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Comparative study of bolt spacing formulas used in bolted joint designs

International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpvp.2014.04.001
  • Bolt Spacing
  • Gasket Contact Stress
  • Circular Beam On Elastic Foundation
  • Finite Element
  • Design


Abstract Bolted flange joints are the most popular type of connection between pressure vessels and piping equipment. They are very attractive type of connection because they are simple to mount and offer the possibility of disassembly. However, they are very complex structures to design and analyze and often result in leakage failure. One of the raisons is the loss of tightness that results from the uneven distribution of the gasket contact stresses in the radial and circumferential direction. Many factors contribute to such a failure; bolt load non-uniformity, inadequate flange to gasket stiffness, inappropriate bolt spacing requirements or a combinations of some of these. The variation of the contact stress in the circumferential direction between any two bolts is dictated by bolt spacing. This paper is an extension of the work in which the more accurate analytical solution based on the theory of circular beams resting on a linear elastic foundation is used to validate some existing flange bolt spacing formulas and in particular the TEMA formula, Robert's formula and the one recently developed by Koves. The relationship between bolt spacing and the gasket compression modulus, flange thickness and size is deduced from an analysis that considers a maximum tolerated gasket contact stress difference obtained at the bolt and between two bolts. Comparison between these different methods is also provided.

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