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IPVP 1855

International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping 75 (1998) 617623

An alternative way to support horizontal pressure vessels subject to thermal loading


Alwyn S. Tooth a,*, John S.T. Cheung b, Heong W. Ng b, Lin S. Ong b, Chithranjan Nadarajah c
b a Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G1 1XJ, UK School of Mechanical and Production Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798, Singapore c Exxon Engineering Asia Pacic, Singapore 048693, Singapore

Received 27 May 1998; accepted 9 June 1998

Abstract When storing liquids at high temperature in horizontal vessels, the current design methods aim to minimise the thermal stresses by introducing a sliding surface at the base of one of the twin saddle supports. However, regular site maintenance is required to ensure that adequate sliding is achieved. This may be difcult and costly to carry out. The aim of the present work, therefore, is to dispense with the sliding support and to provide saddle designs which, although xed to the platform or foundation, do not result in the storage/pressure vessel being overstressed when thermal loading occurs. This paper provides general recommendations for the most appropriate saddle geometries, and details the way in which design-by-analysis and fatigue-life- assessments may be carried out using the stresses that arise from these designs. 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved Keywords: Pressure vessels; Storage vessels; Supports; Thermal loading

1. Nomenclature
A bp dp E he hp ks Ls rm tc ts SI DT w a length of vessel beyond saddle overhang breadth of the saddle top plate in the axial direction basic saddle width elastic modulus of the vessel and saddle material overall heat transfer coefcient height of the saddle, measured from nadir of the vessel to saddle base plate thermal conductivity of steel length of the vessel between supports mean radius of the vessel wall thickness of the vessel thickness of the saddle web and stiffeners stress intensity (i.e. maximum principal stress difference) temperature differential extended width of the saddle top plate linear coefcient of thermal expansion of the vessel and saddle material

2. Introduction Horizontal cylindrical storage/pressure vessels as used in the power, petroleum and other process industries are
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +44-141-552-4400; Fax: +44-141-552-5105

designed according to recognised codes and standards (for example; the ASME, BS, CODAP, etc. pressure vessel standards) to withstand both the test and operating conditions. The common practice, in terms of support, is to provide two saddle-like supports symmetrically located along the length of the vessel. To avoid induced axial restraint stresses, as in the case of thermal loading, the codes recommend that one of the saddles be free to slide in the axial direction. This can be achieved in a number of different ways: by the use of foundation bolts positioned in slotted holes, by the use of low-friction material (such as polytetrauoroethylene (PTFE)) bearing pads bonded to the backing plate of the saddle base and the foundation plate, or by the introduction of a roller at the base of the support. A further recommendation is that the hot liquid storage vessel and the supports be fully insulated. Such a requirement is obviously necessary to prevent heat loss which could be detrimental to the process, to prevent re damage thereby inducing structural weakness in the vessel and the support, and to protect personnel from inadvertent contact with the vessel or the support. Such insulation also avoids a high rate of temperature loss down the saddle itself which induces correspondingly high values of vessel stress. In spite of the long-standing practice of providing a sliding surface (or roller), mistakes can and do occur in practice.

0308-0161/98/$ - see front matter 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved PII: S0 30 8 -0 1 61 ( 98 ) 00 0 65 - 9

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Vessels are occasionally found where free sliding of the movable saddle cannot occur. This may be because slotted holes are inadvertently not provided, or the slotted holes that are provided are installed on the wrong side of the saddle base plate, thus preventing any movement when thermal expansion takes place. Another common experience with the slotted hole type of installation is that the nuts are over-tightened and become rigidly xed in position, or alternatively the slotted hole is totally lled with concrete debris or the sliding surface region of both the saddle and mounting are rigidly corroded together. In view of this, there are advantages from the operational, maintenance and safety point of view in dispensing entirely with the sliding support and installing the vessels with both saddles xed at their bases. The bases may be bolted to the foundation mounting in on-shore ground foundations, or welded to off-shore platform beams or the deck of a ship. Having taken this step, the element of uncertainty is removed from the design approach but one is now faced with the requirement to design the saddles and vessels to carry the total value of the thermal stresses that arise from the restraint of the saddle feet. This paper briey reports the ndings of an extensive investigation, both experimental and theoretical, which provides the designer with the necessary tools to carry out this process.

the saddle, where an embracing angle of at least 120 is used. The thermal stresses occur because there is a temperature gradient from ambient at the saddle base to the vessel temperature at the uppermost point of contact, known as the horn of the saddle. This radial restraint causes local bending mainly in the circumferential direction at the uppermost region of the saddle top plate, similar to that caused by internal pressure. 3.2. The longitudinal expansion of the vessel The longitudinal expansion of the vessel is also locally restrained, in this case by the non-sliding saddle support. Because of this, a horizontal force and xing moment are induced at the base of the support by the deck beams of the platform. If the xing is considered to be totally rigid then the value of this force and moment will be such that the horizontal displacement and rotation will both be zero at the base xture. In practice, the platform deck will contain some exibility so that these forces will be somewhat less than those in the rigid case. However, from a design point of view it is considered that the full force and moment constraint loadings should be assumed such that the base displacements are zero. When the system was analysed, it was found that the longitudinal restraint resulted in higher vessel stresses than those due to the radial restraint. When an ideal sliding support was introduced at the base of one of the saddles, the thermal axial (longitudinal) and circumferential stresses were substantially reduced. This fact does, of course, validate the existing recommendations of the code for those cases where an ideal support can be guaranteed.

3. The storage of hot uid in horizontal vessels When a horizontal cylindrical vessel is used to store hot uid and is installed so that the saddles are xed to the deck beams of a platform or the foundation, the thermal expansion of the vessel is restrained. If the hot liquid only occupies the lower part of the vessel then non-uniform heating of the vessel will occur. A further complexity could occur if during lling the hot uid impinges rapidly on the surface of the vessel in a local region. In this case, a transient analysis of a local hot spot may be required to analyse the problem. To avoid the complexity of these cases, the following assumptions are made. 1. The hot uid is inserted slowly so that the problem may be considered as steady state. 2. The whole vessel is heated uniformly by hot liquid to a temperature DT above ambient. 3. The vessel and the supports are fully insulated to avoid heat loss from the vessel wall and the saddles; this also serves the purpose of protecting plant personnel and reducing acoustic noise. 3.1. The radial expansion of the vessel During storage of the hot uid, the vessel expands both longitudinally and radially. The radial expansion occurs over the whole vessel. It is, however, restrained locally in the region of the support due to the wrap-around effect of

4. Typical saddle designs Three widely used saddle designs were investigated in a range of preliminary studies. The details, given by Cheung et al. [1], indicate that for the smaller vessels, up to and including 1200 mm in diameter, a design based on that given in the pressure vessel design handbook by Megyesy [2] is appropriate. However, certain modications to this design are proposed to provide greater exibility at the saddle horn and over the saddle width. The proposed design is shown in Fig. 1. For larger diameter vessels, from 1200 to 3000 mm in size, a design on based that given in a dimensional British Standard (BS 5276:1983 [3]) is proposed. Again, modications to this design are suggested in which the width, w, is optimised to increase the exibility across it. A typical design is shown in Fig. 2. The saddle design by Megyesy [2] is a relatively simple one and is useful for the support of smaller diameter vessels. In the original design (see Ref. [2]) this saddle does not provide much radial exibility in the horn region. As a result of the current studies, it is proposed that this dimension be

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Fig. 1. Saddle design based on Megyesy handbook [2].

increased to correspond to an angle of 12 on both sides and an extended width, w, of 25.4 mm again on each side; see Fig. 1. It is also noted in Ref. [2] that for vessels up to 1200 mm in diameter, a stiffening rib is not provided in the lower vessel region. The saddle design proposed for the larger diameter vessels, shown in Fig. 2, is based on that in BS 5276 [3]. This design includes an element of radial exibility in the

horn region, since the central web is not stiffened by an end plate as in the case of the Megyesy saddle. The width of the saddle top plate is, however, increased so that the ratio of the basic saddle width, d p, and the extended width, w, is maintained at 6.25 over the range of vessel diameters 1200 3000 mm. The value of this ratio was found to provide optimum exibility and correspondingly reduced thermal axial and circumferential stresses in the vessel. For this, it

Fig. 2. Saddle design based on British Standard BS 5276:1983 [3].

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was found that the maximum thermal stress in the vessel did not occur at the horn of the saddle and, therefore, was independent of the angular extension. This value was thus xed as the average of those contained in BS 5276 [3], namely 7, as shown in Fig. 2.

condence to carry out further parametric studies. Full details of this work are given by Ng et al. [6]

6. Parametric investigations Using the nite element analysis described above, an extensive number of nite element runs were carried out on the modied designs of two saddles shown in Fig. 1 and Fig. 2. In this investigation, all the geometric features of the saddles together with a complete range of vessel geometries were examined. For example, in the Megyesy and British Standard saddles, 900 and 729 different FEA runs were carried out respectively. Details of this are given by Ong et al. [5]. In each FE run, the maximum stress intensity, the absolute maximum circumferential stress and the absolute maximum axial stress were determined for each geometric conguration. These studies are an extension of the work reported by Tooth et al. [4]. In these analyses, the radial stresses, i.e. normal to the wall of the vessel, were found to be small compared to the circumferential and axial stresses. In view of this and since the aim of the work was to provide stress values for fatigue assessment, they were not considered further. Using a least-squares curve tting procedure, parametric equations for the above maximum stresses have been established. In this work a power law relationship has been used in which dimensional groups of the leading vessel and support parameters are given. The details of this work are given by Ong et al. [5]. After a study of 15 power series expressions for their quality of t, error estimates and consistency, the best non-dimensional expression for the maximum value of the stress intensity that occurs in the Megyesy design was considered to be !b     !e bp hp c L s d SI A a p p EaDT rm rm rm t c rm t c ! g  f ts w p 1 tc rm tc where the constant a and the indices b g are given (for three values of A/r m) in Table 1. Similar values were obtained for the absolute maximum circumferential and axial stresses based upon the Megyesy and the British Standard saddles, suitably modied as above.

5. Analytical proceduresnumerical and experimental 5.1. The nite element method The vessels were analysed using the nite element method with 20-noded brick elements (ANSYS software). A temperature differential of 100C was achieved by making the internal vessel surface temperature 100C while the base of the saddle was assumed to be at a temperature of 0C. In the rst instance, the outside surfaces of the vessel and saddle were assumed to be perfectly insulated so that there was no heat loss to the surroundings. The heat was therefore transferred by conduction from the vessel to the base support. Later work, reported below in Section 8, examines the inuence of heat transfer by radiation and convection. A small displacement linear elastic analysis was carried out in two phases. In the rst instance, the heat transfer problem was addressed to determine the temperature distributions in the vessel and saddle. These values were used in the second phase to determine the thermal stresses. Further details of this work are given by Cheung et al. [1], Tooth et al. [4] and Ong et al. [5]. 5.2. Experimental studies Experimental studies have been conducted on small cylindrical storage vessels (1035 mm long, 228 mm in inside diameter, and a 2.1 mm wall thickness). These were supported on both the Megyesy and BS type saddles, which incorporated the proposed modications, referred to above. They were extensively strain gauged and subjected to two types of tests to verify the validity of the nite element numerical analysis. The axial restraint was investigated using an isothermal saddle base pushpull displacement test. The combined radial and axial restraint was explored by progressively heating the vessels with hot liquid. The overall conclusion of these studies was that the nite element analysis gave reasonable predictions of the strains in the experimental vessels and could be used with some

Table 1 Constant a and indices b g in Eq. (1) A/ r m 0.5 1.0 2.0 a 0.05091 0.08209 0.14128 b 1.42627 1.19043 1.46387 c 0.80956 0.69126 0.61416 d 0.76971 0.82142 0.86332 e 1.05420 0.88672 1.166211 f 0.43872 0.55078 0.74121 g 0.52612 0.40430 0.56641

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To further improve the accuracy of t, trend line equations were obtained into which the values obtained from the parametric equation can be substituted. Full details of the method and the appropriate equations are given by Ong et al. [5]. A more sophisticated curve tting procedure for these results has been obtained by Fok and Tooth [7], in which some 54 coefcients were derived to provide a closed form equation over the whole geometric eld covered by the FEA results. The intention is to make these results available on the Internet; University of Strathclyde, Department of Mechanical Engineering, website.

7. General conclusions from the parametric survey From the parametric and trend line equations, it is possible to draw a number of general conclusions which, if they are incorporated, will reduce the value of the thermal stress produced in the vessel. 1. Tall saddles should be used since they introduce axial exibility. However, in such cases care should be exercised to design the saddle webs and stiffeners to avoid panel buckling. 2. The basic saddle width d p should be as narrow as possible in order to reduce the radial displacement (and thus the stresses) which occurs at the sides of the saddle plate when the restraining moment loading is applied to the saddle base. 3. In contrast to conclusion 2, the saddle top plate (or wear plate) should be extended beyond the basic width, d p, both in the circumferential direction at the horn and also across the width to introduce exibility and thereby reduce saddle reactive interface and thus thermal stresses. 4. The distance between the two xed saddle supports should be reduced as far as possible, thereby reducing the value of the axial thermal expansion to be restrained. However, this must be consistent with acceptable values of the membrane longitudinal stresses at the mid-span and saddle support proles when the vessel is used for storing liquid. 5. Ideally, the saddle embracing angle should not exceed 120, since using the smaller angle of support provides exibility to rotational movement. 8. Insulation of the vessel and saddle In the work reported above, it was assumed that both the vessel and the saddles were fully insulated and did not lose heat to the surrounding atmosphere. That is, the heat capacity of the hot liquid was transferred to the base of the saddles by means of conduction only. During discussions with an industrial support group, set up in Singapore by NTU to monitor the project, it was pointed out that it was not normal practice to fully insulate

the support regions. The insulation was restricted to the vessel itself, where heat loss could be detrimental to the process. The supports were, however, protected with a reproong concrete material to help preserve the structural integrity of the steel in the event of a re local to the vessel. Such protection has the additional advantage of reducing the risk of injury by personnel inadvertently coming into contact with the supports and thereby sustaining a burn. It was considered that the reproong material used to protect the saddle would be less effective in providing good insulation than conventional insulation material, with the result that convection and radiation could occur from the outer saddle surface. Analysis of this case results in a temperature prole down the saddle and particularly in the immediate region of the saddle/vessel junction, which is more detrimental to the occurrence of thermal stresses than the temperature prole derived under adiabatic conditions. The inuence of such changes in the heat transfer behaviour was examined in detail in Ref. [8] for a range of vessels supported on the Megyesy saddle. In these heat transfer studies, the thermal conductivity for the steel was retained at ks 45 W m 1 K 1 . Further, an overall heat transfer coefcient, h e, was determined assuming a convection heat transfer coefcient, a radiation heat transfer coefcient, and using a thermal conductivity for the reproong concrete of 0.1 W m 1 K 1. For the values considered, the magnitude of h e was found to be 1.83 W m 2 K 1, as opposed to zero for the pure conduction case. When this value was used in the analysis for a saddle of hp =rm 2 the stress intensity values were increased from that assuming pure conduction, by values ranging from 6.6 to 16.7% as the ratio of L s/r m was reduced from 12.0 to 4.0. Detailed results from this work are given by Tooth et al. [8], from which stress values for a range of heat transfer coefcients may be obtained for the full range of vessel geometries. It is sufcient to comment here that some form of good insulation is essential in the saddle/vessel region. If there were a total absence of reproong concrete altogether, either by design or by damage, then the outer surface of the steel saddle would be subject to a high value of the heat transfer coefcient, estimated to be 42.89 W m 2 K 1, compared to 1.83 W m 2 K 1, when the reproong material is present. This high value of h e may result in thermal stresses which could cause the onset of structural failure of the support.

9. The design assessment of the stresses From the parametric survey conducted using the FEA and briey reported above, the maximum stress intensity, the absolute maximum circumferential and the absolute maximum axial stress were obtained. In the case of the axial and circumferential stresses, no distinction is made between tensile or compressive stresses since, due to the presence of

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tensile residual stress induced by welding, the maximum stress range will be in the tensile eld and thus likely to cause the propagation of a fatigue crack. It is considered that two possible modes of failure are likely to occur in these vessels. One is due to failure by ratcheting and the other failure by fatigue. These are discussed below. 9.1. Failure by ratchetingdesign for shakedown If the vessel is subject to cyclic temperature loading and unloading, which in the present case could occur during the frequent lling and emptying of the hot liquid storage vessel, this would cause a heating and cooling cycle, resulting in thermal stresses of a cyclic nature being set up in the vessel. It was found that regions of high stress occurred close to the prole of the saddle top plate and the vessel. If the cyclic effects cause large strains and plastic action occurs in these high stress regions during each progressive cycle, then damage could occur to the vessel. Failure in this case should be distinguished from the possibility of lowcycle fatigue in the regions of peak stress. We are here concerned with the overall structural behaviour due to cycles of thermal loading. In general, for cyclic loading the vessel is designed for a shakedown condition in order to avoid ratcheting, which can cause incremental collapse. Shakedown is said to occur when, after the rst cycle of load, the component behaviour is purely elastic. Some plastic behaviour may take place in the rst cycle but not in the second or subsequent cycles. If shakedown is not achieved, then in each cycle additional plastic strain is accumulated. This behaviour is called ratcheting and causes incremental collapse; it should clearly be avoided in the design. Ratcheting is avoided in the codes (Annex A of BS 5500 [9] and ASME section VIII division 2 [10]) in a rather simplistic way by limiting the maximum value of the primary plus secondary stress intensities to twice the yield stress or three times the design stress, at the design temperature. The thermal stress of the type considered in this programme of work is dened as a secondary stress, the maximum value of which can be obtained from the parametric Eq. (1) given in Section 6. In general, the stressing from the thermal loading is the dominant part of this total stress intensity, and therefore it is important to determine its magnitude as accurately as possible. 9.2. Failure by fatigue loading The maximum stresses which occur in the storage vessel are found to occur in a region close to the saddle support/ vessel welds. If cracks occur in the vessel, they invariably occur in the region of the welds and progress into or around the vessel from the highly stressed weld region. Although these vessels may not be subjected to a large number of cycles, it is important that a fatigue life assessment be

made in view of the fact that they are storing liquids at a high temperature which, if released due to vessel failure, are highly dangerous to personnel on the platform or process plant. Two methods of fatigue assessment are available, given as follows. The procedure followed by ASME [10] uses the value of the alternating stress intensity, S alt, with the appropriate curves for the material and temperature to obtain the fatigue life. The stress intensity range, which is twice S alt, may be obtained from Eq. (1). The second method is that contained in BS 5500 [9], which is similar to that to be included in the new European pressure vessel standard. This method recognises that the fatigue life of welded joints is dominated by fatigue crack propagation. The fact that the crack initiation period has already occurred in the creation of the welded joint is reected in the method outlined. This approach is thus quite different from that used in the ASME [10] procedure outlined above, and will be given here in some detail. In the BS approach, the type of weld is classied in association with the direction of the applied loading, and from the appropriate fatigue design S N curves the life assessment can be made. In the case of the saddle support, the weld is classied as G, which is a rather low class of weld detail. In BS 5500 [9], a power series equation has been tted to the fatigue curves which enables the life assessment to be carried out with accuracy. In this treatment, the component stresses are used rather than the stress intensity; that is, the circumferential and axial stresses which would be normal to the weld directions associated with the saddle. In the present case, both the magnitudes of the absolute maximum circumferential and axial stresses can be determined from the parametric equations given by Ong et al. [5]. In this case, all the welds around the saddle have been classied as G (from BS 5500 [9]), so the assessment can be carried out by simply using the absolute maximum stress of the two stresses (circumferential or axial). In doing this, it is noted that for these saddles the maximum stresses invariably occur on the side of the saddle in the region of the weld running in the circumferential direction. In such a case, the maximum axial stress would be the most appropriate stress to use in the assessment. Nevertheless, to be absolutely safe it is proposed that the absolute maximum stress be used, whatever the direction. In point of fact, the axial and circumferential stresses are of similar magnitude anyway. Occasionally, the maximum stress is found to occur on the inside surface of the vessel immediately adjacent to the weld. Despite this, and to build in a further measure of safety, all the maximum stresses should be used as if they did in fact occur in the most critical orientation to the welds. These vessels are invariably subjected to a repeated lling and emptying routine. In many cases, the vessel may only be partially emptied prior to relling and thus the full range of pressures and temperatures may not be realised. However,

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in order to simplify the computer model, and to provide a worst case scenario, it may be assumed at the design stage that full cycles of temperature occur. Later renement of the assessment considering the actual pressure and temperature range may be worthwhile to obtain a more exact life assessment.

saddle design. In such cases, a compromise design may be required in order to obtain an optimum saddle design. Acknowledgements This research has been funded by a grant from the Commission of the European Union for joint work by the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. The use of ANSYS software through an educational license from Swanson Analysis is also acknowledged. References
[1] Cheung JST, Tooth AS, Nadarajah C, Ong LS, Ng HW. Horizontal pressure vessels on xed saddle supports under thermal expansion loading a study of 3 different saddle designs. In: Proc. Int. Conf. on Mechanics of Solids and Material Engineering, 57 June 1995, Singapore, organised and published by School of Mechanical and Production Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 1995; Vol. C: 10041009. [2] Megyesy EF. Pressure vessel handbook. 10th ed. Tulsa, OK: Pressure Vessel Publishing, Inc: 1995. [3] BS 5276. Pressure vessel details (dimensions), part 2. Specication for saddle supports for horizontal cyclindrical pressure vessels. London: British Standards Institution, 1983. [4] Tooth AS, Cheung JST, Nadarajah C, Ong LS, Ng HW. The support of horizontal vessels containing high temperature uids a design study. In: Proc. Eighth Int. Conf. on Pressure Vessel Tech. (ICPVT8), Vol. 2, Design and analysis, Montreal, Que., Canada, 21-26 July 1996. New York: ASME: 1996; 431437. [5] Ong LS, Cheung JST, Ng HW, Tooth AS. Parametric equations for maximum stresses in cylindrical vessels subjected to thermal expansion loading. International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping, 1998;75:255262. [6] Ng HW, Tooth AS, Cheung JST, Ong LS. Experiments and FEA on horizontal vessels under thermal expansion, presented at the ASME ASIA 97 Congress and Exhibition, Singapore, 30 September2 October 1997. Paper 97-AA-106. New York: ASME, 1997. [7] Fok WC, Tooth AS. A procedure for equation tting of computergenerated design data. Journal of Strain Analysis for Engineering Design, 1997;32(5):365373. [8] Tooth AS, Cheung JST, Ng HW, ONg LS. Analysis and design of horizontal pressure vessels with non-sliding saddle supports. Final report to the European Commission, contract no. CI 1 *CT92 0067, March 1997. [9] BS 5500. Unred fusion welded pressure vessels. London: British Standards Institution, 1997. [10] Boiler and pressure vessel code, section VIII Div. 2. New York: American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1995.

10. Concluding comments The paper provides the background to the use of the nonsliding support in vessels where thermal expansion is known to occur. The stress results from the FEA have been provided by Ong et al. [5] in the form of parametric equations to enable maximum stress values to be obtained. These stresses are used to design the vessel for operation in the shakedown range and to carry out a fatigue life assessment. The conclusions from the parametric survey, given in Section 7, with regard to saddle design should be helpful in providing an arrangement where the vessel stresses are reduced to a minimum. The fact that these installations can be analysed with some certainty gives additional motivation for using the non-sliding saddle, thus providing an alternative way to support these vessels. It is shown that vessel stresses can be reduced markedly by the use of good insulation material both round the vessel and the saddle supports. If damage occurs to the insulation round the supports it is essential that it be replaced as soon as possible. It is appreciated that the parametric equations provided here and by Ong et al. [5] only give the stress values for the two recommended saddle designs. However, it is anticipated that the general conclusions, given in Section 7, which are drawn from the parametric survey on both designs of saddles, could also be applied to other designs of saddle in general use in the industry. This should provide a rst basic design in which the overall saddle dimensions are established. If further assessment is required and the saddles are of a different design to those given in this paper, then an FEA will be necessary to establish accurate stress values. It should also be appreciated that when large- diameter horizontal vessels are used for storing a high-temperature liquid under high internal pressure, cognisance should be taken of the requirements of the self weight and internal pressure on