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Home > News > Engineering Articles > API-653 Now Permits Lap-Welded Patch Plates For Shell Repairs | Carmagen Engineering

By Vince Carucci
Addendum 1 to the Second Edition of API-653, Tank Inspection, Repair, Alteration, and Reconstruction, was issued in December 1996.
Prior to this revision, the use of lap-welded patch plates to repair shell plates that have become too thin was not permissible. The only
acceptable methods to repair thinned areas of the shell were to use weld overlay (for very small areas) or to cut out the thinned plates
and replace them with a new plate that is butt-welded into the shell using complete penetration and complete fusion. Addendum 1
now permits the use of lap-welded patch plates provided this is specific by the Owner and requirements specified in API-653 are met.
The use of lap-welded patch plates for shell repair is frowned upon for shell repair is frowned upon in general for several seasons:

A lap patch may not be taken seriously enough, and personnel who are not knowledgeable in mechanical design requirements
might become responsible for their “design” and installation.
If not properly designed and installed, a lap-welded patch plate could actually increase the risk of a major tank failure rather
than improve tank reliability.
Unqualified welders might be used to install a lap-welded patch plate because it is not taken seriously. Again, this decreases the
structural integrity of the tank.

While these are the main reasons why the use of lap-welded patch plates in frowned upon, they certainly can be overcome if lap-
welded patches are taken seriously. Addendum 1 of API-653 recognizes this by now allowing the use of lap-welded patches with
restrictions. The following paragraphs highlight several of these restrictions/requirements.

Several requirements must be met in all cases.

All repair material must meet the requirements of the applicable construction standard (i.e., API-650) and API-653. In other
words, new material must meet current requirements.
Lap patches cannot be used on shell courses whose thickness exceeds ½ in. This restriction obviously has its roots in concern
with the potential for brittle fracture, and there is no concern regarding this if the shell plate is less than ½ in. thick. In this
writer’s opinion, it might be worthwhile if this restriction is relaxed somewhat more in light of the following:
If the shell plate material has “recognized” toughness, then brittle fracture should not be an issue at all.
If the shell plate material is of “unknown” toughness, then brittle fracture should not be an issue if the combination of plate
thickness and minimum design metal temperature are acceptable (e.g., the approach used for hot-tapping)
If the shell membrane stress is less than 7000 psi at the bottom of the lap patch, then brittle fracture should not be an issue
regardless of shell plate material.
The lap patch must be at least 3/16 in. thick, but no more than the smaller of ½ in. or the thickness of the plate to which it is
welded.
The lap patch may be circular, oblong, square, or rectangular, and all corners must be rounded.
Minimum spacing limits are specified between the lap patch welds and the shell seams.
Weld details are specified if the la patch extends to intersect at the bottom-to-shell joint.
Minimum and maximum lap patch size limits are specified.
Lap-patch repairs must be included in an established inspection and maintenance program.

Repair Situation Additional Requirements


• Continuous fillet welds inside and outside
• Minimum Hole diameter and corner radius specified
• Completely remove nozzle and reinforcement pad
Closure of holes cause by removing shell openings or thinned areas
• Plate thickness calculated using E≤0.7
• Full-thickness fillet welds
• Shell overlap limits specified
• Plate thickness calculated using E≤0.35
• Full –thickness fillet weld
Reinforce thinned areas of shell without removal
• Maximum repair plate thickness limits specified
• No credit for thickness of remaining shell

• Plate thickness calculated using E≤0.35


• Full-thickness fillet weld
• Maximum repair plate thickness limits specified
Repair small leaks or minimize potential for leaks at isolated or widely
• Minimum repair plate thickness ≥3/16 in.
scattered pits • Existing shell thickness meets minimum thickness
• Cannon be used if corrosion of fillet welds is a concern if
requirements
the stored liquid leaks between the shell and repair plate
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• Shell plate thickness under repair plate to be evaluated
during future inspection

1 of 2 29-Oct-18, 3:05 PM
API-653 Now Permits Lap-Welded Patch Plates for Shell Repairs ... http://www.carmagen.com/news/engineering_articles/news164.htm

Addendum 1 of API-653 permits the use of lap-welded patch plates in a tank shell provided specified requirements are met. In no case
can a lap-welded patch be used on a shell plate thicker than ½ in. While allowing lap-welded patch plates is a reasonable relaxation of
prior requirements, the ½ in. maximum shell thickness limit restricts its use to relatively small diameter tanks or the uppermost
courses of larger diameter tanks. It might be worthwhile to review the shell thickness limit considering the fracture toughness of the
shell plate, the minimum design metal temperature, and shell plate thickness. It is believed that such a review could result in
additional situations where the use of lap-welded patch plates in technically acceptable.

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