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Introduction:

Leakage is a function of the relative stiffnesses of the flange, gasket and bolting.
Flanges are designed to remain leak free under hydrostatic test pressure when cold and
under operating pressure when hot.

The design of flanges (ASME B 16.5) does not take into account the bending moment in the
pipe. This generates wire drawing effect on the mating surface of the flange. Hence,
additional flexibility is to be provided when a flange joint is located near a point of high
bending moment. So, Leakage checking is required.

Process Piping Flanges are designed in accordance with BPV code, Section VIII, Division
1, appendix 2, using allowable stress and temperature limits of ASME B 31.3.

Analysis Criteria:
The criteria regarding when flange leakage checking is required should be mentioned in the ITB
documents or project specs. But as a general practice the following can be used:

Flanges with rating 600 or more


Flanges with rating 300 and size greater than 24 inch
Pipe flanges carrying caterogy M fluid service
Pipe flanges carrying Hydrogen or other flammable fluid
PSV lines with NPS 6 inch or more
Flanges in Jacketed Piping
Flanges where stress engineer finds a very high bending moment

Analysis Methodology:

Two widely used methods are practiced in prevalent Process Industry. These are
1. Pressure Equivalent method based on ASME B 16.5 pressure temperature table and
2. ASME BPVC Sec VIII Div 1 Appendix 2 method.
Pressure Equivalent Method:
In this method the axial force (F) and bending moment (M) on the flange is converted into
equivalent pressure (Pe) using following equations.
Equivalent Pressure for Axial force, Pe1=4F/G^2
Equivalent Pressure for bending moment, Pe2=16M/G^3
Here G=diameter at location of gasket load reaction =(Gasket OD+ID)/2 when bo<=6 mm
=(Gasket OD-2b) when bo>6 mm.
Here bo=basic gasket seating width as given in table 2-5.2 of ASME sec VIII:
Now add these two equivalent pressures with pipe design pressure (Pd) to find total pressure
(Pt=Pd+Pe1+Pe2) and enter into the ASME B 16.5 pressure temperature rating table associated
with flange material. If Pt is less than the allowed pressure on the rating table corresponding to the
associated temperature then flange will not leak.
ASME BPVC Sec VIII Div 1 Appendix 2 method:
In this method flange stresses (longitudinal hub stress, radial flange stress and tangential flange
stress) are calculated based on code provided equations/formulas. These calculated stresses are
then compared with allowable stresses as given in BPVC code Sec VIII Div 1 Appendix 2, Clause 28.
For calculating flange stresses one need to calculate the flange moment which is dependent on bolt
load. Bolt load has to be calculated for two design conditions; operating & gasket seating, and the
most severe will govern. For more details of the equations and calculation methodology the above
mentioned code can be referred. Click on the following title if you are interested in Caesar II
methods for flange leakage analysis using a) Pressure Equivalent Method and b) ASME Section
VIII method