revision, Any datasheet (PSV, Control Valve etc.) number
with revision etc.
6. Next part of the report is very important. Here you should mention all the considerations
and assumptions, if any. In few points you should mention all major highlights which can
impact the stress system. A typical example of assumptions are shown below:
o Ambient temperature considered is 21° C.
o All systems has been analysed for maximum and minimum design temperature
cases. Operating temperature from line list is not used in the analysis.
o Caesar II configuration file “mm.fil” is used in the analysis.
o Rigid body weights (flanges, valves, strainers etc. as applicable) are considered
from Caesar II database / Pipe Data Pro.
o Control valve and PSV weights (wherever applicable) have been assumed
suitably based on judgement where vendor data is not available.
o Based on XXXXXX project, XXXX has considered Post Hydro test tank
settlement value is assumed as 25 mm. All piping flanges have to be connected
with tank nozzle flanges only after tank hydro testing activity is finished.
o Seismic Analysis has been ignored in this stress analysis.
o Wind Analysis has not been performed as most of the lines are below 10m
elevation.
o The existing part of lines has been modelled taking a reference from existing
PDMS 3D model. We have provided sufficient flexibility for new line for
arresting maximum thermal displacements where we could not find any
guides/line stop in existing line for proper boundary condition.
7. In this section you should write in brief the conclusions which you have reached after
the analysis. A typical example is shown in the below mentioned bullet points:
o Pipe Stresses are within allowable limit (Refer attached Stress Summary
Report)
o Support loads are within acceptable limit (Refer attached Restraint Summary
Extended Report)
o Thermal Displacements and Sustained Sagging is within acceptable limit (Refer
attached Restraint Summary Extended and Sustained displacement Reports)
o Equipment nozzle loads are qualified with Vendor Allowable Loads in GA
drawing/ relevant API standard (for pumps) as applicable (Refer Nozzle
Loading Details Sheet attached)
o Supports at node XXX, XXX, XXX are lifting in design temperature condition.
However separate hot sustained / lift off file has not been made as the system
is qualifying under Appendix P operating code stress check of ASME B 31.3.
(Refer attached Stress Summary Report).
o Refer marked up stress isometrics for any stress recommendation.
o Refer attached spring datasheets and SPS drawings for reference.
8. In next section you can mention the load cases what you have considered for analysis.
However as all load cases will appear in stress summary or restraint summary you can
skip this part here.
9. Now you are required to include the following reports from Caesar II. It is better to use
an appendix for the same for proper demarcation. A typical method is shown here.
o Appendix A: Stress Analysis input echo from Caesar II
o Appendix B: Stress Summary Report from Caesar II
o Appendix C: Restraint Summary Extended report from Caesar II
o Appendix D: Sustained Displacement Report from Caesar II
o Appendix E: Nozzle load qualification report (Normally in excel sheet, However
NEMA/WRC Caesar II reports can be attached)
o Appendix F: Trunnion calculation Report
o Appendix F: Spring datasheets if any
o Appendix G: SPS drawings if any
10. In the final part you should include the final marked up stress isometrics and reference
drawings in attachment form as shown below:
o Attachment A: Marked up stress isometrics.
o Attachment B: P&ID drawing highlighting the system marked up
o Attachment C: LDT/ Line List drawing highlighting the specific lines.
o Attachment D: Equipment GA Drawings highlighting the nozzles and relevant
data.
o Attachment E: PMS
o Attachment F: Caesar II plots for overall system look.

Briefly the abovementioned points are sufficient for a complete report. However if client insist for
any additional details you have to include the same along with the above mentioned points.
Hope now you will be able to prepare a complete report of the stress systems what you are
performing.

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Static Method of Wind Analysis of Piping systems in
Caesar II using Pressure Vs elevation Method
Wind analysis is performed based on Client/ITB requirement. Wind load is an occasional load
which normally occurs less than 20% of plant operating time. There are two methods for wind
analysis-Static and Dynamic. In this article I will try to explain the static method of wind analysis
using Caesar II of COADE Inc following Pressure Vs Elevation Profile.
Criteria for selection of lines for Wind Analysis:
Criteria should be mentioned in ITB document. As a guideline the following can be followed
after verification from client:

 Lines with outside diameter 10” and larger (including insulation) running on 10 m and
above.
 Steam / Flare header on the pipe rack.
 Other lines considered important as per stress engineer’s decision.

However if lines are covered by some shelter or other structures then wind analysis can be
ignored for those lines.
Data Required for Wind Analysis:
For wind analysis you must have following data from the client.

 Wind shape factor: Normally for pipe elements the data varies from 0.6-0.8. Check in
ITB what value it says to use.
 Pressure Vs Elevation Profile: Sometimes client provides this profile directly and
sometimes provides equation and data to calculate the profile. A typical wind profile will
be shown in diagram while explaining the steps required while analyzing using Caesar
II.
 Elevation of the line under analysis. If HPP elevation is other than 0 you have to reduce
HPP from line global elevation to get actual elevation.

What to check:
As per code B 31.3 we have to check code compliance of the calculated stress (Sustained
+Wind). The allowable stress for wind analysis is 1.33 times Sh values. However sometimes
client requires to check the nozzle loading in Operating+ Wind cases (W+T+P+Win) for static
equipment. Normally client does not require wind load checking for rotating equipment.
Most of the steps are mentioned in attached images. All are self explanatory. However if you
face any problem in understanding please reply in comments section.

 Model the piping system under analysis from piping isometric drawings.
 Enter elevation of the first node in global coordinates.
 Click on Wind/Wave check box on Caesar II Spreadsheet and mention wind shape
factor as shown in Fig. 1
Fig.1: Caesar Spreadsheet for Wind Analysis

 Now run the analysis and go to the load case editor and select Pressure Vs Elevation
as shown in Fig. 2

Fig. 2: Load Case Editor showing Wind Pressure Vs Elevation

 In next step enter the pressure vs elevation profile in consistent unit and enter wind
direction cosines as shown in Fig. 3. Normally wind analysis is performed considering
wind flow from North, South, East and West direction. Accordingly Enter +1 or -1 in X or
Z direction. Wind analysis is generally not considered in vertical direction.
Fig. 3: Load Case Editor showing input of pressure vs elevation profile

 Refer Fig. 4 and prepare the highlighted load cases additionally for wind analysis. Load
cases for L17 to L20 are for code compliance checking and load cases from L5 to L8 for
support and Nozzle load checking.

Fig. 4: Load cases for Wind Analysis

 Refer Fig 5 and make the combination method as scalar or absolute for the shown load
cases.
Fig. 5: Load case Editor showing load case combination method.

 In the final stage run the analysis and check results. If failing make suitable adjustments
to qualify the same.

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