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International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping 80 (2003) 205210 www.elsevier.


Flexible saddle support of a horizontal cylindrical pressure vessel

K. Magnuckia,b,*, P. Stasiewicza, W. Szyca

Institute of Applied Mechanics, Poznan University of Technology, ul. Piotrowo 3, Poznan 60-965, Poland b Institute of Rail Vehicles TABOR, ul. Warszawska 181, Poznan 61-055, Poland Received 29 January 2002; revised 16 December 2002; accepted 16 January 2003

Abstract The subject of this paper is the supporting saddle of a horizontal cylindrical pressure vessel lled with liquid. A parametric model of the saddle support has been developed; the effect of the geometrical parameters on the stress values arising in the structure has been examined by means of the Finite Element Method. The shape and location of the supporting saddle have been determined with a view to minimizing the concentration of stresses. Results of numerical analysis allow determination of the effective proportions of the geometrical parameters of the vessel. q 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Numerical analysis; Finite element method; Parametric shaping; Circular cylindrical vessel

1. Introduction Stationary horizontal cylindrical vessels supported on two supporting saddles (Fig. 1) are usually loaded with uniform internal pressure and hydrostatic pressure. Such a vessel is subject to a non-uniform stress distribution. The stiffness of the supporting saddles and the distance between them have a considerable effect on the maximum stresses occurring in the structure. The problem has been the subject of many research works. El-Abbasi, Meguid and Czekanski [1] performed a 3D analysis of a pressure vessel freely supported on two deformable supports by means of FEM. They developed a seven-parameter thick shell nite element taking into account friction between the support and the vessel, as well as the changes of stresses and strains across the shell thickness. They investigated the effect of geometric parameters of the vessel and support on the state of stress and calculated optimal proportions between these quantities. They showed that in the case of a supporting saddle with a radius 1 2 percent greater than that of the vessel the stresses occurring in the structure are reduced by 50%. Boutros [2] discussed the results of parametric analysis of deformable saddle supports of circular cylindrical vessels of
* Corresponding author. Address: Institute of Applied Mechanics, Poznan University of Technology, ul. Piotrowo 3, Poznan 60-965, Poland. Fax: 48-61-665-2307. E-mail address: (K. Magnucki).

large diameter. He indicated the inuence of proportions between vessel dimensions and support location on the stresses occurring in the structure. He took into account the guidelines provided by British Standards, Australian Standards, and ASME. He also compared stiff and deformable supports, with regard to stress concentration at the saddle horn. Magnucki et al. [3] developed a parametric FEM-model of the vessel and its support. The support and vessel of the structure considered were joined by welding. The stiffness of the support was smaller than that recommended by European standards. They investigated the effect of the geometric parameters of the vessel and support on the stresses in characteristic regions of the structure. Magnucki and Szyc [4] proposed a method of determining the thickness of a cylindrical vessel resting upon two supports. They effected a numerical FEM analysis of a family of vessels and developed corrections for determining the thickness of the walls of pressure vessels. The British Standard BS5500 [5] provides guidelines for designing pressure vessels and their supports. The proposed methods are based on the theory of beams and the results of experimental research published by Zick in 1951. The standard recommends welded connection between the vessel and support; however, the saddle supports have excessive stiffness resulting in increased stresses. Ong and Lu [6] determined the optimal radius of the support with a preliminary clearance between the vessel and saddle. In

0308-0161/03/$ - see front matter q 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/S0308-0161(03)00023-1


K. Magnucki et al. / International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping 80 (2003) 205210

Fig. 1. Geometric model of a horizontal pressure vessel.

the area of the vessel saddle contact they assumed a constant distribution of the contact pressure along the vessel, but varying circumferentially. They performed a parametric analysis aimed at reducing the stress concentration at the saddle horn. Tooth et al. [7] analytically and experimentally determined the stresses in real supports of multi-layered Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) vessels. They divided the region of the vessel-support contact into small areas, assuming uniform radial and tangent pressure distributions in each. Variable distributions of contact pressure were assumed in the direction of support width. In the experimental part, they presented strain gauge results for three vessels with equal overall dimensions but different laminate layers. They investigated two types of saddle with

radii exceeding the external radius of the vessel and proposed a useful method for calculating the maximum strain, particularly in the absence of computer software. Banks et al. [8], presented an approximate solution of the strain state of a horizontal cylindrical vessel, making use of the earlier paper [7].

2. Structure of the horizontal vessel The structure considered in this paper is a typical thinwalled horizontal cylindrical vessel, supported on two deformable supports, welded to the vessel and located symmetrically near its ends at a distance s from the middle

Fig. 2. Structure of the saddle support.

K. Magnucki et al. / International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping 80 (2003) 205210


symmetry plane. The length 2L of the cylindrical part of the vessel and its radius r are variable parameters, while the capacity of the vessel is constant and equal to V0 300 m3 (Fig. 1). The vessel is closed with two ellipsoidal heads of convexity b0 equal to a half of the radius b0 r=2: Moreover, it is assumed that the vessel is made of steel of density rs 7:85 103 kg m23 ; lled with a liquid of density rl 103 kg m23 ; and additionally loaded with uniform internal pressure p0 2:5 MPa: It is assumed that the structure is described by 10 parameters: vessel radius r; length L; spacing between supports s; height of vessel axis H above support base, characteristic dimensions of the support b; c; and e; thicknesses h1 of the heads, h2 of cylindrical shell, and h3 of the supports. A simple design of the support is adopted with the shape shown in Fig. 2. It is a welded support made of steel plate, formed to avoid excessive deformation of the vessel, with an angle of contact with the vessel by its load carrying structure of ws 1208 and by its support cover plate of wc 1408: The cover plate width cn depends on vessel length and is cn 2L=45: Initial values of particular geometrical parameters of the vessel are taken as r 1:8 m, L 14:1 m, s 12L=15; H 1:15r; b r=2; c 300 mm, e 210 mm, h1 16 mm, h2 14 mm, h3 8 mm.

3. Numerical analysis A parametric model of 1=4 of the vessel structure with the supports has been developed. The model was used to carry

out static nite element analysis by means of the COSMOS/M system. It included 2374 shell elements and enabled easy changing of the ten geometric parameters of the structure. Results of each have been produced in the form of contour maps of equivalent Huber Mises stresses. Their values have been analyzed in eight characteristic regions shown in Fig. 1 with the symbols A1 ; A2 ; B; C1 ; C2 ; C3 ; D; and E: Regions A1 ; A2 and B surround the saddle support of the vessel, more precisely they touch edges of the support cover plate. Those are the places where local stress concentration occurs, as an effect of the support and the vessel skin interaction. The maximum equivalent stress values in these regions are selected. Regions C1 ; C2 ; C3 are located in the middle cross-section of the vessel at upper, medial and lower generatrix, and the stress values calculated in these points are taken into account. Region D is located in the ellipsoidal head near the joint with the cylindrical shell where maximum equivalent stresses occur. Region E includes the whole saddle support and from this area the maximum stresses are selected. Maximum values of the equivalent stresses in each area are presented in Fig. 3 6. There are not greater stress values elsewhere. In Fig. 3 the examples of the results obtained for calculations with different values of the parameter b (width of support bed) in the range 0:39r # b # 0:83r are presented. The value of b has little effect in the areas D (the head) and C (the middle of the vessel). Effects are also relatively small in the areas A1 (next to the support) and B (above the support). However, in the area E (the support) a

Fig. 3. Inuence of width of the saddle support bed b on stress level.


K. Magnucki et al. / International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping 80 (2003) 205210

Fig. 4. Inuence of the saddle support tip height e on stress level.

distinct minimum in stress is observed as the value of b increases beyond r=2: The height of the end of the support arm, e; also inuences the stiffness of the support. Changes in equivalent stress in particular parts of the structure with e in the range 0:094r # e # 0:28r are shown in Fig. 4. The most signicant effects are observed in the areas A1 and E: In

particular, near the support A1 ; a clear increase of stress with increase of the dimension e is observed. This means that an elastic support of relatively low stiffness is the most advantageous solution for a vessel to give low stresses in the area of the support. However, stress in the support E will increase if the value of e is too small. Hence, a reasonable recommendation in this case would be to use supports

Fig. 5. Inuence of the saddle support base s on stress level.

K. Magnucki et al. / International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping 80 (2003) 205210


Fig. 6. Inuence of the vessel slenderness ratio L=r on stress level.

having a tip dimension e 0:1 0:12r: Fig. 5 shows how the equivalent stress values change with increase of the ratio s=L; i.e. with moving the location of the saddle supports. The gure suggests that the most favourable location of the supports would be near the ends of the vessel. For increasing s=L; the stresses decrease in almost all areas, including the middle part of the vessel, C1 : In the area C3 maximal equivalent stresses have the similar values as in the area C1 : However, the stresses in the head (D area) increase slightly at larger s=L: Therefore, a reasonable compromise would consist of the use of a slightly thicker head (the model assumes the head thickness h1 16 mm and the cylindrical shell thickness h2 14 mm) and positioning the supports near the ends of the vessel, at about s=L 14=15: Considering the vessel as a beam subject to uniform load and supported at two points, as sometimes found in the literature, is inappropriate. The set of curves in Fig. 6 shows the changes in stress level in the same areas of vessels having different proportions but the same capacity V0 300 m3 : The stresses are indicated for outer and inner surfaces of the cylindrical shell. The run of the curves show that reasonable proportions are for L=r in the range 6 8, corresponding to L 11:8 14:3 m or r 2:0 1:8 m. in this case. In practice, vessels with radius exceeding 2 m are often avoided because of problems with possible road transport. With increasing L=r; higher stresses occur in the area B closest to the support and in the middle section of the vessel C3 :

Analyses were also made to assess the effects of support height H; the dimension c; and the width cn of the cover plate. The results indicate that preliminary values for these parameters, specied in the end of Section 2, are reasonable.

4. Conclusions The results enable selection of the most favourable values of basic structural parameters of a thin-walled cylindrical pressure vessel. The vessel is treated as an integral system, including the deformable supports with stiffness adjusted to minimize the stress concentration in the vessel shell. The support should be of appropriate shape, simple design, and suitable thickness relative to the thickness of the vessel shell (the results suggest h3 =h2 0:6 2 0:7). The use of supports of high stiffness (e.g. concrete, in the form of a bed) is certainly unfavourable taking into account the strength of the vessel. The supports should be located near the vessel ends, thus taking full advantage of the increased stiffness of the head, due both to its shape and increased thickness relative to the vessel shell. Calculations have shown that the thickness of the ellipsoidal head should equal 1.15 1.25 of the thickness of the cylindrical shell. A ratio of support to vessel lengths equal to s=L 14=15 is most favourable, although a beam model of the vessel would suggest location of the supports nearer the middle, to reduce the bending moment at the middle


K. Magnucki et al. / International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping 80 (2003) 205210 [2] Boutros YA. Flexible saddle support for large diameter cylindrical vessels. Proc Ninth Int Conf Pressure Vessel Technol, Sydney 2000;1: 918. [3] Magnucki K, Szyc W, Stasiewicz P. Selection of design parameters of a cylindrical pressure vessel together with its support. 36th Symposium Modelling in Mechanics, Silesian Technical University, Gliwice 1997;4:2116. in Polish. [4] Magnucki K, Szyc W. Shell thickness of a horizontal cylindrical vessel lled with liquid. 37th Symposium Modelling in Mechanics, Silesian Technical University, Gliwice 1998;7:20712. In Polish. [5] British Standard BS5500, Specication for unred fusion welded pressure vessels. 1. Supports and mountings for horizontal vessels. Brit Std Inst 1997;G3.3:6477. [6] Ong LS, Lu G. Optimal support radius of loose-tting saddle support. Int J Pressure Vessel Piping 1993;54:46579. [7] Tooth AS, Banks WM, Seah CP, Tolson BA. The twin-saddle support of horizontal multi-layered GRP vesselstheoretical analysis, experimental work and a design approach. Proc Inst Mech Engng, Part E: Process Mech Engng 1994;208:59 74. [8] Banks WM, Nash DH, Flaherty AE, Fok WC, Tooth AS. The derivation of a best t equation for maximum strains in a GRP vessel supported on twin saddles. Proc Ninth Int Conf Pressure Vessel Technol, Sydney 2000;1:10919.

cross-section. The geometrical slenderness of the vessel, dened as the length to radius ratio, should be in the range 2L=r 12 16: Similar proportions would apply to vessels of smaller capacity. Similar calculations have been carried out for vessels of capacities 200, 100 m3, and smaller. Conclusions are very similar and the main proportions should be maintained even for capacities down to 15 m3. However, other rules for the shapes of vessels and their supports may be required for smaller internal pressure, when the contribution of hydrostatic pressure is more important relative to the pressure inside the vessel.

[1] El-Abbasi N, Meguid SA, Czekanski A. Three-dimensional nite element analysis of saddle supported pressure vessels. Int J Mech Sci 2001;43:1229 42.