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VŠB – TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF OSTRAVA

Faculty of mechanical engineering

Finite Element Method

Structural analysis of vessel flange

Semestral project

Ostrava, 2009 Pavel Urubčík

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Table of Contents
1. Task....................................................................................................................................................3
1.1 Problem.......................................................................................................................................4
1.2 Drawings.....................................................................................................................................5
2. Geometric model...............................................................................................................................6
3. FE model...........................................................................................................................................7
3.1 Element description....................................................................................................................7
3.2 Meshing (FE model)...................................................................................................................8
4. Boundary conditions..........................................................................................................................9
4.1 Displacement boundary conditions.............................................................................................9
4.2 Pressure.....................................................................................................................................10
5. Results.............................................................................................................................................11
6. The file package description............................................................................................................13
6.1 Macro description.....................................................................................................................13
6.2 Checklist of files attached.........................................................................................................13
7. Conclusion.......................................................................................................................................14
8. References.......................................................................................................................................15

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1. Task

Perform structural analysis (as listed below) on chosen static problem.

Tasks
1. Structural analysis
• geometric model
• FE model
• boundary conditions application
• summarizing the analysis in conclusion
• results presentation

2. The analysis support files


• a short presentation
• reasonable structured macro file of the performed analysis
• solid model file
• FEA model + boundary conditions + results files

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1.1 Problem

The chosen problem is vessel flange and its behavior toward pressure inside (p). The material is
aluminium alloy. The main task of the analysis will be static structural analysis.

Material:
Aluminium alloy
Yield Strength 280 Mpa
Ultimate Strength 310 MPa

Input values:

E=70 000 Mpa ! Young's module – aluminium


v= 0.33 ! Poisson's ratio – aluminium

D=728 mm ! the vessel inner diameter


t=10 mm ! thickness of the vessel
t2=8 mm ! thickness of the vessel at the bottom
r=20 mm ! the fillet radius
p=10 mm ! minor height parameter at the bottom of the vessel
l1=40 mm ! the flange thickness
dm2=30 mm ! bolt washer outer diameter (needed for defining loads)
dm1=17 mm ! bolt washer inner diameter and the hole diameter at the same time
(needed for defining loads)
sp=2 mm ! space between the fillet radius and the beginning of the bolt washer
e=10 mm ! space left from dm2 to the outer flange edge

hn=52 ! number of holes in the vessel

pressure=1.87 ! inner vessel pressure

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1.2 Drawings

Figure 1.1 Part of vessel with flange connected with bolts

Figure 1.2 detail of flange cross-section

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2. Geometric model

The geometry model was simply made by cross section of the flange. Then the area was rotated around
the axis of symmetry for angle that represents needed symmetry. The section of the flange is created
automatically by the macro file depending on number of bolts set by user. The volumes (figure 2.1 and
2.2 marked with different colors) were divided with regard to boundary conditions application.

Figure. 2.1 Geometric model

Figure. 2.2 Geometric model - detail

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3. FE model

3.1 Element description


Software used for the analysis was Ansys 11. Used element in Ansys was SOLID186. It is a higher
order 3-D 20-node solid element. Supports various analysis types. It was chosen because its propriate
for irregular meshes modeling (e.g. produced by various CAD/CAM systems). Therefore automatic
smart size meshing method can be applied.
As the picture below shows the element may appear in different forms – tetrahedral, pyramid or prism-
shaped element. For instance by defining the same node numbers for nodes M, N, O, P, U, V, W, and X
a pyramid-shaped element is formed.
There are similar elements such as SOLID185 (lower order version of 186) or SOLID187 (10 node
version)

Figure 3.1 SOLID186 Structural Solid Geometry

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3.2 Meshing (FE model)

Mesh errors
At first smart-size mesh tool was used. Shape testing revealed that some element violate shape warning
limits. All the irregular elements were near the axis of symmetry at the top because of very small angle.
This would not occur if small number of bolts would be chosen . This problem is negligible as long as
it will not cause critical errors in the calculation that would stop the calculation.

Figure 3.2 Elements near vessel symmetry axis violating shape limits

Mesh refining
After processing the analysis first time some areas
with very high energy error estimation were found.
The errors appeared because of the boundary
conditions as will be mentioned further.
The errors appeared within the area of interest
therefore the elements in both most affected areas
were refined. Shown mesh on figure 3.3 was refined
at lines where highest error estimation appeared (for
errors estimation see fig.5.3)
Second mesh refinement was done on the vessel
because more than one element along vessel
thickness is desirable. Refinement applied on the
inner vessel area did the job well.

Figure 3.3 Refined mesh

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4. Boundary conditions

4.1 Displacement boundary conditions

Symmetry
Size of the model was cut down on the necessary symmetry section. The symmetry is applied on the
area (fig.4.1)

Figure 4.1 Applied symmetry area Figure 4.2 Washer contact area

Bolt related displacement


This displacement applied on the washer contact area (fig.4.2) is derived from the bolt that keeps the
flange and the other part of a vessel together. Zero displacement is applied in the direction
perpendicular to the surface (Y axis). There is a notice in the conclusion about this particular boundary
condition.

Flange -vessel contact


This displacement in Y axis direction
(fig.4.3) represents contact with the
other part of vessel. Only the edge
instead of whole bottom surface was
chosen since it keeps the set together
but still allows the flange to be pushed
up by the pressure.
Figure 4.3 bottom flange edge with the b.c. applied

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Radial displacement solution
The area on the picture (fig.4.4) shows
where radial displacement is applied since
there is a grip at the bottom part (fig.1.2).
Zero displacement is applied in radial
direction. As a matter of fact there would be
some displacement depending mostly on the
other part stiffness but for simplicity let's
suppose there is none.

Figure 4.4 area for zero radial displacement application

4.2 Pressure

Inner vessel pressure is applied at the inner surface and can be seen on the figure 4.5 below.

Figure 4.5 applied vessel pressure

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5. Results

As for the stress results (fig.5.2 and fig.5.3) there are areas with high stress due to applied boundary
conditions. Such stress results near the singularity are not valid and were removed from certain plots
(dark gray area).
Maximum stress is about 236 Mpa which ,comparing with Yield Strength (280 MPa), is not
acceptable value although if we neglect the singularity then average von Mises stress at the sphere
(where results are valid) is about 40 Mpa.

Figure 5.1 von Mises stress Figure 5.2 von Mises stress (singularity
removed from the plot)

Sum of displacement in all directions as shown above (fig.5.5) is highest on the sphere surface and is
0.168 mm.

Validity and errors


First condition for results validity is validity of Hooke's law of elasticity. Figure 5.3 shows elastic strain
(again the most irrelevant area of the results was removed). Reasonable maximum elastic strain is about
0.1% which is acceptable.
As for the result accuracy energy error estimation has to be taken in count because one can learn
whether are the results valid or not. The plot below (fig.5.4) shows the areas with highest energy errors.
Speaking of the washer edge and outer flange edge, these are the singularities as direct implications of
applied boundary conditions. Therefore solution on edges of mentioned areas are not valid. If one
decides to apply such boundary conditions it is very important to keep in mind validity of obtained
results.

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Figure 5.3 Elastic strain - Von Mises (singularity removed from the plot)

Figure 5.4 Structural error energy Figure 5.5 Vector plotted DOF transition solution

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6. The file package description

Inseparable part of this report is the file package as described in the beginning of this report.

6.1 Macro description

Macro file structure


Macro includes modeling, BC application, meshing and setting of desired view and plot. All the
variables (dimensions, pressure) are at the beginning and changing them within reasonable limits
should work fine.

6.2 Checklist of files attached


• Solid model (.db)
• FE model + boundary conditions + results (.db, .rst)
• macro file (.mac)
• presentation (.ppt for Microsoft Office and .odp for Open Office)
• this report (.pdf)

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7. Conclusion

The problem has been chosen rather simple one since the aim of the project was rather finite element
analysis than solution of real problem or modeling issue. On the contrary the simplicity provided
opportunity to experience different variations of possible solutions (and quickly receive results).

The chosen boundary conditions seem to be best fitting to the limitations of the course and knowledge I
possess.
Different BC - At first I prevented the whole bottom area of the flange to move in Y axis direction but
this would not be proper because the flange could not pull away due to inner pressure and that would
lead in false results in much larger area than the chosen BC.
Much more accurate and simpler solution could be achieved by using contacts. It could simulate the
stiffnesses and would make solution more accurate. Unfortunately contact application issue is not part
of the FEM course for what was this project created.

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8. References

Literature
[1] Release 11.0 Documentation for ANSYS
[2] Metoda konečných prvků – MKP I (Návody do cvičení) – VSB TUO, Department of Mechanics of
Materials

Software used
➢ licensed
➢ Ansys (ANSYS Academic Teaching Advanced, VSB TUO license)

➢ open source and freeware


➢ Open Office (report and presentation)
➢ Gimp (plot results editing)
➢ Inkscape (drawings)
➢ PSPad (macro editing)

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