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Pressure Systems Group

Flanged Joints:
New Methods
and Practices

16-17 March 2010

Turbine Hall
The CastleGate
Melbourne Street
Newcastle upon Tyne
Seminar Proceedings

Improving the world through engineering

Photo courtesy of Hydratight

2010 The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, unless otherwise stated.

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Setting the Scene

Robert Noble, Hydratight
Robert Noble


Flange Selection
Dr David Nash, University of Strathclyde
Simon Earland, Earland Engineering
Dr David Nash & Simon Earland


Gasket Selection
Dr Gavin Smith, Novus Sealing Limited
Dr Gavin Smith, Novus Sealing Limited


Material Selection for Industrial Fasteners

Rod Corbett, James Walker Rotabolt
Rod Corbett


Traditional Flange Design Methods

Warren Brown, The Equity Engineering Group
Warren Brown


Overview of Developments in EN 1591

Manfred Schaaf, AMTEC Services GmbH
Manfred Schaaf


Failure Mechanisms of Bolted Joints

- Bolting Aspects
Bill Eccles, Bolt Science Limited
Bolt Science Limited
Seal failure from a gaskets perspective
Dene Halkyard, Flexitallic
Flexitallic Ltd


European Emissions Legislation

Dr Brian Ellis, European Sealing Association
Dr Brian S. Ellis


Tension Control, the key to Bolted Flange Reliability

Rod Corbett, James Walker Rotabolt
Rod Corbett
Tightening Techniques for Bolted Flanged Joints
Tony Scrivens, Hydratight
No content in proceedings


Management of the Integrity of Bolted Joints for

Pressurised Systems
Robert Noble, Hydratight
Robert Noble


ASME PCC-1 Updates

Warren Brown, The Equity Engineering Group
Warren Brown


Qualification of Personnel Competency

DD CEN/TS 1591-4
John Hoyes, Flexitallic Ltd
J. R. Hoyes of Flexitallic


A regulatory perspective on bolted joints at high hazard

Iain Paterson, HSE Offshore Division
Health & Safety Executive


Leak Management
Ed Versluis, James Walker Rotabolt
James Walker


Case studies
No content in proceedings

Setting the Scene

Robert Noble, Hydratight

Robert Noble

Setting the Scene

Robert Noble
Technical Services
Leader Hydratight

The World is beginning to realise the bolted joint is

just as critical as the Welded Joint?
Welded Joint

Bolted Joint











In Service Inspection
Permanent joint

Subject to Breakout

Consider this please:-

Consider this question:Is the bolted joint a permanent or temporary


The Bolted Joint and the PED:PED applies to permanent joining with permanent
joints defined in Article 1 as:
2.8. 'Permanent joints` means joints which
cannot be disconnected except by destructive
The Bolted Flanged joint being capable of
disconnection therefore is viewed as temporary!
This is an advantage not a reason for reduced
standards of management and control.

The Permanent Joint and the PED:3.1.2. Permanent joining

Permanent joints and adjacent zones must be free of any surface or
internal defects detrimental to the safety of the equipment.
The properties of permanent joints must meet the minimum properties
specified for the materials to be joined unless other relevant property
values are specifically taken into account in the design calculations.
For pressure equipment, permanent joining of components which contribute
to the pressure resistance of equipment and components which are
directly attached to them must be carried out by suitably qualified
personnel according to suitable operating procedures.
For pressure equipment in categories II, III and IV, operating procedures
and personnel must be approved by a competent third party which, at
the manufacturer's discretion, may be:
a notified body,
a third-party organization recognized by a Member State

To carry out these approvals the third party must perform examinations
and tests as set out in the appropriate harmonized standards or equivalent
examinations and tests or must have them performed.

Standards and concern around Bolted

Joints are becoming more prevalent

EQMS no:5144-AC

Trends in industry and standards: Improved Training and Competence

Improved Design Codes
Improve guidance on determining correct
bolt load.
A trend towards increased bolt load.
Focus on Gasket performance.
Inspection of Bolted Joints.
Improved Management of Bolted Joints


Flange Selection
Dr David Nash, University of Strathclyde &
Simon Earland, Earland Engineering

Dr David Nash & Simon Earland



Flange Selection
Simon Earland, Earland Engineering Ltd & David Nash, University of Strathclyde
This paper covers the important features of the main types of flange and indicates some
typical uses.
Flanges are used for a variety of applications in pressure systems, including piping, valves,
nozzles and access openings on vessels and other equipment, and girth flanges on vessels and
heat exchangers. Many of these flanges will be standard, off the shelf items; others will be
custom designed for a specific application.
Normally, flanges are specified on the basis of a pressure requirement. Thereafter, other
loadings and deflection or leakage requirements, or even welding, installation or access
requirements may drive the rationale for flange selection. The intention of this paper is to
present an overview of bolted flange types, including both standard and specialist flange
The most common type of flange used for pressure equipment is the standard piping flange.
These are supplied in accordance with various national and international standards such as:
EN 1092 Flanges and their joints Circular flanges for pipes, valves, fittings and
accessories, PN designated
EN 1759 Flanges and their joints Circular flanges for pipes, valves, fittings and
accessories, class designated
ASME B16.5 Pipe Flanges and Flanged Fittings: NPS through NPS 24 Metric/Inch
ASME B16.47 Large Diameter Steel Flanges: NPS 26 through NPS 60 Metric/Inch
EN ISO 10423 (ANSI/API Specification 6A) - Petroleum and natural gas industries.
Drilling and production equipment. Wellhead and Christmas tree equipment
Flanges to ASME B16.5 are often referred to as ANSI flanges because the standard was
originally published by ANSI (American National Standards Institute), but it is now published
by ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers). The European standard EN 1759 is
based on the ANSI/ASME standard B16.5, and EN 1092 is based on DIN standard flanges.
Flanges are selected according to their nominal size, DN for metric or NPS for inch sizes (also
referred to as NB), and their pressure - temperature rating.
The main advantages of these standard flanges are:
Readily available from a range of manufacturers
Design calculations are not normally required
Pressure ratings recognised by the main piping and pressure vessel design codes
Standard dimensions
Wide range of gaskets available in standard sizes
They tend to be overly large and heavy compared with modern designs
Some problems with high seating stress gaskets and low pressure rating flanges
There are two main systems for flange rating, the American system of class designated flanges
given in ASME B16.5 and EN 1759, and the European system of PN designated flanges given in
EN 1092 Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4.
In the oil, gas and petro-chemical industries class designated flanges are generally specified.
The same is true in other industries, such as chemicals and pharmaceuticals where the plant is
operated by an American based company. For plants operated by European based companies
PN designated flanges are often specified.


Class designated flanges

ASME B16.5 and EN 1759 cover sizes from NPS to NPS 24, and flanges are specified by
the designations Class 150, Class 300, Class 400, Class 600, Class 900, Class 1500 and Class
These flanges are often referred to as 150 lb (or 150#), 300 lb, etc. The class designations of
these flanges correspond to the pressure ratings in psig at elevated temperature, typically
567F (297C) for class 150 and 860F (460C) for class 300 and above for carbon steel A105 material. The pressure ratings in psig at ambient temperature are much higher than the
class designation. For example, the pressure rating of a Class 150 flange in ASTM A-105
material at ambient temperature is 285 psi, and the rating of a Class 300 flange is 740 psi.
The maximum working pressures are tabulated against temperature, and tables are provided
for various groups of materials. Standard flange dimensions are also tabulated. In ASME B16.5
tables are provided in both metric units (bars and mm) and US customary units (psig and
ASME B16.5 covers a wide range of carbon and alloy steels, stainless steels and nickel alloys.
In EN 1759 Part 1 covers steel flanges, Part 3 covers copper alloy flanges and Part 4 covers
aluminium alloy flanges.
ASME B16.47 covers sizes from NPS 26 to NPS 60, and flanges are specified by the
designations Class 75, Class 150, Class 300, Class 400, Class 600 and Class 900. This
standard covers two series of flanges Series A, which were previously known as MSS SP-44;
and Series B, which were previously know as API-605.
Tables of pressure/ temperature ratings and standard dimensions are provided in US
customary units only. The pressure temperature rating tables are basically the same as
those in ASME B16.5 except for the addition of Class 75.
EN ISO 10423 is identical to ANSI/API Specification 6A and covers flanges for high
pressure applications, such as wellhead and Christmas tree equipment used in the oil and
gas industry. Three types of flange are covered (all ring joint type):
Type 6B flanges are available as weld neck, threaded, integral (long weld neck) or blind
flanges and the bolting force reacts on the metallic ring gasket.
Type 6BX flanges are available as weld neck, integral (long weld neck) or blind flanges.
The bolting force can react on the raised face of the flanges when the ring-joint gasket
has been properly seated. This prevents damage to the flange or gasket from excessive
bolt torque, but is not essential for proper functioning of the flange.
Segmented flanges have a recessed face, and the bolting force can react on the surface
outside the recessed face of the flange when the ring-joint gasket has been properly
seated. This prevents damage to the flange or gasket from excessive bolt torque, but is
not essential for proper functioning of the flange.
The maximum rated working pressures and size ranges of type 6B, 6BX and segmented
flanges are given in Table 1.
Table 1 Rated working pressures and size ranges of flanges to EN ISO 10423
MPa (psi)
13.8 (2000)

Flange size range

mm (in)

Type 6B
Type 6BX
52 to 540 (2 1/16 to 21 680 to 762 (26 to 30) )
20.7 (3000)
52 to 527 (2 1/16 to 20 680 to 762 (26 to 30) )
34.5 (5000)
52 to 279 (2 1/16 to 11) 346 to 540 (13 5/8 to 21 35 to 103 x 108
(1 3/8 to 4 1/16 x 4 )
69.0 (10000) 46 to 540 (1 /16 to 21 )
103.5 (15000) 46 to 476 (1 13/16 to 18 )
138.0 (20000) 46 to 346 (1 13/16 to 13 5


Standard flange dimensions are tabulated in both metric units (mm) and US customary units
(inches). Information is given in the standard for evaluating the rated working pressure for
elevated temperatures.
A new edition of EN ISO 10423 was published in December 2009, but has not yet been issued
as a BS EN ISO standard.
PN designated flanges
EN 1092 covers the pressure designations PN 2.5, PN 6, PN 10, PN 16, PN 25, PN 40, PN 63,
PN 100, PN 160, PN 250, PN 320 and PN 400, and sizes from DN 10 up to DN 4000 (for PN 2.5
flanges). The upper size limit reduces for the higher pressure ratings.
The PN designation indicates the pressure rating of the flange in bars at ambient temperature.
The maximum allowable pressures at other temperatures are obtained from the pressure temperature rating tables given in the appropriate part of EN 1092. Part 1 covers steel flanges,
Part 2 covers cast iron flanges, Part 3 covers copper alloy flanges and Part 4 covers aluminium
alloy flanges. Standard flange dimensions are also tabulated.
Flange configurations
Standard flanges are available in a variety of combinations of type of flange and facing. The
types of flange include weld neck, long weld neck, slip-on, socket welding, lapped, threaded
and blind.
The most commonly used facings are raised face, flat face and ring joint, but other facings
such as tongue and groove and O-ring groove are also used.
Weld neck - this type of flange has a tapered hub at the back of the flange and is butt welded
to the pipe or nozzle neck, as shown if Figure 1. The butt weld can be subjected to volumetric
examination (radiography or ultrasonics) to ensure a high integrity joint. This type of flange is
widely used in the oil, gas, petro-chemical and power generation industries.

Figure 1 - Weld neck flange

Long weld neck - this type of flange is used for nozzles on equipment as an alternative to
using thick walled pipe. The nozzle neck is replaced by an extended parallel hub at the back of
the flange, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 - Long weld neck flange


Slip-on - this type of flange fits over the outside of the pipe or nozzle neck and is attached
with fillet welds at the back and the face of the flange, as shown in Figure 3. The welds can
only be checked by surface examination techniques. This type of flange is not recommended
for high temperature applications or cyclic service.

Figure 3 - Slip-on flange

Raised face. Figure 4 shows a flange with a raised face for gasket seating. This is the
standard facing for use with gaskets which are located inside the bolt circle, and a wide range
of gaskets is available.

Figure 4 - Raised face flange

Flat face. The face of the flange is flat, as shown in Figure 5, and is used in conjunction with a
full face gasket which extends beyond the bolt circle. Relatively soft gasket materials are
generally used. This type of facing is best suited to low pressure applications, and has the
advantage that the gaps between the flange faces at the inside and outside surfaces can be
eliminated where cleanliness is important.

Figure 5 - Flat face flange

Ring joint. The face of the flange has a groove for use with a metallic ring type joint, as
shown in Figure 6. Ring joint facings are generally used in high pressure and/or high
temperature applications.

Figure 6 - Ring joint flange



There are various proprietary flange designs on the market as an alternative to the standard
flanges described above, including Taper-Lok, Vector SPO, Desflex and Verax. There are many
Compact flanges are used in a variety of industries, including oil and gas (onshore, offshore
and subsea applications), petro-chemical and power generation.
The advantages include:
Many designs use a reusable seal.
High quality of leak tightness.
Compact design reduces space and weight (up to 70% lighter than the conventional
Reduced weight gives substantial cost benefit with expensive materials.
Smaller bolt diameters making assembly and installation easier.
Most piping and vessel codes do not give automatic exemption from design calculations.
Can only be joined to another flange of the same type.
Some designs have male and female flanges.
Most designs require flanges to be separated to insert or remove seal.
Norsok L005
The only standard for compact flanges is the Norwegian Norsok L-005, however a committee
draft of an ISO standard based on Norsok L-005 has recently been issued for comments.
The Norsok standard is based on common principles utilized by VERAX, Vector International AS
and Off.N.Galperti SpA.
The compact flange described below (and in clause 5 of the Norsok standard) is based on the
SPO compact flange developed by Vector International AS.
The flange face includes a slightly convex bevel with the highest point, called the heel,
adjacent to the bore and a small outer wedge around the outer diameter of the flange. The
assembly is made up by tightening the flange bolting which pulls the two connector halves
Axial forces are exerted on the taper of the metal seal ring and translated into a radial sealing
force. As the bolt load is increased the bevel is closed and face to face contact is achieved at
the outer wedge. Most of the bolt pre-load is transferred as compressive forces between the
flange faces at the bore.
The flange design incorporates two independent seals. The first is created by application of
seal seating stress at the flange heel. The heel contact will be maintained for pressure values
up to 1.8 times the flange rating at room temperature. The main seal is the IX seal ring. The
seal ring force is provided by the elastic stored energy in the stressed seal ring. Any leakage at
the heel will give internal pressure acting on the seal ring thereby increasing the sealing
The design aims to prevent exposure to oxygen and other corrosive agents to prevent
corrosion of the flange faces, the stressed length of the bolts and the seal ring.
When the flange is bolted up the back face of the flange is parallel to the flange face in order
to prevent bending of the bolts in the assembled condition.
Flanges covered by a class of Clause 5 of Norsok L-005 will stand the maximum rating of the
corresponding ASME B16.5 class over the temperature range covered by the Norsok standard.
Tables of standard dimensions are provided for sizes in the range DN 16 (NPS ) to DN 1200
(NPS 48), except for CL 2500 which has an upper limit of DN 600 (NPS 24).


Table 2 Pressure class designation and ASME rating ceiling values to ASME B16.5
Pressure class









ASME pressure rating ceiling


The Taper-Lok Weld Neck Assembly is a compact flange comprised of a male flange, a
female flange, a seal ring, and a complete set of studs and nuts.
Taper-Lok is a registered trade mark of Taper-Lok Corporation.
The design is made up of two converging angles based on the wedge principle. The male nose
is a 20 angle cone, and the female contains a 10 pocket. The Taper-Lok seal ring, with
comparable angles, sits in between the flange components and acts as a door stop by
creating a wedge. The tapered seal ring geometry design ensures a significant length of the
sealing surfaces as contact forces are generated between both the male and female
components; this geometry is what gives all Taper-Lok flanges a self-energizing and
pressure-energizing seal. Taper-Lok flanges require lower bolt loads than standard
connections. The seal ring is generally made of the same material as the flange and is
Standard Taper-Lok connection sizes range from 1/2" to 83" with varying wall thicknesses,
sealing pressures up to 40,000 psi, and temperatures ranging from -350 to 1600 F.
Variations of the basic weld neck design are available for blind flanges, long weld neck flanges,
heat exchanger closures, swivel flanges and other applications.
The Desflex compact flange is manufactured by Destec Engineering Ltd and uses a D type
metal-to-metal seal which is flush with the bore of the flange. The flange stresses during
assembly are controlled by limiting the flange rotation via a small gap at the outer edge of the
flange. The flanges are more resistant to external bending, and excessive bolt tightening
cannot overstress the flange.
Desflex flanges are available in sizes from 1 NPS up to 40 NPS, and pressure rating classes
300, 600, 900, 1500 and 2500. Destec provide their own pressure rating tables that are based
on the stress analysis methodology in ASME VIII Division 1, Appendix 2.
Desflex flanges are available as weld neck, blind and swivel flanges.
The concept of the Verax compact flange (VCF) originated as far back as the early 1950s. The
VCF does not principally use seal rings or a gasket, although these can be added if required.
This means that normal installation and assembly of equipment can be easier as components
should slip into place. Since there is no gasket present, the assembly operates in a static
mode. Verax specify that the bolts should be tightened to 80% of the yield strength, so once
assembled and tightened, the bolt loads remain steady and do not change over time when the
pressure is applied. This is not the case with a gasketted joint.
Verax claim that the VCF reduces corrosion in the assembly as neither the flange faces nor the
loaded part of the bolts are exposed to the internal media or external environment. As there is
full metal-to-metal contact, interface corrosion is eliminated.
The VCF system performs well on the failure mode evaluation analysis, and risk of leakage is
minimised with this approach. Annual monitoring of the VCF system is not required and VCF
systems comply with the 4 year schedule in accordance with US-EPA legislation.
The VCF must be handled with care and be assembled correctly. Most VCF joints have a
greater number of smaller bolts than standard flanges. This gives more uniform bolt load
around the circumference and better feel for the operator, but takes more time.


In addition, the mating faces must be scratch free. Some minor scratches are permitted, but
since this face is the primary seal, good operator training and installation procedure must be
Clamp connectors consist of a pair of hubs for that are welded to the ends of the pipe (similar
to a flange), and a seal ring; but the normal flange bolts are replaced by a clamp set, which
can be rotated around the hubs to suit the most practical position.
There are several designs available, including Grayloc, Taper-Lok, Vector Techlok and Destec.
Clamp connectors are used in a variety of industries, including oil and gas (onshore, offshore
and subsea applications), petro-chemical and power generation.
The advantages include:
Many designs use a reusable seal.
High quality of leak tightness.
Smaller and lighter than conventional flanges.
Only four bolts to tighten, making maintenance simpler and quicker.
No periodic retightening of the bolts is required when the connector is in service.
Most piping and vessel codes do not give automatic exemption from design calculations.
Can only be joined to another flange of the same type.
Some designs have male and female flanges.
Compared to a standard flange, clamp connectors are significantly lighter and smaller. There
are only four bolts to tighten, making maintenance considerably simpler and quicker. No
periodic retightening of the bolts is required when the connector is in service.
The Grayloc connector has three basic components the metal seal ring, the two hubs and
the clamp assembly.
The metal seal ring achieves a self-energised and pressure-energised bore seal that will hold
vacuum or external pressures. The hubs are welded to the ends of the pipe, and as they are
drawn together by the clamp assembly the seal ring lips deflect against the inner sealing
surface of the hub, forming a self-energising seal. The two piece clamp assembly is the
primary pressure retaining component, not the bolting. The clamp carries all the internal
pressure loads as well as axial and bending loads transmitted by the pipe.
Grayloc is a registered trade mark of Oceaneering International Inc.
The Taper-Lok Clamp Connector is similar to the Grayloc connector, but utilises the tapered
sealing ring as fitted to the Taper-Lok compact flange.
Vector Techlok
The Vector Techlok Clamp Connector is similar to the Grayloc connector, and utilises a selfenergised and pressure-energised metal seal ring at the bore of the flange.
Destec G-Range
The Destec G-Range clamp connector is also similar to the Grayloc connector, and utilises a
self-energised and pressure-energised metal seal ring at the bore of the flange.
Custom designed flanges are used when the diameter does not match that of a
standard flange, or when a better optimised design is required. For example, standard ASME
B16.5 flanges generally have a fairly small number of large bolts, rather than a larger number
of smaller bolts. This increases the bolt circle diameter and flange outside diameter, which in
turn increase the bending moment in the flange and hence the flange thickness. The end result
is a flange that is considerably heavier than an optimised design. When expensive alloy
materials are being used this will have significant cost implications.


Flange design methods are given in most pressure vessel design codes, such as EN 13445,
ASME VIII and PD 5500. Most of these are based on what is generally known as the Taylor
Forge Method. Alternative design methods are given in the EN 1591 series of standard. These
design methods will be covered by other presentations at this seminar.
Custom designed flanges are commonly used for the girth flanges in shell and tube heat
exchangers, vessels and other pressure equipment where there is a requirement for sections
to be removable.
The advantages of using a custom designed flange are:
Can be designed for the specific design conditions.
Designed for specific flange, bolting and gasket materials.
Usually smaller and lighter than a standard flange.
Design calculations must be performed.
Longer delivery time compared with a standard off the shelf flange.
Total cost may be greater than a standard flange.
Many bolted flanged joints stay in service for long periods (several years) without being
dismantled. Others, such as access openings, may be dismantled and reassembled on a
regular basis, and this will affect the type of flange selected.
One option is to use a design similar to a traditional bolted flange, but with swing bolts or
quick release clamps instead of conventional through bolting.

Figure 7 - Quick release clamp

For access openings various types of quick release manways are available. These are generally
significantly lighter than a standard blind flange, and with fewer bolts.
All these openings still require the loosening of a number of bolts in order to gain access. If
more rapid access is required there are several proprietary quick release openings on the
market, including those offered by GD Engineering, Perry Equipment Corporation, Pipeline
Engineering and T D Williamson. These are not strictly bolted flanged connections, but they
serve the same purpose.
These are usually in the form of a hinged door with some form of quick acting locking
mechanism instead of bolts. Various safety features are incorporated to ensure that the door
cannot be opened while the equipment is pressurised.


Typical quick opening closure applications include:

Pipeline pig traps
Meter skid systems
The main advantages are:
Rapid access
Reusable seal
Safety interlocks
High cost compared to a standard flange
The standard flange has served the pressures systems industry reasonably well for over 80
years. However, due to increasingly more demanding operational requirements, various
manufacturers and industries have adjusted, improved and even redesigned the bolted flange
over time.
The main issues of strength, deflection, leakage, weight and cost remain, and users must be
fully aware of the design basis and operational limits of each system.



Gasket Selection
Dr Gavin Smith, Novus Sealing Limited

Dr Gavin Smith, Novus Sealing Limited




Correctly SELECTED









































2 FlangeSizebyPressureClass































Differential Radial Expansion Of Channel and Shell Flanges, Relative To The Tubesheet, Over
21 Days
Channel Flange

Shell Flange





































Differential Growth, Relative to the Tubesheet Diameter, in Inches




Exchanger Channel Side
Flow Stalls

Second Restart of


Startup Following
A Plant Shutdown


Normal Operation
For This Exchanger

"X" Axis Shows Time With Data Taken Every 30 Minutes
























Low Quality Graphite

High Quality Graphite







A sh content %

W eight Loss %









Sample A

Sample B

Sample C

Sample D

Sample E

Sample A

Sample B

Sample C

Sample D

Sample E











Material Selection for

Industrial Fasteners
Rod Corbett, James Walker Rotabolt

Rod Corbett



Material Selection for Industrial Fasteners

Rod Corbett, Managing Director, JamesWalker Rotabolt
1 Introduction
Material selection for fasteners depends on the service environment, the load
carrying requirement and the cost of a joint for an expected service life.
The main selection categories are :Tensile and fatigue strength
Elevated and cryogenic temperatures
Corrosion resistance
One or more of these categories has to be analysed for a particular application
before the fastener material is selected.
2 Tensile and Fatigue strength
The main considerations for bolt strength selection in any environment are:Achievement of design bolt tension/joint compression/gasket seating stress.
Assured joint reliability
Increased fatigue life
Service load carrying capability in tensile and shear.
Reduced equipment build costs fewer, smaller bolts for the same service.
Generally, tensile strength is the most important consideration in fastener
selection. The bolt has one objective to deliver a known level of bolt tension
and subsequent equal and opposite compression in the flanged joint, within a safe
elastic strength margin. This level of tension when achieved delivers assured
joint reliability no leaks from pressure containment, no fatigue failure, no self
loosening, and no structural slip.
2.1 Hardenability
ISO 898 10.9 grade is widely used for high performance structural usage e.g.
cranes. This strength level combines high strength with good ductility. Higher
strength grades such as 12.9 and 14.9 have decreasing ductility and increased
susceptibility to brittle failure so 10.9 is an optimum choice in difficult
For strength of 1040 MPa minimum, fasteners can be
manufactured from low alloy steels. The main alloying elements Chromium,
Nickel and Molybdenum enhance the mechanical properties of the steel.
Their main effect on carbon steel is to increasing hardenability.
This must no be confused with hardness which is dependant mainly on carbon
content. The higher the carbon content, the higher the hardness, potentially.
Other alloying elements that are normally present in steel also affect


The list of hardenability agents are as follows:

Carbon is a strong aid to hardenability. It is advisable to control carbon contents.
However, excessive carbon decreases forge-ability, causes embrittlement
problems in heat treatment as well as room temperature/low temperature
Strongly increases hardenability. However, it reduces forgeability.

Most effective hardenability agents

When present in a small amounts (0.001%) it has a pronounced effect,

particularly in lower carbon steels.
Their effect on hardenability is demonstrated in the presentation slides covering
tensile strength. You will note that boron is the most powerful agent. The use of
plain carbon boron steels are not recommended for use in large diameter, high
strength, and high performance applications such as large diameter slew ring
bolting. Boron should only be used to boost hardenability of low alloy steels
maybe for larger diameter fasteners however it is important to consider the
operating environment especially with respect to stress corrosion cracking and
elevated temperatures. Note that for larger diameters, steels with greater alloy
content are needed. For strength levels greater than 1220 MPa, 826M40 or SAE
4340 should be selected. Finally, although different materials have the same
tensile strength, their fatigue properties can be different.
2.2 Ideal material for high strength
Ideal pre-requisites for candidate materials to be used in the manufacture of high
strength, high performance fasteners could be: The tempering temperature of at least 480C allows the material to be used in
fasteners that will satisfy several different markets.
A threaded fastener is really a component containing a series of notches. The
criterion for high notch strength is that the materials notched tensile strength (at
kt = 6) must be equal or greater than the materials smooth bar tensile strength.
The material must have sufficient ductility at high strength levels and minimum
7% elongation is indicative of this.
Hardenability through a 2 inch diameter enables the manufacture of fasteners
throughout a size range, and subsequently satisfies.
Be hot and cold forgeable
Materials are resistant to environmental embrittlement. Although stress levels
have a big say in susceptibility, increasing alloy content, especially molybdenum
also increases resistance.


Good thread fatigue resistance as the most common form of bolt failure is
2.3 Application of high strength bolting
We have mentioned that increased tensile strength enables the use of fewer and
smaller diameter fasteners, resulting in weight reduction.
This is of prime importance in the aerospace industry but is important in other
industries as reduced weight means reduced cost (smaller bolt quantities,
reduced diameters, smaller number of bolt holes, less tightening cycles). This
design concept as also been used in the design of latest technology wellhead
equipment where traditional 8 or 12 bolt flanges have been reduced to four or six
bolts of the same diameter. Whilst alloy steels and super alloys are capable of
developing much higher strength levels, their strength to weight ratio is not as
good as titanium. This advantage along with its excellent corrosion resistance
would seem attractive to the offshore industry but as yet hasnt been used
2.3.1 True Strength of bolting
Medium carbon low alloy steels are used for high strength bolting that is used in a
wide range of environmental conditions ranging from the benign to the hostile.
Alloy steel bolting is relatively low cost but has a limited service life.
The increasing demand in most industries for longer service life with reduced
maintenance costs has led to the assessment and use of non-ferrous alloys which
have inherently superior environmental resistance. One design pre-requisite for
the candidate alloy is that it has similar mechanical strength and properties to the
alloy steel.
Many of the new alloy developments are produced with similar UTS and 0.2%
proof stress values to their steel counterparts. 0.2% proof stress is a traditional
bench mark for a bolts yield strength. The following schematic shows typical
stress strain curves for alloy steels and non-ferrous alloys. They may have
similar 0.2% proof stress values but their true elastic limit is significantly
different. With many alloys designed for use in hostile environment it is a fact
that their elastic strength capacity is significantly less than their medium carbon
low alloy steel counterparts. The effective strength reduction can be as much as
30-35% below the 0.2% proof stress value compared with a nominal 12-15%
with alloy steels. Indeed the British Steel Advisory centre has recommended that
engineers use elastic strength assessments based on 60% of the specified 0.2%
proof stress for austenitic stainless alloys.



Incremental load extensions tests, carried out on M22 all thread and double
ended studs manufactured from the relevant alloys, revealed the following true
elastic limits for various materials.


Monel k500

GR MA 18

Ferralium 225

fully heat treat

Marinel 21A


Titanium Beta C

solution treated

0.2% proof
Stress N/mm2

true elastic



Titanium 6AL-4V ELI

solution treated



Austenitic Stainless

Work hardened



These substantial reductions in effective fastener strength are very significant in

energy industries, especially when you consider how most of these fasteners are
installed. Hydraulic tensioning is the most common tightening method for larger
diameter studs. Because of the need to compensate for load transfer relaxation
the studs have to be hydraulically overloaded appreciably in excess of the design
tension target. Initial fastener diameter selection will be based on the latter and
the materials specified 0.2% proof stress. With most of the non-ferrous bolting
alloys having up to 30% lower effective elastic strength compared to the
specification bench mark the prospect of yielding or even breaking bolts on
installation is significant.
2.3.2 Causes of low elastic strength in alloy steels
Whilst the above schematic indicates a relatively high elastic limit for alloy steels,
recent findings suggest that larger diameter bolting can have much lower elastic
strength than that suggested by its certified 0.2% proof stress. Bolting made
from alloys such as EN24, EN25, EN26 and larger diameter B7 are showing
between 25-40% deficiencies compared to their certified proof street values. This
is especially so for stud bolting that is made simply by thread forming bar stock
that is already supplied in a heat treated condition that matches the required
finished fastener mechanical properties; rather than heat treating the finished
fastener to the specific fastener mechanical properties. There are a number of
reasons that could explain this low elastic strength. Bar stock, such as EN24V,
is produced for the manufacture of any metallic component, not just bolts; quite
often the properties are at the bottom of the tensile range.
Also the
manufacturing process leaves residual stresses in the bolt and when further
process deformation occurs, say during bar straightening etc., the effect is to
lower a bolts yield or flow stress. This is illustrated in the following schematic.


There are consequences for in-service performance. It is difficult to know if a bolt

has been yielded on tightening. If it does occur, the following results:Reduced joint clamp loads
Bolt is highly stressed, with likely increased hardness. This maybe significant in
terms of resistance to environmental embrittlement.
Both situations are potentially detrimental to the performance of the bolted joint.


3 Corrosion resistance
Selection here not only depends on required strength but on the service
environment too. Ordinary alloy steel fasteners may be perfectly satisfactory in
certain applications and environments where merely protected by a surface
coating. They can be more cost effective than corrosion resistance materials.
However, let us concentrate on severe conditions where the fastener must have a
long life in a hostile environment.
3.1 The most common group of materials is stainless steels.
As the name implies, these steels are more resistant to rusting and staining than
plain carbon and lower alloy steels. The superior corrosion resistance is brought
about by the addition of chromium.
These are the four basic types:3.1.1 Austenitic stainless
E.g. 18% chromium -12% nickel
This type of material cannot be strengthened by heat treatment. Any strength
this stainless steel has comes from cold work or deformation during its production
cycle e.g. during raw material bar rolling or cold forging and thread rolling. As
indicated previously, their true elastic limit is significantly lower than the
specification stated 0.2% Proof Stress.
3.1.2 Martensitic
These steels are hardenable by heat treatment in the same way as carbon alloy
steels. Strength levels similar to low alloy steels can be achieved up to 1200 MPa
subject to section size. It is worth noting however that these steels are also
prone to lower than expected elastic limits compared to the specification stated
0.2 % Proof stress value.
3.1.3 Precipitation hardening
Precipitation hardening is a heat treatment process similar to hardening and
tempering with low alloy steels. This heat treatment can develop strength levels
as high as 1500 MPa with alloys such as PH13-8Mo and A286. In the offshore
industry the derivative for A286 is B17 or A453 660 grade primarily used for sour
gas applications or where higher strength is needed compared to austenitic
stainless steel.
3.1.4 Ferritic stainless steels
There is no demand for fasteners made from this material, they cannot be heat
treated and tend to be very notch sensitive and have very poor creep strength.
The material is used predominantly in acid handling applications.
The nominal compositions for stainless steels seem similar. However, the alloy
contents in the composition matrix determine whether the stainless steel is
austenitic or martensitic etc. Nickel and Nickel equivalent elements, such as
manganese, promote austenite. Chromium and chromium equivalent elements
such as molybdenum, promote martensite and ferrite type stainless steels.


3.2 Cupro Nickels and High Nickel alloys

One family of corrosion resistant materials used in the offshore industry are
Cupro Nickels. As the name suggests the main elements in the alloys are
Copper and Nickel. Monel K 500, Marinel and more recently Nibron have all been
used but as with the stainless steels their true strength is significantly below that
suggested by the 0.2% Proof Stress stated in relevant specifications.
Many applications can be accommodated with fasteners made from
aforementioned materials. However, once the environment severity increases
even further, materials such as Inco 718 and Hastelloy have to be used.
For the most severe, extreme cases e.g. sour gas environments at the bottom of
the oceanic oil wells, proprietary alloys called Multiphase will provide a fastener
with the optimum solution. This alloy is a nickel cobalt quaternary, available in
two compositions, and has ultra high strength 1800 MPa and fatigue resistance. It
is also immune to stress corrosion cracking and hydrogen embrittlement.
3.3 Environmental Embrittlement
A very common environmental failure mechanism is stress corrosion cracking
(SCC). A combination of stress, susceptibility and a corrosive environment
causes stress corrosion cracking. Initial pitting of the metal surface takes place
and leads to a stress concentration. The effect is cumulative and, in a highly
stressed joint, it can lead to very sudden failure. Both trans and intergranular
attack of the metal takes place in SCC but the failure is generally characterised
by a brittle intergranular fracture. The amount of corrosion involved can be very
small but its effect can be catastrophic.
SCC can be avoided through material selection based on the following factors:Keep the material stress below a critical threshold level for that alloy.
Use a stress corrosion cracking free alloy e.g. Multiphase, Inco 718.
Protect the fastener from corrosion e.g. surface coat alloy steels.
A typical application of SCC prevention is on offshore pedestal cranes where most
slew ring bolting/boom bolting is now 10.9 strength grade. At 12.9 grade the
maximum specification alloy hardness exceeds the threshold for many medium
carbon low alloy steels so they become susceptible.
The same stress threshold concept exists for other embrittlement failures such as
hydrogen embrittlement (HE). Whilst generally there is no corrosion in this type
of failure, the failure mode is virtually identical to SCC. Hydrogen diffuses into
small voids near to the surface of the metal, and embrittles the lattice structure,
thereby lowering the threshold stress level for brittle failure.
Possible sources for this hydrogen are:
1. Using alternative cleaning methods e.g. the use of dry cleaning methods
such as aluminium blasting instead of an acid pickle.
2. Ensure post plating baking procedures are carried out to drive out any
hydrogen that has diffused into the fastener during plating;
3. At the joint design stage, ensure compatibility of joint materials.


4 Elevated temperature applications.

The creep and rupture strength of steel can be greatly improved by the addition
of alloying elements.
Molybdenum greatly increases creep and rupture strength.
Tungsten and vanadium have a similar effect.
Chromium has a negative effect on heat resistance, but one needs chromium
present for oxidation resistance.
Cobalt increases the hot tensile strength and temper resistance.
These elements therefore, are very important in selecting materials for elevated
temperature fasteners.
The following groups of materials are used for elevated temperature applications.
Alloy steels (up to 10% alloy content)
Austenitic stainless steels
Precipitation hardening stainless steels.
All these are iron based materials and are generally used from 350C to 550C.
Alloys based on Iron, Nickel, Chromium and Molybdenum, for example B17/660
grade, are used at temperatures up to 650C.
Nickel based alloys e.g. Nimonic, Waspaloy and Inco 718 are used where
operating temperatures range from 650C to 850C. With temperatures in this
region, creep, oxidation and hot strength are major problems. Materials selected
for these applications therefore, contain sufficient quantities of Nickel,
molybdenum and cobalt.
For extreme temperatures greater than 1000C, refractory materials based on
tantalum have to be used.
For the final environment we will cover on material selection, we will go from the
extreme of very high temperature to the opposite of low temperature or
cryogenic application.
5 Cryogenic Applications
Selection for cryogenic applications is dependant mainly on the crystallographic
structure of the candidate material.
Alloys with the body centre cubic structures lose ductility at lower temperatures
and tend to have a threshold temperature below which they go brittle. Materials
selected for cryogenic applications tend to have faced centred cubic structures.


Typical selection use for low temperature applications range from :Iron based A320 L7(BCC structure),
Austenitic stainless B8, (FCC structure)
A453 660/B17; Nickel based alloys include Inco 718 and Nimonic 80.
Many materials have a limited temperature range usage but the above illustrates
that selection for elevated temperatures features the same alloys for cryogenic
applications. Inco 718, PH138MO, A286, Wasploy and B17 have the advantage
of a wide temperature range. They all show excellent strength and ductility at low
temperatures, and retain tensile strength at their maximum utilisation
temperature. In offshore and energy sectors, alloys such as B8/B17 are used for
high and low temperature service.


6 Material Specifications
6.1 Structural Bolting
Most of the high performance structural bolting in industry is specified to a
strength level and is manufactured from medium carbon low alloy steels. In the
main, specifications such as 1SO 898, BS3692 allow the bolt manufacturer to
make the material selection for the strength grade required unless otherwise
stated by the customer. Provided he meets some basic minimum alloying
element requirement, he is supposed to have the experience and knowledge to
make the selection and thereby guarantee the mechanical property specification
e.g. 8.8 or 10.9 etc. The same can be said for SAE J429. A traditional imperial
material specification is BS1768 which also categorises by strength grade. The
DIN Euronorm specification tends to be different and categorises by material with
the material strength grade being determined by the bar stock or bolt diameter in
that material.
6.1.1 Strength.
The all embracing standard is covered by the B7 designation. The ultimate
tensile strength of B7 is regarded as high in energy industry and is a bench mark
for all other types of environmental alloy bolting such as duplex stainless and
cupro-nickel. Compared to structural steels, specifications such as ISO 898 10.9
grade, B7 strength is significantly lower however the lower hardness tends to be
below threshold levels for environmental embrittlement such as SCC and
Comparative table B& versus 8.8 versus 10.9
B7 is covered by A193 and the similar BS 4882. The material alloy is a medium
carbon low alloy steel containing nominally 1% Chromium and 0.25%
Molybdenum. Both specifications are typified using a constant composition over
the full bolt diameter range. This means for larger diameter bolts, the B7 alloy
has insufficient hardenability to provide constant tensile strength across this
range Table . where the highest entry level B& strength is required on larger
diameters, designers often call for A540 B24. The alloy here is more commonly
known as SAE 4340. It is capable of much higher strengths than B7 and its
chromium, molybdenum and high nickel content of 2% creates deep hardenability
enabling high strength and ductility at the largest bolt diameters.
The A193 and BS 4882 specs extend to an elevated temperature capability
because of the alloy composition. BS 4882 stretches out the use of B7 to approx
450 C and then by adding Vanadium to create B16, the V resists tempering
effects pushing its allowable design usage to 525C. One could argue this is the
materials absolute limit so great care on service longevity and replacement
strategy has to be taken along with assured control on installed design bolt
tension objectives if it is to provide a cost effective bolted joint at these maximum
The B7 designation is mirrored by L7 for low temperature usage. Mechanically
and composition wise they are identical, the only difference being L7 has a low
temperature charpy test requirement. This qualifies it to be used at
temperatures of the order of minus 100C. As with B7, larger diameters have
lower tensile strength because of hardenability constraints.
Once again where there is a requirement for the larger diameters to have the
highest specification strength, L43 (4340) alloy must be used.


The increased toughness at through hardened strength from the higher nickel is
especially effective at lower temperatures found in LNG operations for example.
A320 also has some other strange material options including a plain carbon steel
with added Boron for hardenability. Having no experience of such a requirement,
the author can only summise, it is an economy option for high volume, small
diameter bolting on a process site;
6.1.2 Environmental selection - Lower Bolt Strength.
Where medium carbon low alloy steel fasteners are required to operate in
corrosion environments they need to be resistant to embrittlement mechanisms
such as stress corrosion and hydrogen. Immunity can be achieved by reducing
the strength/hardness of the fastener below a threshold value below which the
mechanism will not initiate.
In terms of hydrogen embrittlement and general stress corrosion cracking the
standard B7 strength hardness of the chromium molybdenum alloy is low enough
to ensure these types of failure will not occur. However certain, hostile
environments are such that the strength level has to be reduced to an even lower
threshold. Operating environments with high sulphur/hydrogen sulphide present
are such an example; the failure mechanism in these environments is sulphide
stress cracking. A193 and BS4882 designate the lower strength B7M as the
selection grade for such an environment.
6.1.3 Elevated / High temperature/ cryogenic applications.
Where operating temperatures exceed the absolute maximums for medium
carbon low alloy steels, the use of austenitic and precipitation hardening steel
alloys must be used for resistance to heat , creep and oxidisation and maintain
installed bolt tension/joint compression.
Austenitic stainless steels are designated B8. There are two versions, one high
strength A193 B8 class 2 or BS4882 B8X; the other low strength A193 B8 class I
or BS4882 B8 not X categorised. The lower strength B8, is in the carbide
solution treated condition and has a constant low tensile strength across the full
size range. Because austenitic stainless steels cannot be heat treated to increase
strength, higher strength requirements must come from the cold working and
subsequent deformation induced during fastener manufacture. As with larger
diameter carbon steel bolts having through hardening constraints for a certain
alloy composition, the effect of the cold work/deforming forces go from maximum
at bolt surface layers and steadily reduce the closer you get to the bolt cross
section core. On larger diameters the effect of higher strength surface layers
diminishes in terms of overall tensile strength of the total bolt cross section. BS
4882 illustrates clearly the rapid drop off in tensile strength, particularly the 0.2%
proof stress strength of B8X on bolt diameters in excess of 19mm diameter.
This is especially significant for flange bolting where metallic/semi metallic
gaskets are used. These gaskets require generally higher seating stresses and
subsequent design bolt stress to seal. Reducing proof stress and true elastic limit
potentially 30% below these tabulated values makes strength selection of B8
crucial. The situation becomes even more complex if hydraulic tensioner
tightening is being considered for installation. The hydraulic overload that has to
be applied to compensate for relaxation losses reduces the safety margin on
usable elastic strength or even disqualifies this methodology as bolt yield could be


Where gasket seating stress and true elastic limit is an issue, precipitation
hardening steels such as BS4882 B17 need to be considered. This alloy can boost
its strength thru heat treatment so is a natural selection option for higher
performance gasketted flanged joints. The similar ASTM designation is A450 660
grade. These materials also have a higher temperature capability up to 650/675.
For even higher bolt temperatures, high nickel super alloys such as Nimonic 80
and Inco 718 provide high strength with creep and oxidisation resistance in these
severe environments. The BS4882 categorisation for Nimonic bolting, is B80.
For cryogenic applications beyond the capability of medium carbon alloy steels
material selection mirrors that for high temperatures. Alloy selection is the same
and the same limiting strength factors apply in terms of providing the required
level of elastic strength enabling the bolt to deliver the design bolt tension that
assures bolted joint reliability/zero leak performance. Service temperatures down
to minus 200 250C are within these materials ranges for good strength and
7 Summary
Material selection for any bolted application in terms of mechanical properties,
operating environment and service life is straightforward. The complications start
when budgeted cost does not correlate with technical/service specification. The
Offshore industry is notorious for stating extended service life but then being
totally unrealistic in the money it is prepared to spend on the fastener selected to
achieve the requirement. Often one ends up with coated alloy steel bolts being
used, rather than an inherent corrosion resistant bolt, against a 25 year life
expectancy in the splash zone. Similar lack of realism occurs on petrochemical
bolting exposed to high service temperatures and extended periods between
planned outages. Often medium carbon low alloy steel is the final selection when
precipitation hardening stainless bolts should have been used. Generally lower
cost alloy steels can be used in the more hostile environments but planned
maintenance / change out times will be shorter and more frequent. Its all down
to cost and subsequent in service risk.



Traditional Flange Design

Warren Brown, The Equity Engineering Group

Warren Brown



Traditional Flange Design Methods

Warren Brown, Ph.D., P.Eng.
Principal Engineer, The Equity Engineering Group
Shaker Heights, Ohio, USA
Early research in design and analysis of bolted joints was conducted in the 1920s to 1940s in
Germany, the UK and the USA. The findings of this early work led to flanged joint design rules
being introduced by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in the 1940s. The
design method has remained largely unchanged since that time. Other international methods of
design have been introduced recently, most notably the CEN EN-1591 method, however the ASME
method remains the most widely accepted and most popular method of flange joint design. The
method has given very good service across a wide variety of applications, and the fact that it has
remained largely unchanged is testimony to its effectiveness. However, the method is not without
issue and, while flange design issues represent a relatively small portion of the leakage that occurs
in practice, there continues to be a number of failures associated with poor design.
In the engineering field, one often expects the latest methods to be the best and, in fact, that
they will eventually render the older, more traditional methods obsolete. However, in the case of
flange design, the traditional ASME method still holds significant advantage over newer methods
and, with minor alterations and improvements, the method can be modified to ensure an extremely
high integrity joint design.
Traditional ASME Method versus Other Codes
A comparison of current code design methods (noting that other additional international codes,
such as BS 55000 or AS1210, the Australian Pressure Vessel Code, are largely based on one of the
listed methods) was performed for Welding Research Council bulletin 514 Flange Design: Status of
Present Rules. The table outlines some of the key differences and similarities in the methods. One
of the most common comparisons is between the EN1591 method, based on the TGL 32903/13,
and the ASME method. Such comparisons usually highlighting the lack of a mechanical interaction
calculation in the ASME method and the advantages that calculation offers when performed using
the EN1591 method. However, the comparisons generally neglect one of the other key differences
between the methods, which is the treatment of hub to flange and shell to hub interaction. For the
most common flange design, weld neck flanges, the ASME method is based on the calculation of
the shell, hub and flange ring as connected series, whereas the EN1591 method does not account
for the shell restraint and approximates the effect of the hub with an equivalent increase of the
flange ring moment of inertia. While this method is undoubtedly an acceptable and proven flange
design method, this approximation means that some of the advanced methods that can now be
applied to flange design, such as mechanical interaction, thermal effects and determining flange
strength limits will not be as accurate or even possible to perform with the current EN1591
In fact, recent work into determining the acceptable limits for assembly bolt load, to avoid
damage to the flange, have shown that the inclusion of the effects of the hub and shell (both in
terms of rigidity and stress locations) is essential. In addition, many of the advantages of the
EN1591 method, such as the inclusion of mechanical interaction, can be relatively easily added to
the ASME design method.


Unfortunately, any such improvements to the ASME method are not likely to be included in the
code updates in the near future, so it is advisable to step outside the standard design and analysis
practices in order to improve on the traditional ASME design method. The following sections will
outline the major areas of improvement that are required, whether there is a plan for inclusion of
them in the ASME code eventually and what can be done in the interim to improve the existing
Required Improvements to the Current ASME Design Method
Inadequate Gasket Design Basis
One of the most significant areas of improvement that has received the bulk of the focus, in
terms of research, over the past 20 years is the need to better determine operating limits for the
gasket and apply that to flange design. The research effort commenced with the realization that
there was no reliable standard method of determining the values of m and y for new gasket
types that are not presently listed in Appendix 2. In addition to the need to determine the
minimum stress required to seal the joint and the minimum seating stress for a given gasket, in
flange design it would also be a significant advantage to know the bounds of application that are
acceptable for a given gasket. These bounds include such aspects as the maximum permissible
gasket stress (versus temperature) and the maximum permissible flange rotation (also versus
temperature). Unfortunately, in spite of the level of research into these topics, there is presently no
standard ASME or ASTM test methods that can be adopted for improving the ASME code and many
of the current international test methods that have already been adopted do not adequately
address the requirement or have inherent problems that make their application questionable.
In addition to the above mentioned improvements, the present m value used in the code
accounts for the required gasket sealing stress during operation and part of the reduction in gasket
load caused by pressure (which is why it is higher for stiffer gaskets). In most cases, the simple
ASME code method using the m value will result in a conservative treatment of the effects of
mechanical interaction in reducing the bolt load as pressure is applied. However, in some cases,
and in particular for large diameter joints with stiffer gaskets, the simple method currently
employed does not adequately cover the effects of mechanical interaction in reducing the gasket
load over and above the amount of the hydrostatic end force. Joints with a larger diameter and
stiffer gaskets will typically see a reduction in bolt load once pressure is applied and this means
that the total gasket load lost is the sum of the hydrostatic end force and the bolt load loss. For
those joints, there is risk that the current ASME method will provide a joint design that is prone to
Disconnect Between Design and Operation
One of leading causes of joint leakage in the field is an inadequate initial assembly bolt load. In
many cases, this can be directly traced back to disconnect between the bolt load used for flange
design and the bolt load that must be applied in practice to achieve a leak free joint (typically in
excess of double the design load). Many well meaning engineers have fallen into the trap of
thinking that, because code limits should never be exceeded, the assembly bolt load should be
limited to the code design bolt load. This invariably provides an excellent training lesson for the
engineer in question when practically every joint leaks on start-up. There is no reason why the bolt
load used for flange design must be so low, other than to meet the current expected norms of
pressure vessel design for material stress limits.


Inadequate Joint Design for Integrity

Even though the majority of joints designed to the ASME code operate without incident, there
are categories of joints that have repeatedly proven to be susceptible to leakage due to design
issues. These include large diameter, low pressure joints, refinery flanges with 19mm ( inch)
diameter bolts and higher pressure flanges with larger bolts (75mm, 3 inches). There is also a
class of flanges that is more difficult to define, where the current design practices (including the
now mandatory flange rotation limit) result in a flange that meets code design but will plastically
deform and take on permanent flange rotation set at relatively low bolt loads (often at a load
corresponding to 50% of bolt yield or less).
In the case of low pressure joints, one of the issues is that these fall into the category where
the simple treatment of elastic interaction in the code is non-conservative and, on top of that, they
often have inadequate bolting and flange strength to deliver sufficient gasket seating stress.
Similarly, in the case of inch bolted flanges, there is most often insufficient bolt area available
to provide adequate gasket stress for seating and/or operational considerations (resulting in the
need to assemble the joints to in excess of 70% of bolt yield to achieve adequate gasket assembly
stress levels). The larger diameter bolt flanges have the opposite problem; they have so much bolt
area available that the gasket stress often exceeds twice the yield of the flange material, resulting
in deformation of the flange, over-compression of the gasket, inadequate elastic rebound and
subsequent leakage. The fix in this case is relatively simple; increase the gasket width to obtain a
lower initial assembly stress. Unfortunately there is little that can be done for a flange that will
yield prior to sufficient bolt load being applied to the gasket. One successful fix has been to
strengthen the flange with additional backing-rings applied between the nuts and existing flanges,
but these rings are relatively a poor solution, requiring an extremely thick backing ring to make
any appreciable difference, when compared to identifying the issue and making the integral flange
ring thicker at the design stage prior to fabrication.
Inadequate Joint Design at Temperature
A common cause of joint leakage for high temperature, larger diameter flanges is the effect of
thermal transients during operation. The bolt load can increase or decrease during operation due to
variations in process conditions and such changes can cause joint leakage if sufficiently high. In
addition, flanges that are relatively thin compared to the shell that they are attached to (flange
thickness less than five times the shell thickness) are likely to lose a significant amount of bolt load
during the initial stages of any high temperature process start-up, due to the shell forcing flange
ring rotation. The effects of temperature can be accounted for, both at the design stage and later
in the operation stage when selecting the appropriate assembly bolt load, by increasing the
assembly bolt load over and above the stress required to seal the gasket, the expected relaxation
stress and the loss in bolt load due to pressure and temperature. However, to allow for this at the
design stage, it is necessary to determine the transient temperatures of the joint components and
apply those temperatures to a mechanical interaction analysis to establish the associated change in
bolt stress.
In addition to the transient effects of temperature on bolt load, there is also long term
relaxation of the joint components. Due to micro-plasticity, relaxation of stress levels in materials
occurs at temperatures much lower than normally expected for creep (above only 200C (400F) in
carbon steel, for example). This means that, if not accounted for, there may be inadequate bolt
load remaining to seal the joint for the expected life of the joint. Once again however, if the
expected amount of component relaxation is known, then it is possible to select an assembly bolt
stress level that will ensure sufficient long-term gasket stress exists during operation and thereby
avoid joint leakage. Alternatively, it is possible to adjust the flange and/or bolt geometry and
materials at the design stage to reduce the expected amount of creep/relaxation that will occur.


Miscellaneous Improvements
While the following items cause fewer leakage issues, they are relatively easily addressed at the
design stage, and therefore warrant inclusion in this section. In the present ASME VIII, Div. 1,
Appendix 2 design method, there is no procedure outlined to address the effects of external
bending moments or external forces during operation on the integrity of the joint. Once again, if
this operational loading is quantified at the design stage, it is possible to strengthen the flange and
select an appropriate assembly bolt load to ensure that leakage will not occur.
For lower pressure joints, and especially those with very thin gaskets, there is presently no limit
in the Appendix 2 design method for flange bolt hole spacing. There are limits in other codes, such
as ASME III and TEMA, but at present it is possible to design a flange that meets the ASME VIII
code, but has bolt spacing that will result in regions of insufficient gasket stress between bolts,
which may lead to leakage.
For slip-on flanges that are designed to the ASME code, there is a clause that allows them to be
assessed as either integral (shell restrains the hub and the hub is assumed to taper over the hub
height, like a weld neck flange) or loose (shell is not connected to the hub). Obviously the real case
is neither of these and, in fact, using either of the methods can result in much higher stress levels
at the shell to hub junction than for similarly designed weld neck flanges. Additionally, the flange
rotation (and therefore mechanical interaction if calculated) will not be accurate due to the poor
representation of the hub and/or the connection of the hub to the shell.
Proposed ASME Code Revisions
As can be seen in the updated Table 1, the latest version of Appendix BFJ (the intended update
to ASME VIII, Div. 1 Appendix 2) includes most of the additional design improvements listed above
in one form or another. The work is still at an early stage in many cases and requires some
clarification and improvement prior to implementation, but at least the intent is there to make the
improvements. Unfortunately, the fact that the basis for Appendix BFJ is leakage based design,
means that there is little likelihood that it will be approved for publication in the near future and
therefore the other improvements are being held from publication as a consequence. There is a
significant amount of trepidation regarding the use of leakage based flange design among the
ASME code community. Industry experience with the leakage based method present in Appendix
BFJ is the converse of experience with the existing ASME code flange design method; one was
rapidly installed and has remained relatively unchanged for over sixty years, while the other has
been around for almost twenty years and has yet to gain any measurable acceptance within
industry. The reasons for the lack of acceptance of the method are numerous, but unfortunately
there has been little progress in addressing the issues, which undoubtedly points to significant
underlying problems. Even the currently proposed path forward, to include the appendix as an
optional non-mandatory requirement to the code, which would only be performed as a secondary
check to the existing Appendix 2 design, is still unlikely to meet with success. Therefore, in the
near term, designers and end-users will need to look to some of the following non-code methods
outlined in order to improve ASME code joint integrity at the design stage.
Non-Code Improvements to the ASME Design Method
Inadequate Gasket Design Basis
Unfortunately, the first item off the list is one where there really is no good standardized
solution to the problem. Individuals have had much success with the implementation of relatively
simple gasket stress limits (a required seating stress, a minimum stress required during operation
and a maximum permissible gasket stress & rotation). However the method of establishing these
stress limits is non-standard and is usually a combination of both laboratory test results and field
experience (as in Brown [1], for example).


The Pressure Vessel Research Council Sealing Reliability Council is presently attempting to
bring together current laboratory methods and end-user experience to establish suitable standard
procedures for determining these values, however as of present none exist.
Equations to include the effects of mechanical interaction on bolt load have been available since
just after the release of the present code method (Wesstrom, et. al. [2]). By incorporating the
equations outlined in that paper, or one of the many subsequent papers written by others using
this method, it is possible to accurately determine the effect of applied pressure on bolt load and,
therefore, on residual gasket stress during operation.
Disconnect Between Design and Operation
The issue of a design bolt load that is significantly less than the bolt load required to seal the
joint is being addressed by post construction documents such as ASME PCC-1 Appendix O
Assembly Bolt Load Selection [3], however it is good practice to think in terms of the actual
assembly load when designing the joint. For example, the original ASME code method did not
include assessment of the tangential stress at the hub to shell junction, because at the design bolt
loads typically used, this stress is always smaller than the other regions (Waters, et. al. [4]).
However, if the flanges are analyzed at normal assembly bolt load levels, then this stress can be
significant and is one of the indicators of an inadequate flange design. In addition, when gasket
stress limits are established by test, then these must be compared to actual expected bolt stress
levels, rather than design stress levels. Therefore, it is generally necessary to either adjust the
acceptable code bolt load and limits or perform a separate assessment after the code design
assessment to account for component limits based on actual bolt load.
Inadequate Joint Design for Integrity
The issues with large diameter low pressure joints are partially resolved by performing the
aforementioned mechanical interaction analysis. The remainder of the issues for those joints and
also for the excessively small and excessively large diameter bolt size joints are resolved by
specifying an acceptable ratio of bolt to gasket area that must be met for flange design. For
example, a suitable area ratio range for common graphite based gaskets used in refining (spiral
wound with inner & outer rings, kamprofile and corrugated) is a gasket area divided by bolt area
ratio of between 2.0 and 1.2, resulting in an assembly gasket stress of between 170 MPa and 240
MPa (25 ksi and 35 ksi) for an assembly bolt stress of 345 MPa (50 ksi). The gasket area should be
based on full width for the perimeter portion and half width for the pass partition portion.
In addition to controlling the relative bolt and gasket area ratios, it is good practice to ensure
that the flange is not the weak component in the joint. This ensures that it will not be possible to
damage the flange during assembly by applying excessive bolt load and it also enables the full
range of bolt stress to be used to seal the joint if it is required. Recent work in determining the
maximum acceptable load that a flange will take, which formed the basis of ASME PCC-1 Appendix
O, has established elastic assessment limits that give an indication of when the flange ring will
undergo gross plastic deformation (have permanent rotational deformation). The work is
summarized in a series of ASME PVP conference papers (Brown et. al. [5] to Brown [7]), however
the limits used in the papers changed with time as the method developed and so an overall
summary of the development is also planned to be published as Welding Research Council Bulletin
528. Using the equations and limits outlined in the papers, it is possible to determine both the
flange strength and the location of the flange weakness, which can be used as a limit during design
for the ensuring the flange is capable of taking, say, >80% of bolt yield. The method can also be
used as a post-construction calculation for the upper limit on assembly bolt load for flanges
designed without this minimum strength requirement.


Inadequate Joint Design at Temperature

The transient joint component temperatures and associated severity of mechanical effects of
temperature can be assessed, where appropriate, using the methods outlined in Brown [8].
However, this is generally only necessary where the temperature exceeds 200C (400F) for flanges
1500 mm (60 inches) in diameter and where the temperature exceeds 150C (300F) for larger
diameter flanges. Additionally, assessment should be performed where significant difference in
thermal expansion properties exist between the flange, shell or bolts.
A recent ASME-LLC project (Brown [9]) examined the long term characteristics of high
temperature flange design. The conclusions of the project were that it was relatively simple to
incorporate the effects of material creep/relaxation into the ASME code design process; however
the material properties presently available for doing so are generally inadequate for wholesale
inclusion of the method into the design process. What is required prior to the inclusion of these
effects is that, at least for common materials, the relaxation characteristics of flange and bolt
materials are established by extensive testing in a controlled environment. However, there is
sufficient data available that the techniques outlined in the project report can be applied in a
limited fashion. For example, an order of magnitude assessment of the effect on joint life to
leakage of, say, higher initial bolt loads, or retightening the bolts during operation, or different
magnitudes of bending moments on the joint is possible.
There has been significant research into the extent of gasket relaxation that may be expected,
however only a small portion of it can be applied in practice. The existing standard tests do not
provide long term relaxation results and so are not suitable for determining the amount of
relaxation for a significant portion of the gasket types being employed in practice (graphite based
gaskets, for example). Once again, individuals are finding success with using simple percentage
relaxation values determined from laboratory tests and field experience that serve to, at the least,
account for the majority of the effect of relaxation (Brown [1]).
Miscellaneous Improvements
The Koves method was recently introduced into the 2007 version of ASME VIII, Div. 2 to
account for the effect of bending moments on flange operation, and these equations can also be
used when analyzing Div. 1 flanges.
There are a number of existing codes and references that offer guidance on maximum
acceptable bolt spacing. These methods and a simple analytical equation for determining a design
limit are outlined in Koves [10].
An extension of the original Waters [4] design method to include integral flanges with straight
hubs (slip-on flanges that are welded to the shell) is outlined in Brown [11]. The paper provides
alternate flange factors that may be used in the standard ASME code flange design method to
accurately determine stress levels and flange rotation.
It is the opinion of the author that the Traditional ASME design method remains the best option
for designing and analyzing flanges. It is a sound foundation, based on a comprehensive
assessment of the joint behavior that creates an excellent platform from which to improve in order
to obtain leak free joint design.


Table 1 Comparison of Flange Design Methods (updated WRC Bulletin 514, Table 1)

Aspect of Flanged Joint Design

Flange Design Basis
Includes effect of joint mechanical interaction
Flange Stress Check
Flange Rotation Check
Check on Lap Joint Stub Shear Stress
Check on Lap Joint Stub Bearing Stress
Check on Lap Joint Stub Bending Stress
Design of Seal Welded Joints
Gasket Loads based on m & y
Gasket Loads based on leakage
Flange Allowable Stress Basis
Austenitic Allowable Stress Increase Allowed
Bolt Allowable Stress Basis
Gasket Effective Width Basis
Includes Gasket Creep/Relaxation
Includes Flange & Bolt Creep
Included Effects of Temperature
Includes External Moments & Forces
Maximum Allowable Gasket Stress
Maximum Spacing Between Bolts
Effect of bolt holes on flange rigidity
Operational Flange Rotation Limits
Adjusts for Assembly Accuracy
Nubbins Prohibited
Table of standard bolt stress areas

App 2
Partial 4

Rules 1
Partial 4




Yes 8



Sect. 11

001 3


Partial 4

Partial 5


ST/2.4, 7
Sy/3 10


Yes (?)
Partial 11







Based on the revision 7 of the document (current as of 1st January, 2006)

Based on the draft document dated February 15, 2006. Updates based on Dec 2009 document are detailed in red.
This is also the basis of EN13445-3 Appendix G and some listed aspects (flange stress limits for example) are taken from
this appendix, as they are not specified in EN-1591.
It can be argued that the factor m accounts for the effects of mechanical interaction (ref. Brown [6]).
The stress check in EN1591 includes only a check of the circumferential stresses and flange is allowed to have plastic
deformation (ref. EN1591, 1.3.4 b). The other methods include radial and tangential stress checks and use an elastic stress
The exact stress limits for BFJ are still a point of discussion
Note that due to experience with problems at the higher allowable stresses in large diameter joints, the allowable is
reduced by a factor of 0.75 for 2000mm (78in.) diameter flanges. For diameters between 1000mm and 2000mm (39in.
and 78in.) this reduction factor is taken to linearly vary from 0.75 to 1.0.
The basis for allowing higher allowable stresses for austenitic stainless is that the flange rotation limits should eliminate
concerns regarding overly flexible flanges when designed to higher allowable.
Actually, the ASME II, Part D tables list allowable stresses for common materials that are closer to ST/5.
Note that the yield value for austenitic bolts is taken at an elongation of 1.0%, rather than 0.2%.
The effects of short term relaxation only are included in the present revision of EN13555.
Includes only axial expansion and does not detail how to determine temperature.


[1] Brown W., Ryan S., McKenzie, W., 2007, Obtaining Leak-Free Bolted Joint Operation By
Returning to Basics National Petroleum Refiners Association Conference, Houston, Texas
[2] Wesstrom, D.B., Bergh, S.E., 1951, Effect of Internal Pressure on Stresses and Strains in
Bolted-Flange Connections, Transactions of ASME, 73, n.5, pp 508-568, ASME, NY, USA
[3] ASME PCC-1 Guidelines for Pressure Boundary Bolted Joint Assembly, 2010, ASME NY, USA
[4] Waters, E.O., Rossheim, D.B., Wesstrom, D.B., Williams, F.S.G., 1949, Development of
General Formulas For Bolted Flanges, Taylor-Forge & Pipe Works, Southfield, Michigan, Reprinted
by the PVRC in 1979.
[5] Brown, W., Reeves, D., 2006, Considerations for Selecting the Optimum Bolt Assembly Stress
For Piping Flanges, Proceedings of the ASME PVP 2006, ASME, Vancouver, Canada, PVP2006ICPVT11-93094
[6] Brown, W., Reeves, D.., 2007, An Update on Selecting the Optimum Bolt Assembly Stress For
Piping Flanges, Proceedings of the ASME PVP 2007, ASME, San Antonio, Texas, PVP2007-26649
[7] Brown, W., 2008, Selecting the Optimum Bolt Assembly Stress: Influence of Flange Material
on Flange Load Limit, ASME PVP Conference, Chicago, IL, PVP2008-61709
[8] Brown, W., 2006, Analysis of the Effects of Temperature on Bolted Joints, Welding Research
Council Bulletin 510
[9] Brown, W., 2010, High Temperature Flange Design, ASME-LLC, Project #3036, ASME, NY
[10] Koves, W.J., 2007, Flange Joint Bolt Spacing Requirements, Proceedings of the ASME PVP
2007, ASME, San Antonio, Texas, PVP2007-26089
[11] Brown, W., 2008, Selecting the Optimum Bolt Assembly Stress Flange Limitations: Flange
Type, Proceedings of the ASME PVP 2008, ASME, Chicago, Illinois, PVP2008-61708


Overview of
Developments in EN
Manfred Schaaf, AMTEC Services GmbH

Manfred Schaaf



IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne

Overview of Developments
in EN 1591

Messtechnischer Service GmbH

Hoher Steg 13
74348 Lauffen

Manfred Schaaf

IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne

Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne

CEN TC 74 Flanges and their joints
EN 1591 Part 1 to 5
Status quo
Latest developments
Future work items


IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne
IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices
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CEN TC 74 Flanges and their joints

Standardization of flanges and their joints in pipelines
and piping systems for all applications excluding hydraulic
and pneumatic load transmission.
- General: Definition of "nominal pressure" and "nominal size";
- Flanges: Definition of dimensions and tolerances, selection of
materials, technical conditions of delivery, P/T ratings;
- Bolts, screws and nuts: Selection of required bolts, screws
and nuts, dimensions, technical conditions of delivery, materials;
- Gaskets: Definition of dimensions and tolerances, materials,
technical conditions of delivery;
- Calculation methods for flanges design;
- Determination of P/T ratings.

CEN TC 74 Working Groups


Flanges and their joints

H. Kockelmann

CEN/TC 74/WG 2

Steel flanges

H.-D. Engelhardt

CEN/TC 74/WG 3

Cast iron flanges

A. Percebois

CEN/TC 74/WG 8


J. Hoyes

CEN/TC 74/WG 10

Calculation Methods

G. Taylor


IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

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IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices
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EN 1591 Rules
EN 1591
Flanges and their joints - Design rules
for gasketed circular flange connections

EN 1591-1

CEN/TS 1591-3

prCEN/TR 1591-5

Calculation method

Calculation method
"Metal-to-metal contact"

Calculation method
"Full face gaskets"

EN 1591-2

CEN/TS 1591-4

Gasket parameters

Qualification of
personnel competency

EN 1591-1: Status quo

EN 1591-1 released as an European Standard in 2001
Amendment A1 of EN 1591-1 released as an
European Standard in 2009

Calculation method for gasketed circular flange connections

with gaskets inside the bolt circle and without metal-to-metal
contact of the flange faces
leak tightness and strength criteria are satisfied
behaviour of complete flanges-bolts-gasket system
is considered


IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne

EN 1591-1: Treated parameters

strength value of flange and bolt materials

gasket characteristics
thermal loads
medium pressure
external axial forces and bending moments
nominal bolt load
possible scatter due to bolting-up procedure

IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne

changes in gasket force due to deformation of all components

influence of connected shell or pipe

EN 1591-1: Specifics

elastic deformation balance

flange rotation and effective compressed gasket area
iterative determination of the required bolt force in assembly
to fulfill tightness demands
force balance
(interaction between all components)
virtual flange resistance of the flanges
limit load theory
(admissibility of plastic deformation)


IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne

EN 1591-1: Amendment A1

DIN 28090-1

pr EN13555

Gasket Characteristic



Minimum gasket stress

in assembly for tightness class L



Minimum gasket stress

in service for tightness class L



Maximum allowable gasket stress

in assembly



Maximum allowable gasket stress

in service



modulus of elasticity



Creep-relaxation factor

IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne

gasket characteristics
(prEN 13555 - draft 2001)

Testing Equipment






EN 1591-1: Amendment A1

DIN 28090-1


Gasket Characteristic



Minimum gasket stress

in assembly for tightness class L



Minimum gasket stress

in service for tightness class L



Maximum allowable gasket stress

in assembly



Maximum allowable gasket stress

in service



modulus of elasticity



Creep-relaxation factor

gasket characteristics
(EN 13555 2004)

Testing Equipment







IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne

EN 1591-1: Future work items

CEN/TC74 Resolution 282/2009
Corrigendum to EN 1591-1:2001+A1:2009-03

CEN/TC74 Resolution 275/2009

Allocation of Joint Working Group
CEN/TC 54/TC 69/TC 74/TC 267/TC 269/JWG "Harmonized
standard solution for flange connections"

CEN/TC74 Resolution 2/2008

IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

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Preliminary Work Item

"Sample calculation and guidance on interpretation of
calculations presented in EN 1591-1"

EN 1591-1: JWG



Chapter / Annex


Flanges and their joints

EN 1591-1+A1

new Amendment released

Unfired pressure vessles

EN 13445-3

Chapter 11

Taylor Forge

Annex GA

new equations derived

from EN 1591-1:2001

Annex D

Taylor Forge

Annex P

EN 1591-1
+ tables with gasket parameters

CEN/TC 267
Industrial piping and pipelines

EN 13480-3

CEN/TC 269
Shell and water-tube boilers

EN 12953-3

Chapter 9.3

"in accordance to
European Standards."

Industrial valves

EN 12516-2

Chapter 10

EN 1591-1
or EN 13445-3


IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne

EN 1591-2: Status quo

EN 1591-2 released as an European Standard in 2008
supersedes ENV 1591-2:2001
The standads details gasket parameters for use in EN 1591-1
during prelimenary calculations
results of research project
(PERL Pressure Equipment, Reduction of Leak rate)
gasket characteristics are listed for types of gasket materials
the values are no minimum required values, but typical values
("generic data")

characteristics are only informative

IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne

(gasket characteristics must be supplied by manufacturer;

alternative source:

EN 1591-2: Types of gasket materials

Modified PTFE sheet

Proprietary PTFE / Graphite gasket with metal eyelet
Metal jacketed with graphite filler
Graphite Covered Metal Jacketed with graphite filler & outer ring
Serrated metal core [kammprofile] with graphite facing
Proprietary type of graphite faced kammprofile with secondary
metal to metal seal
Corrugated metal core with graphite facing
Graphite sheet with tanged stainless steel core
Graphite sheet with multiple thin metal insertions
Non-asbestos, fibre based sheet
PTFE filled spiral wound gasket with both outer and inner rings
Low stress graphite filled spiral wound gasket with outer and
inner rings
Graphite filled spiral wound gasket with outer ring
Graphite filled spiral wound gasket with outer and inner rings


IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

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EN 1591-2: Example 1

IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne

EN 1591-2: Example 2


IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne

CEN/TS 1591-3: Status quo

CEN/TS 1591-3 released as an Technical Specification
in 2007
Calculation method for metal-to-metal contact type flanged
joints based on EN 1591-1
leak tightness and strength criteria are satisfied
behaviour of complete flanges-bolts-gasket system
is considered

rejected as EN, released as TS

IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne

(no experience with the modified calculation algorithm)

CEN/TS 1591-3: Specifics

Calculation in 4 steps:
determination of the bolt tightening to reach the MMC
determination of the bolt tightening to maintain the MMC in
all the calculation situations
check of the admissibility of the leak-rate
check of the admissibility of the load ratio


IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne
IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices
16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne

CEN/TS 1591-3: Future work item

CEN/TC74 Resolution 285/20009

Review of CEN/TS 1591-5:2007:

Extension of the life of CEN/TS 1591-5:2007 for another
3 years

CEN/TS 1591-4: Status quo

CEN/TS 1591-4 released as an Technical Specification
in 2007
Process for training and compentency assessment of
personnel in the assembly of bolted flanged joints fitted to
equipment subject to PED
design codes increasingly require controlled bolt tightening
ensure personnel are competent to assemble and tighten
bolted joints for a leak-free status throughout its service life
training, experience and assessment of knowledge are
required to achieve competency


IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne
IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices
16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne

CEN/TS 1591-4: Specifics

procedural framework must be included within operators

quality management system
route for achieving comeptency in the skills

classroom training and workshop practice

written test
period of monitored work site experience
assessment by a qualified assessor

CEN/TS 1591-4: General knowledge

the principles of bolt elongation (strain), bolt load and stress;

importance of applied and residual bolt loads;
bolt load loss and the implications;
effect of coefficient of friction on bolt load when using torque;
bolt tightening methods and their relative accuracies;
joint assembly methods and tightening procedures;
the requirements to meet a specific class of tightness;
flange, bolt and gasket types and their limitations;
functionality of gasket and seal;
factors affecting the degradation of bolted assemblies,
e.g. corrosion;
common causes of joint failure and leakage;
specific health or safety requirements associated with joint
maintenance requirements of bolt tightening systems;
importance of certification and records.


IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne
IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices
16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne

CEN/TS 1591-4: Specific knowledge

general health and safety precautions;

procedure for preparing a joint for closure;
identification of correct joint components;
seal face preparation;
gasket handling, preparation and installation;
functionality of clamp or engineered joints;
importance of alignment and gap uniformity;
importance of using the specified lubricant;
manual and hydraulic torque joint tightening;
joint tightening using hydraulic bolt tensioners;
techniques for measuring bolt strain;
confirming joint can return to service;
identifying defects or faults;
variance or irregularity reporting;
safe joint disassembly;
safety requirements when selecting and operating bolt
tightening tooling;
calibration of bolt tightening tooling;
recording bolted joint activity and maintenance of records.

CEN/TS 1591-4: Future work item

CEN/TC74 Resolution 280/20009

New work item proposal:

Conversion of CEN/TS 1591-4:2007-08 into an EN


IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne

prCEN/TS 1591-5: Status quo

prCEN/TS 1591-3 under preparation in WG10
PWI 00074056
Calculation method for full face gasketed joints based on
EN 1591-1
particular approach for full face gasketed joints
leak tightness and strength criteria are satisfied

IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne

behaviour of complete flanges-bolts-gasket system

is considered

prCEN/TS 1591-5: Future work item

CEN/TC74 Resolution 280/20009

Activation of a new work item:

preliminary work on project EN 1591-5 has reached a certain
stage that a WI can be activated now.


IMechE Bolted Flanged Joints: New Methods and Practices

16-17 March 2010, Newcastle upon Tyne

Contact Data
For more detailed information, please contact us:

Messtechnischer Service GmbH

Hoher Steg 13
74348 Lauffen
Tel. +49 7133 9502-0


Failure Mechanisms of
Bolted Joints
- Bolting Aspects
Bill Eccles, Bolt Science Limited

Bolt Science Limited



Failure Mechanisms of Bolted Joints Bolting Aspects

By Bill Eccles CEng BSc MIMechE, Bolt Science Limited
The reliability of a flanged joint depends, in part, on the threaded fasteners that hold it
together. Although threaded fasteners are generally considered a mature technology,
significant problems exist with their use. The presentation briefly covers several failure modes
of threaded fasteners including the problems arising from insufficient preload, self-loosening,
tensile overload, fatigue and thread stripping. The presentation discusses some major
accidents that have occurred as a direct consequence of particular failure modes.
It is known in principle how to design bolted joints in which bolting failures do not occur but in
practice bolted related failures are not uncommon. Uncertainties about the applied forces, the
magnitude of the preload achieved by the tightening process, inappropriate materials being
specified and most notably, human error, in practice results in joint problems. On occasion
such failures can have disastrous consequences.
2.1 Lack of Preload
Flanged joints rely upon the preload, generated by the tightening of the bolts, to pre-stress the
gasket so that a leak free seal is achieved and to resist the hydrostatic pressure tending to
separate the flanges. The gasket relies upon the preload provided by the bolts to perform its
sealing function effectively. Many leaks, which are frequently attributed to a gasket failure, are
often as a result of insufficient clamp force provided by the bolts. This can be due to incorrect
tightening or subsequent loosening following tightening.
2.2 Preload loss from gasket creep, bolt stress relaxation and self-loosening
Bolts can lose preload without rotating. The loss of preload can be temporary; such as can
occur as a result of differential thermal expansion, or permanent, for example from creep.
There are several causes of non-rotational loosening, all of which involve either the bolt
additionally elongating or the joint additionally compressing following installation. On flanged
joints the issues commonly encountered are creep of the gasket material and stress relaxation
of the bolts. Modern gasket material attempt to minimise creep. Stress relaxation can be
mitigated by the appropriate choice of bolt material.

Figure 1 Transverse joint movement


Self-loosening is when the fastener rotates under the action of external loading. Flanged joints
are largely exposed to axial loading. Although research indicates that some degree of slight
loosening can result from axial loading, self-loosening of fasteners is usually as a result of
transverse joint movement, illustrated in figure 1.
Such transverse movement is undesirable for a flanged joint for several reasons. In the
presentation a failure involving the self-loosening of nuts of a flanged joint on a pressure
vessel containing an agitator assembly is discussed.
On conventional flanged joints the load increase experienced by the bolts can be significant.
On a solid joint typical, the joint is relatively 'hard'. That is, the stiffness of the bolt is usually
significantly lower than the joint stiffness. Figure 2 shows a joint diagram illustrating this
condition. The proportion of the force that is applied to the joint which the bolt sustains
depends upon the relative stiffness of the bolt to the clamped material. With a 'hard' joint, the
bolt stiffness is low when compared with the stiffness of the joint. In such circumstances the
increase in the bolt loading when an external force is applied to the joint is relatively small.

Figure 2 A 'hard' joint

Conventional flanged joints have a relatively low stiffness due to the deflection of the flanges
and compression of the gasket. This results in what can be termed a 'soft' joint which is
illustrated in figure 3. In such a joint when an external force is applied, such as from
hydrostatic pressure, the bolt can sustain a significant proportion of it.

Figure 3 A 'soft' joint


One consequence of this is that the bolt cannot be tightened near to yield since there is the
risk that the bolt would be overloaded when the external load is applied. Typical target tensile
prestress values for bolts used in flanged joints is 50% of the minimum yield strength. With a
solid ('hard') joint, the target tensile prestress is more typically around 75% of the minimum
yield strength. One consequence of this is that if the wrong bolt material is used on flanged
joints it may only be revealed either during a pressure test or in service. On a solid joint, prestressed to a higher value, defective bolt material is more likely to fail at the time of assembly
and hence more easily detectable. Mentioned in the presentation are details of an accident due
to the bolts being overloaded during a pressure test on a flange.
Fatigue is often quoted as the commonest reason for bolts to fail in service. It is well known
that a part subjected to a varying load will fail at a significantly lower loading than one that
has been statically loaded. Fatigue is a progressive cracking of a part under the action of
alternating forces. Fatigue failure can take from thousands to millions of load cycles to occur,
dependent upon the stress level in the part.
It is well known that as the alternating stress increases, the number of cycles to failure
decreases. This is represented by an S/N diagram as shown in figure 4. The S stands for stress
and the N for the number of cycles. Most materials exhibit a knee in the S/N diagram. Beyond
this knee failure will not occur no matter how great the number of cycles. The strength
corresponding to this point is known as the endurance limit.

Figure 4 S/N Diagram

Possibly the most devastating engineering failure of 2009 occurred as a result of bolt fatigue at
the SayanoShushenskaya hydroelectric power station in central Russia on the 17 August. The
securing bolts on one of the turbine rotors failed resulting in water pressure lifting the 1650
tonne rotor into the turbine hall. This caused flooding of the turbine and engine rooms and a
transformer explosion leading to the deaths of 75 people. A report released on the 21
December 2009 by a Russian parliamentary commission found that the failure was due to
fatigue cracking in the 80 mm diameter bolts. Of the 80 bolts securing the turbine cover, at
least 6 bolts had missing nuts and 41 had fatigue cracks.

Nut thickness standards have been drawn up on the basis that the bolt will always sustain
tensile fracture before the nut will strip. If the bolt breaks on tightening, it is obvious that a
replacement is required. Thread stripping tends to be gradual in nature. If the thread stripping
mode can occur, assemblies may enter into service which are partially failed, this may have
disastrous consequences. Hence, the potential of thread stripping of both the internal and
external threads must be avoided if a reliable design is to be achieved. When specifying nuts
and bolts it must always be ensured that the appropriate grade of nut is matched to the bolt


In order to satisfy the above requirement when applied to tapped holes, the length of thread
engagement required depends upon the relative strength of the threads. Rule of thumb is that
when both male and female threads are of similar strength then a length of engagement equal
to the diameter of the thread is usually required. For tapped holes in weaker materials longer
lengths of engagements are needed - depending exactly of the relative strengths.
One of the issues with thread stripping is that it is not obvious that it has occurred. Figure 5
illustrates what happen to the preload when thread stripping occurs. The nut stops in place but
retains only a minimal preload.

Figure 5 Thread stripping and bolt tensile fracture

To illustrate the possible consequences of thread stripping, mention in the presentation will be
made of an accident that occurred on the USS Iwo Jima in the early 1990's. On October 30,
1990, the USS Iwo Jima experienced a catastrophic boiler accident whilst leaving Manama
harbour in Bahrain. A valve failed resulting in large amounts of steam from both the ship's
boilers being dumped into the boiler room. The valve controlled steam at a pressure of 40 bar
and 450 C. All ten people that were in the room at the time of the accident were killed. The
cause of the accident was attributed to the fitment of incorrect nuts.


Seal failure from a gaskets

Dene Halkyard, Flexitallic




Seal failure from a gaskets perspective

Dene Halkyard, Senior Applications Engineer, Flexitallic Ltd
Seals fail not just gaskets is a wise and widely used adage in the industrial
sealing industry. Seal failure is a phenomenon often attributable to a number of
factors, of which the gasket is but one.
From the gaskets perspective, creating and maintaining an adequate compressive
force throughout the expected lifetime of the seal is paramount if containment
losses are to be kept to an acceptable level. Most common failure modes can be
characterised by insufficient, excessive or changes in gasket compressive force.
Visual inspection of failed gaskets can reveal useful information about the failure
mode and assist in preventing future leakage. Gasket failure attributable to
insufficient and excessive compressive forces tends to occur during installation;
whereas failure due to transient forces tends to occur under operational
Correct gasket selection and adherence to established best practice installation
techniques play a major role in minimising emissions from bolted flanged



European Emissions
Dr Brian Ellis, European Sealing Association

Dr Brian S. Ellis



Emission Legislation

Dr Brian S Ellis

ESA ..

BAT ..


European Sealing Association

Integrated Pollution Prevention
and Control Directive
Best Available Techniques
BAT Reference notes
IPPC Information Exchange
Pressure Equipment Directive


Development of European environmental legislation
- types of EU legislation

Key elements of European legislation

- CommunityCommunity-wide
- national

- Directive basics
- BREF notes

Current legislation developments

ESA contribution
- Sealing Technology BAT guidance note
- revision of PED?


European Sealing Association

Fugitive emissions

Development of European
environmental legislation
Item s adopted


















Over 1000 pieces of environmental legislation have been

adopted since 1967


Development of European
environmental legislation - 2


Council of






Types of EU legislation


- binding and applicable directly

- binding, but flexible through transposition
- binding on those to whom it is addressed
- nonnon-binding
- nonnon-binding

increasing control from the EU

Directives the preferred tool for environmental policies;
- overall objectives + strategies defined by EU
- allows Member States flexibility to transpose into national legislation


Key legislation

Emissions from industrial plants

Solvent (VOC) emissions
National emission ceilings
Large combustion plants
Waste incineration
Integrated pollution prevention and control

TA-Luft (D)
Integrated Pollution Control (UK)
VDI various (D) guidelines

EU and National legislation - 1

EU legislation
(Regulations, Directives etc)


etc ..

/ Parliament
/ Council of

EU Member

Directives are transposed

transposed into national legislation


EU and National legislation - 2

IPPC Directive




etc ..


IPPC - 1
Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC
Directive 96/61 adopted in 1996
compliance for new plants required by end October 1999
compliance for existing plants by end October 2007
framework measure - provides for common EU emission
limits to be adopted subsequently
integrated approach for a potential pollutant across all media
which might be affected


IPPC - 2
applies to 6 categories of industry:
- chemicals
- energy
- production and processing of metals
- minerals
- waste management
- other
specific obligations on operators
- take all appropriate preventative measures against pollution
- ensure no significant pollution is caused
- avoid waste production
- recover waste produced or dispose of safely
- use energy efficiently
- take necessary measures to prevent accidents
- protect and clean up site upon cessation of industrial activity

IPPC - 3
identifies certain priority polluting substances, including:
- arsenic and its compounds
- asbestos
- carbon monoxide
- chlorine, fluorine and their compounds
- cyanides
- metals and their compounds
- nitrogen oxides and other nitrogen compounds
- organoorgano-halogen compounds
- organoorgano-phosphorus compounds
- organoorgano-tin compounds
- substances and preparations which are carcinogenic, mutagenic
or which may affect reproduction
- sulphur dioxide and other sulphur compounds
- volatile organic compounds (VOC


IPPC - 4
each facility is subject to authorisation through permitting
emission limit and permits based upon Best Available
Techniques (BAT)
BAT must consider:
- economic and technical viability
- use of lowlow-waste technology
- use of less hazardous substances
- improvements in recovery and recycling
- consumption of raw materials and water
- energy efficiency
- technical characteristics of the installation
- geographical location
- local environmental conditions

IPPC - 5
BAT interpretation will result in differences across EU
hence, requirement for exchange of information on national
assessments of BAT and emission limits
provides the basis for the publication of BAT Reference
BREF) notes
European IPPC Bureau established to publish BREF notes
IPPC Information Exchange Forum (IEF
(IEF)) established to
develop and review BREF notes


BAT reference (BREF) notes - 1

for all industry sectors covered within IPPC
usually industry-specific (vertical BREF
some cover more than one industry sector
(horizontal BREF notes)

BAT reference (BREF) notes - 2

Pulp and Paper Industry

Large Volume Inorganic Chemical Industry

Mineral oil and gas refineries

Large Volume Organic Chemical Industry

Vertical BREF notes

Emission monitoring

Energy efficiency

Horizontal BREF notes


ESA contribution

Pulp and Paper Industry

Large Volume Inorganic Chemical Industry

Mineral oil and gas refineries

Large Volume Organic Chemical Industry

Emission monitoring

Energy efficiency

Sealing Technology

ESA participates in IPPC IEF

In deference to European Commission, ESA document entitled, ESA
Sealing Technology BAT guidance note

ESA Sealing Technology BAT

guidance note
ESA participating in IPPC IEF
sealing technology involved in most industries covered
ESA developed own, horizontal BREF
BREF voluntarily

Sections covering BAT for sealing:

bolted flange connections

rotodynamic equipment
reciprocating shafts


Current legislation developments

New Industrial Emissions Directive (IED)

IPPC Solvent




Intention for original Directives to be superseded by new IED;

- original Directive will be withdrawn if ALL areas covered
- parts of original Directive will remain if NOT covered by IED

ESA contribution - 2
Specifically of relevance to bolted flange
ESA developing programme to revise PED
aim to have bolted flange connections considered an
essential feature
relevant CEN standards would be harmonised
would encourage fitters / installers to be suitably
qualified (similar to requirement for welders)


Development of European emission legislation
Types of European legislation
Relationship between CommunityCommunity-wide and national legislation
Key elements of European emission legislation
IPPC Directive
Current developments in European emission legislation
ESA Sealing Technology BAT guidance note
- available for download from
ESA developing programme to revise PED


European Sealing Association - 1

pan-European trade organisation

established 1992
non-profit-making trade association
40+ Member Companies
representing a strong majority of the fluid
sealing industry in Europe
organised as series of product-focussed
Working Groups for common activities

European Sealing Association - 2

ESA Members

Executive Committee

& Polymeric





Safety, Environment and Efficiency Working Group

Safety, Environment and Efficiency Working Group
Industrial Materials Working Group
Industrial Materials Working Group


Sustainable development
Industry must reduce its overall emissions

A large proportion of
emissions are those
anticipated from industrial

Fugitive emissions
Some emissions occur
through unanticipated leaks
in process systems .

.usually referred to as
fugitive emissions

Sealing technology is playing a major role in helping

industry to reduce fugitive emissions


Definition of fugitive emission

Any chemical, or mixture of chemicals
in any physical form

which represents an unanticipated or spurious leak

from anywhere on an industrial site

Fugitive emissions
- the cost Iceberg
Visible costs
Invisible costs

Lost material

Labour to repair leaks

Material to repair leaks
Wasted energy
Process inefficiency
Environmental clean up
Environmental fines
Claims for personal injury
Lost sales due to poor image

Companies which invest to reduce their fugitive emissions

can achieve a fast pay-back


Tension Control, the key to

Bolted Flange Reliability
Rod Corbett, James Walker Rotabolt

Rod Corbett



Tension Control, the key to Bolted Flange Reliability

Rod Corbett, Managing Director, JamesWalker Rotabolt
There are three basic factors that ensure bolted flange joint reliability:Joint Design
Bolt/Component quality
Achieving design bolt tension/joint compression/gasket seating stress on
Measure and control all three and flange reliability is assured.
The investment in managing design and quality assurance over the last twenty
years has been substantial. The investment however in measuring and
controlling installed bolt tension has been negligible despite the technical fact that
the sole objective of any bolt used in tension is to deliver a known level of clamp
force on the joint.
The vast majority of flanged bolted joints are tightened in an uncontrolled
manner i.e. the residual, installed bolt tension is unknown. This is remarkable
when you consider that 90% of all bolted joint failures can be attributed to
incorrect bolt tension. This is against a back drop of industry demanding greater
levels of safety and reliability from its plant, equipment and structures. Millions
are spent on controlling and measuring process parameters such as temperature,
pressure, flow rates, speeds etc but it is reluctant to measure the parameter that
holds all the pressure containment together bolt tension. Maybe this is due to a
lack of understanding as to the limitations of traditionally controlling tightening
through tightening power or effort from torque or hydraulic tensioning. This is
probably the case because most of the time the concluding reason as to why the
joint has failed lies elsewhere from the installation maybe with the gasket, the
flange surface or the severe process thermal swing.
Whatever the reason, design bolt tension objectives can be measured and
controlled reliably and cost effectively. Operators who embrace this technology
driven bolting route are inevitably rewarded with assured reliability leak free
performance on hydro test, start up and in service. This also results in lowest
maintenance cost.
The science is such that the Oil and Gas industry, upstream and downstream can
realistically expect to eliminate all future bolted flange leaks by taking the
technology driven route.
The paper describes commercially available tension control systems along with
their relative merits. Factors that effect the variations in these systems such as
operating environment, temperature, operator skill, system datum face integrity
and the crucial physical calibration of bolt extension versus bolt tension are
discussed in detail.
One state of the art, market leading system is described along with an
explanation of the calibration methodology employed. Results of the systems
independent test and accreditation programme outlines the systems overall
integrity for industrial usage.



Management of Integrity of
Bolted Joints for
Pressurised Systems
Robert Noble, Hydratight

Robert Noble





Robert Noble
Technical Services
Leader Hydratight

Comparison with the Welded Joint?

Welded Joint

Bolted Joint









In Service Inspection
Permanent joint


Subject to Breakout


Flanged Joints Are easy?

This will
seal it

Just Nuts
and Bolts!

Gasket not on

My Arms

Gasket on

Would you be confident in the

performance of this joint?

Flanges rotating
due to over


Green Tag
Leak Test

Applying Integrity Management - new build

Phase 1
No System

Phase 2

Phase 3

Total Joints - 8,691

Total Leaks - 518
Leak Rate - 5.9%

Total Joints - 5,413

Total Leaks - 84
Leak Rate - 1.5%

Total Joints - 15,640

Total Leaks - 234
Leak Rate - 1.49%

%Reduction in leaks



(Note: Total leak number includes all vendor leaks)


Applying Integrity Management Operational Major Operator Multiple


% Leaks Year to Year













% Leaks 2002 % Leaks 2003 % Leaks 2004 % Leaks 2005 % Leaks 2006 % Leaks 2007 % Leaks 2008

Management of Bolted Joints Evolution









Management of Bolted Joints: Evolution

Appoint a Champion

There should be an identified

owner of the management
system, responsible not only
for its implementation and
ongoing maintenance, but
also for communicating its
aims and objectives
throughout the organisation.
The owner should state the
expectations for the system
and monitor its
Support them with expertise


Technology and Practice

Good practice with
regard to selection and
control of assembly,
tightening and
assurance of bolted
joints should be
applied. Understanding
of the theory and
practice of bolted joints
and development of
appropriate procedures
should be encouraged
throughout the

Establish Standards

Ensure they are applied

Criticality Assessment
The range of services,
pressures and conditions
which bolted joints
experience varies
considerably. Each joint
should undergo a criticality
assessment which will
determine the levels of
inspection, assembly
control, tightening
technique, testing,
assurance and in-service
inspection relevant to the


Leak Potential
Service Fluid

Loss Potential
Local factors


Criticality Rating

Integrity Test



Training and Competence

Everyone with an influence
on joint integrity in the
organisation should be
aware of the management
system, its objectives,
expectations and effects
on project planning and
day-to-day working. Good
awareness needs to be
maintained. Any staff
working on bolted joints
should be appropriately
trained and competent.

Records, Data Management and Tagging

The certainty of achieving
joint integrity increases if
historical data exists on the
activities carried out in the
past, ideally from original
construction of the joint,
linked to the design
specification of the joint.
Providing and recording
traceable data encourages
best practice at the time of
the activity, and will provide
useful planning data for the
next time the joint is


In-service Inspection
In-service inspection of
bolted joints is an integral
activity to ensure the
continued integrity of the
joints and as such should be
built in to all relevant
inspection programmes.
This section looks at the
possible damage that can
occur, the inspection
methods available for
detection of defects and
mitigation measures that
can be put in place to
minimise such degradation.

Management of Leaks
The objective of a
correctly designed and
installed bolted joint is to
provide a long-term tight
seal and prevent ingress
or egress of fluids
through the joint.
However, leaks can
occur and managing the
investigation and repair
of the leak is essential to
avoid recurrence. It can
also provide useful data
for prevention on other


Analysis, Learning and Improvement

Collect Data

Analysis of leakage and inspection data

coupled with formal reviews of the
management system should occur at
agreed intervals by the owner and users.
The results obtained from commissioning,
incident analysis and in-service
inspections should be used to generate
ideas for continuous improvement.

Bolt Stress Relaxation from BS4882:1973 - Fig 9





Easily monitored but meaningful

performance standards should be put in
place at launch to quantify the
contribution being made by the
management system and evaluate user
satisfaction. Feedback on good practice
in integrity issues and causes and
solutions to incidents should be provided
both internally and to industry to
contribute to continuous improvement.








temp .B7 , temp .B16 , temp .B8 , temp .B8M




A Management system is critical
Cover all of the elements
Appoint a champion
Apply Standards and Procedures
Assess criticality
Trained and competent people are key
Maintain a record and tagging system
Inspect joints and manage leaks
Analyse and Improve.
Copies of EI Guidelines available at


ASME PCC-1 Updates

Warren Brown, The Equity Engineering Group

Warren Brown



ASME PCC-1 Updates

Warren Brown, Ph.D., P.Eng.
Principal Engineer, The Equity Engineering Group
Shaker Heights, Ohio, USA
The ASME Post-Construction Committee released the first version of ASME PCC-1 Guidelines
for Pressure Boundary Bolted Joint Assembly in 2000. At the time, the document was unique in
addressing the issues with the assembly of bolted joints from a standards perspective. Since the
initial version, there have been advances in gasket technology, bolting assembly procedures and
calculation methods that enabled the improvement of both the integrity and efficiency associated
with bolted joint assembly. In order to capture these advances, the ASME PCC-1 sub-committee
was tasked to update the document beginning in 2006. The updates planned were extensive and
have resulted in an increase in the length of the document from 33 pages to more than 80 pages.
As evident from the almost three-fold increase in content, the updates are significant and are
primarily in the form of additional new information, rather than modifications to the original
information from the first version. This paper is intended to briefly summarize the major
modifications to the document and, in the interests of length, will leave out many of the minor
improvements also made. Please also keep in mind when reading both this paper and PCC-1 that
PCC-1 is a guideline only. It represents what is considered to be best practice for the majority of
joints in industry. However, it is not possible to cover all possible joint configurations within such a
document, therefore the status as a guideline (only) is appropriate in that it leaves the possibility
of modification based on specific need or experience up to the end user.
Changes to the Main Body of the Document
The most significant changes made to the main body of the document are outlined following:
In Section 4.0 Cleaning and Examination of Flange and Fastener Contact Surfaces, three
changes were included, based on industry experience with best-practice and also from experience
with joint failure. The wording was modified to allow graphite material to remain in the flange
surface finish grooves after cleaning of the joint for inspection when using graphite faced gaskets.
This modification was made in the interests of efficiency and based on extensive field experience
indicating that graphite that remains in the facing grooves is time-consuming to remove and, if left
in place, simply melds with the graphite facing on the new gasket to form a cohesive sealing
element without degradation of the joint integrity. During the document public review phase,
concern from several gasket manufacturers was expressed that it would be difficult to judge the
amount of graphite remaining on the face and that excessive graphite may cover flange facing
imperfections and/or affect the gasket sealing characteristics. However, the key to understanding
why this will not occur is in the wording of the guideline; the only graphite allowed to remain is in
the grooves of the surface finish and therefore sufficient quantity must be removed so as to allow
flange facing inspection and the small amount left will not affect gasket performance.


The second change made to this section was the inclusion of a requirement to remove any
flange paint or coating from the nut seating surfaces when the paint or coating thickness exceeds
0.13mm (0.005 inches). This requirement was based on industry experience with joint leakage in
an offshore platform environment where the paint on standard flanges was excessively thick, led to
additional bolt load relaxation and contributed to joint leakage. The thickness limit guidance was
chosen to be an indication that a relatively thin layer of paint does not seem to affect joint
performance (as most standard flanges are supplied with some form of protective coating), but
that more than a thin layer is likely to lead to leakage and should be removed prior to joint
assembly. The third change is guidance that the machining of large diameter bolts for
reconditioning the threads is the preferred method. However, this will involve material removal
and, therefore, a finite life for the bolt. Periodic replacement of the bolts should be planned if
multiple reconditioning procedures are required on the same bolt.
In section 6.0 Installation of Gasket, commentary has been added to recommend that gaskets
are not re-used. This inclusion was made based on field experience with joint leakage or flange
facing damage where gaskets, in particular RTJ gaskets, are reused. Most gaskets are designed to
plastically deform in order to obtain a seal. This results in a reused gasket being harder than a new
gasket, which means that higher assembly bolt loads are required to obtain a seal, the gasket will
not seal as effectively, and damage to the flange facing may occur during assembly. An exception
to this recommendation is mentioned and that is the re-use of the metal core in grooved metal
gaskets with soft facing (kamprofile gaskets). For these gaskets, it has been shown that it is
possible to recondition them with a new facing layer and successfully reuse them in the same joint.
Table 1M and Table 1 were included in the first version of the document to be used as the basis
for establishing the required assembly torque value by multiplying the listed torque value with the
desired assembly bolt stress divided by the table reference bolt stress (345 MPa, 50ksi). However,
it was common practice within industry to quote these tables as PCC-1 recommending 50ksi as an
appropriate assembly bolt stress level. In fact, this was never the intent and so steps were taken in
the revised document to clarify this. The steps included changes to the table titles to include the
words Reference Values for Calculating, some updates to the wording on how to apply the
tables and also the inclusion of a new appendix, which outlines methods for determining the
required assembly bolt stress.
Section 7.0 Lubrication of Working Surfaces was updated to include a recommendation that
bolts be checked for free-running nuts during the bolt lubrication stage of assembly. This
requirement was introduced based on field and laboratory experience which indicated that
relatively small imperfections on the bolt or nut thread can have a significant impact on the
obtained bolt load when tightening the joint using torque or tension techniques.
In section 13.0 Joint Pressure and Tightness Testing, a caution has been added with regard to
the use of temporary gaskets during pressure and tightness testing (gaskets for which the joint
was not designed). This caution is based on industry experience where temporary gaskets have
blown out during pressure and tightness testing and caused personnel injury and fatality.
Appendix A: Training, Qualification and Certification of Joint Assembly Personnel
The lack of standardized qualifications for bolted joint assemblers has been identified as an
issue by many in industry and is a leading cause of joint leakage due to poor assembly practices.
In an effort to improve the status-quo, a significant revision to the existing PCC-1 Appendix A was
drafted. The new appendix outlines the requirements for a certification entity to create and
administer a training and assessment program for bolted joint assemblers that provides
certification of the assembler.


The appendix contains requirements for the minimum course content that must be taught in the
theoretical portion, requirements for a series of practical demonstrations, a practical assembly
exam that must be administered, requirements for maintenance of the certification and the
requirements for the certification entity to establish and maintain their ASME accreditation in order
to supply the certified assessment program. The appendix has three levels of assembler
qualification: Certified Bolting Specialist, Certified Senior Bolting Specialist and Certified Bolting
Specialist Instructor. Initial review of the available draft of PrEN/TS 1591-4 was conducted at the
start of preparation of PCC-1 Appendix A and alignment was sought in overall format and context
for the general requirements. In this way, it is hoped that the two certification requirements will be
compatible in such a manner that it will be possible to have one training and assessment system
that achieves both qualifications. One of the main differences between the two documents is that
the training curriculum and practical demonstrations are outlined in greater detail in PCC-1
Appendix A.
The new version of Appendix A will not be issued with the main document when it is published
in March 2010. This is due to the need approve and create the body within ASME that will
administer the program once published. The appendix will be on hold until this has been done and
will be released as an update via web page link to users of PCC-1 once everything is in place.
Appendix D: Guidelines for Allowable Gasket Contact Surface Flatness and Defect Depth
Previous industry guidelines for flange face flatness were based on manufacturing tolerances
and often did not reflect what was practical to achieve in the field. The guidelines also did not
address acceptable levels of minor local imperfection in the flange facing (pits, gouges and
scratches). In addition, the acceptable imperfections in the flange facing are dependent on the type
of gasket being employed. In terms of the flange flatness, which defines the amount of variation
that will be seen in gasket compression, the new limits in PCC-1 were set based on the amount of
compression that the gasket is subject to during assembly. Typical soft gaskets will compress in
excess of 1mm (0.04 inches) and therefore are much more tolerant of flange face flatness variation
than harder gasket types that compress much less than this amount. The amount of gasket
compression stress lost due to flange flatness out-of-tolerance will be proportional to the variation
divided by the gasket assembly deflection, so the tolerances specified in the appendix are varied
depending on whether a hard or soft gasket is employed. The caution is also made that a soft
gasket material (PTFE for example) may not exhibit soft behavior when applied as a thin gasket.
The flatness tolerances are related to separate radial and circumferential acceptance limits and
when these are combined the acceptable level of variation can be two to three times that of
existing flange fabrication flatness guidelines.
A note is also made regarding the acceptability of complementary distortion of mating flanges,
such as often occurs in shell and tube exchanger joints. For those, or similar joints, the orientation
of the flanges is fixed by pass partitions or nozzle locations and it is possible to have thermally
induced distortion on one flange that follows the other flange and does not therefore reduce the
joint integrity. In those cases, it is acceptable to apply the flatness tolerances to the gap between
the flanges, rather than for each flange independently. In addition, there is now a tolerance noted
for the acceptable height difference for pass partitions on exchanger flanges to ensure both that it
is not under or over compressing the gasket at that location. This requirement is based on
experience where neglecting to specify this value leads to machining only of the periphery of the
gasket, leaving the pass partition proud of the main seating surface, which often results in joint


A second set of guidance is listed in the appendix for acceptable levels of local flange facing
imperfections (pits, gouges, scratches,). Once again, the acceptable levels are outlined relative to
the gasket material. Harder facing materials (steel, for example) will not conform to the
imperfection and will, therefore, be more sensitive to imperfections than gaskets that have a softer
facing material. The limits include assessment of closely-spaced imperfections and have acceptable
depth tolerances that are dependent on the type of gasket employed and the distance the
imperfection extends radially across the flange seating surface. The intent is that these limits can
be employed by an inspector to assess the flange facing condition as part of the standard
equipment inspection process and only if the noted damage falls outside of the listed limitations will
the joint be flagged for engineering inspection.
Appendix E: Flange Joint Alignment Guidelines
Previous flanged joint alignment guidelines were primarily obtained from fabrication
specifications (ASME B31.3, for example) and did not address the fact that the initial alignment
was not as critical as the inter-relationship between the initial alignment and the force required to
bring the joint into perfect alignment (system stiffness). The alignment guidelines for PCC-1 were
completely re-written to focus on geometry limits for alignment coupled with applied alignment
force limits. The new limits address the maximum acceptable load to bring the joint into alignment
in terms of the specified assembly bolt load. The acceptable load to bring the flanges parallel
(angular misalignment) is listed as a maximum of 10% of the specified bolt load for any bolt. The
maximum load to close an excessive axial gap between flanges is also a total of 10% of the
specified bolt load, with a maximum individual load of 20% for any given bolt allowed for the
combined limit. Simple figures illustrating the different types of misalignment have been added to
clarify the listed tolerances. Additional considerations, such as the importance of joint alignment
load on rotating equipment to avoid affecting shaft alignment and limits for when the assembler
must seek engineering guidance if alignment forces are excessive are also included.
Appendix F: Alternative Flange Bolt Assembly Patterns
The original version of PCC-1 contained a bolt assembly pattern and procedure that involved
tightening in a pattern pass at three different levels of assembly bolt load, completing a final
circular pass and then an optional additional circular pass four hours afterwards. This method has
been retained in the document for continuity and is referred to as the Legacy method. However,
since the initial release of PCC-1, considerable effort in research has gone into proving that faster
methods of assembly can be used that will achieve equal or better joint integrity. The theory
behind these improvements is based on using an appropriate pattern for the gasket being
employed and by increasing the bolt load at a much more rapid rate than the Legacy method.
Increasing the bolt load more rapidly is applicable to all gasket types. It reduces the number of
pattern passes required before proceeding to circular passes and generally results in a higher
average gasket stress being achieved prior to commencing the circular passes. If the gasket stress
is higher when the circular passes are commenced, the final compression on the gasket will be
more uniform. The relationship between the gasket type and the assembly pattern is determined
by how stiff the gasket is (how much compression occurs during assembly). For gaskets with
relatively little compression (kamprofile gaskets for example) it has been proven that a pattern
pass is not required and all that must be done is to tighten four opposing bolts in sequence to
ensure that the joint has initial alignment prior to proceeding to tighten the remaining bolts in a
circular fashion.


In addition, pattern passes using multiple tools have been included in the appendix in order to
reflect this common industry practice. All of the new pattern passes do not include the optional
final pass after a 4 hour wait and all include the additional instruction to continue tightening the
bolts until they no longer turn for the final pass. There are three new patterns introduced for single
tool application and two patterns for multi-tool. The single tool patterns include:

Modified Legacy Pattern: Similar to the Legacy pattern, but with bolt load increased to
the next level after every 4 bolts tightened, rather than after a full pattern pass. The
pattern includes one or two pattern passes (second optional, depending on gasket type)
and then a final circular pass until no nut turns.
Quadrant Pattern: Similar in configuration to the Modified Legacy, except the bolts do
not require numbering as, instead of using a cross-pattern for tightening the bolts, the
joint is divided into quadrants and the next bolt in each quadrant is tightened in order.
Bolt numbering is not required, as the next loose bolt in the next quadrant is always the
bolt that must be tightened. Two patterns are presented, one for flanges with 16 bolts,
where opposite quadrants are tightened successively and one for joints with > 16 bolts
where the next quadrant in a circular order is tightened.
Four-Bolt pattern: similar to the modified Legacy, except only four opposing bolts are
tightened in sequence and then a circular pattern is commenced.

The multi-tool patterns are similar to the Modified Legacy pattern and the Four-Bolt pattern. In
addition, the appendix contains guidelines for suitable measures for assessing the efficacy of other
alternative tightening patterns/procedures that are not included in PCC-1.
Appendix M: Hardened Washer Usage Guideline and Purchase Specification
The existing specification often referenced for through-hardened washers is ASTM F436, which
is actually a structural washer specification. That specification did not include higher alloy materials
and the washer outer diameters were in excess of common flange spot-face diameters used at the
nut contact surface. This resulted in the washer bridging the spot face, creating an undesirable
bending of the washer during assembly. The new PCC-1 Appendix M was written with the intent to
rectify these two issues and also to provide guidance on the service limits for the different
materials listed for washer manufacture. The service limits are based on single use (where
softening during operation will be acceptable, since they will not be reused) and multiple use
(where softening is not desirable). The service temperature limits outlined in the appendix are
based on metallurgical behavior for multiple usage and service experience for the single use limits.
The four materials listed in the appendix are intended to match commonly applied bolt materials
and significant effort was made to ensure that the washer thickness and material specification
resulted in washers that could be easily manufactured. The intent is for this appendix to eventually
be replaced by an ASTM specification, which is an effort that is already underway.
Appendix N: Reuse of Bolts
In many common joint sizes, it is practical to replace the bolting at every assembly in order to
maximize the chances of joint integrity. However, there is often a cost barrier that prevents this
from occurring. Appendix N has been written to ensure that more than cursory consideration of the
bolt material cost is assessed when making the decision. The cost of the new bolting material is
offset by the cost of reconditioning the old bolts and also the benefit to accuracy in achieved bolt
preload with new bolts. Guidelines are given as to when to re-use and when to replace bolts. In
addition, there is commentary on the appropriate methods for reconditioning bolts.


Appendix O: Assembly Bolt Load Selection

This appendix outlines two methods of determining the appropriate assembly bolt load for a
given joint. The first method is the use of a standard assembly bolt stress across all joints. It is
recognized that the simplicity of that method may assist in its adoption and success on some sites.
However, that method may also result in insufficient or excessive gasket stress or damage to the
flange due to excessive bolt load in some cases. Therefore, the second method of determining
assembly bolt load involves the calculation of the maximum limits for each component and the
determination of the minimum required gasket stress to both seat the gasket during assembly and
to seal the gasket during operation. Once gasket relaxation and hydrostatic end force have been
allowed for in the calculation, there is a band within which the assembly bolt load may be selected
that will ensure that no joint components will be damaged and that sufficient gasket stress is
present during all phases of operation such that no leakage will occur. Using this comprehensive
approach allows the end user to be more aware of the reasons as to why the selected bolt load is
being applied and therefore to explore opportunities to improve the joint integrity based on the
limiting factors for the joint, as determined by calculation. The appendix contains tabulated values
of maximum allowable assembly bolt stress to avoid damage to the flange for standard B16.5 and
B16.47 Series A flanges in sizes from DN 50mm (NPS 2) to DN 1200mm (NPS 48). A worked
example for determining the assembly bolt load for a DN 75mm (NPS 3), cl. 300, flange and an
example assembly bolt torque table is also provided.
Appendix P: Guidance on Troubleshooting Flanged Joint Leakage Incidents
One of the most important activities that can be undertaken in any leak free bolted joint
program is a diagnosis of the cause of any leaks that occur. This includes an assessment of what
the original joint configuration was, assembly history, operating conditions and condition of the
joint and gasket subsequent to joint disassembly. The new Appendix P in PCC-1 provides guidance
and a series of checklists designed to guide the user through an investigation of joint leakage. It
contains a sample Flanged Joint Leak Report and additional lists of considerations for common
flange design issues and some potential resolutions for those issues. It also lists some best practice
guidance for basic flanged joint design problems. The diagnostic troubleshooting checklists are
written to key from when leakage occurred and to narrow in on conditions and clues as to why the
leakage occurred.


The ASME PCC-1:2010 version represents a step change in the level of detail provided for
guidance on bolted joint assembly and will represent a significant body of work for the international
improvement of bolted flanged joint integrity.
The undertaking and commitment by the committee members (listed following) was significant;
however it is believed that the benefit to industry from this revision will be commensurate.
Mr. Clyde Neely (Becht Engineering Co., Inc.)
Mr. Joseph Barron (Northrup Grumman Newport News)
Dr. Warren Brown (Equity Engineering Group)
Mr. Edward Hayman (Superior Plant Services)
Mr. David Lay (Hytorc)
Mr. Gary Milne (Hydratight)
Mr. James Payne (JPAC, Inc.)
Mr. Clay Rodery (BP North American Products, Inc.)
Mr. Jerry Waterland (Virginia Sealing Products, Inc.)



Qualification of Personnel
DD CEN/TS 1591-4
John Hoyes, Flexitallic Ltd

J. R. Hoyes of Flexitallic



The Evolution of a Pan-European

Norm on Competency Assurance
of Flange Assembly Technicians

John Hoyes

Sections of Presentation

Background Considerations
CEN Standardisation
Harmonisation with PED


Background Considerations

Joints Fail Not Just Gaskets

Installation critically important


To Raise the Status, in the
context of the PED , of a Joint
Assembly Technician to that of a
Welder responsible for the welds
of the flanges being sealed

Loss of Time Served

Maintenance Personnel
Progression Towards
Previous Knowledge &
Experience Base Lost


HSE Concerns Over Safety

Record In North Sea

Attendance at a Training Course

Does Not Demonstrate
Subsequent Competency


Competency Assessment
Systems Added to Training
Courses for North Sea
Outcome was a Significant
Reduction in Incident Rate

CEN Standardisation


TC 74 Flanges and their Joints

set up to Implement the
Requirements of the Pressure
Equipment Directive
Chairman : Hans Kocklemann of
MPA , Stuttgart

TC 74 WG 10 Calculation
Convenor, Robert Noble, Hydratight

TC 74 WG 8 Gaskets
Convenor, John Hoyes, Flexitallic


Competency Document Drafted

by Hydratight Member of WG 8
based upon the North Sea

TS 1591 Part 4 : 2007

Qualification of Personnel
Competency in the Assembly of
Bolted Joints Fitted to
Equipment Subject to the
Pressure Equipment Directive
TS --- Technical Specification


A TS Has A Lower Status Than

an EN [European Standard]
A TS is Intended to be a PreStandard that Leads Within Three
to Five Years to a full EN

Before Approval an EN is Subject

to Public Enquiry, twice, and a
Weighted Formal Vote
Adoption of a published EN is
not Mandatory


TS 1591 Part 4
Intended to be an Umbrella
Document Augmenting Current
Training Schemes by Adding
Competency Assessment

TS 1591 Part 4 : 2007

For the sections on General and Specific
Knowledge Curriculum Requirements of a
Training Course only the suggested subjects
to be covered are listed
There is a Requirement for Work Site
Experience with Guidance by Certified
Competent Person and Log Keeping
A Competency Assessment has to be carried
out once candidate has had Sufficient Work
Site Experience


Guidance for Work Site

Experience before Competency
Work Site Experience Earliest Assessment
Frequent & Intense

3 Months

Infrequent but with

Intense Periods

6 Months
12 Months

Method of Competency
Theoretical Question Paper
Practical Assessment during typical
Simulated on site assembly
Documented Work Place Evidence


Refresher Training Guidance

Work Site Experience
Frequent and Intense
Infrequent but with
Intense Periods

Period After Achieving

3 Years
2 Years
12 Months

Decision Taken by TC 74 to
Upgrade TS 1591 Part 4 to be a
Full EN Standard
This follows both the natural intended
path for a TS and the German chemical
industry view that a full EN is more likely
to be adopted


Harmonisation with PED

Bolted Connections are not

recognised as an Essential
Feature of the PED
This should be changed
Then EN 1591 Part 4 would have to
be Harmonised with the
Requirements of the PED & thus
create further encouragement for its


Perhaps Operators would be

able to achieve insurance cost
reductions by specifying only
competent, as defined by 1591
Part 4, technicians were used
on site




A regulatory perspective on
bolted joints at high hazard
Iain Paterson, HSE Offshore Division

Health & Safety Executive



A Regulatory Perspective on Bolted Joints at High

Hazard Sites
Iain Paterson, Team Leader Mechanical Engineering, HSE Offshore Division

The presentation addresses:

the relevant safety legislation aimed at ensuring the integrity of pressure systems
both offshore and onshore,
a few photographs showing what we find in the real world,
a few statistics showing the equipment where hydrocarbon releases occur
offshore, and
Some of the benchmarks that HSE uses to help judge compliance.
We need safety legislation to prevent catastrophic events such as the Piper Alpha
disaster in 1988 where 167 lives were lost. Lord Cullens enquiry into the disaster led to
many wide ranging recommendations including changes in the offshore safety
legislation. The principles embedded in the Cullen report have stood the test of time but
we still need to be vigilant. In 2005, a major accident incident occurred at the Bombay
High complex in which 350 of the 367 persons on board the platform survived. Thats a
testament to Lord Cullens recommendations and the developments in major hazard
accident prevention and mitigation since Piper Alpha.
One of the principle recommendations arising from Lord Cullens enquiry is the Offshore
Installations (Safety Case) Regulations. Regulation 12 specifies the central theme. All
major accident hazards must be identified, and all major accident risks must be
evaluated and controlled. Major accidents include fire and explosion, and major damage
to the structure that affects its stability. The essence of this regulation is that duty
holders must have a robust safety management system and an effective auditing regime
to ensure, amongst other things, that the integrity management of the hydrocarbon
containment envelope is maintained.
Onshore, the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (COMAH) applies to sites
such as refineries and chemical works etc where significant inventories of hazardous
material are used. Regulation 4 requires the operator to take all measures necessary to
prevent major accidents and to limit their consequence on the local population and
environment. The effect is the same as for offshore, the duty holder needs to put in
place a robust safety management system and an effective audit function. The COMAH
regulations define major accidents as major emissions, fires and explosions that could
lead to serious danger to human health or the environment.
Regulation 5 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSWR)
applies at all work places and requires employers to implement an effective safety
management system commensurate with the risks that they create.


The Pressure Equipment Regulations 1999 address the design and initial integrity of new
plant both onshore and on fixed offshore installations. Examples are given in the
presentation showing poor practice on new equipment including;

missing flange bolts,

tack welded vibration supports

Unsuitable material used on a pipe support pad.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) address in-service
integrity and apply both onshore and offshore. Regulation 6 is relevant in that it address
the inspection of piping and flanged joints etc. It requires that deterioration such as
corrosion is detected in good time so as to allow remedial action before a dangerous
situation occurs.
In practice, this means an inspection scheme where someone
competent has considered the anticipated deterioration modes. It means adopting
suitable inspection techniques where you have confidence in detecting deterioration. In
other words an inspection regime that considers the scope, the nature and the frequency
of inspections. COMAH and the Offshore Installations (Safety Case) regulations both
require a safety management system to ensure that this actually takes place together
with periodic review and audit to confirm or otherwise, that the inspection regime
remains valid. Examples are given in the presentation showing in-service deterioration

a perforated gas pipe suffering from corrosion under insulation,

rapid erosion of a vessel by a sand wash nozzle,
instrument tubing susceptible to vibration induced fatigue failure,
a flanged joint fretting against another pipe
Galvanic corrosion due to dissimilar metals on bolts and flange.

In the offshore sector, industry and HSE are working to reduce the number of
hydrocarbon leaks. Duty holders formally report all of their leaks to HSE and these are
stored in a database. HSE research report RR672 summarises the statistics from HSEs
offshore hydrocarbon release database. Over the eight year period 2001 to 2008, there
were a total of 579 major and significant hydrocarbon releases, decreasing from 110
such releases in 2001 to 60 in 2008. RR672 indicates that major and significant leaks
occur most often at: piping (21%), instruments (18%), and flanged joints (10%).
However, its difficult to pin point exactly what proportion of hydrocarbon leaks occur at
A study looking at gas leaks greater than 25 kg (a substantial release that would have
serious implications if ignited) revealed that instruments, piping, flanges and valves are
the priority areas where industry and the regulator need to focus our attention. HSE
uses evidence such as this to inform our inspection priorities.
Typically, HSE interventions to inspect the integrity of the hydrocarbon containment
plant are based on our loss of containment manual that is publically available on our web
site. It addresses several key risk areas including bolted joints, leaks from small bore
fittings, and vibration induced fatigue failure of small bore piping connections. For
bolted joints, we use the Energy Institute guidelines as a model of good practice.
Bolted joints can be safety critical parts of the high hazard process plant and that their
integrity must be effectively managed throughout their life time.




Health and Safety


A regulatory perspective
on bolted joints at high
hazard sites
Iain Paterson CEng MIMechE
Team Leader, Mechanical Engineering
HSE, Offshore Division

Why do we need safety legislation?

To provide adequate integrity management of high
hazard plant

Piper Alpha 6th July 1988 167 lives lost


Why do we need safety legislation?

Relevant legislation includes

Offshore Installations (Safety Case) Regs 2005
Regulation 12: Management of health and safety and control
of major accident hazards
(1) ..include in the safety case sufficient particulars to
demonstrate that ..
(c) all hazards with the potential to cause a major accident
have been identified; and
(d) all major accident risks have been evaluated and
measures have been, or will be, taken to control those risks
to ensure that the relevant statutory provisions will be
complied with.
This means put in place a robust safety management
system and effective audit


Relevant legislation includes

Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999
Regulation 4 General duty
Every operator shall take all measures necessary to prevent
major accidents and limit their consequences to persons
and the environment.
This means put in place a robust safety management
system and effective audit

Relevant legislation includes

Management of Health & Safety at Work Regs 1999
Regulation 5
Every employer shall make and give effect to such
arrangements as are appropriate, having regard to the
nature of his activities and the size of his undertaking, for
the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring
and review of the preventive and protective measures.
This means put in place a robust safety management
system and effective audit


Initial integrity
Pressure Equipment Regulations 1999
(applies to new equipment onshore and offshore)

Missing bolts

Initial integrity ?


In-service integrity
Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regs 1998
Regulation 6: Inspection
(2) Every employer shall ensure that work equipment
exposed to conditions causing deterioration which is liable
to result in dangerous situations is inspected (a) at suitable intervals; and
(b) each time that exceptional circumstances which are
liable to jeopardise the safety of the work equipment have
to ensure that health and safety conditions are maintained
and that any deterioration can be detected and remedied in
good time.

In-service integrity ?


Bolted flanged joint integrity ?

Bolted flanged joint integrity ?


Offshore hydrocarbon releases

595 major and significant leaks in 8 year period

The 3 most common types of equipment

where offshore hydrocarbon leaks occur:



Instruments 107/595






Major & Significant Gas HCRs > 25kg by Equipment Type

Not specified

Valve Manual - Choke

Wellhead / Xmas Trees

Valve Actuated - Relief

Valve Manual - Block / Bleed

Valve Actuated - ESDV

Valve Actuated - Block

Valve Actuated - Control /



Storage Tanks


Pressure Vessel

Pig Launchers


Mud / Shale / tanks


Heat Exchanger






HSE Loss of containment manual

UKOOA Hydrocarbon release reduction toolkit

Energy Institute Guidelines for the management of the integrity of bolted

joints for pressurised systems
Energy Institute document Guidelines for corrosion management in oil
and gas production and processing
HSE Offshore external corrosion guide


Legislation downloads:
Offshore Installations (Safety Case) Regulations 2005

COMAH 1999

Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999

PUWER 1998

Pressure Equipment Regulations 1999



Leak Management
Ed Versluis, James Walker Rotabolt

James Walker







bolt force

Ed Versluis
Sales Manager
James Walker Benelux



Some are very costly

Q8 - HDS unit:- Friday 13th February, 2009

Costs of
Steam Quenching...


How effective is
leak sealing?


of flange leaks
are caused by
incorrect bolt

does everyone
blame the


Gaskets dont fail !...

3 Keys
to Reliable Bolted Joints


mp ity
Co ual




Bolt Force
Gasket Stress

bending or




CNAF Gasket 1.5 mm thick, 20 bar

Leak Rate mg/sec/m


Leak Rate









Operating Stress MPa

Torque Tightening

Friction Estimate

Tightening Case History:

H.P. Heat Exchanger

Tightening Case History:

H.P. Heat Exchanger
Studs: 36 x M52 x 360mm long, on 1720mm PCD
Grade: ASTM A193 B7
Duty: 30bar, 350C
Calculated bolt load:

412 kN / 42 Tonnes

Calculated torque ( = 0.2):

4368 Nm

Min. torque:

2259 Nm (- 48.3%)

Max. torque:

5874 Nm (+ 34.5%)

(Thread and nut surface lubricated)


Theoretical vs. Actual Torque

Torque Scatter

Bolt #
Torque [Nm]
Calculated torque

Torque (Nm)




11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35
Bolt No.

Hydraulic Tensioning


Hydraulic Tensioning

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Load-Transfer Relaxation
1. Loading

2. Localised deformation

3. Distribution

4. Load losses

Limited access

3 Bolts tightened
by flogging


Traditional bolting (without tension control)


Required bolt force

F min


F max

+/- 40%


Bolt force

bolt force

F [kN]



Bolt force



James Walker 2006

Traditional bolting (Thermal cycling)

Proces upset

Required bolt force

F min


F max

+/- 40%


Bolt force

bolt force

F [kN]



Bolt force



James Walker 2006



JW RotaBolt Tension control & JW gasket science



Bolt tension

+/- 5%


bolt force

Bolt force

F [kN]

Bolt force

James Walker 2006


JW RotaBolt Tension control & JW gasket science



Bolt tension

+/- 5%


bolt force

F [kN]



Bolt force



James Walker 2006

JW RotaBolt Tension control & JW gasket science

Proces upset

Safety Margin
No leaks


+/- 5%

flange- or
bolt force

F [kN]



Bolt force




Bolt tension

James Walker 2006



3 Case Histories:



Valves in Catalytic Reforming

Cat. Reforming Heat Exchanger



From Storage

Powerformer naphtha


Unit had a track record of leaks at RCVs since 1958

RCV flanges


Steam quench on 40+

RCV flanges in 2002
Naptha 550C / 37 bar
Thermal cycling
12 & 16 Class 600
Silver Faced
20 RotaBolts
All flanges
7 years leak free


Heat exchanger leaks (how to avoid?)


255 C

425 C

T over tubesheet = 170 C

James Walker 2006


1.7/8 bolts
(B16 grade)



approx 20
clamp length
30.3 tonnes
target load


10.6:1 ratio

ok around
Actually to

60 ton the tension
to set




James Walker 2006

James Walker 2010