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Comparison Of Traditional And Modern

Piping Flexibility
Petroleum Refinery Applications
The purpose of the study is to analyze an L-shaped flexibility both
in the traditional and modern methods.

The pipe line refers to a petrochemical refinery in critical pipeline.

The piping system should absorb the thermal expansion without

creating a higher load on the equipment.

Therefore flexibility configuration is provided in order to relive the

pipe from critical stresses .
Problem Statement :-
Problem considered here faced in a process piping industry
Pertaining to the refinery. Data refers to a piping system wherein
line between A and C needs to absorb the expansion from
70f to 650f. The length of the leg AB = 30 feet.
The Aim is
1 Determine the length of leg BC.
2. Determination of Forces and Moments and stresses
in the piping system
Pipe size : 10 NPS Schedule 40 ( OD= 10.75 in ID= 10.02 in )
Material of construction : A53 grade B.
Comments :
1. Simplest Idealization comparable to analytical
method due to M W Kellogg
2.Nowadays three dimensional FE Models are
also possible but they are time consuming
and not comparable to analytical method
Fig. Idealized Configuration 3. Elbow is represented as a sharp corner .
of the piping system for
The main aim is:
1. To find the length of the leg BC sufficient enough to absorb the thermal
2. To determine the forces and moments experienced at equipment locations A
and C.
3. Calculate the forces and moments by FEA and
4. present a comparison of the results
We will present two methods

1. M.W.KELLOG METHOD : Widely used in Piping Design


2. FINITE ELEMENT METHOD : Applications well known in other

fields such as automobile, aerospace, etc but not much in process and
Petroleum refineries as most of it is coded design.

This method has been developed by the stress analysis group engineers in M W Kellogg
company and has ben widely used by engineers. This has been the standard classical
workhorse for several years and is very simple and easy to use.

Let us compute the parameter

Graph for determining the height
of expansion loop

Note :
1. SA = Allowable Stress range = 1.25 Sc +
0.25 Sh as per Code 31.3
2. L = 30 ft
3. e = thermal expansion of carbon steel =
4.6 in /100 ft.

We have used US units as it is common in

the process industry .
We get K = 0.53
And hence the length of leg BC is 15.9 ft .

Fig: Graph for determining multiplying factors for

Forces & Moments

Fxa= -106.A1.Ie/L2
Fya= 106.A2.Ie/L2
MZa= 106.A3.Ie/L
MZc= -106.A3.Ie/L
M W Kellogg Calculations
We get K = and from this the leg length BC= ft .
The formulas for Forces and Moments developed give us the values
from the graph as

The finite element method plays a very important role in the product design

and is widely used in almost all the fields. The method originated from

matrix theory of structural analysis and then was complemented by

mathematicians for partial differential equations.

Fig. Typical frame element with nodal degrees
of freedom
1 = Axial Displacement at node A
2 = Lateral / Vertical Displacement at node A.
3 = Slope at node A
4 = Axial Displacement at node B
5 = Lateral / Vertical Displacement at node B
6 = Slope at node B
For an L-shaped configuration, we can represent the structure
by two elements as above shown in Fig. No. 5
and the stiffness matrix associated with the element is given by the
following matrix.

Fig. Analysis of L shaped flexibility

configuration through frame elements.
[K] =

In this matrix A= Piping Cross-sectional area (in2),

E = Youngs Modulus (psi),L = Length of the element (in) and I = Moment of Inertia (in4)
And Load is thermal load
i.e. F = AET where A is cross sectional area of pipe and E is Youngs Modulus of elasticity
We now give a comparison table of the classical and FEA methods in Table

Sr. No. Method Results

1. M W KELLOG Fxa= -6398 lbf , Fya= 2376 lbf ,
Mza=30166 lbf.ft , Mzc= -65816 lbf ft

2 FEA Fxa= -5679 lbf , Fya= 1987 lbf ,

Mza=28150 lbf.ft ,Mzc = -62754 lbf ft

Fxa= Force in x direction at equipment A Fya= Force in y direction at equipment C

Mza = Moment about z direction at equipment A Mzc = Moment about z direction at equipment C .
1. M.W. Kellogg gives us slightly higher values than FEM.
2. This means that classical methods tend to give us a
slightly overconservative design .
3. This also means that more of FEA is to be used in piping
and pressure vessels .