Stamina of a non-gasketed flange joint under combined internal pressure and axial loading

Abid, M. and Awan, A. W. and Nash, D. H. (2008) Stamina of a non-gasketed flange joint under combined internal pressure and axial loading. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part E: Journal of Process Mechanical Engineering, 222 (E3). pp. 143-155. ISSN 0954-4089 (

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The performance of a bolted flange joint is characterized mainly by its 'strength' and 'sealing capability'. A number of numerical and experimental studies have been conducted to study these characteristics under internal pressure loading conditions alone. However, limited work is found in the literature under conditions of combined internal pressure and axial loading. The effect of external, axial loading pressure being unknown, the optimal performance of the bolted flange joint cannot be achieved. Current design codes do not address the effects of axial loading on structural integrity and sealing ability. To study joint strength and sealing capability under combined loading conditions, an extensive experimental and numerical study of a non-gasketed flange joint was carried out. Actual joint load capacity was determined at both design and test stages with the maximum external axial loading that can be applied for safe joint performance. Experimental and numerical results have been compared and overall joint performance and behaviour is discussed in detail.