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Compucerr & Srructun~ Printed in Great Britain.


22. No.

3. pp. 299-305.

1986 0

0045-7949186 53 00 4 .oo 1986 Pergamon Prc%sLtd.



Department. R. NATARAJAN University of Illinois at Chicago, 1984)





IL 60680,


(Received 13 Augur

Abstract-Many commercial programs are available for pipeline flexibility analysis, but they are all complex and consume time in preparing data for simple problems. Also, much attention has recently being given lo evaluating the flexibility of curved pipes more accurately. So far no consistent method exists to evaluate the flexibility factor in such cases. Hence, a need arises for a simplified pipe flexibility analysis program while at the same time not forgoing the generality of the analysis. A simplified pipe flexibility analysis program is presented and its merits are shown. This program is tested using a comparatively simple pipeline system. Its use in obtaining consistent values for the flexibility of elbows is also discussed.

programs are available for static analysis of piping systems either using the flexibility concept or the stiffness method. These programs are written so that complex piping systems are solved with standard data preparation. If one requires to use these programs for simple piping systems it involves extensive preparation of data and mastering the input and output data routines. Also, if one is interested in modifying such programs so that, for example, special piping elements can be included in the system, it is not easy to do so. Recently, much work has been done to obtain flexibility factors[l-51 of piping elbows more accurately, taking into account the constraints produced by tangent pipes attached to elbows, flanges next to elbows, etc. For such studies, one uses shell theories in conjunction with finite difference or finite element techniques. From these analyses for obtaining the flexibility factors, most of the authors assume that the end cross-section of the elbows remain straight. It is found that such an assumption is not correct[l]. Thus it becomes necessary to evolve a consistent method of finding the flexibility factor of elbows using the results obtained from the shell analysis. It is here once again that a simplified version of the piping flexibility program will be of great use. Using this a consistent value for the flexibility of the elbows is obtained by comparing the deflections of the pipeline obtained from the shell analysis and the piping flexibility[2, 31 analysis. Further, such simple programs can be made easily available for microcomputers. The various features of the program are explained first. A sample piping system is analysed using the program. Finally, the use of this program to determine the flexibility of the pipe elbows is described. Commercial

able in the literature[6]. The matrix method of analysis for piping system is the most widely used procedure since it is well suited for high-speed digital computer application. It can handle complex piping systems involving many anchors, closed loops within loop and/or interconnecting branch lines.

For the purpose of development of the method, a right-handed rectangular co-ordinate system is specified. Consider, at any point in a deformable structure, an applied force system causing stresses in the structure. This is represented as a column matrix:


An elementary volume of material of a flexible structure which is acted upon by the force system may experience displacements, due to distortion of the structure, which can also be represented as a column matrix:


An analytical method in piping flexibility analysis as distinguished from the graphical, semigraphical Several analytical methods for calculating ther- or numerical methods, will lead eventually to the mal stresses in high temperature piping are avail- solution of a set of simultaneous algebraic equa299

300 tions. In general, these equations in the following form:



may be written

m =

A$= Zh(l

+ CL).

in which [Cl represents the matrix of influence coefficients (usually called the compliance matrix). The piping flexibility analysis is concerned tvith the solution of the redundant {F}. In practice, however, the number of equations required to solve a particular piping system differs with the various methods of analysis and essentially, it depends on the manner in which the compliance matrices are obtained and manipulated. For a piping system involving many anchors, interconnecting branches or closed loops within loops, there is not only the problem of the size of the equations, which often imposes a limitation on practical application even in the case of digital computation, but also the problem of how the equations may be set up readily for solutions. These difficulties are overcome using the stiffness method of analysis. From the compliance matrix of piping components[6], by an elegant method, the corresponding stiffness components are obtained. The conventional stiffness method is now used for the solution of the displacements. These are then used to calculate the stresses at specified points.
COMPLIANCE MATRICES Tmgenr. The flexibility matrix of a tangent with the mid-point as the base-point is available. This is written as

where A is the shear distribution factor. The compliance matrix with i andj as base-point can be obtained using transformation matrix. The transformation matrix is written as iC0.1 = &J where the transformation

[Cpl mv~l~


shifts the base-point p to


T(p - P')

is a 3 X 3 unit matrix. 03 is a 3 X 3 null matrix. Bend. Figure 1 shows a circular bend having a bend radius R and central arc JI. Such a piping element does not obey the Euler-Bernoulli-Navier theory of bending. The cross-section is able to warp from its original circular shape in such a way that the relationship between moment and curvature is Curvature = n . FI ,



[ typ - yp.)

-(Yp -Yp.) -;P, 0 (Xp- .t$.) 0 -(.yp - .V&+) cp



[C&J =

DMG&{($ +m/p) ,lP2,

(; + mip) ,I,/(1 + I*LI}, (4)

where n is a factor greater than unity. The elements of the compliance matrix are given as C,, = A Cr, = Cl2 = B C,6 = Cal = C C 22 =D Cz6 = Ce2 = E C,3 = F C,a = Ca = G CJ5 = Cs3 = H cu = I (8)

where E is Youngs modulus, I is flexural 1M.I. of the pipe, p is radius of gyration, 1 is length of the tangent pipe and p is Poissons ratio.

CJs = CT4 = J cg = K

CM = L, where A, etc. are given in Appendix A.


Using the flexibility matrix derived earlier, the corresponding (12 x 12) stiffness matrix can be obtained, correlating the 12 displacement components at the ends of the element to the corresponding force components. Thus

I. Circular bend with bend radius R and central

arc rL.


= {F).


Pipe flexibility





The solution of eqn t 19, subject to the boundary conditions (&}, for the vector {D,,} and {F,,}. resuits in the complete solution of the piping system for the displacements and reactions. (10) For the assembly and solution of the problem, the front solution method is adopted. This uses Where Kji is the stiffness matrix whose columns Gaussian forward elimination and back-substituare obtained by restraining the end j and computing tion. the force components at the i end for unit displaceTHERMAL LOADISG ment components at the end i and Kij is the stiffness matrix whose columns are obtained by restraining The thermal loading problem is treated as an inthe end i and computing the force components at itial strain problem. To calculate the nodal forces, thej node for unit displacement components at the we write the initial strain as end j. To obtain the submatrix Kfi the matrix [Cj] should be inverted. Thus
matrix [K]c

can be subdivided into four mat-

Kii = [Ci]-a


where a is the coefficient of thermal expansion in OC/~~crn and T is the difference in temperature in C. The equivalent nodal forces are given as

The compliance and hence the stiffness matrices for the piping elements are derived on the basis of a local co-ordinate systems. Hence, for assembly these matrices are transformed into chosen global system. Thus it is written as


or WJIW = V-2. (131

From the solution of tee system of equations, the global displacements have already been obtained. The internal forces and moments can be computed easily using the equation @=I= KIW.

where [L] is the transformation matrix and suffix g denotes the global reference system.

Equation (13) represents the force deformation relationship of a pipe element in global direction. A piping system has a large number of elements consisting of tangents, bends, tees, valves, etc. Each of these has a relation of the type eqn (13). Summing up all such equations we get

At any point along the length of a straight pipe, there are moments and forces which can be resolved into the following components: one axial force, two cross-shearing forces, one torsional moments. The stresses can be computed as S, = F,iA
S, = h F,fA S, = kitroil, (18)


The load vector gives the external loads applied on the structure including thermal loads. The boundary conditions for the piping system is generally specified in terms of prescribed displacements at the anchors and other restraint points. Thus the vector {D) is split into two parts, {D,,/DK) where DK corresponds to the knowns and D,, corresponds to the unknowns.

where n, s, t and b stand for axial, shear force and twisting and bending moments, respectively. A represents area of cross-section of the element. rll represents radius of the cross-section of the pipe, lP and f represent polar and bending moment of inertia of the pipe cross-section, The pressure piping code recommends that the expension stresses be based only on the combination of torsional stress S, and the bending stress S,,. Thus S.&= JCSi + 4s;). (191

While calculating the stresses in a bend, stress


R. NATARAJAN STFTR. Takes the stiffness matrix of an element and places its elements in proper places in the area allocated for assembly of all the equations from the assembly which will not appear again in the system. FORWAD. Eliminates those equations from the assembly which will not appear again in the system. The elimination process is in fact done by the conventional Gaussian elimination process. These eliminated equations are stored in a back store in the BUFFER routine. The sequence of calling STFTR, FORWAD and BUFFER is done for all the elements in the system. The stored equations are now solved for the unknowns using back-substitution technique. INIAL. Here in the program as a special technique known as front solution method is used instead of the conventional assembly process, the necessity arises for the calculation of a quantity, namely, the front width. This determines the size of the assembled matrix of the entire system, and is evaluated in this routine. NODE. Here the element node connection data, identification of the element-tangent or bend, coordinates of a special point with respect to the element useful for calculating the transformation matrix and element material properties are read. Further nodal co-ordinates for the entire system are also read here. PRDF. The amount of constraints given to the system at different prescribed nodal points are read here. PDATA. Reads in all different internal diameters and thicknesses of the pipe and the different temperatures encountered in the system. TRANS. Calculates the transformation matrix for tangents and bends, which will be used when obtaining global stiffness matrix from calculated local stiffness matrix. GEOP. From the given co-ordinates of the ends of a bend, this routine calculates the radius and included angle of the bend. GLOSTF. Calculates the global stiffness matrix of the pipe element using the local stiffness matrix as the input to the routine. STIFF. With the flexibility matrix of a bend as input, this routine augments and obtains the stiffness matrix in the local co-ordinate system. TANGT. Calculates the stiffness matrix of a tangent element once again augmenting the flexibility matrix given as input to the routine. TLOAD. The load on the piping element due to increase in temperature is calculated. To this the externally applied load, if any, is added. STRESS. It calculates the forces and moments at the ends of the element. Using this, axial stresses, bending and torsional stresses are evaluated. These stresses are combined according to ASME specifications. The global forces and moments are also evaluated here at the nodal points. MATIV. Standard routine to find the inverse of a given matrix.

intensification factors have to be brought in. The calculated bending moment at a point is divided into two components, one causing in-plane bending Mbi and the other an out-of-plane Mbo. Thus


where L,, and Li are the stress intensification factors along in-plane and out-plane bending. z is the pipe section modulus. Thus SE = J[(MbjLi) + (Mb&,) +
Mf]/z. (21)

Thus the axial stresses, shear stress and the bending stress can be calculated at a point in a straight pipe or a bend.



The program has an built-in capacity to check whether the solution obtained, namely displacements at the nodal points and forces at the anchor points, are accurate enough. Equilibrium check. The reaction force vectors calculated at the anchor points are summed up with the externally applied force vector to check whether the total force vector is zero. Further, the moment produced by these reaction forces about the origin is found and the check is applied to see whether this quantity is again zero. Compatibility check. For this, a separate analysis is done for the entire piping system by releasing one of the anchor points but substituting the displacement boundary conditions at that point by a force boundary condition, in terms of calculated reaction forces by the earlier analysis. The resulting displacements at the anchor points in this analysis should correspond to the prescribed anchor displacements in the original analysis.


A flow chart for the program is given in Fig. 2.


MAIN. This calls all the subprograms, in order, required for the analysis of the system as well as for checking the solution thus obtained. STFTR, FORWAD. BUFFER AND BACKWD. These four routines assemble the stiffness equations of the elements and solve for the unknown deformations and reactions in the entire piping systems.

Pipe flexibility













STOP Fig. 2. Details of the algorithms.

AC/GMT. This routine is used while obtaining stiffness matrix of an element from the flexibility ma&is. EQBM. Here the reaction forces at all restraint points are calculated and summed. The moments of these reactions are evaluated about the origin. PRNT. Prints out the results in the desired form.

Table I. The displacements X-DISPL im.m) Il.9 32.84 32.84 49.03 128.18

at specific nodal points Y-DISPL (m.mJ 3.85 12.66 12.66 0.0 -5J.21 z-RISPL (m.m) 0.0 - 13.75 13.75 0.0 30.5 I


6 IS 20 29

A three-dimensionai piping system (Fig. 3) with 29 elements consisting of tangents, elbows in different planes, supports with various constraints and ends with external loading applied, is analysed to show the applicabiIity of the present programe. A brief summary of the displacements at specific nodal points is given in Table 1. The stresses obtained are not presented here. It is found that the deformation obtained here compares well with those obtained from a commerical package.




It is explained here how the present piping analysis program is utilised to obtain a consistent value for the flexibility factor of an elbow. As an example, it is required to evaluate the fiexibility factor of a 30 elbow when its ends are constrained by tangent pipes from the results obtained from a tinite element analysis. Figure 4 below shows the layout of the piping system.

Table 2. Results for the 30 elbow Trial flexible coefficient


Node I

Node 3

Node 3

12.0 13.0 13.5

-0.001 I -0.001 I -0.001 I

-0.0169 -0.0179 -0.0184

-0.0011 -0.001 -0.001

- 0.0038 - 0.0040 -O.OWI


Fig. 3. A three-dimensional

piping system.

Pipe flexibility




M =686x10

Fig. 4. Layout

of the piping system.

An assumed value for the flexibility factor of the 3. R. Natarajan and S. Mirza, Effect of internal pressure on flexibility factor in pipe bends with end constraints. 30 elbow is input into the present piping program. Danerno. 83 WA/DE-l I. Proc. ASME. Boston C 1983). The deformations at the free end and at the elbow4. k.Thomas, Stiffening effects of thin-killed pi&g iitangent junction are compared with those obtained bows of adjacent piping and nozzle constraint. PVPfrom finite element analysis. This iterative process, Vol. 50, Stress Indices and Stress Intensification Factors of Pressure Vessel and Piping Componenrs. pp. of assuming the flexibility factor from the piping 93-108, ASME. program with those obtained from the finite element 5. E. C. Rodabaugh and S. E. Moore, End effects on elanalysis, is continued until satisfactory results are bows subjected to moment landings. PVP-Vol. 56, Adobtained. vances in Design and Analysis Methodology for Pressare Vessels and Piping, pp. 99-123. ASME. Table 2 shows the results obtained for the 30 elbow. Hence 13.0 is accepted as a consistent flexibility factor. APPENDIX A
A B C D E F G H I J K L where f, = Rl4EI RIEI Rf4EI r=RIEI of pipe cross-section = = = = = = = = = = = = n(2lL - sin ZJl)f,, + (1.55$ + -n(l + cos 2Jl)f6 + 0.525t I n(l - cos 4j.f~ n(2JI + sin 2Jl)f6 + (I.55 II, -n sin $fj 4tl + CL)$ f6 + 2.6 ti f7 -(I + p)(I - cos Jl)f~ (I + p)sinJIfj [2(l + tk + n)JI - (I + p -(I + p - nhl - cos 23r)fj [2(l + F + n)l + (I + p 4n3rf4, 0.525 sin 2b)f7 - cos 2$)f7 0.525 sin 2*Jf7

The description of a simplified piping analysis program is given here. Its use in solving moderately simple piping system is also shown. Further its applicability to evaluate a consistent value for flexibility of an elbow is also explained. Thus this type of simple program is of great value for practicing engineers. In addition. efforts are on the way to implement this program for microcomputers such as Apple.
and J. A. Blomtield, Stress analysis of curved pipes with end restraints. Inr. J. Compur. Stnrcfitres 5, 187-196 (1975). 2. R. Natarajan and S. blirza. Stress analysis of curved pipes with end restraints subjected to out-of-plane moment. F 2/8, Proc. 6th SMIRT Conf., Paris (1981).

n) sin hL]fr n) sin 2ti1f4

I. R. Natarajan

f5 = f6 = f7 =

r is mean radius