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Design, Analysis and Testing of Saddle Supported Pipes and Vessels

Paulin Research Group 11211 Richmond Ave. Suite 109 Houston, Texas 77082 281-920-9775 November 18, 2003

Vessel Engineers Saddles with or without wearplates Piping Engineers Saddles & Pipe Shoes with or without wearplates

Significant Features of the Geometry

Wearplate attached to shell/pipe only on outer edge by fillet or stitch weld Support members welded only to wearplate not directly to shell Saddle external load transfer to shell is different for Support and Nozzle. Trends are dominated by the ratio twearplate/tshell Integral and NonIntegral model types are used most often

Integral vs Non-Integral Wearplates

Finite Element Analysis can evaluate geometries and loads when no other solutions are possible CONSISTENT DESIGNS ARE PRODUCED.
External Loads (sloshing, wind, seismic, piping induced thermal) Fatigue Analysis Multiple Saddles Ovalization effect due to liquid head Influence of Pressure on Circumferential Bending Geometries beyond Zicks Scope (b +10t, etc)

Recognized Limitations of Standard Zick Approach

Adjusted beam theory and ring equations to match strain gage results.
Weight Only No External Loads on Saddle Supports Integral Wear Pad Model Minimum Extent of Wear Pad (b + 10t, R/10, 12 Limit) Shell is fixed at Saddle Horn (Circumferential Bending) Rigid Support not Connected to Shell (Ring Compression) Pressure Stress Effects Not Included Limited Load Cases

Comparing FEA to Zick

Compare secondary stress intensity (Pl+Pb+Q) to Zick circumferential stress in shell for weight loads only. Do NOT compare peak stress intensities (Pl+Pb+Q+F) values to Zick stresses. Zick theory and equations are adjusted to match strain gage results. Strain gage stresses are location and gage size dependant and reflect an average of the stress over the effective gage length. In general, FEA secondary stresses will be more conservative than Zick because the stress is calculated at all points in the geometry and is not limited by the location or size of a strain gage.

Weight (Zick-Type) Stress Trends at Saddles

Highest stress usually at saddle horn (Compressive on Outside) Vessel length, diameter, and thickness will influence shift of stresses the vessel MUST be allowed to ovalize if there are no stiffening rings. Stresses due to external loads DO NOT necessarily follow these trends.
Tensile stress on outer surface near meridian

Stresses concentrate on inside edge of saddle

Compressive stress on outer surface at saddle horn

When L*D/t > 15 vessel weight and fluid caused ovalization can contribute significantly to stresses at saddle horn for vessels without stiffening rings. NozzlePRO analyzes filled, partially filled or empty vessels. Ovalization does not affect stresses due to external loads as strongly.

Saddle Design Guidance

Flexible wear plate reduces stresses in shell BUT may increase the stress in the wearplate. Zick will not show this shift. Run the FEA calculation. Optimize the design by balancing the stress in shell and the wear plate. Wearplates in the parameter range 0.50 < t/T < 1.0 are usually best for weight. For t/T < 1.0, high weight stress is between the saddle horn and edge of pad. For t/T = 1.0, high weight stress is near top edge of pad. For t/T > 1.0, high weight stress is above top edge of pad. For external load stresses, the wearplate thickness does not as strongly effect the shell stresses. This is true for 0.50 < t/T < 1.40. Wearplate thickness is typically selected equal to shell thickness. FEA shows that optimum designs can be between 0.5 < t/T < 1.25 All recommendations use saddle angles between 120 and 150 degrees and a 12 degree extension of the wear plate past the outer web plates. Wearplates are NOT always required. Using FEA analysis guidelines below NozzlePRO users can quickly determine the need for wearplates.

Influence of Wearplate Thickness on Weight Stresses in the Shell

Influence of Wear Plate Thickness
0.9 0.8 Integral Pad Non-Integral Pad Zick (Saddle Horn) Zick (Above Pad) 0.7

0.6 Stress Reduction 0.5


0.4 0.3 0.2


0.1 0 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 t/T 1 1.2 1.4 1.6

Non-Integral Model shows lowest shell stresses due to weight and external loads and compares best to Zick and PRG strain gage data.

Weight Stress Distributions

t / T = 0.375

t / T = 0.50

t / T = 1.0

t / T = 1.50

Notes for Analyzing External Loads

Axial loads tend to concentrate stresses at corners of saddle Both positive and negative axial load directions need to be evaluated because of the interaction with weight stresses. Integral models tend to give the best stresses in the wearplate and shell under the wearplate. Non-integral models tend to give the best stresses in the shell adjacent to the wearplate. Stresses in the shell are not affected so much by the wearplate thickness for external loadings. These notes apply for wearplates that are equal to b+10t where b is the width of the widget and t is the thickness of the shell.

Stress Trends for External Loads on Saddles

80000 Vessel Wall (Integral Pad) Wear Plate (Integral Pad) 70000 Vessel Wall (Non-Integral) Wear Plate (Non-Integral) 60000

50000 Stress (psi)





0 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 t/T 1 1.2 1.4 1.6

Stress in Shell is not strongly effected by the wearplate thickness for external loads. Below t/T of 1.0 the high stress due to external loads moves into the wearplate. Non-Integral models are the most conservative.

Piping Support Axial Loads are typically due to primary and fatigue loading:
Thermal Expansion of Pipe (Fatigue?) Seismic/Wind (Primary & Fatigue?) Water Hammer (Primary?) Pulsations (Fatigue?) Pitch & Roll (Primary & Fatigue?)

Horizontal Vessel Support Axial Loads are typically due to primary and fatigue loading:
Seismic (Primary & Fatigue?) Pitch & Roll (Primary & Fatigue?) Acoustic (Surge Protection and Noise Attenuation Devices) (Fatigue?)

Primary Load Failures

Produce Collapse or Excessive Distortion Seismic/Wind loads could produce collapse or excessive distortion Thermal loads tend not to produce collapse or excessive distortion because they are strain limited or secondary. Pitch & Roll Loads could produce collapse or excessive distortion of saddle supported vessels. Waterhammer loads could produce collapse or excessive distortion of the saddle supported vessels or pipes. Liquid loads due to hydrotest can produce excessive distortion.

Fatigue Load Failures

Seismic loads do have a cyclic component. Seismic # of cycles can be taken to be around 100. Seismic loads could contribute or add to fatigue failures from other sources Thermal cycling is a major cause of fatigue failures in pipe systems. Pressure cycling can cause fatigue failures, but tend to be covered by added awareness and design precautions and not by a Div 1 or B31 type analysis. Pitch & Roll Loads have a cyclic quality and may initiate fatigue cracks that jeopardize the pressure boundary or cause support failure due to crack growth and loss of load carrying area. Acoustic Problems typically have several fatigue causing mechanisms related to cyclic load of supports and restrained vessel dilation.

Saddle Supported Geometries should be designed to satisfy two loading criteria

Primary Load Failures Collapse or Excessive Distortion Secondary/Fatigue Failures Crack Propogation A) Thru the pressure boundary most dangerous crack. B) Thru the load carrying members.

ASME Section VIII Div 2 Primary Stress Criteria

Local primary membrane stress must be less than 1.5 Sm. (Pl < 1.5Sm ) Local primary bending stress must be less than 3 Sm (exception 4-136.7) Must not be elastically unstable. (Most PVP geometries are not.)

ASME Section VIII Div 2 Secondary/Peak Stress Criteria (plus Markl and B31 fatigue criteria)
Secondary Stress must be less than 3Sm (Pl+Pb+Q < 3Sm) Alternating Peak Stress (Fatigue) must be less than Sa (Pl+Pb+Q+F < Sa). Markl Test alternating Peak Stress limit for carbon steels = 245,000 N-0.2 psi B31 Alternating Peak Stress Limit = f(1.25(Sc+Sh)) = 6N-0.2(Sc+Sh)

Recommended FEA Method (NozzlePRO/FEPipe/Ansys/Abacus etc.) Programs mentioned are the top three used in Europe as listed in the Current Industrial Practices for Pressure Equipment Design Against Fatigue.

Only 10 values are needed to describe the saddle geometry.

Use checkbox to toggle between integral and nonintegral repads.

A variety of options are available for saddle geometry, model and boundary condition type.

NozzlePRO Non-Integral Saddle and WearPlate model

Wear Plate Model Weld Size Assumption

ASME VIII Code Stress Results

Tabular Reports

Load Entered produced a 300% overstress.

Test at PRG Lab in Houston of Same Vessel

Axial Displacements (Strain Gage #1)

Plastic Deformation

Using NozzlePRO and ASME rules a 28,000 lb. load showed to be 291% overstressed 100% of allowable would be here.



Displacement (Test #1) Displacements (Test #2) Displacements (Test #3)

20000 Load (lb)


Safety Factor


0 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1 Axial Displacement (in.)

Primary Load Evaluation with NozzlePRO gives the desired Safety Factor

Accurate Fatigue predictions are difficult to make. It has been said: The Good Lord watches over: 1) Children 2) Fools 3) People that try to predict fatigue failures of PVP geometries with FEA programs.

Of critical importance in cyclically loaded systems is weld profile and quality. (The analysis doesnt mean anything if youve got a poor weld. The welds shown below by Cen-Tex Marine were exceptional.)

NozzlePRO fatigue evaluation per ASME Section VIII Div. 2 Appendix 4 and 5.
Load that produced plastic deformation in the saddle would overstress the vessel if applied 7000 times.

Anticipated number of fatigue cycles to failure. 490,000 N-0.2 = Stress-to-Failure 490,000 N-0.2 = 137,614 N to Fail = (137,614/490,000)-5 = 572 cycles

NozzlePRO Automatically Calculates Primary and Secondary/Fatigue Stresses

Primary Stress Evaluation (Pl < 1.5Sm) using NozzlePRO gives desired Safety Factor. Fatigue Stress Evaluation (Pl+Pb+Q+F < Sa) using NozzlePRO gives desired safety factor.

Dont Let FEA Be the ONLY Design Criteria Be sure to evaluate:

Cycles If none then can be less conservative Service Cold Water, Low Pressure then can be less conservative (generally) Load Designation Pilot Plants tend to be more dangerous and loads are less certain. Corrosion/SCC Where metal damage can result design approaches should be more conservative. Dynamic Loads Waterhammer/Pulsation Take more conservative approaches. High Temperature In the creep range be more conservative with the How fabricated? (Does the lowest bidder provide the best product?)

Two stress catagories must be evaluated:
Primary (Pl<1.5Sm) Fatigue (Pl+Pb+Q<3Sm and Pl+Pb+Q+F < Sa)

Saddles on wearplates can fail thru the pressure containment section or thru the support section. Integral Models are Less Conservative but tend to more accurately predict the stress. Non-Integral Models are More Conservative but may simulate fit-up and actual fabrication better. Fatigue Integrity is VERY weld profile and weld quality dependant. FEA can be used to produce good design guidance. Watch for latest on test results.

SPLASH is a 2d CFD Program that generates

sloshing and earthquake loads due to fluids in Vessels and Pipes.

Pick the Vessel Size, the Grid Size and the depth of fluid

1) Select Type of Geometry

2) Enter pitch and roll sloshing period and maximum g load or El Centro Earthquake multiplier.

3) SPLASH Calculates shear loads and fluid motion.

Maximum Base Shear to use in NozzlePRO Saddle Caculation

SPLASH Calculates base

shears on horizontal vessels and overturning moments for vertical vessels. The natural period of the fluid can be also be determined to see if baffles should be added. Movie files are created and stored with text and graphic report files that can be electronically transmitted to the client.

Natural Frequency of Fluid in Vessel