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API 12F 750 Bbl Tank

Finite Element Analysis- Shop Welded Tank


Performed by Kieran Claffey
Baker Consulting Group

Background
Kieran Claffey
Bsc Mechanical Engineering
Vacuum Chamber Design for

Semiconductor Industry,
Chemical Vapor Deposition Reactor
Design,
Damage Mechanics, Fatigue, Impact
Analysis, R&D
Stress Analysis and FE for Above Ground
Storage Tanks
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Objective of Analysis
Validate the current API 12F standard
requirements for recommended sizes
and pressure and vacuum limits.
2. Determine if the pressure rating of API
12F shop welded tanks can be
increased.
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Summary
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Modeling of 750 bbl tank sitting on medium density sand.


Results for vapor space pressure of 10 psi, 4.5 psi, 2 psi, 1 psi and
0.5 with a full tank of water.
Results of hard vacuum analysis.
Results with 0.5 oz/in^2 vacuum in vapor space.
Results for double fillet corner weld model.
Results for hybrid joint comprising of fillet on inside corner weld and
bevel on outside.
Points of interest - stress concentration at flush clean-out, bottom to
shell joint, shell to roof joint, dome/nozzle to roof joint, etc.
Buckling instability under vacuum conditions.
Tank Deflection
Validation of model.
Recommendations from FE study.
Summarize results
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Selection of Stress Intensity (Tresca Criterion)


for API Stress Analysis

Reference from API 579 B.2.1.2b


The American Petroleum Institute recommends the use of Von
Mises and/or Tresca (Stress Intensity) stress to the tank
engineer/stress analyst when analyzing above ground storage
tanks.
Solid Works Simulation software allows the stress analyst to view
the effective stress experienced at a point in a material, independent
of the type of loading or failure mechanism whether it be pure
compression, pure tension, pure shear, torsion, bending or buckling.
This effective stress can be calculated within the finite element
software in the form of Tresca stress (stress intensity P1-P3).
Tresca criterion calculates principal stress in 3D space, (1, 2, 3);
thus providing an assessment of stress through out the thickness of
the steel plate. Tresca analysis tends to highlight stress
concentrations better than equivalent Von Mises Stress.

Model Parameters

The tank is modeled in Solid Works FEA Simulation software as a


series of events where there is pressure differential between the
inside and outside of tank.
No fixed boundary conditions were close to the shell to bottom weld
or close to the shell to roof weld. This was done in order to allow full
motion of these joints as would occur in reality as most 12F tanks sit
on soils or sand foundations that are allowed to move and bend with
the foundation.
The natural frequency and mass was used to calculate the rigiditystiffness of the bottom and roof plate.
The modulus of sub-grade reaction for medium density sand was
used to calculate the rigidity-stiffness of the sand underneath tank.
These stiffness values were added to the model in order to simulate
how the materials deflect in real world situations.

Model Description

Tank size - 15 ft 6 inches diameter and 24 ft high.


Three shell courses (8ft high ea), flat bottom tank.
Gravity effects are taken into consideration in all of the
FE models.
All material in the tank was modeled as A 283 Grade C
steel which is the lowest strength material in API 12F.
(Yield Strength = 30,000 psi)
Minimum thickness shell plate (courses 1 through 3)
per API 12F.
Minimum thickness flat bottom plate per API 12F.
Sloped deck (1:12 gradient per API 12F).
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Constraints

Bottom is free to deflect into typical sand


foundation.
Bottom of 1m thick sand is given a fixed
constraint.
Top of sand surface assigned a stiffness
value.
Tank bottom assigned a stiffness value.
Roof assigned a stiffness value.
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Configurations Studied

Double fillet weld at shell to bottom joint.


Hybrid bevel/fillet weld at shell to bottom
joint.
Shell to roof joint fillet welded.
Top nozzle/dome - ANSI 20 nozzle at top
of deck/dome.
Flush Clean Out (36 high x 24 wide)
with rectangular corners as per API 12F.
Horizontal and vertical weld joints.
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Conditions Analyzed

Extreme positive pressure; Tank full of water, with 10 psi


pressure in vapor space above water level. A sudden build up
of pressure in the vapor space is added to the liquid pressure
which varies with the height of the tank. When the tank is full
of liquid there is an uneven pressure distribution, with the
maximum pressure at the bottom of tank and the minimum
pressure in the vapor space. 10 psi is considered extreme
positive pressure condition.
Tank full of water, with 4.5, 2.0, 1.0 and 0.5 psi pressure in
vapor space above water level.
Tank full of water with 0.5 oz/in2 vacuum in vapor space.
Extreme negative pressure; Tank empty of product, under
full/hard vacuum (400 inches of water), considered extreme
negative pressure condition.

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Configurations

Fig. 2 Cross-section of hybrid bottom to shell weld with fillet weld on


inside and bevel weld on outside of tank.

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Fig. 3 Exaggerated view of bottom deforming into sand foundation


which was modeled as 1m thick.

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Results
Tank Deflection
Fig.4 Maximum deflection at tank dome when there is 1 psi in
vapor space and tank is full. Result = 0.096 at top nozzle.

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Fig. 5 Displacement of clean out with 1 psi in vapor space and tank full.
Result =0.032 (approx. 1/32).

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Vacuum Analysis
Fig. 6 Negative pressure can be created in tank due to wind from
outside AND/OR from process conditions within tank.

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Fig. 7 400 water vacuum - displacement plot; Roof is more likely to


deflect before shell to roof joint fails.

The tank was modeled in


the extreme condition of
hard vacuum 400 of
water. This was
performed in order to see
where the tank is weakest
under extreme and
improbable conditions in
order to find the weakest
point in the design for
vacuum conditions.

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Fig. 8 400 inches of water vacuum stress plot Result 155,000 psi at
deck to shell weld. Plastic non-linear analysis was not conducted
however the stresses are so far beyond the yield point of steel that it
can be said that plastic instability is likely to occur at this joint under
hard vacuum.

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Hard Vacuum Result


From

a vacuum perspective, the weakest


joint is the deck to shell weld which
experiences very high stresses (>155 ksi).

The roof to shell joint will likely fail due the

extremely high stresses encountered at


that point under hard vacuum conditions.

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Fig. 9 Buckling safety factor under hard vacuum is 0.0005 which


means plastic instability will occur at roof joint under worst case full
vacuum (unlikely event). The shell tends to hold its shape as it has a
more rigid shape, however an initiator (initial weakness) in shell plate
could cause collapse in shell under full vacuum conditions.

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Buckling of tank under 0.5 oz/in2


What is the buckling safety factor for

current standard?
API 12F allows for 0.5 oz/in2 vacuum for
this tank.
Result Buckling safety factor = 7.7
No elastic instability at 0.5 oz/in2
Good News
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Fig. 10 Half oz/in2 of vacuum in vapor space with tank almost full;
Buckling safety factor = 7.7 Note: elastic deformation of shell is highly
exaggerated.

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Results cntd

API 579 B.4.2.1 type 1 buckling analysis for a


tank fitness for service evaluation recommends
an in-service buckling safety factor of 3;
Which means 0.5 oz/in2 is within safe
parameters.
Elastic deformation is likely to occur in the shell
at this low vacuum level but elastic instability is
unlikely; i.e. the shape of the structure is unlikely
to be altered as a result of insufficient stiffness.
No stiffeners are required at the top of tank if
the pressure differential between inside and
outside of tank is kept below 0.5 oz/in2.
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Compressive Stress in Empty


tank at atmospheric pressure

Fig. 11 The compressive stress at the bottom of tank shell Result = 1800 psi
when tank is empty. Compressive stress is caused by the weight of the tank on
itself.
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Fig. 12 Magnified view of outside bottom to shell joint. There is an inherent


stress in the weld due to the weight of the tank (compressive in the first 3
inches on shell). The transition in shape from circular shell to flat bottom also
induces a tensile bending moment at the tank bottom when the tank is filled.
Another factor which is considered is the tanks ability to squash into the sand
foundation causing bending stress in the corner weld joint.

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Weld Configuration Comparison 10 psi in


Vapor Space
(Extreme positive pressure)

Fig. 13 Maximum Stress = 9,137 psi in fillet weld cross section with 10 psi
in vapor space and bottom allowed to deform into sand foundation.
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Hybrid Fillet/Bevel Weld

Fig. 14 Maximum Stress = 4,753 psi in hybrid weld cross section with 10 psi in
vapor space and bottom allowed to deform into sand foundation. There is a
reduction of 96% in stress intensity by changing from fillet weld to hybrid fillet/bevel
weld. The hybrid fillet/bevel weld is a much stronger joint than traditional fillet weld.
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Double Fillet Configuration 10 psi in Vapor


Space (Extreme Condition)

Fig. 15 Maximum stress with 10 psi in vapor space and with corner fillet weld.
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Results cntd
Stress at the flush cleanout corner joint =

107,261 psi
The nozzle joint stress at the dome =
44,652 psi.
Clearly 10 psi is too great a pressure in
the vapor space in addition to the
hydrostatic pressure from full tank of water

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Reduce Pressure
Double Fillet Configuration 4.5 psi in Vapor
Space

Fig. 16 Maximum stress with 4.5 psi in vapor space with fillet weld.
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Results cntd

The 90 corner at flush cleanout has the largest


stress = 77,382 psi
The next largest stress occurs at the nozzle =
19,887 psi.
4.5 psi is too high a vapor pressure due to the
stress at the flush cleanout.
It is worth noting that the stresses in the shell to
bottom joint and shell to roof joint are less than
those seen in the top nozzle at 4.5 psi in vapor
space.
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Reduce Pressure again


Double Fillet Weld Configuration 2 psi in
Vapor Space

Fig. 17 Maximum stress with 2 psi in vapor space with fillet weld.
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Results cntd
The 90 corner at flush cleanout has the

largest stress = 63,835 psi.


2.0 psi is too high a vapor pressure due to
the stress at the flush cleanout.
Note: If the flush clean-out were given a
stress reducing radius it may be possible
to increase the pressure to 2 psi in vapor
space for this size tank (with carefully
made design changes in welds etc.).
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Reduce Pressure again


Double Fillet Weld Configuration 1 psi in
Vapor Space

Fig. 18 Tank stress with 1 psi in vapor space and double fillet weld at tank bottom.
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Results cntd

Flush cleanout general stress concentration of


11,432 psi exists in vicinity of cleanout with
concentrated maximum stress at 90 corner of
33,356 psi.
Yield strength of A283-Gr C is 30,000 psi which
means an increase in pressure rating of API 12F
tanks should not occur without applying stress
reducing radius to top corners of flush cleanout.
Increasing the height of API 12F will also
increase the pressure further and should not be
considered without applying stress reducing
radius to top corners of flush cleanout.
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Strain for tank with 1 psi in Vapor


Space

Fig. 19 Maximum strain for 1 psi in vapor space.


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Strain Results cntd


Maximum

Strain Result occurs at flush


cleanout = 1.029 x 10-3.
The allowable Hookean strain for A283-Gr
C is 1.024 x 10-3, which means that area of
the tank is over-strained with 1 psi in
vapor space.
BCG does not recommend an increase in
pressure without applying stress reducing
radius to top corners of flush cleanout.
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Reduce Pressure again


Double Fillet Weld Configuration 0.5 psi in
Vapor Space (Current API 12F spec.)

Fig. 20 Stress concentration at corner joint in flush cleanout with 0.5 psi in
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vapor space. Result = 28,619 psi.

Results cntd

The current API 12F standard allows for 8 oz/in2 (0.5 psi).
The yield strength of A283-Gr C is 30,000 psi which means the yield
safety factor = 1.048 (which is too close to unity).
The API 650 allowable hydrostatic stress for A283-Gr C is 22,500 psi
which means the stress in this corner joint (28,619 psi) exceeds the
API allowable stress for that material by 27%.
Serious consideration should be made to providing a stress reducing
radius at these 2 corners.
Brittle fracture is unlikely because the plate thicknesses are less than
0.5 but leaks are likely to occur at this joint, especially if corroded.
This is the weakest point in the design of API 12F shop welded
tanks.

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Fatigue

It is assumed that the pressure/vacuum valve prevents


continuous cycling due to minimal pressure differentials
and that fatigue is generally not an issue for these tanks.
However, it is worth noting that fatigue starts to become
an issue when the stress is greater than the fatigue
strength of lowest grade steel Se = 27,550 psi.
The stress of 28,600 psi at corner joint in flush cleanout
is susceptible to fatigue failure in older tanks that have
experienced more than 10,000 cycles (filling, emptying
causing pressure change at cleanout).
Leaks initiated by fatigue are likely to occur in older
tanks with this type of 90 joint.
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Shell to Bottom Welds

The stress in the weld at the tank bottom to shell


joint can be complicated.
An analysis of the fillet weld configuration is
given here for the three Cartesian directions; X,
Y, Z normal stress in order to explain the stress
regime at this critical joint in ASTs.
The final figure shows the stress intensity
(Tresca results) for the combined loading
situation which takes X,Y, and Z normal stresses
and combines them into a useful engineering
stress.
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Double Fillet Weld Stress with 1


psi in Vapor Space

Fig. 21 Double fillet weld X normal stress with 1 psi in vapor space - bending in
toe of internal fillet due to movement downwards on tank bottom pressing into 41
sand is the dominant stress in the X-X direction.

Fig. 22 Double fillet weld Y normal stress with 1 psi in vapor space.
Bending stress in the head of internal fillet weld and the fluid
longitudinal stress are dominant in this stress direction (Y-Y direction).

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Fig. 23 Double fillet weld Z normal stress when 1 psi is in vapor space
the membrane stress from the inside of shell is dominant causing a
tensile stress in fillet weld; along with secondary bending stress from
the bottom pushing down into the sand are stress factors in the Z-Z
direction.

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Result for Flexible Foundation


Fig. 24 Weld stress intensity at cross section with 1 psi in vapor space
double fillet weld; Result = 4,443 psi max stress occurs at center of
internal fillet (corner weld).

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Result for Rigid Foundation


Fig. 25 Higher weld stresses due to rigid bottom compared with flexible
sand foundation. There is an approximate increase of 15% in the
maximum stress due to the increased rigidity (4,443 psi max stress on
flexible sand vs. 5,133psi on completely rigid foundation.

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Roof Stress Intensity

Fig. 26 Bending stress in roof plate at dome-nozzle junction with 1 psi in the
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vapor space.

Results cntd

Stress at Dome-Nozzle at very top of Tank =


4,550 psi
There is a high bending stress approximately 2
away from the welded joint caused by the steel
at that point attempting to move upwards due to
internal tank pressure, yet being constrained by
the rigidity and weight of the nozzle.
Yield safety factor of 6.52 (Fy = 30,000 psi)

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FE Model Reality Check

Fig. 28 Stress along height of tank when 1 psi exists in the vapor space.
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Model Validation

Model reality check. Calculated value (hand


calculation) of hoop stress = 5,658 psi
Correlates well with FE result of 5,620 psi at
tank bottom.
Stress concentrations exist at shell plate joints,
nozzle and flush cleanout joints.
Stress concentrations correlate with R.E.
Petersons book Stress Concentration Factors.
Hand calculations predict a stress concentration
of 28,158 psi at cleanout; FE predicts 28,619
psi.
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Conclusions
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There is an acceptable amount of tank deflection with current pressure limits.


From a vacuum perspective, the weakest area is the deck to shell weld.
From a positive pressure perspective, the weakest area is 2 away from the corner in
the flush cleanout.
Elastic instability is unlikely to occur with current allowable vacuum of 0.5 oz/in 2 i.e.
the shape of the structure is unlikely to buckle as a result of insufficient stiffness.
The hybrid fillet/bevel weld is a stronger joint than traditional fillet weld.
The API 650 allowable hydrostatic stress for A283-Gr C is 22,500 psi which means
the stress in the clean-out corner joint (28,619 psi) exceeds the API allowable stress
for that material by 27%.
The allowable Hookean strain for A283-Gr C is 1.024 x 10-3, which means the clean
out area of the tank is over-strained with 1 psi in vapor space.
Serious consideration should be made to providing a stress reducing radius at these
2 corners.
Leaks initiated by fatigue, could possibly occur in older tanks with 90 corner joint at
clean out (>10,000 cycles).
Brittle fracture is unlikely to occur at the flush cleanout as material is thinner than 0.5.
Failure mechanism is more likely ductile cleavage mechanism and not brittle
fracture.

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Conclusions cntd
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An increase in pressure rating of API 12F tanks should not occur without applying stress
reducing radius to top corners of flush cleanout.
Increasing the height of API 12F tanks will increase the pressure further and should not be
considered without applying stress reducing radius to top corners of flush cleanout.
The allowable pressure for this tank cannot be increased from 0.5 psi to 2 psi because there
is a large stress concentration at clean out which is greater than the tensile strength of the
shell plate.
If the allowable pressure were to be increased from 0.5 psi (8 oz/in 2), the 90 corner would
require rounding to reduce the stress concentration.
Double fillet welds are sufficiently strong when there is a full tank of water and 1 psi in vapor
space.
Bending stress at top nozzle was higher than expected.
If the flush clean-out were given a stress reducing radius it may be possible to increase the
pressure to 2 psi in vapor space for this size tank (with carefully made design changes in
welds etc.).
An increase in allowable vacuum above 0.5 oz/in 2 is possible. That limit value requires more
analysis to keep buckling safety factor above 3.
Current pressure and vacuum allowable limits should not be changed without accompanying
design changes.

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