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When to Analysis Piping System

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One of the most difficult decisions plant personnel face is whether or not to analyze an existing or new piping system. It is often hard to assess the point at which a piping system should be field-routed or when a full analytic solution is required. Although there are no simple answers to these questions, here are some conditions under which piping analysis is advisable:

  • Piping is attached to load-sensitive equipment or is carrying category M fluids (hazardous chemicals, as defined by ASME B31.3 rules), and the design temperature is > 250°F
  • The pressure exceeds the maximum pressure for an ANSI Class 2500 B16.5 fitting
  • The system temperature is > 400°F
  • The system carries gas that has cooled to a liquid state
  • The product of the pipe outside diameter (in.) times the pressure (in psi) is ≥1,157
  • The system pressure is > 3,000 psi
  • The system uses Glass Reinforced Epoxy (GRE) pipe
  • The piping connects to rotating equipment
  • The system uses one or more expansion joints
  • Most piping codes, and perhaps 90% of all pipe stress analyses, involve three principal loading types:
    1. Sustained loads, such as pressure and weight
    2. Expansion Loads (i.e., from thermal conditions) and
    3. 3.Occasional loads, such as from wind and earthquakes.

Other types of loads include those caused by transient fluids, ice and snow, ship or platform pitch and roll, explosion loading’s, pressure loads, frost heave, fault movement, fluid sloshing and through-wall thermal effects. These can all be analyzed, but are typically reserved for more experienced pipe-stress analysts.

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