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High Temperature Design Methods for Tubesheet Structures with Validation by Thermal Transient Testing

Naoto Kasahara, Koji Iwata, Akira Imazu, Morito Horikiri DEC, Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation, Ibaraki, Japan

Sunao Tokura

Japan Information Service Ltd., Ibaraki, Japan


In the structural design of liquid metal fast breeder reactor (LMFBR) components, tubesheet structures in the heat exchangers are one of the most critical portions, because significant temperature difference occurs between perforated and unperforated regions when subjected to thermal transients. Tubesheet structures typically have perforated interiors surrounded by solid rim with support shell as seen in Fig. 1. Thus, configurations of these structures

are so complex that simplified analysis methods are needed for design.

As a simplified design analysis method for tubesheet structures of LMFBRs, Appendix A-8000 of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Sec. ill [1] has

been basically referred to. A-8000, however, provides only elastic design rules which can be mainly applied to light water reactors, where pressure loadings are dominant rather than thermal ones. Therefore some improved design methods

have been proposed for LMFBR tubesheets [2] [3].

In the design of tubesheet structures of LMFBR, emphasis must be placed on (1) thermal stresses and (2) inelastic material behaviors.

Fig. 2 shows a typical temperature distribution on the tubesheet structure when subjected to thermal transients. Significant temperature difference between perforated and unperforated regions generates severe thermal stresses at the outermost hole edges, around other holes, and at junctions between rim and shell as indicated in Fig. 3. These thermal stresses might cause fatigue damage of materials.

On the other hand, high temperature operating conditions of LMFBR enforce creep deformation on materials, and also reduce the yield stresses. As a result, inelastic strain concentration at high stress portions and creep damage during stress relaxation must be considered.

The objective of this paper is to present some simplified design analysis methods developed to predict thermal and inelastic responses of tubesheet structures to thermal transient and mechanical loadings. The simplified analysis methods are proposed in each step of the design flow shown in Fig. 4. The proposed methods basically permit the analysis with two different models. The one is an axisymmetric model which is simple and economical. The other is a 2-D plate model recommended to analyze the outermost holes in detail.

Thermal transient tests on a tubesheet structure model were performed to validate the proposed methods.


Precise thermal analysis methods are required to estimate accurate thermal stresses in perforated plates. Two kinds of finite element analysis methods which are consistent with stress analysis models described later are proposed.


2.1 Axisymmetric model

Axisymmetric models have compatibility with stress models using equivalent solid plate like A-8000. These models require the following idealization on perforated region.

(1) Definition of equivalent thermal properties for perforated region Equivalent thermal conductivity J. e q and specific gravity reo are needed in an idealization of perforated plates. These are obtained from conductivity A and gravity r of base materials according to the following equations.

S -8 z., = -S- A


reo = -V- r

where S is the heat transfer area on the surface of perforated region and s is the total area of holes. V is the volume of perforated region and v is the



total volume of holes.

(2) Simplification of heat convection at tube holes

The use of convection film elements shown in Fig. 5 is the simplest method to model the heat convection at tube holes. The location and film coefficient of these elements are determined to make radial distribution of convection identical to the actual ones in average.

There is another method that we call the internal heat generation method to simplify the heat convection from tube holes. In this method, the heat generation rate, which is calculated from an average heat flux of a unit ligament model, is added to the equivalent continuum plate of perforated model. For the transition area, nonuniform heat generation rates related to heat transfer area or convection film elements are used.

2.2 2-D analysis method considering 3-D heat transfer

2-D perforated plate models are useful to analyze temperature distribution around holes in detail. Plate models using 2-D finite elements usually cannot account for 3-D heat transfer shown in Fig. 3.

A simplified 2-D thermal analysis method considering 3-D heat transfer was proposed by Kasahara and Iwata [4]. Using this method, a 3-D heat transfer problem can be solved with combination of 2-D main and sub. models as in Fig. 7, instead of a 3-D model shown in Fig. 6.

The concept of theory is illustrated in Fig. 7 and can be summarized in the following [4].

In the first step, the heat flux in the (-direction is calculated with a ;;-( sub. model. This heat flux q, is converted to the rate of heat generation

Q~q using the following equation.

L, q, (¢)idf=L Q;. (¢)idS (31

where [¢le is the shape function of the;; -( element f in Fig. 7, f, is the heat transfer boundary of the element f normal to the (-axis, S is the area of the element f.

In the second step, temperature distribution on the surface is calculated by use of a ;; -7j main model shown in Fig. 7. In. each step of this calculation, Q~. is added to individual ;; -7j elements to consider' the (-direction heat flow. The general implicit scheme for the solution of the transient problem is expressed by

1 1

(,8(K)n+ 6t (C)n){T(t+6t))n= (-(1-,8) (K)n+ 6t (C)n){T(t))n

+,8({F(t+6t)Jn+{F(t+6t)H)+(1-,8) ({F(t))n+(F(t))~) (0<,8<1)

{F H = L Q~. (¢) n dS (5)

where {T}n denotes the temperature vector of the element n. [K]n, [C]n and



{F(t) In are conductivity matrix,heat-capacity matrix. and heat flux vector at time t, respectively. [¢In is the shape function of the element n, and A is the area of the element n. {F (t-ti:it) I ~ and {F(t)1 ~ should be added with the ratio,8: 1-,8 in the calculation for the time t+L'i t ,

Fig. B shows an application of the proposed method to a tubesheet. As the main model a membrane model is adopted, and an axisymmetric model is employed for the sub. model. The calculation time for the 2-D method was less than one-twentieth of the 3-D method.


3.1 Equivalent inelastic properties for perforated region

The use of equivalent solid plates for perforated region is effective in the structural design of tubesheets. Effective elastic moduli are defined for triangular penetration patterns in A-BOOO, and some basic studies have been made on elastic-plastic properties [5] [6] and creep properties [7] for a unit ligament. Equivalent inelastic properties are required to have compatibility with elastic ones and should be accurate under actual loading conditions, to apply to the practical design. In this paper we propose newly a set of equivalent elastic-plastic properties.

When subjected to thermal transient, the most part of the perforated region of a tubesheet is under equibiaxial loading shown in Fig. 4. On the assumption of the equibiaxial loading and triangular penetration patterns which are usually adopted in the LMFBR components, equation of equivalent elastic-plastic properties are derived.

The average in-plane stress a* and strain e* of the ligament with the triangular pattern due to equibiaxial loading can be calculated with a unit ligament model shown in Fig. 9. The average Mises equivalent s tress a e q * and Mises equivalent plastic strain ep,q* are adopted here as the nominal stress and the plastic strain of the ligament, respectively. a,q* and ep,.* can be calculated from a* and e* according to the following equations. Taking the equibiaxial loading condition into consideration, a e q * and e peq * can be writen as


where a,* is the average out-of-plane stress, and e,* is the in-plane elastic strain.

Under the generalized plane strain condition supposed in a thick plate, z* can be assumed zero in the unit ligament and e,* is given as



where 11* and E* are the equivalent Poission's ratio and the equivalent elastic modulus, respectively[l].

Introducing Eq. (B), Eqs, (6) and (7) are writen as


0' eq * = 0' *


* * * a*

ep," =2\e -(I-II )JE*"

In Eq, (10), (l-II*)/E* can be obtained directly from a*-e* curve using Eq, (8) • Thus a,q * and ep,q * are determined by using :Eq. (9) (10) and a a *-e * curve from finite element inelastic analysis. Equivalent stress-strain curves for SUS304 perforated plates with various ligament efficiency were given in Fig.

10. The ligament efficiencies is defined as hlp, where h is the minimum width of ligament and P is the pitch of holes. The FINAS nonlinear finite element computer program developed by PNC [B] was used to analyze elastic-plastic



behavior of ligaments. It is so useful for designers to define equivalent plastic properties as functions of ligament efficiency, that we developed Ludwik type equations for equivalent stress-strain curves by using the least square method. The parameters of the equation obtained were normalized by the corresponding parameters for the base materials and given as linear functions of ligament efficiency as shown in Table 1. The errors of the proposed reguration was found to be less than 4% in the cases of SUS304 steel and 2 1/4 Cr-l Mo steel.

The method above can be extended to determine equivalent creep properties for perforated region.

3.2 Inelastic analysis methodology

(1) Analysis method using axisymmetric model

Axisymmetric models using equivalent properties developed above can be employed to analyze the inelastic behavior of the entire tubesheet structures and of discontinuity portions at junctions. The boundary of equivalent plate is defined by the effective radius R* as same in A-BOOO. A circular perforated plate subjected to uniform radial tension was analyzed to validate the present method. The calculated stress-strain curve obtained by the presen~ method agree well with that obtained by the detailed analysis using a 2-D perforated plate model as seen in Fig. 11.

(2) 2-D partially perforated plate model

To estimate stress and strain at the outermost holes, where the largest stress occurs, a 2-D partially perforated plate model with equivalent properties as seen in Fig. 12 is useful. In such a case that constraint from support shells needed to be considered, its effect can be accounted for in this model by the boundary displacement calculated from an axisymmetric model. A circular perforated plate subjected to thermal transient was analyzed to demonstrate the validity of this method. The stress distribution around the outermost hole is shown in Fig. 12 and a good agreement was obtained between analysis results by a partially perforated plate model and a fully perforated plate model.


4.1 Estimation of inelastic behavior

The estimation of inelastic behavior is design method based on elastic analysis. elastic follow~up in tubesheet structures (1) Strain concentration in ligament

Finite element elastic-plastic analyses were performed for unit ligaments under equibiaxial loadings. Fig. 13 shows the results of strain concentration around holes calculated for a wide range of ligament efficiency. Strain concentration factor K'EM ( = C,lasHe <p laet ic an al ysi a / e e l aat ic a nal yai s ) at hole edge as the function of normalized stress intensity Sn/l.SSm are obtained as shown in Fig. 13. It is found that the mechanism of strain concentration varies depending on the ligament efficiency. In the case of the smaller ligament efficiency, strain concentration occurs at the minimum cross section-due to elastic follow-up in the ligament. On the other hand, for the larger ligament efficiency, the mechanism of strain concentration is similar to that of a single hole and peak strain concentration becomes dominant.

(2) Elastic follow-up in perforated plates

For the expression of degrees of elastic follow-up, we adopt the parameter q proposed in the Elevated Temperature Structural Design Guide for "Monju" [9], which is defined as the ratio of elastic follow-up strain CE. to elastically calculated strain SnlE as follows.

the most important problem in the Simplified method considering

is described below.


q = CEF/ (E)



Local elastic follow-up parameter qL at the mlnlmum cross section caused by strain redistribution in the ligament was calculated for various ligament efficiencies. The results are shown in Fig. 14. When the constraint of the surrounded structure to the ligament is strong, there exists global elastic follow-up. The global elastic follow-up, with parameter qG, is caused by difference of stiffness between ligament and surrounded structure and can be calculated with axisymmetric model described in 3.2. Expected maximum values

of qG due to the largest constraint to the ligament were calculated as shown

in Fig. 14.

The total elastic follow-up parameter q for a structure with local and global elastic follow-up in series is given as


The local and global 'elastic follow-up parameters given in Fig. 14 can be used

under both elastic-plastic condition and creep condition. ,

For the evaluation of fatigue damage, strain concentration factor Ke to predict inelastic strain range considering elastic follow-up factor q is provided in the Elevated Temperature Structual Design Guide for "Monju" [9] as

Ke = 1 + ( q - 1) ( 1 - ( 38 m/ Sn ) }


where 38m means the shakedown limit and S, is stress intensity. For the creep damage evaluation, stress relaxation can be considered by using elastic follow-up parameters. The stress relaxation rate da/dt for a structure with elastic follow-up can be calculated with parameter q as follows [9].

6e=6Ea+(~:C) ~=-_!_(~)

dt q dt

In the case of tubesheet structures, elastic follow-up parameter q in Eqs. (13) (14) is given by Eq. (12) •

(3) Peak strain concentration around holes

To evaluate peak strain concentration around holes, Kp factors defined as the ratio of peak strain at the edge of holes to average strain at the minimum cross section of ligament were calculated, and were compared with stress concentration factor K and the Neuber's rule in Fig. 15. If hlp ~ 0.6 then Kp is less than K, and otherwise Kp is approximately (Sh/3p)K, but was less than the value from the Neuber's rule.

Conclusively, the peak strain concentration factor Kp can be replaced with K when hlp ~ 0.6, and can be estimated by (Sh/3p)K instead of the Neuber's rule in the case of hIP> 0.6.

6a 6t, 6 e = ( 1 - q) E


4.2 Elastic analysis design methodology based on axisymmetric models

(1) Temperature analysis

Calculate temperature distribution with axisymmetric models described in 2.1. (2) Stress analysis - Modified A-8000 multiplier

Calculate nominal stress with effective elastic modulus of A-8000 [1].

Evaluate stress intensity Sn with A-8000 multiplier and peak stress 8~ around the holes with the modified A-8000 multiplier proposed in the following.

In the case of thermal loadings, the A-8000 stress multipliers are not always conservative for the outermost holes. A comparison of stresses around the projected outermost hole between A-8000 method and finite element analysis results with a perforated model in Fig. 16 shows an example of unconservativeness of A-8000. This unconservativeness is due to unhomogeneity around the outermost holes and inappropriateness of Kr factor of plate rim, because the maximum stresses are generated in the ligament under thermal transient. The projected outermost hole and ligament with large ligament efficiency over 0.5 become similar to a single hole. For such holes, the stress concentration


factor for a single hole in the following is effective.

- p) p

S",-Z'("h a'+Z'(h)a,

Z, = (~) C1 - 2 cos 2 ¢) p

Z, = (!_) C1 + 2 cos 2 ¢)


where a, and a, are nominal stresses of equivalent solid plate. Eq. (15) gives conservative results as .observed in Fig. 16.

(3) Evaluation of strain range

Evaluate strain range according to the following equation.



where On is the nominal strain calculated by Sn/E, and K, is the strain concentration factor for On given as

(~< 0.6)

p =

(1: > 0.6) p

where K = _§p_ Sn


OF' is thermal peak strain from thermal skin stress due to temperature defference across the thickness, which can be calculated with A-BODO. OF2

is strain caused by the in-plane temperature distribution around holes, that can be estimated by unit ligament models. Using strain range 0, and elastic follow-up factor q, creep fatigue damage is evaluated in the same way in the general structures.

4.3 Elastic analysis design methodology based on 2-D plate models (1) Temperature analysis

Calculate temperature distribution with simplified 2..{) method described in 2.2.

(2) Stress analysis

Calculate peak stress S'" at the hole edge with a (partially) perforated plate model.

(3) Evaluation of strain range

Evaluate strain range according to the following equation.


where 0", is elastic peak strain calculated by S'" /E . OF! is the same described before, and K, is a strain concentration factor for ot,6 given as

(!_ < 0.6) P =

(!_ > 0.6) P



Thermal transient tests were performed on 1/2 scale models of tubesheet-shell structures of the "Monju" steam generator to validate the proposed design methods'. Temperature distribution on the surface of ligament and strain history around holes and at junction between rim and shell under cyclic thermal transient were measured.


5.1 Description of the experiments

'Specimen Configuration Fig. 17, 37 x 25.8¢ 50mm Pitch holes

Material 2 114 Cr-lMo

. Sensor Temperature 310 points of thermocouples

Strain 100 points of bond type strain gages (Fig. 17)

• Facility Air-cooling thermal transient test facility

Using air for cooling to protect electrical isolation on bond type strain gage. (Fig. 18)

• Condition liT = 200°C, 300°C TMAX = 230°C, 350°C

5.2 Comparison between analysis and experiment

(1) Temperature

Fig. 19 "is the temperature contours which were obtained from measurements of thermocouples by using an interpolation function of the finite element method. This experimental temperature contours are well coincident with the calculated ones with the simplified 2-D method shown in Fig. 20.

(2) St~ain -

Calculated maximum strain range around the center hole and the outermost hole were compared with experimental ones in Table 2. Inelastic method with a partially perforated plate models could estimate precise strain range. Two kinds of elastic method had moderate conservativeness.


As the high temperature design tools on tubesheets structures of heat exchangers in LMFBR plants, following methods were proposed.

(1) Temperature analysis methods with axisymmetric models and plate ones. (2) Simplified inelastic design methods using equivalent inelastic proper-

ties for perforated region.

(3) Simplified elastic design methods based on axisymmetric models and 2-D plate models.

Temperature distributions and strain histories were successfully measured by air-cooling thermal transient tests on the tubesheet model, and proposed methods were validated with test data.


[1] ASME (1983), Stresses in Perforated Flat Plates, ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Sec. ill Appendix A-8000.

[2] O'Donnell, W.J. and Porowski, J.S. (1982), Pressure Vessels and Piping Design Technology-1982-A Decade of Progress, ASME, pp. 359/373.

[3] C.K. Wahnsiedler, W. Veljovich (1983), Validation of Equivalent Homogeneous Tubesheet Models for Thermal Stress, ASME, 83-NE-15.

[4] N. Kasahara and K. Iwata (1986), Simplified 2-dimensional thermal analysis method considering 3-dimensional heat transfer, Computational Mechanics 86, Springer-Verlag.

[5] Uragami, K. et al. (1979), Simplified Inelastic Analysis Method of Perforated Plates, LIO/5, 5th SMiRT.

[6] M. Konig (1988), Yield surfaces for perforated plates, Engineering Computations, Vol. 5, September, pp 224/230.

[7] Igari et al. (1987), Simplified Creep Analysis of Perforated Plates Under Steady Creep Condition, L3/7, 9th SHiRT.

[8] K. Iwata et al., General Purpose Nonlinear Analysis Program FINAS for Elevated Temperature Design of FBR Components. ASME PVP Vol. 66.

ASME PVP Vol. 66.

[9] K. Iida et al. (1987), Simplified analysis and design for elevated temperature components of MONJU, NED 98, pp305/3l7.


Fig. 1 Configuration of Tubesheet Structure

Fig. 2 Temperature Distribution under Thermal Transient

Fig. 3 Stress Distribution under Thermal Transient


Fig. 4 Design Flow of Tubesheet Structure





--j'-----lI----- CONDUCTION



Fig. 5 Convection Film Element for Axisymmetric Analysis

3-0 Model

Fig. 6

3-D Thermal Analysis Method

Ilement II'tINTII
Na,.,. of
fiN'" POf"CI
Numb., 1177
of Nod •• '.~~~

Qt I ~

( 2C-O .Su~. M,odedli ti ~onv.rt to Heat Generlt ion

For anau:ler-1I'1QI .. - reo on

H .. t Flow) J, Q (') dl-J.0((') da

,e C , A·· •

2-0 Mein Model

Simplified 2-D Thermal Analysis Method

Fig. 7

II.ment _I
Numb.r 1017
of Nod •• Ilemant HOAX.


Numb.r 10'1

of Nod ..

~l H+1tH~+lIIHi-tHIHItt-t" lIM:' ~

· · ..

· o

Convert to Heat Generation -f q, (¢)'d'~f Q;, (¢),dS " ,

Fig. 8 Application of Simplified 2-D Thermal Analysis Method to the Tubesheet




F u

0*=8·········(1)· €*=CP/2)·········(2)

fEqUibiaXial Condition Gereralized Plane Strain Condition

Mises Equivalent Stress Oeq *

Mises Equivalent Plastic Strain e peq *

Fig. 9 Evaluation Method of Equivalent Elastic-Plastic Properties

X 10' 2.

0 ~
I------- I------- r- MATE
8 ~ }--
--- - ~ 0.8
6 V ~~ ,__..
/" ~ 0.7

/ V ..- f-- r-- -= ,,_,.....--'!"'"-- 0.6
2 It;. V .~- ...... - ~~
.... ~-. 0.524
... -., .::,.. 10- ,... ~ D .•
.8 V
.- r 0.3
.e .1"'" --r" -::fi.... .
1- ...... - 0.2
.. ..
'"... ,_' I "'" ~
0 o.

0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2.0 2.2 x 10-'


Fig.10 Stress-Strain Curve of Equivalent Properties (SUS304 500°C h/p=0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.524, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, Material)

X 10'
1.0 0 I --
E ....... ~ I
E 0.8 0
-, ./ ~
~ IL'-..
In D .e 0
In J I I
a: ; -"" 1 1
In D •• 0
l- I I 1 r
_, o I I L
« 0.2
> / I I
0 I I
w 0.0
0.0 0.6 1.2 1.8 x 10-a

Comparison of Equivalent Stress-Strain Curve between Perforated Plate Model

and Axisymmetric Model

Table 1

Equivalent Stress-Strain Equation for Perforated Plates

i.a*~ap* ii. a * > Gp*
e* = a'/E' e * = a' /E'
+ {( a ' - a p' ) /K' ) i v m
a* Stress in the equivalent solid plate
e' Strain in the equivalent solid plate
E' Effective Young's modulus of ASME A-BOOO
ap "p' / "p = - 0.0125 + 1.1274 (h/P)
K* K' / K = - 0.0125 + 1.1274 (h/P)
m* m* / m= 1.0
h/P Ligament Efficiency
"p, Ludwik Equation's Parameters of Base
K, m Material Properties Xl0'


5 =-~ _l ~
1 ~

I I 1.0

CI) CI) w a:

li; 0.5

CI) w !!l 0.0 :;

- 0.5 0.0

0.6 0.9 1.2




1.8 xl0'

Fig. 12

Comparison of the Stress Distribution around the Outermost Hole between Partially Perforated Model and Fully Perforated Model





_ 0.3

'-_ .........

h/p= 0'524~ ~/", 0.60.7

0> 0.80.0

hIP: 0.8

2.0 -c
1.8 0
1.6 a:
1.4 o
1.2 u
1.0 a:
CI) 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0

Sn/l.5 Sm

Fig. 13 Variation of Strain Concentration depending on Ligament Efficiency

X 102 1.2,-----y----,-----,-------------,

3.2 ...



C"~ 2.8


t; ~ 2.4 ~o

<, QL
..__ ~
- r---.. .. ::J I 3: o ...J ...J o U.









0.8 0.0





Fig. 14 Elastic Follow-up Parameters of Tubesheets


r-----I----+--. ="+.~=- ~A- 8000 LIGAMENT

".,.- __....<:t<>--" <, --SINGLE HOLE

0.8 t--------j------b.L--;;..._-t---"._-------"'.-.

,/i /_ ~ r-,

en en w

~ -0.4



a: 2. o ...


u. 2. z o


~ 2.

z w o

~ 1.6



;;: ~ 1.



~ o.

.. 0.0



8 .
./ NEUBER' S RULE (h/p~ 0.8)
.L (5h/3 P) K (h/P= 0.8)
4 / FEM (Jp• O.B
0 L/
__ x __ _ '---, "'-0.. FEM h P 0.6 )
2 '_"__,._F.!.~2¥~) --

8 I 0.5






Fig. 15 Peak Strain Concentration Factor Kp of Tubesheets




0.6 0.9



Fig. 16 Comparison of the Stress Distribution around the Outermost Hole Edge between FEM and A-8000 (h/p=O.524, Thermal Loadings)




Fig. 17 Tubesheet Specimen with Sensors


1 - 20

2 0

3 20

4 40

5 60

6 80

7 100

8 120

9 140

10 160

Fig. 19 Experimental Temperature Distribution



Fig. 18 Test Section of ThermaL Transient Test of Tubesheet Model


1 - 20

2 0

3 20

4 40

5 60

6 80

7 100

8 120

9 140

10 160

Fig. 20 Calculated Temperature Distribution

Table 2 Comparison of Strain'RangeEvaluated with Different Method

CENTER 0.2257 % 0.3051 % 0.5548 % 0.5092 %
OUTERMOST 0.3327 % 0.4095 % 0.6359 % 0.6831 %