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A Suggested Evaluation Procedure For Shell/Plate Element Finite Element Nozzle Models

Michael A. Porter
Dynamic Analysis
Lenexa, Kansas
Dennis H. Martens
Black and Veatch Pritchard
Overland Park, Kansas
S. M. Caldwell
Eastman Chemical Company
Kingsport, Tennessee

A procedure for evaluating the results of a finite element analysis
employing shell/plate elements is proposed based on several previous
papers by the authors and a review of other related works. This
procedure relates the stress levels produced by the finite element
software to the provisions of ASME Section VIII, Division 2.
A procedure for the evaluation of 3-D Finite element models
according to the ASME Section III and VIII Code requirements has
been published by the Pressure Vessel Research Council (PVRC)
(Hechmer and Hollinger, 1997). This document summarizes and
expands upon earlier papers by Hechmer and Hollinger (1987 and
1991) as well as incorporating the stress linearization concepts
published by Kroenke (1974) and Kroenke et al (1975). Together,
these works present a clear description of the process necessary to
evaluate 2-D and 3-D Solid element models as well as axisymmetric
element models.
The PVRC recommended evaluation procedure consists of
selecting an appropriate Stress Classification Line (SCL) in the model
and then linearizing the stresses along this line to identify the primary,
secondary and peak components of the stress for comparison with the
Code criteria. The selection and evaluation process for the SCL is
covered in great detail in the PVRC report. The process for linearizing
the stresses is also presented in a conceptual format. Currently, a task
force of the Design Subcommittee is working on the language
necessary to incorporate these procedures into the Code.
The PVRC work dealt exclusively with 3-D Solid and
Axisymmetric type element models; no work using shell and/or plate
element models was included. In a significant portion of the industry
that is subject to the ASME Code, the vessels tend to be relatively
large diameter and thin wall (r/t >10) in configuration. Shell, plate
and 3-D solid elements may all be used for applications where the
diameter-to-wall thickness ratio is greater than 10. Due primarily to
economic and time constraints however, it is typically not practical to
employ 3-D solid elements in the analysis of many general industry
vessels. The best tool that we can afford is more often the use of
shell and/or plate elements. Thus, the evaluation of shell and/or plate
element models in relationship to the Code should be addressed.
The stresses reported by shell elements are inherently linear. No
separate linearization process is required when evaluating a shell
element FE model. The only questions (assuming that the FE model is
itself constructed correctly) are which stresses to evaluate and where.
In a previous paper (Porter and Martens, 1996) the authors outlined a
procedure for such evaluation. While this earlier procedure does
provide some guidance for evaluation, it is not entirely consistent with
the PVRC recommendations. In the current paper we propose a
revised procedure which we believe to be more consistent with the
current PVRC document.
Notes and Limitations
Note: in the remainder of this paper these elements will be
referred to as simply shell elements. It is to be understood that this
term refers to both shell and thin plate type elements where
appropriate. The distinction between, and the proper employment of
the various element formulations and types, is the subject of another
paper (Porter, Martens, and Marcal, 1999).
The nozzle investigated in this paper is a 90-degree nozzle in a
thin wall shell. This procedure may not be directly applicable to other
than 90-degree junctions or to thick wall vessels. Additionally, the
results presented in this paper have been derived using linear thin plate
elements. Different numerical results will likely be obtained using
thick plate and/or shell elements.
Based on the material and temperatures examined in this model,
creep was not considered as a factor. For many common materials at
higher temperatures, the creep strength rather than the criteria cited in
this paper might be the limiting factor. The basis for establishing the
allowable stress based on creep is contained in ASME Section VIII
Division 1, Section II, Part D. From inspection, it is apparent that the
use of 1.1, 1.5 and 3 Sm values will effect the life expectancy for
Secondary stress that will be sustained throughout the creep
deformation of the nozzle structure. Similarly, consideration for life
expectancy due to cyclic applied loading must be addressed per the
Division 2 Appendix 5 methodology (Martens and Hsieh 1998).
The first issue to be considered is where the stresses will be
evaluated. Here we have specific guidance from the PVRC document.
Figure 1 illustrates a cross section through a typical nozzle/shell
intersection. In this case, the nozzle is vertical with a wall thickness t
while the shell is horizontal with a wall thickness of T. Also indicated
is a re-enforcement pad with a thickness of P (typically P =T on thin
wall vessels). A fillet weld having a radius of r is also indicated at the
intersection. This fillet is required by ASME Section VIII, Division 1,
UW-16, 1998 to have a minimum throat thickness of 0.7 times the
minimum thickness of two joining parts or , whichever is less. The
fillet usually does not have a concave radius and the legs of the typical
fillet are, for practical proposes, equal to throat minimum thickness
divided by 0.707. Therefore the minimum fillet leg length is
approximately equal to the minimum thickness of the two joining parts
or , whichever is less. Typically, this intersection would be modeled
using shell elements along the lines indicated. With shell elements it
is difficult, if not impossible to actually model the fillet, so it is
typically omitted.
The area that is crosshatched on Figure 1 is referred to as the
juncture-ring (or sometimes simply the ring) in the PVRC
document. Stresses (except for fatigue purposes) are not to be
evaluated in the juncture-ring according to the PVRC document.
Thus, the closest points to the intersection of the nozzle and shell
where stresses are to be evaluated are indicated by the distances a and
b on the shell and nozzle respectively.
From a practical modeling standpoint, if the shell elements are
constructed such that a line of nodes is created at distances a and b
from the intersection, evaluation of the stresses at these locations is not
at all difficult. With most commercial PC-based FE products, this is
not a difficult task. The minimum required distances a and b are
related to the joint dimensions by a =t/2 +t or 1 t and b =P +t.
Additionally, it is normally possible to eliminate elements during the
post-processing stage such that the stresses on the eliminated elements
are not reported. Thus, evaluating the stresses at distances a and b
away from the intersection is a relatively straightforward procedure.
Figure 2 illustrates the configuration of a model of a nozzle/shell
intersection. The intersection modeled consists of a 24 diameter,
wall nozzle in a 96 diameter, wall shell. A thick, 42 diameter
reinforcement pad is modeled on the shell. Using these dimensions, a
=+= and b =+=1. The model was loaded as

Internal Pressure 165 PSI
Nozzle Force Z: -6,480 LB
Nozzle Moment X: 25,500 FT-LB
Nozzle Moment Y: 33,160 FT-LB
Nozzle Moment Z: 33,160 FT-LB
Figure 3 illustrates the indicated Stress Intensities in the nozzle
under all loads. Note that the elements within the junction-ring
region have been hidden. As expected, the highest stresses are
indicated on the line of nodes adjacent to the hidden juncture-ring.
The stresses indicated in this illustration represent the combination of
both primary and secondary stresses on the nozzle (PL +Q) and are to
be compared with 3Sm. Figure 4 illustrates the membrane stresses in
the same region. If we consider these to be the local membrane
stresses (PL), they are to be compared with 1.5Sm. Note that this
model was refined several times to ensure convergence. The finished
model had 192 elements around the circumference of the nozzle. This
is a greater number of elements than the 96 elements that Ha (1995)
indicates is the minimum required for convergence with 90-degree
pipe nozzle intersections.
While pictorial plots of the stresses such as Figures 3 and 4 are
informative, and perhaps all that is necessary to evaluate this nozzle,
there are other presentations of the stresses that are also useful. Figure
5 illustrates the stresses in the nozzle region as a function of the
distance away from the intersection between the nozzle and the shell.
These stresses have been assessed along a radial line passing through
the center of the nozzle and passing through the point of indicated
highest stress. The indicated stresses in Figure 5 are due to the
application of pressure, force and moment loading on the nozzle.
Figure 6 illustrates the membrane stress due to the combined loading
and due to pressure loading alone. It should be noted that the line used
for the membrane stress plot was not the same as for the stress
intensity, because the location of the maximum varied depending on
the type of stress being evaluated. Similarly, the location of the
highest stressed area changes between the pressure only and the
pressure plus moments loading conditions.
The evaluation of stresses when complex configurations and
loadings are involved may be accomplished using the methodology in
Division 2. The code allowable stress must be based on the Division to
which the design and fabrication is conducted. With the indicated
stresses now plotted, the task becomes deciding which stress to
compare with which code criteria. Referring to Figure 4-130.1 of
ASME Section VIII, Division 2 Appendix 4, there are essentially three
levels of stress used for compliance analysis: kSm, 1.5kSm and 3Sm.
For this discussion, we will assume that k=1 and we will leave
discussion of the peak stress and the associated Sa for another paper.
General Primary Membrane - Sm
It is clear that well away from the nozzle the membrane stresses
in both the shell and nozzle are below Sm. As a measure of how close
to the nozzle we can be before the membrane stress is allowed to
exceed Sm, we can take guidance from ASME Section VIII, Division
2 Appendix 4, 4-112, (I), the definition for Local Primary Stress which
A stress region may be considered as local if the distance over
which the stress intensity exceeds 1.1 Sm does not extend in the
meridional direction more than 1.0
where R is the mid-surface
radius of curvature measured normal to the surface of the axis of
rotation and t is the minimum thickness of the region considered.

Using this criteria, the Stress Intensity should not exceed 22.0 ksi
(1.1Sm for A 516-70 up to 500 F per Division 1) at a distance of
approximately 2.5 and 6.9 fromthe nozzle/shell intersection in the
nozzle and shell directions respectively. The definition cited above
was included in Appendix 4 as a guideline based on the observation of
the stress decay with distance in a number of examples. The important
aspect of this evaluation is to be assured that the stresses are trending
toward Sm when they reach this distance.
This nozzle meets the criteria in both directions. At a somewhat
greater distance, the membrane stresses are well below the Sm
allowable for the primary membrane stress. Thus, the Sm criteria
would appear to be met. It should be noted that, in general, FE is not
needed to evaluate compliance with the Primary membrane criteria.
The familiar =pr/t formula for the hoop stress in a cylinder is the
preferred means of checking compliance.

Primary + Secondary 3Sm
It is clear from Figures 5 and 6 that the stresses tend to increase
as the distance from the intersection between the nozzle and shell is
decreased. The maximum indicated stress in all cases is at the node
adjacent to the junction-ring. Comparing the maximum indicated
Stress Intensity (either from Figure 3 or Figure 5) with 3Sm to assess
compliance would be appropriate. Assuming that the material is SA-
516-70 (@ 500 deg), Division 1 Sm is 20.0 ksi. The maximum
indicated stress intensity is less than 58 ksi, so that compliance with
the 3Sm criteria for Primary plus Secondary (PL +Q) is indicated.
Note that by definition, PB does not apply in the nozzle region.
Local Primary Membrane 1.5Sm
The Local Membrane criterion requires that the membrane stress
not exceed 1.5Sm, in this case 30.7 ksi. From Figure 6, it is clear that
this stress level is met on both the nozzle and shell at the nodal SCL
line adjacent to the juncture-ring when the loading is due to pressure
only. When the piping load is applied, the local membrane stress at
the junction ring exceeds the 1.5 Sm criterion.
It is interesting to note that for many years the primary method
for computing the stress in nozzles that have a mechanical loading has
been WRC-107. The stresses computed with this procedure were then
compared with the Code allowables. WRC-107 does not classify the
stresses. General practice in many industries has been to compare
only the Primary plus Secondary (P +Q) Stress Intensity due to the
mechanical loading to 1.5Sm. While the membrane stresses are
computed, they are not always compared separately with the 1.5Sm
The WRC-107 procedure computes the stress only at four points
(0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees), none of which is necessarily the point of
maximum stress. When the moment (or force) loads are nearly equal
for the two axes perpendicular to the axis of the nozzle, the highest
stress occurs at other than the points where stress is computed by
WRC-107. Thus, the use of FE analysis for computing nozzle stresses
can be considerably more conservative than WRC-107.
As documented in an earlier paper (Porter and Martens, 1996),
this nozzle meets the Code criteria when the WRC-107 stress
computation procedure is used. We can see from Figure 6 that the
local membrane criterion level of 30.75 ksi is closely approached in
the nozzle under pressure loading only. Typical bending loads
encountered in real life situations push the membrane stress over the
limit at the junction-ring. The authors have found this to be the case in
a (yet to be published) wide range of typical nozzle and loading cases.
In fact, it is the exception rather than the rule when a conventionally
designed nozzle will meet the local membrane criterion at the
junction-ring if the bending loads are included.

Koves and Sanger (1996) have indicated that a better method of
evaluating the membrane stress would be to average the stress within
RT 78 . 0
of the intersection. In a newly published paper, Koves
(1999) presents an equation that relates the average stress in this area
to the maximum indicated stress. Using this relationship, we can
compute the average local membrane stress based on the maximum
indicated stress as illustrated in Equation 1.

Equation (1)

=Average local membrane stress within RT 78 . 0 of the
=Maximum local membrane stress within
RT 78 . 0
of the
L =

R =Mean radius of shell
T =Thickness of shell
a =Mean radius of nozzle

Equation 1 is based on the analysis of numerous actual burst tests
of nozzles and is considered to be a conservative estimate of the stress.
Thus, if we divide the allowable local membrane stress (1.5Sm) by the
right hand side of Equation 1, we get an allowable stress level that can
be compared directly with the maximum indicated stress from the FE
model. Using this procedure, the allowable local membrane stress

Equation (2)

With these facts in mind, it is the authors opinion that using the
Primary plus Secondary (PL +Q) Stress Intensity <3Sm criterion-
only procedures is sufficient for evaluating the stress in a nozzle
analyzed using FE and is just as conservative as using the current
WRC-107 stress computation procedure. It is possible that the local
membrane stress need not be evaluated at the juncture-ring. However,
pending further investigation, the average stress computation as
developed by Koves (1999) would seem to be an appropriate way to
evaluate the local membrane stress. The 1.1Sm criteria is applicable at
the distance from the nozzle/shell as stated in Section VIII, Division 2
Appendix 4, 4-112, (I).
Using the Sm, 1.1Sm and 3Sm values and positions described, a
stress acceptance line can be constructed on Figure 5 (shown as Figure
7). The stress variance from the 1.1Sm location to the 3Sm location is
assumed to be linear for acceptance. However, on inspection, the FE-
generated stress is a curve. This presentation is of value to the engineer
for assuring that the stress contour is smooth and consistent. The
presentation can easily be adapted to a post processor to present a
graphic solution to compare the code allowable stresses versus FE-
developed stresses and the stress profile within the joint. The authors
submit that a visual graphic presentation facilitates the engineers
review of the stress data and code compliance.
Figure 7 addresses the Appendix 4 Primary plus Secondary stress.
The Sm evaluation location is placed at
rt 5 . 2
, the 1.1 Sm location is
placed at
, and the 3Sm location is placed at the SCL. These
values are compared to the Stress Intensity (Tresca * 2) stress values
from the analysis.

In a similar manner, the local primary membrane stress can be
evaluated in accordance with the criteria as indicated in Figure 8,
which addresses the Appendix 4 Primary stresses resulting from
design loads of pressure and weight. The same locations used for the
Primary plus Secondary stress evaluation are used here, but the
maximum allowable stress is given by Equation (2) rather than 3Sm.
The criteria values are compared to the computed membrane stress.
When the piping loads are added to the pressure and weight loads, the
membrane stress exceeds the 1.5 Sm allowable, but not the criteria
based on the Koves (1999) paper. As earlier stated, the authors have
found this to be more the rule than the exception on a significant
number of thin wall nozzles that have been examined. We believe that
this is an indication that the application of the 1.5 Sm limit for the
local membrane stress at the junction ring may be overly conservative
and that the Koves value is more realistic.
In order to assess the stress in a thin wall (r/t and R/T >10)
nozzle/shell junction using FE and shell elements, the authors
recommend that the following procedure be followed:

1. The nozzle should be modeled using shell elements with a
minimum of 96 elements around the circumference of the
nozzle. This assumes that linear plate elements are being
employed. If higher order shell elements are used, a lesser
number of elements may be required. A convergence
analysis or some other verifiable check must be employed to
assess the element behavior if fewer elements are employed.

2. The model should be constructed to ensure that a row of
nodes is located at a distance of 1.5t from the junction on the
shell side and P+t on the nozzle side.

3. The elements used should have a length-to-width aspect
ratio less than 2.0.

4. No transition in element size should be made within the pad
area and/or within rt (or 10 times the thickness, whichever
is greater) of the intersection on the nozzle and shell

5. All operating loads including gravity, pressure, thermal and
external forces and moments, should be applied to the model
for the surface Stress Intensity (3Sm) check. The Local
Membrane under combined loading should also be evaluated
at the junction-ring.

6. The computed Stress Intensity on the lines of elements 1.5t
on the shell and P+t on the nozzle shall be compared with
the 3Sm criterion. If the indicated Stress Intensities do not
exceed the criterion level, the nozzle meets the code
requirements. The local membrane stress at the junction-
ring should be checked against the Equation 2 criteria.

Note: The 3Sm criterion is based on a range of stresses. In the
case of thermal loading it may be necessary to consider several loading
conditions to evaluate the proper range.

The above procedure assumes that the engineer will employ the
proper elements and verification methods to ensure the validity of the
FE model used for the analysis.

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Section VIII, Division 2, The American Society of Mechanical
Engineers, New York, NY.
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a Pipe-Nozzle Under Internal Pressure, Nuclear Engineering and
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3D Stresses on a Plane, PVP Vol. 161, Codes and Standards
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Design Criteria for Nozzles, International Conference on Pressure
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Comparison Finite Element Codes and Recommended Investigation
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Centerline of plate element

Figure 1 Cross section of nozzle/shell junction Figure 2 Nozzle/shell intersection model
Figure 3- Stress Intensity in nozzle/shell intersection model Figure 4- Membrane stress in nozzle/shell intersection model

Stress Intensity Profile - Operating Loads
-12 -10 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8
Di stance from Intersecti on - In


Stress Intensity - Inside
Stress Intensity - Outside
Nozzl e --- Shel l
Membrane Stress Profiles
-12 -10 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8
Di stance From Intersecti on - In


Presure +Piping Loads
Pressure only
Nozzl e --- Shel l
Figure 5 Stress Intensity Figure 6 Membrane Stress

Stress Profile - Design (Pressure) Load
-12 -10 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8
Di stance From Intersecti on - In


Limit Curve
Pressure +Piping loads
Pressure Only
Nozzl e --- Shel l
1.1 Sm
1.1 Sm
Stress Profile - All Loads
-12 -10 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8
Distance from Intersection - In
Limit Curve
Stress Intensity - Inside
Stress Intensity - Outside
Nozzle --- Shell
1.1 Sm
1.1 Sm
Figure 7 Stress Intensity evaluation Figure 8- Membrane Stress evaluation