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Primary flange forces – Part 2
By ESA member Randy Wacker

In Part 1 we saw how flange forces to develop and maintain the level of requirements, and ASME has recently
directly affect gasket stresses. In Part 2 tightness required. The evolution of gasket announced the availability of its own
we point to criteria that assures the testing constants such as Qsmax, Qmin(L), qualification and training course entitled,
correct flange forces are considered, Qsmin(L), PQR and EG in Europe, and Gs, a, Bolting Specialist Qualification program.
discuss two of the most common sources Gb, TPmax, Sl, and Sc in the USA has allowed These standards and this training
of uncontrolled forces, and what can be the level of tightness to be predictive, program provide specific guidance on
done to ensure they’re maintained with provided the effect of forces are properly the conditional assessment of bolting
an acceptable of values. accounted for in the mechanical design of components as well as details for
the connection. Specifically, components recommended tightening procedures.
The problems with should neither be over stressed or strained Gasket stress, and therefore sealing is
(rotation). predictive when components are in good
uncontrolled flange forces In the USA, development is still in condition and the bolt load is evenly
Fundamentally there are three problems
progress to incorporate the concept distributed around the flange. The single
that can result from uncontrolled flange
of leak-tightness into design of flange most common cause of BFC leakage is
forces.
components. In Europe though, the failure to follow an approved tightening
1. Gasket stress drops below what is
Standard EN 1591-1 has been available sequence. Stated otherwise, this means
required to seal the connection.
since 2001 to include flange forces, the most important thing that can be
2. Gasket stress increases to a value that
in conjunction with gasket properties, done to preventing leakage is faithfully
damages the gasket.
to derive leak-tight bolt loads. In this following all details of an approved
3. Flange forces increase to a value that
calculation procedure the mechanical tightening sequence. There is also another
damages the flanges and/or bolts.
properties of each component is very important consideration to be
Any combination of these conditions
simultaneously reconciled against the addressed – flange alignment.
can result unless the sum of the value
forces and temperature effects inherent
of flange forces is maintained within
in the bolted flange connection. Flange alignment
acceptable limits. Acceptable limits will
The components become suitably As noted in Part 1 the intended bolt-up
depend on the particular combination
proportioned to avoid damage, or force can only be predicted if alignment
of bolt, flange and gasket as all three
excessive flange rotation. As such, the of the mating flanges is within allowable
components interact together to
extent of gasket stress and therefore, limits. This can be a considerable
determine the resulting value of flange
leak-tightness becomes predictive. Finite challenge as it’s very difficult to accurately
rotation, and therefore, the pattern of
element analysis also incorporates the predict the amount of preload force
gasket stress on the face of the gasket.
material properties of all three flange loss to misalignment, rather than goes
The reader is cautioned that specifying
components in deriving a targeted value into tightening the gasket. Fortunately,
bolt loads based only on average gasket
of gasket stress. However, except in guidance exists to determine if a particular
stress and allowable bolt stress can result
the most challenging of conditions, the instance of misalignment is expected to be
in gasket leakage. For instance, a value
resources required to create and evaluate problematic.
of bolt load that targets a high value of
these models are rarely productive. ASME has published recommended
average gasket stress may be well within
In any case, a reliable gasket solution limits on flange misalignment in ASME
the limits of successful sealing for a
always begins with proper consideration PCC-1-2013, Appendix E. The limits
welding neck flange, but may be excessive
of the interaction of all three components are based on the particular type of
for a lap joint flange. Lap Joint flanges are
of a bolted flange joint; bolts, gasket and misalignment. The types are categorized
significantly more susceptible to excessive
flanges. as follows:
rotation, given high bolt loads. The first
step in targeting a successful value of Centerline High/Low – Result of the
bolt load is to simultaneously consider Good bolting practices difference in alignment of the axial
the sealing properties of the gasket with Good bolting practices are not only centers of connected flanges.
the mechanical characteristics of the encouraged, they’re necessary. The targeted Parallelism – Results when the face of
connection. bolt load will only be created when the the connecting flanges are not parallel.
components are in good condition and the Rotational Two-Hole – Results when
bolt load has been evenly applied. The EN the centers of the bolt holes of each
Accounting for flange 1591-4 Standard provides the qualification flange do not coincide with one
forces in flange design – and technical requirements necessary for another.
EN 1591-1 successful torque control during gasket Excessive Spacing, or Gap – Result
Always the intention of specifying a installation. ASME PCC-1, Appendix when there is excessive distance
bolt load for a particular flange pair is A outlines qualification and training between the face of each flange.

1
May 2016

as well as the strength limits and narrowest arrowest of the bolts. E-3 Rotational-Two Hole sealing systems and devices. the targeted value of bolt-up force (1/32 in. Fig. the cause of leakage can almost always be traced to a failure to inaccurately choose. For more information. and piping forces do not excessively resist it. All rights reserved. Repairing.8 mm sealing. they form the key global source of technical knowledge and guidance on sealing technology. or failure to control the flange forces. Following these guidelines will be helpful to judge whether misalignment may be excessive. E-4 Excessive Spacing or Gap please visit www.) max. These articles are published on a regular basis. Note: gaskets can only react to the forces imparted to them. When a gasket is correctly chosen. as part of their commitment to users. the resulting pattern of Fig. gasket and flange. 1. Together. When they are. which is the basis for these articles. Fortunately. each of these misalignment categories can introduce some measure of force into the connection. to help to find the best solutions for sealing challenges and to achieve maximum.)) difference must consider both the sealing properties between the widest of the gasket.” 1 2 May 2016 . or re-supporting piping is often required to correct these conditions.5 mm (1/16 in in. their combined effect results in creating a confliction of forces on the flanges. The European Sealing Association (ESA) has produced this article as a guide towards Best Available Techniques for Fig. 3 mm (1/8 in. by permission of The American Society of Engineers. Again. safe performance during the lifetime of the seal. E-2 Parallelism gasket stress meets the leak-tightness criteria required and/or intended of its design. This force is only released when the targeted bolt load has been sufficiently and evenly imparted to the flanges. none of which are usually accounted for in the target torque for the gasket. Proper flange design.com “Reprinted from ASME PCC-1. specific guidance exists to help ensure successful levels of flange force can be reliably met. E-1 Centerline High/Low Part 2 conclusion To ensure the condition of reliable BFC Maximum m 0.europeansealing.COLUMN ASME PCC-1-2013 Copied below1 from this standard are graphics showing how the extent of the various misalignments can be measured. The ESA is the voice of the fluid sealing industry in Europe. collaborating closely with the Fluid Sealing Association (FSA) of the USA. contractors and OEM’s. Worse still.) max. good piping alignment and good bolting practices go hand in hand to prevent both safety issues and reduce the costs associated with bolted flange connection leakage. Fig.