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ASME Section III Design-ByAnalysis Criteria Concepts and
Stress Limits

- Unfire Pressure Vessel
- BS EN 13445-3 (2009)
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Slagis

e-mail: slagisg@asme.org

G C Slagis Associates,

258 Hillcrest Place,

Pleasant Hill CA 94523-2184

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.

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.

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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

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.

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.

Transactions of the ASME

Downloaded 26 Jun 2007 to 24.3.32.154. Redistribution subject to ASME license or copyright, see http://www.asme.org/terms/Terms_Use.cfm

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

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

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.

Downloaded 26 Jun 2007 to 24.3.32.154. Redistribution subject to ASME license or copyright, see http://www.asme.org/terms/Terms_Use.cfm

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-

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-

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

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.

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.

NB-3222.5.

Ductility

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.

FEBRUARY 2006, Vol. 128 / 29

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

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.

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

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

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 Sn 3mSm

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

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

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

K

m,n

Ro

Salt

Sm

Sn

Sp

Su

Sy

T

tm

T1

T2

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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