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Gerry C.

Slagis
e-mail: slagisg@asme.org
G C Slagis Associates,
258 Hillcrest Place,
Pleasant Hill CA 94523-2184

ASME Section III Design-ByAnalysis Criteria Concepts and


Stress Limits1
The ASME Section III design-by-analysis approach provides stress criteria for the design
of nuclear components. Stresses are calculated elastically for the most part, although
plastic analysis is recognized. Limits are specified for primary, secondary, and peak
stresses. Inherent in these limits are factors of safety against several modes of failure. The
purpose of this paper is to explain the design-by-analysis criteria and fundamental concepts behind the approach. Topics covered include the bases for the primary stress limits,
shakedown to elastic action, fatigue, simplified elastic-plastic analysis, and thermal stress
ratchet. Issues that are explored are separating primary and secondary stresses in finite
element analyses, material ductility requirements, and the meaning of the fatigue penalty
factor. DOI: 10.1115/1.2140797

Introduction
The design-by-analysis concept was first introduced in 1963
with the publication of the nuclear vessels code 1. In comparison
to the nonnuclear vessels code, a lower factor of safety on pressure design is incorporated. To justify the lower factor of safety,
detailed stress analysis and an evaluation of fatigue, including
explicit consideration of thermal stresses, are required. Different
categories of stress are assigned different allowable values. A criteria document 2 to explain the design-by-analysis approach was
published by ASME in 1969.
For nuclear piping, a simplified design-by-analysis approach
was first published in 1969 as USAS B31.7 3. The Foreword
section of B31.7 gives a description of the design philosophy for
nuclear piping. The piping rules were incorporated with the vessel
rules in 1971 when Section III was revised to include rules for all
nuclear components.
Some basic questions regarding interpretation of the design-byanalysis rules have come up in recent years. Some of these questions result from extensive use of finite element methods to determine stresses. For example, how are primary stresses extracted
from a finite element analysis? The purpose of this document is to
review the design-by-analysis criteria, discuss the fundamental
concepts behind the criteria, and provide insight into some of the
technical issues. The fragmented nature of code developments and
the related literature makes it difficult to fully understand all aspects of the concepts involved.
Discussions of the design-by-analysis criteria are based mainly
on the 1974 Edition of the Section III Code although the stress
limits are taken from the 2001 Code. The Code rules given in
NB-3200 apply to any pressure retaining component. The piping
rules given in NB-3600 are a simplified version of the NB-3200
rules. Some piping terms and criteria will be used to illustrate
certain aspects of design-by-analysis.

Criteria
There are two basic concepts underlying the design-by-analysis
criteria. First, stresses are categorized into three types with differ1
This is a minor revision of a paper PVP2004-2614 of the same title that was
presented at the 2004 PVP Conference.
Contributed by the Pressure Vessels and Piping Division of ASME for publication
in the JOURNAL OF PRESSURE VESSEL TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received August 26,
2005; final manuscript received October 24, 2005. Review conducted by G. E. Otto
Widera. Paper presented at the 2004 ASME Pressure Vessels and Piping Division
Conference PVP2004, July 25, 2004July 29, 2004, San Diego, California, USA.

Journal of Pressure Vessel Technology

ent stress limits. Second, the stress limits change for different
service levels. The three categories of stress are primary, secondary, and peak. Primary stresses are load controlled; secondary
stresses are displacement controlled; and peak stresses are local
in nature. Primary and secondary stresses can be membrane or
bending.
Stress limits are established for Design, Level A, Level B,
Level C, and Level D loadings. Design conditions design pressure, design temperature, and design mechanical loads establish
the required wall thickness of the vessel. Level A conditions are
those originally referred to as normal conditions 1971 edition
and Level B as upset conditions. Level A and B loadings are
expected to occur in the operation of the component. Stress limits
for Level A and B are selected so that there is no damage to the
component that requires repair. Level C stress limits permit large
deformations in areas of structural discontinuity which may necessitate the removal of the component or support from service for
inspection or repair of damage.2 Level D stress limits permit
gross general deformations with some subsequent loss of dimensional stability and damage requiring repair, which may require
removal of the component or support from service.
The allowable limits of stress intensity from NB-3200 4 are
shown in Fig. 1 as given in the 2001 Edition. Secondary and peak
stresses are not limited for Levels C and D on the basis that
fatigue analysis is not required since only one such event is anticipated, followed by shutdown for inspection or repair 5. NB3200 Level D limits are given in Appendix F of Section III. Sm,
the allowable material stress intensity, is based on a fraction of the
material yield stress and the ultimate stress. For ferritic steels, Sm
1
2
is the lower of 3 minimum tensile strength or 3 minimum yield
1
strength. For austenitic steels, Sm is the lower of 3 minimum tensile strength or 90% of the minimum yield strength. The increase
to 90% of yield strength is to allow for the strain-hardening characteristics of austenitic steel.
When the emergency Level C and faulted Level D conditions and stress limits were first identified in 1971, the probability
of the condition occurring was discussed. For emergencyThe
conditions have a low probability of occurrence ; for faulted
Those combinations of conditions associated with extremely-lowprobability events.
Elastic stress limits for piping for emergency and faulted were
first defined in 1974. The probability of occurrence of the loads
2
Italics indicate wording taken from the Section III code document if no reference given or the referenced document.

Copyright 2006 by ASME

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Fig. 1 NB-3200 design-by-analysis stress limits 2001

and an equal reliability approach was used as a technical basis for


the stress limits. For piping, the Design limit of 1.5Sm for primary
membrane-plus-bending was increased to 2.25Sm for emergency
and 3Sm for faulted 6.

Stress Definitions
The definitions given in NB-3213 for primary, secondary, and
peak stresses are given below.
Primary stress is any normal stress or a shear stress developed by an imposed loading which is necessary to satisfy the
laws of equilibrium of external and internal forces and moments. The basic characteristic of a primary stress is that it is
not self-limiting. Primary stresses which considerably exceed
the yield strength will result in failure or, at least, in gross
distortion. A thermal stress is not classified as a primary stress.
Secondary stress is a normal stress or a shear stress developed by the constraint of adjacent material or by self-constraint
of the structure. The basic characteristic of a secondary stress
is that it is self-limiting. Local yielding and minor distortions
can satisfy the conditions which cause the stress to occur and
failure from one application of the stress is not to be expected.
Peak stress is that increment of stress which is additive to
the primary plus secondary stresses by reason of local discontinuities or local thermal stress including the effects, if any, of
stress concentrations. The basic characteristic of a peak stress
is that it does not cause any noticeable distortion and is objectionable only as a possible source of a fatigue crack or a brittle
fracture.
The key to understanding the difference between primary and
secondary stresses is that primary stresses are required for equilibrium with an applied mechanical load. Pressure is an applied
mechanical load. The hoop stress in a cylinder to react the pressure load is a primary membrane stress. An applied moment to a
horizontal cylinder from self-weight produces a primary bending
stress. If the cylinder includes a gross structural discontinuity,
secondary stresses will also be created by a mechanical load. If
the cylinder includes a local structural discontinuity, peak stresses
will be created.
If a piping system is subjected to a fluid temperature increase,
thermal expansion stresses are created. These thermal expansion
stresses restraint of free end displacement are secondary
stresses. Thermal expansion also causes peak stress at a local
structural discontinuity a girth butt weld, for example.
A through-wall temperature gradient in a cylinder can cause a
26 / Vol. 128, FEBRUARY 2006

secondary stress general thermal stress and a peak stress local


thermal stress. The secondary stress is the equivalent linear
stress produced by the radial temperature distribution in a cylindrical shell. The peak stress is the difference between the actual
stress and the equivalent linear stress resulting from a radial temperature distribution. In piping terminology, the secondary stress
in straight pipe is ET1 / 21 , and the peak stress is
ET2 / 1 . In 1982, the piping rules NB-3600 were changed
to reclassify the T1 stress as a peak stress.
An axial temperature distribution in a cylindrical shell or a
temperature difference between a nozzle and the shell to which it
is attached can cause a secondary stress. In piping terminology,
the secondary stress is C3EabaTa-bTb. The peak stress is
K3C3EabaTa-bTb.

Failure Modes
The fundamental failure mode of concern for a pressureretaining component is burst. Another failure mode that is considered is plastic deformation. Plastic deformation yielding is a
functional concern more than a pressure boundary concern. An
owner of a vessel will not be pleased if a Level A or B loading
results in observable deformation of the vessel. From the criteria
document 2
The primary stress limits are intended to prevent plastic deformation and to provide a nominal factor of safety on the
ductile burst pressure. The primary plus secondary stress limits
are intended to prevent excessive plastic deformation leading to
incremental collapse, and to validate the application of elastic
analysis when performing the fatigue evaluation. The peak
stress limit is intended to prevent fatigue failure as a result of
cyclic loadings.

Basis for Stress Limits


The code stress limits are derived from application of limit
design theory tempered by some engineering judgement and some
conservative simplifications 2. Section III NB-3213 defines
limit analysis and allows the use of limit analysis to establish a
lower bound to the collapse load. This use of an ideally plastic
material without strain hardening has led some to conclude that
limit load is the failure load. But, limit load is not the failure load.
The fundamental failure load of concern is the ultimate load to
burst or plastic instability in the case of primary membrane stress.
In the case of primary bending stress, the failure mode of concern
is ultimate collapse.
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Fig. 2 Rectangular cross-section bar in tension

Pressure Design. In design-by-rule, the minimum required wall


thickness for a cylinder is specified for pressure design. This minimum wall equation is not contained in NB-3200, but is contained
in NB-3300 for vessels and NB-3600 for piping. The primary
membrane stress limit for straight pipe NB-3640 for design pressure is met by meeting the design-by-rule minimum required wall
thickness equation.
tm = PDo/2Sm + 0.4P

where P is the design pressure 1

The piping equation is similar to the cylindrical vessel equation


given in NB-3324.
t = PRo/Sm + 0.5P

The piping equation was first adopted by the B31 Code in 1955.
Reference 7 discusses the derivation of this formula. Over 31
different formulas were considered; these formulas included elastic and plastic calculations. The final equation was selected since
it approximates satisfactorily the available room-temperature
tubular bursting data 7. The ASME B16.9 standard describes
burst test procedures for pipe fittings. Calculated burst pressure
for straight pipe is given as P = 2St / Do where S is the specified
minimum tensile strength.
Langer 8,9 discusses pressure design of vessels for burst and
provides failure pressure data on PVRC disk tests for a range of
materials. The intent of the cylindrical vessel equation, as given
above, is to provide a nominal factor of safety on burst of 3. But,
the theoretical burst pressure is dependent on the strain hardening
exponent of the material. For five different materials, the theoretical safety factor was found to vary from 2.75 to 3.34.
In NB-3200, a minimum required wall thickness is not specified
for pressure design. Instead, the primary membrane stress is calculated by elastic analysis and compared to a stress limit of Sm
for Design conditions as given in Fig. 1. Consider the limit
analysis of a simple, straight, rectangular cross-section, bar in
tension as shown in Fig. 2. Assume an elastic-perfectly-plastic
material model with a yield stress of Sy. Once the cross-sectional
stress reaches the yield stress, the maximum load carrying capability of the bar is achieved. Applying any additional load causes
the bar to deform until the failure strain is reached, and the bar
ruptures.
The normal stress in the bar is a primary membrane stress that
is required for equilibrium with the applied external load. Instead
2
1
of using Sy as the failure criterion, the code uses Sm 3 yield or 3
ultimate. Hence, the design-by-analysis criterion for primary
membrane stress provides a factor of safety of 1.5 on excessive
plastic deformation yielding. The use of ultimate tensile strength
in addition to yield strength to specify Sm accounts for the strain
hardening characteristics of the material. Ultimate failure plastic
in stability/rupture occurs when the primary membrane stress
1
reaches the ultimate strength of the material. Hence, using Sm of 3
ultimate strength provides for a factor of safety of 3 on plastic
instability or rupture failure.
By the same reasoning, the code primary membrane stress criterion provides a factor of safety of 1.5 on excessive deformation
Journal of Pressure Vessel Technology

yield and a factor of safety of 3 on ultimate failure plastic


instability or burst for design pressure. For Level D, the elastically calculated membrane stress is limited to 0.7Su. This means
that the nominal factor of safety on burst is 1 / 0.7 or 1.43 for
Level D. For piping for Level D, the elastically calculated allowable pressure is double that of the allowable pressure for Design
conditions. This means that the nominal factor of safety on burst
3
for piping for Level D is 2 or 1.5.
Primary Bending Stress. Primary bending stresses are limited
to Sm or less if there is pressure stress. The limit is given in
NB-3221.3 and the Code requirement is in terms of the Primary
Membrane Plus Primary Bending Stress Intensity. The Code
words are
This stress intensity is derived from the highest value across
the thickness of a section of the general or local primary membrane stresses plus primary bending stresses produced by Design Pressure and other specified Design Mechanical Loads,
but excluding all secondary and peak stresses. For solid rectangular sections, the allowable value of this stress intensity is
1.5Sm. For other than solid rectangular sections, a value of
times the limit established in NB-3221.1 may be used, where the
factor is defined as the ratio of the load set producing a fully
plastic section to the load set producing initial yielding in the
extreme fibers of the section.
Limit analysis is used to establish the stress limit for primary
bending stress. Consider the same rectangular cross-section bar
with the added weight applied to cause bending as shown in Fig.
3. As weight is increased, the bending stress increases until the
outer fiber stress is at the yield stress of the material a weight of
Wy in Fig. 3.
Since the material is ductile, the bar can withstand additional
load. Yielding is spread across the section. Maximum load carrying capacity occurs when the cross-section is fully plastic. A plastic hinge forms and the bar collapsesunlimited deformation
occurs.
For a rectangular cross-section, the moment at collapse is 50%
higher than the moment at first yield. Hence, the primary bending
stress limit is 50% higher than that for primary membrane. The
allowable from Fig. 1 is 1.5Sm.3 The bending stress in the bar is
a primary stress that is required for equilibrium with the applied
2
1
external load. Sm is 3 yield or 3 ultimate. Therefore, the elastically
predicted bending stress allowable is 1Sy or 0.5Su. The design-byanalysis criterion for primary bending permits no significant yielding for Design conditions.
Use of ultimate tensile strength, as a parameter in Sm, accounts
for the strain hardening characteristics of the material. Ultimate
collapse for a ductile material occurs when a fully plastic hinge
3
The 1.5 factor is for a rectangular beam. NB-3221.3 refers to Sm based on the
shape factor for the section. NB-3600 for piping uses 1.5 for all tubular piping
products.

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Fig. 3 Rectangular cross-section bar in bending

with the entire cross-section at Su exists. The elastically predicted


moment stress corresponding to a fully plastic hinge is 1.5Su.
Hence, an elastic bending stress limit of 0.5Su provides a factor of
safety on ultimate collapse of 3 for a design mechanical load.
For Level D, the elastically calculated bending stress limit is
1.5 times 0.7Su. This means that the nominal factor of safety on
ultimate collapse for Level D is 1 / 0.7 or 1.43. For piping for
Level D, the elastically calculated bending stress is double that for
Design 3Sm versus 1.5Sm. This means that the nominal factor of
3
safety on collapse for piping for Level D is 2 or 1.5.
Secondary Stress. Two secondary stress limits are provided as
shown in Fig. 1. The quantity PL + Pb + Q and the quantity Pe are
both required to be less than 3Sm for Level A and B conditions.
Meeting the 3Sm limit is a precondition for the fatigue analysis.
The failure mode of concern is fatigue. Therefore, the stress range,
not the amplitude, is evaluated.
The 3Sm stress limit was developed by considering a cyclic
secondary stress range. Again, an elastic-perfectly-plastic material
model is used to develop this stress limit. Consider a rectangular
beam with a rotation that is applied, released, and then applied
again. This is a displacement-controlled condition. The magnitude
of the rotation is such as to produce an elastically predicted bending stress of 2Sy or a strain of 2Sy / E. The loading/unloading diagram is shown in Fig. 4. On the first half-cycle of rotation, the
beam outer fiber will yield. But, on subsequent half-cycles, the
outer fiber will not yield. This behavior is called shakedown to
elastic action.
Since 3Sm is equivalent to 2Sy the design-by-analysis criterion
does not impose a factor of safety on shakedown to elastic action.
This is reasonable since exceeding the limit does not cause failure.
Limiting the thermal expansion stress range Pe to 3Sm will ensure that the cyclic thermal expansion stresses by themselves will
shakedown to elastic action. This is a basic piping design require-

ment. For other secondary stresses Q, combining primary stress


range with secondary stress range will ensure that the combined
primary-plus-secondary stress range PL + Pb + Q will shakedown
to elastic action.
The purpose of the limit as stated in the criteria document 2 is
to validate the application of elastic analysis when performing
the fatigue evaluation. The criteria document also states the purpose is intended to prevent excessive plastic deformation leading
to incremental collapse. The need to validate the fatigue evaluation will be discussed in the section on Peak Stress. Incremental
collapse will be discussed in the section on Thermal Stress
Ratcheting. As shown in that section, the primary-plus-secondary
stress range limit does not provide complete protection against
ratcheting.
Peak Stress. Peak stresses are a concern for fatigue. The total
primary-plus-secondary-plus-peak stress range for a stress cycle
is calculated. The stress evaluation must include consideration of
local structural discontinuities stress concentration. One-half of
the total stress range stress amplitude is calculated and referred
to as Salt. Design fatigue curves are given for various materials.
Entering the fatigue curve at Salt gives an allowable number of
cycles N. From the specified number of cycles, n, the fatigue
damage is calculated as n / N. The damage from all stress cycles
are added together, and the accumulated damage must be less than
or equal to one n / N 1. A detailed procedure is specified in
NB-3222.45 for determining the effect of superposition of different stress cycles.
The criteria document 2 gives an excellent discussion on the
generation of the design fatigue curves. The best-fit data from
small polished bar specimens are provided. A factor of 2 on stress
and 20 on cycles, whichever is largest, was used to establish the
design curve from the best-fit curve. In the low cycle region, the
factor on cycles governs. The inherent factor on stress is signifi-

Fig. 4 Shakedown to elastic action

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cantly larger than 2 in the low cycle region.


The fatigue design method is straightforward. Elastically predicted total stress amplitude, including peak stress from local
structural discontinuities, are compared to a design curve to determine the allowable number of stress cycles. The inherent assumption is that the net section stresses and strains are elastic. Only the
peak stresses at the local structural discontinuity are in the plastic
regime. Therefore, the precondition for the fatigue analysis is that
the primary-plus-secondary stresses shakedown to elastic action.
If the primary-plus-secondary stress range exceeds 3Sm, there is
plastic cycling at the local structural discontinuity, which is very
detrimental to fatigue life.
The original 1963 fatigue design curves were based on small
polished bar specimen test data. These tests were run to the point
of separation of the specimen. A common question isDoes the
fatigue design curve represent crack initiation or crack propagation through the wall thickness? My answer isThe objective of
the fatigue design method is to prevent a leakage failure of the
pressure boundary. A cumulative usage factor of 1 does not mean
that a crack has initiated or that a crack has propagated through
the wall. A cumulative usage factor of 1 implies reasonable assurance that leakage will not occur in the design life.
Simplified Elastic-Plastic Analysis. The primary-plussecondary stress range limit of 3Sm may be exceeded for a stress
cycle including thermal bending if a penalty is taken on the fatigue evaluation NB-3228.5 Simplified Elastic-Plastic Analysis.
The primary-plus-secondary-plus-peak stress range amplitude,
Salt, is multiplied by Ke, a plastic strain correction factor. The Ke
factor can be substantial.
for Sn 3mSm

Fig. 5 Bree diagram

Ke = 1/n = 5 for carbon steel

The maximum value for Ke is a significant design problem for


severe thermal transients. Questions concerning Ke are discussed
in a later section Meaning of Ke.
Thermal bending is not specifically defined in NB-3228.5.
Examples of thermal bending as given in NB-3213.13 are 1 the
equivalent linear stress produced by the radial temperature distribution in a cylindrical shell, 2 the bending stress produced by an
axial temperature distribution in a cylindrical shell, and 3 stress
produced by the temperature difference between a nozzle and the
shell to which it is attached. By comparison with the piping rules
prior to 1982, thermal bending in piping terms are ET1 / 21
and C3EabaTa bTb.

in diameter on each cycle.


The ordinate is the thermal stress. With zero pressure, a thermal
stress range of 2Sy shakes down to elastic cycling. A thermal
stress range of 2Sy shakes down to elastic cycling as long as the
pressure stress is less than 0.5Sy. Once the sustained pressure
stress exceeds 0.5Sy, a thermal stress range of 2Sy will result in
ratcheting for an elastic-perfectly plastic material model.
Hence, the primary-plus-secondary stress range limit of P
+ Q 3Sm = 2Sy does provide protection against ratcheting as long
as the sustained primary membrane hoop stress is less than 0.5Sy.
As discussed in the section on Pressure Design, the hoop membrane stress is limited to 2 / 3Sy. The primary-plus-secondary
stress range limit does not provide complete protection against
ratcheting.

Thermal Stress Ratchet. Thermal stress ratchet is discussed in


NB-3222.5.

Ductility

3.3 for austenitic steel

It should be noted that under certain combinations of steady


state and cyclic loadings there is a possibility of large distortions developing as the result of ratchet action; that is, the
deformation increases by a nearly equal amount for each cycle.
Limits for one particular loading, a through-wall temperature
distribution are given. The maximum allowable range of thermal
stress, as a function of the steady-state pressure stress, is given for
a linear temperature distribution and a parabolic temperature distribution. These limits are based on the work of Miller 10.
The ratchet phenomenon can be quantified by the Bree diagram
as shown in Fig. 5. The Bree analysis 11 considers a cylinder
with a steady-state pressure load primary membrane stress and a
linear through-the-wall temperature distribution secondary bending thermal stress that is applied and then removed. Material
properties are elastic-perfectly-plastic. A one-dimensional analysis
is performed. Only the hoop direction is considered. The regimes
are E for elastic behavior, S1 and S2 for shakedown to elastic
action, P for plastic cycling, and R1 and R2 for ratcheting. For R1
and R2, there is an incremental plastic strain on each cycle of
loading. If ratcheting occurs, the cylinder will permanently grow
Journal of Pressure Vessel Technology

The design-by-analysis criteria presume ductile material behavior. Allowing secondary stresses to exceed the yield strength of
the material requires that the material have sufficient ductility to
accommodate the required plastic flow without failure. Typical
yield strains from secondary stress, and even plastic strains at
local discontinuities, are not that large in comparison to elongation to failure of 33% or more for typical carbon steels. Materials
acceptable for code use are specified, but minimum ductility is not
one of the specified parameters used for material selection. Material characteristics and ductility are discussed in Ref. 12. One
quote from this document 1964 is The amount of ductility
required to insure satisfactory performance of a pressure vessel
has never been definitively established.
There are two other aspects of the design-by-analysis criteria
that are only directly applicable if the material has sufficient ductility. For pressure design, the primary membrane stress limit is
intended to provide a nominal factor of safety of 3 on burst pressure. In a cylindrical shell with a gross structural discontinuity,
there will be significant secondary bending stresses at the discontinuity. The material must have sufficient ductility such that the
burst pressure of the cylinder is not significantly reduced.
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Fig. 6 Discontinuity analysis

The code also allows the primary stress limits to be exceeded if


it can be shown by limit analysis that the specified loadings do not
exceed two-thirds of the lower bound collapse load. Limit analysis
implicitly assumes that the material possesses sufficient post-yield
ductility to ensure that the limit analysis is appropriate for the
specified geometry.

Is it Primary or Secondary?
A perennial problem in running FEA is determining the primary
stress from total stress results. Judgment is definitely required.
The fallback position seems to be to consider all stresses as primary, but this is unreasonable.
The key to resolving a stress distribution into primary and secondary components is to understand that the primary stress is
required for equilibrium with an applied mechanical load. If there
is no mechanical load, or if stress is a result of compatibility
considerations at a gross structural discontinuity, the stress is secondary in nature. Consider a long cylindrical vessel with a thickness change in the middle gross structural discontinuity subjected to internal pressure Fig. 6. Simplify the structural model
by assuming an abrupt change in thickness for the stress analysis.
In this example, the thickness change is assumed to be sufficiently
removed from the vessel ends so that end conditions do not affect
the stress analysis at the discontinuity location.
Pressure causes a hoop membrane stress of pR/ t thin wall
approximation resulting in hoop strain and growth in diameter.
The growth is larger in the thinner member with the higher hoop
stress. An internal shear and moment are required to restore compatibility at the joint. Pressure is an internal mechanical load. The
hoop membrane stress is required for equilibrium with the applied
pressure primary membrane. The internal shear and moment are
self-equilibrating and are not required for equilibrium with a mechanical load. Hence, the shear and moment at the discontinuity
are secondary in nature.
Consider a second geometrya cylindrical vessel with a flat
plate closure Fig. 7. This geometry is an exception to the rule as

noted in Table NB-3217-1. The internal shear and moment are


required for displacement compatibility at the vessel/plate joint.
But whether the moment is classified as secondary or primary
depends on how the flat plate is evaluated for pressure design.
Stresses in the flat plate are dependent on the magnitude of the
end moment. If the flat plate is analyzed by itself without the
restraining effect of the compatibility end moment, then the moment is classified as secondary. If the flat plate is analyzed as a
vessel/plate structure, then the restraining effect of the compatibility moment reduces the bending stress in the plate, and the compatibility moment is classified as primary.

Finite Element Analysis (FEA)


When design-by-analysis was developed, shell analysis was the
standard method for determining stresses in a vessel. With shell
analysis, membrane stress and bending stress are a direct output of
the analysis. And, identification of primary stresses versus secondary stresses is relatively straightforward but still requires judgment. Now, the more common analysis method is FEA. And with
FEA comes many questions on interpretation of results. The first
problem was linearization. To determine membrane stress or
bending stress, common practice is to select a cut line on the
model and interpolate between discrete stress output points to determine the average membrane and linear bending stresses
across the wall. Many different methods have been tried. The
problem is compounded by the fact that the stress intensity referred to as Pb or Q . . . do not represent single quantities, but sets
of six quantities representing the six stress components
t , l , r , lt , lr , rt footnote 2 to Fig. NB-3222-1.
Some people say that design-by-analysis stress criteria are not
applicable for FEA. I disagree. The stress criteria apply. The
implementation of FEA and the interpretation of results need to be
improved. A PVRC project was established to provide guidance.
The project report 13 is very informative with a discussion of

Fig. 7 Moment in flat plate with and without discontinuity moment

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linearization, stress categories, example problems, and recommendations. However, there are major problems with the approach in
my opinion.
The report is oriented to proper determination of membrane
stress and bending stress without categorization as primary or secondary. For primary stresses, a separate equilibrium analysis or
plastic analysis is recommended. This may be a workable solution. But the report gives the impression that the only other solution is to consider all membrane and bending stresses at a discontinuity as primary. This is unreasonable in my opinion. A
knowledgeable engineer is able to separate primary from secondary in FEA results at a discontinuity using the principle that the
primary stress is that required for equilibrium with the applied
load. If the stress is not required for equilibrium with the applied
load, then that stress is secondary.
The report also recommends determination of P + Q at a structural element not a transition element. This is a significant
limitation. In my experience, many analyses are performed to determine thermal gradient stresses for the fatigue evaluation. The
maximum thermal gradient stress is usually in the transition element, and the P + Q stress is needed in the transition element to
determine Ke for the fatigue evaluation. The structural element
approach does not seem to be workable for fatigue damage
calculations.

Meaning of Ke
The maximum value of Ke 1 / n equal to 5 for carbon steel, 3.3
for austenitic steel has been a concern for design. For many of
the high thermal transient situations in nuclear applications, the
allowable number of cycles is very low because of the high Ke
penalty factor on the fatigue evaluation. Recalling the criteria, the
range of primary-plus-secondary stress including thermal bending
may exceed the 3Sm shakedown criterion if a penalty factor is
taken on fatigue.
Reference 14 discusses a different procedure for calculating
the fatigue penalty factor as proposed for use in the French code.
A Ke factor of 1 / n is not applied to the thermal bending stress;
1 / n is only applied to the mechanical stress. The strain concentration factor applied to thermal bending is based on the Neuber
rule. There is one statement in Ref. 14 that I do not agree with
The ASME III NB 3200 rule for Ke definition is clearly devoted to
elastic-follow-up effects as stated in Ref. 6.4 The intent of the 1 / n
factor is a critical issue.
To understand the use of Ke it is necessary to review the development of the simplified elastic-plastic method. This method was
originally developed for piping and published in 1969 in B31.7
3. The problem in Class 1 nuclear piping was that secondary
thermal gradient stresses were exceeding the 3Sm shakedown to
elastic action limit in many cases. There was no technique available to qualify the piping for fatigue without a simplified elasticplastic method. Hence, the B31.7 approach was developed. Secondary thermal gradient stresses thermal bending in NB-3200
terms could exceed 3Sm provided a penalty was taken on the
fatigue analysis.
A full discussion of the development of the simplified elasticplastic rules is given by Slagis 15. The background and technical
basis for the B31.7 approach is explained by Tagart in Ref. 16.
The B31.7 approach included two penalty factorsa notch factor
and a plastic strain redistribution factor. The notch factor accounts
for detrimental effects of plastic cycling at a stress concentration.
The plastic strain redistribution factor accounts for underestimation of strain by elastic analysis at a gross structural discontinuity
when the weaker member yields.
The 1968 edition of Section III did not have simplified elasticplastic rules to allow secondary stresses to exceed 3Sm. When the
B31.7 rules were incorporated into Section III in 1971, the sim4

The quoted Ref. 6 is Ref. 9 in this document.

Journal of Pressure Vessel Technology

plified elastic-plastic rules for piping were revised and comparable


rules were introduced into NB-3200. The A factor was eliminated,
and a single fatigue penalty factor Ke was introduced.
Ke = 1.0

for Sn 3Sm

= 1.01 n/nm 1
Sn/3Sm 1
= 1/n

for 3Sm Sn 3mSm

for Sn 3mSm

The single Ke factor with a maximum of 1 / n is based on the work


of Langer 9. The n parameter is the strain hardening exponent
for the material.
Included in Ref. 15 are summaries of test data, discussion of
the problems with the 1 / n approach, and recommendation for a
two separate factors approach as was done in B31.7.

Summary
Stresses are categorized as primary, secondary, or peak. Primary
stresses are a concern for deformation, burst, or collapse. Secondary stresses are limited to require shakedown to elastic action to
ensure the applicability of the fatigue evaluation. Peak stresses are
a concern for fatigue. Only primary stresses are evaluated for
Level C and D. The Level C and D stress limits permit large
deformations that may require repair or replacement of the component. Implicit in the Level C and D limits are lower factors of
safety against failure based on lower probability of occurrence of
the load.
Primary stresses are required for equilibrium with an internal or
external applied mechanical load. Pressure is a mechanical load
and causes primary stress. Thermal expansion in a piping system,
or a through-wall temperature distribution, is not a mechanical
load and, therefore, produces a secondary stress. A secondary
stress is displacement controlled and is self-limiting. A mechanical load can also cause secondary stresses. Stresses from internal
forces and moments, required for compatibility at a gross structural discontinuity, are secondary.
Stress limits are derived from application of limit design theory,
but limit load is not the failure criterion for primary stress. Burst
and collapse are the fundamental failure modes of concern for
primary stress.
Primary membrane stresses are limited to 1Sm for Design conditions. Sm is the lesser of 2 / 3Sy or 1 / 3Su. Cylinder burst test data
indicate that failure will occur when the hoop membrane stress
reaches the ultimate stress of the material. Hence, the primary
stress limits for Design provide for a nominal factor of safety of 3
on burst. For Level D, the nominal factor of safety is reduced to
1.43.
Primary bending stresses actually, membrane plus bending are
limited to Sm for Design conditions. For a rectangular section,
is 1.5. The limit for bending is higher than for membrane because
of the plastic hinge effect. The elastically predicted moment stress
corresponding to a fully plastic hinge is 1.5Su. Hence, an elastic
bending stress limit of 0.5Su 1.5 Su / 3 provides a factor of
safety on ultimate collapse of 3 for a design mechanical load. For
Level D, the nominal factor of safety is reduced to 1.43.
The primary-plus-secondary stress range limit of 3Sm is to ensure shakedown to elastic action of the through-wall membrane
and bending stresses. If the through-wall membrane and/or bending stresses exceed the limit, plastic cycling rather than elastic
cycling will occur. Plastic cycling at a local structural discontinuity, such as a notch, is detrimental to fatigue life. The secondary
stress limit also provides protection against ratcheting as long as
the hoop membrane pressure stress is less than 0.5Sy.
The elastically predicted primary-plus-secondary-plus peak
stress range for each unique stress cycle is used in the fatigue
evaluation. Acceptable number of cycles is determined from a
design fatigue curve. The design fatigue curve is based on best-fit
polished bar specimen data. Factors of 2 on stress and 20 on
FEBRUARY 2006, Vol. 128 / 31

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cycles are used on the best-fit data curve to obtain the design
curve. The design curve is not based on crack initiation. A cumulative usage factor of 1 implies reasonable assurance that leakage
will not occur in the design life.
Simplified elastic-plastic analysis rules are provided in designby-analysis. The primary-plus-secondary stress range limit of 3Sm
may be exceeded for thermal bending provided a penalty factor,
Ke, is taken on the fatigue analysis. Thermal bending is the secondary bending from a through-wall temperature gradient or a
mean temperature difference. In piping terms, these stresses are
ET1 / 21 and C3EabaTa bTb.
The maximum value for Ke, 1 / n, is extremely conservative and
should be revised. The simplified elastic-plastic analysis method
was first developed for piping and published in B31.7. Two penalty factors were specified in the B31.7 methoda notch factor
and a plastic strain redistribution factor. This is the approach that
should be adopted for design-by-analysis. The notch factor accounts for plastic cycling at a local structural discontinuity. The
plastic strain redistribution factor accounts for underestimation
of plastic strain by elastic analysis at a gross structural
discontinuity.
NB-3200 contains code rules on Thermal Stress Ratchet. To
prevent ratcheting, limits are placed on thermal stress from
through-wall temperature distributions as a function of the value
of sustained pressure membrane stress. Ratcheting is incremental
deformation on each cycle of loading. The critical parameters are
a sustained primary stress and a cyclic secondary stress. General
loading cases can be evaluated by the Bree diagram. This is a
one-dimensional analysis based on elastic-perfectly plastic material behavior.
The design-by-analysis criteria implicitly assume materials with
sufficient ductility to accommodate the required plastic flow without failure. A measure of sufficient ductility has not been quantified to date. The burst pressure of a vessel with a gross structural
discontinuity could be significantly reduced if the material does
not have sufficient ductility. Direct application of the design-byanalysis criteria to high strength materials with low ductility is
questionable in my opinion.
One major problem in finite element analysis is separating primary stresses from secondary stresses. The analyst must exercise
competent engineering judgment. The key to making a decision is
that primary stresses are required for equilibrium with an applied
mechanical load. In general, shear and local bending moment
stresses at a gross structural discontinuity are secondary in nature.

Nomenclature
A
C3
Do
E
Eab
K3
Ke

notch factor in B31.7


piping secondary thermal stress index
outer diameter
modulus of elasticity
average modulus of two sides of a joint
piping peak thermal stress index
plastic strain correction factor

32 / Vol. 128, FEBRUARY 2006

K
m,n
Ro
Salt
Sm
Sn
Sp
Su
Sy
T
tm


T1
T2

plastic strain redistribution factor in B31.7


material parameters
outer radius
primary-plus-secondary-plus peak stress amplitude
material allowable stress
range of primary-plus-secondary stress intensity
total stress intensity range
material ultimate tensile strength
material yield stress
through-wall mean temperature
minimum required wall thickness
coefficient of thermal expansion
Poissons ratio
linear portion of through-wall temperature gradient
nonlinear portion of through-wall temperature gradient

References
1 ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section III, 1963 Edition, Rules for
Construction of Nuclear Vessels.
2 Criteria of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code for Design by Analysis
in Sections III and VIII, Division 2, 1969, ASME.
3 USA Standard Code for Pressure Piping, Nuclear Power Piping, USAS
B31.71969, ASME.
4 ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section III, 2001 Edition, Rules for
Construction of Nuclear Facility Components.
5 Bohm, G. J., and Stevenson, J. D., 1982, Extreme Loads and Their Evaluation
With ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Limits, Pressure Vessel and
Piping: Design Technology1982A Decade of Progress, ASME, pp. 415
418.
6 Slagis, G. C., 1991, Basis of Current Dynamic Stress Criteria for Piping,
Weld. Res. Counc. Bull., 367, pp. 1516.
7 Burrows, W. R., Michel, R., and Rankin, A. W., 1952, A Wall Thickness
Formula for High-Pressure, High-Temperature Piping, ASME Paper No. 52A-151, p. 6.
8 Langer, B. F., 1972, PVRC Interpretive Report of Pressure Vessel Research,
Section IDesign Considerations, in Pressure Vessel and Piping: Design and
Analysis, A Decade of Progress, Volume 1, Analysis, ASME, New York, pp.
860 reprinted from Weld. Res. Counc. Bull., 95, 1964.
9 Langer, B. F., 1972, Design-Stress Basis for Pressure Vessels, in Pressure
Vessel and Piping: Design and Analysis, A Decade of Progress, Volume 1,
Analysis, ASME, New York, pp. 8494 reprinted from Exp. Mech., 1971.
10 Miller, D. R., 1959, Thermal-Stress Ratchet Mechanism in Pressure Vessels,
J. Basic Eng., 81, pp. 190196.
11 Bree, J., 1967, Elastic-Plastic Behavior of Thin Tubes Subjected to Internal
Pressure and Intermittent High-Heat Fluxes with Application to Fast-NuclearReactor Fuel Elements, J. Strain Anal., 23, pp. 226238.
12 Gross, J. H., 1972, PVRC Interpretive Report of Pressure Vessel Research,
Section 2Material Considerations, in Pressure Vessel and Piping: Design
and Analysis, A Decade of Progress, Volume 3, Materials and Fabrication,
ASME, New York, pp. 434 reprinted from Weld. Res. Counc. Bull., 95,
1964.
13 Hechmer, J. L., and Hollinger, G. L., 1998, 3D Stress Criteria Guidelines for
Application, Weld. Res. Counc. Bull., 429.
14 Grandemange, J. M., Heliot, J., Vagner, J., Morel, A., and Faidy, C., 1991,
Improvements on Fatigue Analysis Methods for the Design of Nuclear Components Subjected to the French RCC-M Code, Weld. Res. Counc. Bull.,
361.
15 Slagis, G. C., 2005, Meaning of Ke in Design-by-Analysis Fatigue Evaluation, PVP2005-71420.
16 Tagart, S. W., 1972, Plastic Fatigue Analysis of Pressure Components, in
Pressure Vessel and Piping: Design and Analysis, A Decade of Progress, Volume 1, Analysis, ASME, New York, pp. 209226 reprint of ASME Paper No.
68-PVP-3, 1968.

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