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OTC 17310

New API RP2A Tubular Joint Strength Design Provisions

D. Pecknold, U. of Illinois; P. Marshall, MHP Systems Engrg; and J. Bucknell, MSL Services Corp.

Copyright 2005, Offshore Technology Conference

element (FE) models have been utilized. FE models, properly
This paper was prepared for presentation at the 2005 Offshore Technology Conference held in validated against test results, are now recognized as a reliable,
Houston, TX, U.S.A., 2–5 May 2005.
relatively low cost source of static strength data which can be
This paper was selected for presentation by an OTC Program Committee following review of
information contained in a proposal submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper, as
used to supplement and extend the experimental database.
presented, have not been reviewed by the Offshore Technology Conference and are subject to Modeling procedures and software are well-established for
correction by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect any
position of the Offshore Technology Conference, its officers, or members. Papers presented at tubular joints that fail by plastic collapse (2)-(5); however, it
OTC are subject to publication review by Sponsor Society Committees of the Offshore
Technology Conference. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this
must be noted that joint tension failures cannot yet be reliably
paper for commercial purposes without the written consent of the Offshore Technology predicted by numerical methods due to the unavailability of an
Conference is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to a proposal of not
more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The proposal must contain conspicuous appropriate and accepted failure criterion for ductile tearing.
acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper was presented. Write Librarian, OTC, P.O.
Box 833836, Richardson, TX 75083-3836, U.S.A., fax 01-972-952-9435.
Therefore, for joint tension capacity, test data must still be
exclusively relied upon despite possible shortcomings, e.g.
Abstract size effect. The new parametric prediction equations more
The development of the new API RP2A (22nd Edition) accurately represent the effect of joint geometry, particularly
parametric static strength prediction equations for planar chord diameter-to-thickness ratio, and additional chord loads,
circular hollow section (CHS) tubular joints is described. as demonstrated by comprehensive comparisons with the
Prediction equations are presented for brace axial, brace in- screened test database and the validated FE database.
plane bending, and brace out-of-plane bending loads. The
prediction equations are based on screened test databases, Joint Classification
augmented and extended by an extensive new series of Joint classification as K, X or Y is unchanged from the 21st
validated nonlinear finite element (FE) simulations for non- edition, and is used in order to apply the basic capacity
overlapping K joints, Double Tee (DT/X) joints and T joints. equations for simple joints to more geometrically complex
The increased reliability (reduced scatter) provided by the new joints. API has long recognized that joint classification should
static strength formulation was used to justify a reduction of be based on axial load pattern as well as joint configuration. In
the load factor of safety to 1.6 from the previous value of 1.7. principle, classification is an issue for both simple and complex
joint configurations and is relevant to both fatigue and strength
Introduction assessments. Classification may change from load case to load
API RP2A design guidance for tubular joints, primarily on case and is often different for each member end at a given joint.
simple CHS joints, has historically been based on Mixed classifications generally occur (21).
experimental databases. In particular, the most recent previous In the logic of the recommended classification scheme,
editions of API RP2A, as well as other offshore codes of members whose axial load component perpendicular to the
practice, have been founded on an experimental database that chord is essentially balanced by axial loads in other members on
existed in the early 1980s (1). Many additions to the the same side of the joint are treated as K joints. Members
experimental database have occurred since that time, often whose perpendicular load components are reacted across the
because of testing a reference simple joint in the course of chord are treated as X joints. Members whose perpendicular
examining a complex configuration. In particular, additional loads are neither K nor X but are reacted by beam shear in the
experimental information is now available on the effect of chord are treated as Y joints.
additional chord loads on joint capacity, providing the There are instances where the axial load of a given brace is
opportunity to incorporate this new information in API RP2A. within ± 10% of being purely one of the standard joint types
Unfortunately, the simple joint screened test database (i.e. all K, X, or Y). In that case it is permissible to classify the
does not contain data covering the full range of joint types, brace end as totally of that joint type and no interpolation is
joint geometries, and brace and chord loading conditions of required.
interest. For example, except for T joints, test data on brace Additional provisions specific to axially loaded,
bending is relatively sparse. Tests with additional (i.e. in multiplanar K, X, and Y joints can be found in the CIDECT
addition to equilibrium-induced) chord loads are likewise not Design Guide (19). Additional information on multiplanar Y
sufficient in number and scope to adequately address the effect and K joints is available in (4),(22),(23),(27). AWS D1.1 Annex
of chord loads on joint capacity. L describes an ocalizing parameter which can also be used for
To provide additional information where needed, and to joint classification.
fill in gaps in the experimental database, numerical finite
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Brace Load Interaction condition. The FE database contains a much higher proportion
Tha basic capacity equations for simple joints provide of cases with additional chord loads than do either test
allowables for single brace loadings (axial, in-plane bending database.
or out-of plane bending). For combined brace loadings, a
brace load interaction equation is used. The 22nd Edition of Joint Geometry Parameters. Joint geometry is characterized
API RP2A adopts a new brace load interaction ratio, by appropriate dimensionless ratios as illustrated in Figure 2
2 which shows a planar K joint with symmetric branches. The
P ⎛ M ⎞ M
IR = +⎜ ⎟ + ≤ 1.0 (1) dimensionless geometry ratios for this joint type are (1) the
Pa ⎝ M a ⎠ipb M a opb brace-to-chord diameter ratio β ≡d/D, (2) the chord thinness
ratio γ ≡D/2T, (3) the gap factor ζ ≡g/D, (4) the brace-to-chord
recommended by CIDECT (19). This new interaction equation wall thickness ratio τ ≡t/T, (5) the brace angle θ, and (6) the
provides a better fit to the available test and FE data than does chord length ratio α ≡2L/D.
the arc sine expression in the 21st Edition. Equation (1) is very
close to the expression proposed by Yura (20),(29), and also Test Databases. Two major test databases for CHS tubular
tends to vindicate the interpolation method used in the 1978- joints were utilized.
82 editions of RP2A. The MSL Joint Industry Project (JIP) carried out in the
Figure 1 shows a comparison of the arc sine interaction period 1994-1996 examined all data that existed at that time
expression (21st Edition) and Equation (1) with two series of and has significantly influenced the guidance for simple and
FE simulations for DT joints (β= 0.6, γ=20, τ =1.0 and β= 0.6, overlapping joints.The MSL screened test database (6)
γ=20, τ =1.0) loaded in combined brace compression and in- contains validated data on a total of 1066 simple joint
plane bending, with additional chord preloads, ranging from specimens with chord diameter D greater than 100mm.
-0.8 ≤ P/Py ≤ 0.8. The brace compression and brace in-plane Screening, based on several acceptance criteria, reduced the
bending capacities for the combined loadings are normalized number to 653 cases. The significance of establishing a
by the FE results for the respective brace loads acting suitably screened database cannot be over-emphasized. The
independently, in order to make the comparison shown. differences in various code provisions on joint strength are
Results for 3 series of DT joints [(β=0.35, γ=25, τ=0.8), partly due to differences in databases.
(β=0.67, γ=25,τ=0.8), and (β=1.0, γ=25,τ=0.8)], with no The Kumamoto University test database (7), which is
additional chord loads, tested at the University of Texas are publicly available over the internet, overlaps substantially with
also shown, normalized in the same way (8),(29). the MSL database, but is not screened. In the development of
the API RP2A (22nd Edition) design guidance, the MSL
Static Strength Databases screened database was primarily used, and supplemented in a
The static strength databases which form the basis for the new few cases with data from the Kumamoto University test
basic capacity equations are (1) the MSL screened test database.
database (6); (2) the Kumamoto University (unscreened) test
database (7); and (3) the API/EWI validated FE database, Finite Element Database. A comprehensive API/EWI study
developed at the University of Illinois (5),(12)-(17). conducted at the University of Illinois (5),(12)-(17) has
provided a large validated finite element database, containing
No of over 1500 cases. This additional information was used to
Joint Type Brace Load No of FE Test augment and extend the screened test database, particularly
Cases Cases for the assessment of the effect of additional chord loads on
joint capacity.
Axial Tens -- 34
DT Axial Comp 339 65 Validation of the FE procedure by detailed comparisons
IPB 40 17 with available test data was carried out, as well as a number of
OPB 80 6 sensitivity studies, described later.
Table 2 displays the combinations of brace and chord load
Axial 440 161 cases for each joint type contained in the FE database.
K IPB 242 6 Validation of FE Modeling. Extensive validation studies
OPB 306 7 were carried out in the initial phase of the API/EWI project to
compare FE simulations with the available test load vs
Axial Tens -- 26
T Axial Comp 46 89 deflection data. Details of these comparisons for DT joints are
IPB 18 29 reported in (5), including comparisons with all known test
OPB 18 27 results for compression DTs with axial chord preload (8)-(11),
with satisfactory results. Actual chord lengths and test
boundary conditions were represented as accurately as
Table 1. Number of Cases Contained in Static
possible and the reported steel stress-strain curves were also
Strength Databases by Joint Type and Brace
used in all FE simulations of tests.
Loading Condition
Additional comparisons with test data are shown in
Figures 3 and 4. Figure 3 shows a comparison of the FE
Table 1 shows the number of available FE cases and test
simulation of a DT joint (β =0.67, γ =25, τ =0.8) tested in
cases by joint type (DT/X, K, T/Y) and brace loading
OTC 17310 3

brace compression with combined axial compression plus in- the response of two 45o K joints with no chord preload, under
plane bending chord preloads (P/Py = -0.3, Mipb/MP = -0.25 brace in-plane bending “closing” moments, which govern.
(8). Figure 4 shows the FE simulation of a 45o K joint Figure 7 shows the computed response of a 45o K joint (β
(β =0.72, γ =24, τ =0.9, α =6.6, ζ = 0.1) tested (11) under =0.3, γ = 10, ζ=0.05), with two different levels of chord
balanced axial load with no chord preloads. preload (P/Py=0 and P/Py=-0.6), subjected to “opening”,
“closing” and “aligned” in-plane bending moments (closing
moments tend to increase the angle between chord and brace,
Chord Preloads aligned brace moments tend to produce rotation in the same
Joint Type Brace Load
direction). It should be noted that brace balanced axial
tension/compression loads in K joints induce additional axial
loads and often in-plane bending moments as well in the
Axial Comp n n n
DT IPB n chord, whose distribution depends on the support conditions at
OPB n n n the ends of the chord. Because of this fact, both test and FE
results may be expected to vary somewhat depending on the
Balanced Axial n n chord boundary conditions (24). In the FE parametric studies,
K IPB n n both ends of the chord have rigid diaphragms and are pinned.
OPB n n

Basic Capacity
Axial Comp n n The format of the basic capacity equations remains essentially
T IPB n unchanged from the 21st Edition. The (normalized) basic load
OPB n and moment brace capacities (Equations 2 and 3) are each
expressed as the product of a strength factor Qu and a chord
load factor Qf, defined separately for each joint type and brace
Table 2. Brace and Chord Load Combinations loading condition. The strength factors Qu depend only on
Contained in FE Database by Joint Type joint geometry, and are expressed in terms of β and γ, (or β, γ
and ζ in the case of K joints) because it has been found
FE Models for Static Strength Database. For each joint through FE simulations that, over its normal range, τ has only
type, a series of FE models, covering a wide range of
a minor effect. The brace angle θ appears only through the sin
geometries (13),(14),(17) were generated using PATRAN, and
θ term in Equations (2) and (3), again because the sin θ term
analyses were performed using ABAQUS. Analyses covered
has been found, by FE simulations (Figure 6) and comparisons
the three brace loading conditions and a range of chord
to test data, to adequately reflect the influence of the brace
preloads and chord preload combinations, often filling in
angle on basic capacity. The chord load factor Qf for each
significant gaps in available test data. In the FE parameter
joint type depends only on chord axial and bending loads.
studies, chord preload was applied first and held constant
while brace loads were gradually increased. The effect on
computed joint response of different loading paths has been Pa sin θ / Fy T 2 = Qu Q f / FS (2)
discussed (5). The steel stress-strain curve has a post-yield
linear strain hardening slope up to 8 percent plastic strain and M a sin θ / Fy T 2 d = Qu Q f / FS (3)
a flat top thereafter. The ratio of ultimate stress to yield stress
is 1.6.
The analyses incorporated geometric as well as material where Pa =allowable brace axial load, Ma =allowable brace (in-
nonlinear effects. Joint strength was determined as the peak plane or out-of plane) bending moment, Fy =chord yield stress
brace load when an early peak response occurred. In cases at the joint, T =chord wall thickness, d =brace outside
where there was not a clear peak, such as in high β, high γ DT diameter, θ =angle between brace and chord centerlines. The
joints under chord tension preload, the Yura displacement factor of safety FS =1.6, a reduction from the value of 1.7 in
limit 2δ/D =120Fy/Eβ or rotation limit θ =80Fy/E was used. the 21st Edition, made possible by the increased reliability of
Studies were carried out to establish FE modeling the new basic capacity formulations (18). Where a 1/3
guidelines as related to mesh density, shell element vs 3D increase in allowable is permitted, FS may be taken as 1.2.
solid modeling and the need for explicit modeling of the weld. As a consequence of the fact that joint classification
Figure 3 includes a comparison of FE simulation results for pertains only to the determination of brace axial load capacity,
shell and 3D models of the 45o K joint. It was found that use the brace moment capacities are independent of joint type.
of 3D models combined with explicit weld modeling was
necessary only for joints with high brace-to-chord diameter Methodology for Determining Basic Capacity Equations.
ratios (0.95 < β < 1.0). The screened test and numerical finite element data, where
“Long chord lengths” that eliminate the effect of chord end appropriate, were used to create suitable expressions for joint
boundary conditions were used (5). The brace-to-chord strength, using regression analysis and statistical calculations
thickness ratio was held constant (τ =1.0), based on the results that are characterized by a 95% survivability level at a 50%
of sensitivity studies. Figure 5 shows an example of the minor confidence level.
For each joint type and brace loading condition,
effect of brace-to-chord thickness ratio (τ = 0.4, 0.6, 1.0) on
appropriate FE data series with no additional chord loads were
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first used to establish the form of the new strength factors Qu, based on the governing case of equal magnitude closing
since this allowed examination of the effect of one moments, and, because no generally accepted classification
dimensionless geometry variable (β, γ or ζ) at a time. The scheme for brace moment loadings is available, it also dictates
available test data was then used to further modify the Qu the allowable in-plane bending capacity of all joint types, which
expressions to produce the best overall characteristic strength leads to somewhat conservative estimates for DT/X and T/Y
predictions, considering both test and FE data. joints.
To determine the chord load factors Qf for each joint type The brace out-of plane bending strength for K joints is
and brace loading condition, the FE data was first normalized based on the governing case of equal magnitude aligned
by the strength factor Qu appropriate for the geometry of each moments (aligned out-of-plane moments tend to bend both
joint. The data was then plotted against one chord preload braces out-of-plane to the same side of the chord), and again
variable (axial and/or bending) at a time. As with the strength dictates the allowable out-of-plane bending capacity of all joint
factors, the test data (also normalized by the appropriate Qu) types.
was used to modify the Qf expressions as needed to produce The strength factor Qu for axially loaded T joints is given
the best overall results, considering both test and FE data. for a condition in which the effect of the equilibrium-induced
Because the test databases contain a relatively small global chord bending moment is eliminated. The effect of this
proportion of cases with additional chord loads, the FE chord bending moment must be accounted for in the chord
database provided most of the information used to establish load factor Qf as described below.
the new Qf expressions. Also note that brace tension loadings
and K joint geometries with overlaps are not included in the Chord Load Factor Qf. Qf is a factor to account for the
FE database. presence of nominal loads in the chord.

Strength Factor Qu. The FE data shows a clear dependence ⎡ ⎛ FS Pc ⎞ ⎛ FS M ipb ⎞ ⎤

of the strength factor Qu on γ (as well as β) which is more Q f = ⎢1 + C1 ⎜ ⎟ − C2 ⎜ ⎟ − C 3 A 2 ⎥ (4)
⎢⎣ ⎜ ⎟ ⎥⎦
obvious at large γ where there are less experimental data. The ⎝ Py ⎠ ⎝ MP ⎠
test databases for DT/X joints under axial compression and K
joints under balanced axial loading tend to show a somewhat Where a 1/3 increase in allowable is permitted, FS may again
weaker dependence on γ and this is reflected in the be taken as 1.2. The parameter A is defined as follows:
recommended strength factors. This dependence of Qu on γ
has not previously been recognized in API RP2A (with one 1/ 2
⎡⎛ ⎞ ⎛ FS M c ⎞ 2 ⎤
exception, i.e. the gap factor Qg for axially loaded K joints A = ⎢⎜ ⎟ +⎜ ⎥
⎟ ⎝ M P ⎟⎠ ⎥
with γ ≤20). ⎢⎜ Py
Gap Factor Qg. The gap factor Qg for K joints under ⎣⎝ ⎠ ⎦
balanced axial load is incoporated as a factor in Qu. where Pc and Mc are the nominal axial load and bending
2 2
For K joints with positive gaps (g/D ² 0.05) Qg is now resultant (ie. M c2 = M ipb + M opb ) in the chord, Py is the
expressed in terms of g/D rather than g/T, eliminating the
yield axial capacity of the chord, Mp is the plastic moment
implicit γ dependence formerly included in Qg for γ ≤20. The capacity of the chord, and C1, C2 and C3 are coefficients
FE data show that with Qu now given as (16+1.2γ)β1.2Qg, no depending on joint type and brace loading condition (18).
significant additional effect of γ on Qg remains. The gap The average of the chord loads and bending moments on
should preferably be not less than 2 in (50 mm). either side of the brace intersection should be used in
The gap factor Qg for overlap K joints (g/D ≤ -0.05) is Equations (4) and (5). Chord axial load is positive in tension,
based on an assessment of test data (6), (26) and FE studies chord in-plane bending moment is positive when it produces
(30)-(33). The overlap should preferably not be less than 0.25 compression on the joint footprint. The chord thickness at the
βD. joint should be used in the above calculations.
Linear interpolation may be used for -0.05 < g/D < 0.05, Chord Preloads. In most cases, brace loads induce
when this is otherwise permissible or unavoidable. equilibrium chord loads. For example, in a K joint with no
Brace Tension Loading. The Qu formulations for tension joint eccentricity under balanced brace axial load, equilibrium
loaded T/Y and DT/X joints were derived on the basis of loads axial loads are induced in the chord (tension on one side of the
at which cracking was observed in test data. However, tension brace intersection and compression on the other side). In a T
loaded joints can sustain further loading beyond first crack. joint under brace in-plane bending, equilibrium in-plane
As an estimate of this reserve strength may be important in bending moments are induced in the chord (positive on one
predominantly statically loaded joints, characteristic ultimate side of the brace intersection and negative on the other). In
tensile strength expressions were also developed and are given both of these cases the relative magnitudes of the positive and
in (18). negative equilibrium chord loads and bending moments
Comparison of Strength Factors for Different Joint depend on the relative stiffnesses and remote-end boundary
Types and Brace Loading Conditions. Figures 8 and 9 show conditions of the chord on either side of the brace intersection.
a comparison of strength factors Qu according to the 21st and A qualitatively different situation occurs in, for example, a T
22nd Editions for the different joint types and brace loading joint under brace axial compression. In that case, an
conditions.The brace in-plane bending strength for K joints is equilibrium chord in-plane bending moment is induced on
both sides of the brace intersection. The magnitude of the
OTC 17310 5

equilibrium bending moment depends not only on the relative (2) Equation (4) applies over the full range of chord loads.
stiffnesses and remote-end boundary conditions of the chord Previous versions of API RP2A contained the additional
on either side of the brace intersection, but also strongly provision that Qf = 1.0 when all extreme fiber stresses in the
depends on chord absolute length. This poses a significant chord are tensile. This provision had the unintended
problem in testing T joints with high β values: because of the consequence that Qf exhibited a step discontinuity when both
large axial capacity of these joints, substantial equilibrium in- axial and bending loads existed in the chord. The new
plane bending moments are generated that may affect joint formulation may produce a Qf <1.0 even when the chord is
strength (2) or even cause premature (i.e. before joint failure) subjected to an axial tension load, particularly in high β
chord plastification. Smaller chord lengths reduce the (β >0.9) DT joints under brace axial compression.
equilibrium bending moments, but below some minumum (3) Inspection of the Qf expression in Equations (4) and (5)
length, the chord end conditions begin to influence the joint shows that there is now no dependence on γ. Previously, API
strength. RP2A included such a dependence; this was based on forcing
In the FE analyses of T joints under brace axial the Qf factors of X joints of a specific γ and K joints of
compression, compensating negative in-plane bending another specific γ to align. Appraisals of the FE and test data
moments, proportional to the brace load, were applied at the indicate that any γ dependence in K joints is small. The FE
chord ends, so that the global bending moment at the data also show only a slight dependence of the chord load
intersection of the brace and chord centerlines remained zero factor on γ, for all joint types and brace loading conditions.
throughout the loading history (2). The strength factor Qu
The presence in Qf of the γ-dependence in previous versions of
determined from these FE analyses therefore represents the T
API RP2A leads to gross underestimates of the capacity of
joint capacity corresponding to a very short chord, without the
high β joints with high axial chord loads.
effect of the equilibrium chord bending moments.
Comparison of Chord Load Factors for Different Joint
Equilibrium chord loads are implicitly accounted for in
Types and Brace Loading Conditions. Figure 11 shows
the strength factors Qu determined from tests. They are also
comparisons of chord load factors Qf according to the 21st and
present and accounted for in the strength factors Qu
22nd Editions for the different joint types and brace loading
determined from the FE database, with the single exception of
conditions. These comparisons show the effect of chord axial
axially loaded T joints, in which the effects of equilibrium
load (FS Pc/Py) on Qf. Corresponding plots of Qf as a function
chord bending moments have been explicitly removed.
of chord in-plane bending load (FS Mip/MP) would be
In order to determine the additional chord loads to be
symmetric in (FS Mip/MP), except for K joints under balanced
accounted for in the chord load factor Qf, the average of the
brace axial loading (for which the coefficient C2 is non-zero).
total (equilibrium plus additional) chord loads on either side of
For that case a positive Mip (producing compression on the K
the brace intersection should be used.
joint footprint) yields a value Qf <1.0, while a negative Mip of
In cases (including the API/EWI FE analyses, and the vast
the same magnitude has a less deleterious effect (larger Qf),
majority of tests) where the chord cross-sections, lengths and
and may actually produce a slight capacity enhancement (Qf
remote-end boundary conditions are the same on both sides of
>1.0). Although this behavior may be expected generally for
the brace intersection, averaging the total chord loads on either
joints that are not symmetric about the chord axis, the
side of the brace intersection yields the correct additional
recommended formulation of Qf for T joints does not
chord load since the equilibrium chord loads cancel from the
incorporate the beneficial effect of a negative Mip for brace
average (except for axially loaded T joints). More generally, in
axial compression (or a positive Mip for brace axial tension)
cases where the chord does not react the equilibrium loads
because there is not sufficient data available to reliably
equally on either side of the brace intersection, the averaging
quantify it.
procedure produces a small equivalent additional chord load
Note that a single Qf expression applies for brace in-plane
that is taken into account in Qf. In the axially loaded T joint,
and out-of-plane bending. The plots of Qf for DT joints under
the equilibrium chord bending moment is the same on both
brace axial compression (Figure 10) show the marked
sides of the brace intersection, and so it is properly accounted
transition in the effect of axial chord load on capacity that
for in the average chord bending moment.
Implicit in this simple averaging procedure is the occurs between (0.9 ≤ β ≤1.0). Chord axial compression
assumption that the capacity of the joint is not significantly significantly reduces brace axial compression capacity in low
affected by small variations in the sequence of brace vs chord to moderate β DT joints, but has no appreciable effect for
loading. joints with β •1.0. Chord axial tension, on the other hand, has
Changes in Chord Load Factor from 21st Edition. little effect on low to moderate β DT joints, but reduces brace
Compared to the 21st edition of API RP2A, a substantial axial compression capacity for high β (β •1.0). Figure 10
change to the chord load factor Qf is given in Equations (4) shows results of tests performed at the University of Texas
and (5). (8), (10) on a series of DT joints with different β values (0.35,
(1)The new chord load factor Qf includes linear terms in 0.67, 1.0), subjected to brace and chord axial compression
the nominal chord axial load and in-plane bending moments, loads. The test results are normalized for each geometry by the
in addition to the quadratic terms retained in the parameter A strength measured in nominally identical specimens with no
given in Equation (5). This is similar in form to the chord chord load. These normalized results provide an experimental
stress function proposed in (28) and adopted in the CIDECT evaluation of the chord load factor for these joints, and they
design guide (19). are compared with the recommended chord load factor Qf in
Figure 10.
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Comparisons with Test and FE Data Offshore Structures, have been compared to the ISO-API
Brace load capacities calculated from Equations (2-5) (with criteria, which are conservative for axial load.
the factor of safety FS=1), and from the previous API RP2A In the new Table 4.5-1, Qu = 2.5βγKa may be re-written
(21st edition) provisions, are compared in Figures 11-15 with as Psinθ = πdTKa (0.4Fy) -- i.e. the classic original punching
the screened test data and with the FE database for K, Y and X shear formula from the 1950s. Ka may be found in 9th and
joints. The result of each individual comparison was expressed earlier editions of RP2A, but needs to be brought back for the
in the form of a ratio of (Test or FE Strength)/(Predicted 22nd. Ka = (1+1/sinθ)/2 is still used in AWS D1.1.
Strength). Ratios greater than one, indicating that the joint For bending, Qu=1.5βγ may be re-written in the
capacity is greater than the predicted value, are obviously following punching shear formats:
desirable. Statistics of the comparisons are given in (18), and
confirm that the scatter, as measured by the coefficient of elastic bending: M = (π/4) d2 T (0.95Fy)
variation, is substantially reduced compared to the 21st
Edition. fully plastic bending: M = d2 T (0.75Fy)
Figures 12-14, for the brace axial load cases, and Figures 15
and 16, for the brace bending cases, show the results of the daVinci bending: M = (π/2) d2 T (0.48Fy)
comparisons plotted against β. These figures show that the
performance of the recommended and previous API In the early 1500s, Leonardo daVinci's theory of bending
formulations are consistent across joint type and brace load for stone beams (which are much weaker in tension than in
conditions for both test and FE databases. Additional compression) had unlimited capacity at the compressive heel,
comparisons (not shown) with a subset of the FE database with the rest of the section in uniform tension. It seems
containing only the cases with no chord load are also consistent particularly apt for grouted tubular joints, since the other
with the test database comparisons for both the recommended expressions exceed the theoretical limit of 0.57Fy for punching
and previous API practice. shear. This might also explain why test data show less
conservatism for bending than for tension.
Short Joint Cans
Most joint tests, and capacity formulas based upon them, Summary
enjoyed the benefit of a long uniform chord section. If the The new Qu and Qf formulations for simple joint basic capacity
designer uses a very short joint can, some of this benefit will more accurately reflect the influence of joint geometry (in
be lost. For balanced K-joints, the ovalizing tendencies of the particular, chord diameter-to-thickness ratio) and chord loads on
two braces tend to cancel each other out, and closed ring joint capacity and are a significant improvement over that of the
collapse analyses have shown that a can extension of 0.25D previous (21st Edition) API practice, particularly for brace
beyond the brace footprint suffices to restore the full capacity. bending loads. The new capacity formulations are more reliable
For X-joints, the full crushing effect is present, and a can (i.e. they show less scatter than previous formulations when
extension of 1.0D beyond the brace footprint (or 2.5D overall compared to test and validated FE results), and justify a
can length) is necessary for full long-chord capacity. For Y- reduction in the factor of safety (FS) from 1.7 (21st Edition) to
joints, the ovalizing is of intermediate severity, and closed ring 1.6.
collapse analysis indicates that intermediate joint can
extensions (0.5D to 0.6D beyond the brace footprint) would References
suffice. The old 0.25D is not always enough.
Earlier editions of RP2A permitted an approximate closed (1) Yura, J.A., Zettlemoyer, N. and Edwards, I.F., 1981, “Ultimate
ring analysis to be employed, including plastic analysis with Capacity of Circular Tubular Joints”, J. Structural Division,
appropriate safety factors, using an effective chord length up ASCE, 1965-1984.
to 1.25D either side of the line of action of the branch loads at
the chord face, but not more than actual distance to the end of (2) van der Valk, C.A., 1988, “Factors Controlling the Static
the can. Special consideration is required for more complex Strength of Tubular T Joints”, BOSS ’88 Conference,
joints; for multiple branches in the same plane, dominantly Trondheim, June.
loaded in the same sense, the relevant crushing load is Σι Pι (3) van der Valk, C.A.,1991,”New Aspects Related to the Ultimate
Sinθι. Any reinforcement within this dimension (e.g., Strength of Tubular K and X Joints”, Proceedings of the 10th
diaphragms, rings, gussets or the stiffening effect of out-of- International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Arctic
plane members) may be considered in the analysis, although Engineering, v.III-B, 417-422.
its effectiveness decreases with distance from the branch
footprint. (4) van der Vegte, G.J., et al. 1991, “The Static Strength and
Stiffness of Multiplanar Tubular Steel X-Joints”, ISOPE J Vol 1,
Grouted Joints
Grouted joint criteria are now given for the first time in RP2A (5) Ha, C.C. and Pecknold, D.A., 1998, “FE Modelling of DT
(34), (35) although they have very old roots. Billington et al Tubular Joints with Chord Stress”, OMAE 98-560, Proceedings
(1979) in OTC 3463 referred to grouted joint capacity in terms of the 17th International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and
of punching shear. Grouted joint data from Lalani et al Artic Engineering, Lisbon.
(1985) in the UEG 3-volume set, Design of Tubular Joints for
OTC 17310 7

(6) MSL Engineering Limited, 1996, Assessment Criteria, (19) Wardenier, J., Kurobane, Y., Packer, J.A., Dutta, D. and
Reliability and Reserve Strength of Tubular Joints, Doc. Ref. Yeomans, N., 1991, Design Guide for Circular Hollow Section
C14200R018, Ascot, England. (CHS) Joints under Predominantly Static Loading, CIDECT,
Verlag TUV, Rheinland, Germany.
(7) Makino, Y., Kurobane, Y., Ochi, K., van der Vegte, G., and
Wilmshurst, S., 1996, “Database of Test and Numerical (20) Yura, J.A., and Hoadley, P.W., 1985, “Ultimate Strength of
Analysis Results for Unstiffened Tubular Joints,” IIW Doc. XV- Tubular Joints Subjected to Combined Loads,” OTC 4854,
E-96-220, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan. Offshore Technology Conference, Houston.

(8) Boone T. J., Yura, J. A., and Hoadley, P. W., 1982, Chord Stress (21) Dier, A.F. and Turner, T.E., 1998, “FE Studies on Joint
Effects on the Ultimate Strength of Tubular Connections, Classification and K Joints with Unequal Brace Angles”, OMAE
PMFSEL 82-1, University of Texas at Austin. 98-581, Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on
Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering, Lisbon.
(9) Togo, T., 1967, ``Experimental Study on Mechanical Behavior
of Tubular Joints," Doctoral Dissertation (in Japanese), Osaka (22) Paul, J.C., et al., 1993, “Ultimate Resistance of Tubular Double
University, Osaka, Japan. T-Joints under Axial Brace Loading,” J Construct Steel
Research, Vol 24.
(10) Weinstein, R. and Yura, J. A., 1985, “The Effect of Chord
Stresses on the Static Strength of DT Tubular Connections," (23) Paul, J.C. et al., 1993, “Ultimate Behaviour of Multiplanar
PMFSEL 85-1, University of Texas at Austin. Double K-Joints of Circular Hollow Section Members,” ISOPE
J Vol 3, March.
(11) Bjornoy, O. B. and Collberg, L., 1991, Static Strength of
Tubular Jonts-PhaseII. Analyses and Tests of Gap and Overlap (24) Bolt, H.M., Seyed-Kebari, H, and Ward, J.K., 1992, “The
K-Joints, Veritec Report No. 91-3393, A.S. Veritec. Influence of Chord Length and Boundary Conditions on K Joint
Capacity,” 2nd International Conference on Offshore and Polar
(12) Pecknold, D.A and Ha, C.C., 1998, “Chord Stress Effects on Engineering, San Francisco.
Ultimate Strength of DT Tubular Joints”, OMAE 98-565,
Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Offshore (25) Dier, A.F. and Lalani, M., 1995, “Strength and Stiffness of
Mechanics and Arctic Engineering, Lisbon. Tubular Joints for Assessment/Design Purposes”, OTC 7799,
Offshore Technology Conference, Houston.
(13) Pecknold, D.A., Ha, C.C. and Mohr, W.C., 1998, Strength of
Simple Joints—Effect of Chord Stress and Diameter-to- (26) Dier, A.F. and Lalani, M., 1998, “New Code Formulations for
Thickness Ratio on the Static Strength of DT Tubular Joints Tubular Joint Static Strength,” 8th International Symposium on
Loaded in Brace Compression, Report to the American Tubular Structures, Singapore.
Petroleum Institute, EWI Project No. 42705-CAP, Edison
Welding Institute. (27) Lee, M.M.K. and Dexter, E.M., 1999, A New Capacity Equation
for Axially Loaded Multi-planar Tubular Joints in Offshore
(14) Pecknold, D.A., Ha, C.C. and Mohr, W.C., 1999, Strength of Structures, HSE, OTO Report 1999 095.
Simple Joints—Static Strength of DT Tubular Joints Loaded in
Brace Compression or In-Plane Bending, Report to the (28) Kurobane, Y., Makino, Y. and Ochi, K., 1984, “Ultimate
American Petroleum Institute, EWI Project No. 42705-CAP, Resistance of Unstiffened Tubular Joints,” Journal of Structural
Edison Welding Institute. Engineering, Vol. 110, No. 2, 385-400.

(15) Pecknold, D.A., Ha, C.C. and Mohr, W.C., 2000, “Ultimate (29) Swennson, K.D. and Yura, J.A., 1986, Ultimate Strength of
Strength of DT Tubular Joints with Chord Preloads”, Double-Tee Joints: Interaction Effects, Phase 3 Final Report,
OMAE2000/OSU OFT-4203, Proceedings of the 19th Ferguson Laboratory, University of Texas at Austin.
International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Arctic
Engineering, New Orleans. (30) Dexter, E.M. and Lee, M.M.K., 1994. “Effect of Overlap on
Strength of K Joints in CHS Tubular Members,” 6th
(16) Pecknold, D.A., Park, J.B. and Koppenhoefer, K.C., 2001, International Symposium on Tubular Structures, Melbourne.
“Ultimate Strength of Gap K Tubular Joints with Chord
Preloads”, OMAE01/OFT-1214, Proceedings of the 20th (31) Healy B E., 1994. “A Numerical Investigation into the Capacity
International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Arctic of Overlapped Circular K-Joints,” 6th International Symposium
Engineering, Rio de Janeiro. on Tubular Structures, Melbourne.

(17) Pecknold, D.A., Park, J.B. and Koppenhoefer, K.C., 2003, Static (32) Gazzola, F., Lee, M.M.K. and Dexter, E.M., 1999. “Strength
Strength of Gap K Tubular Joints with Chord Preloads under Prediction of Axially Loaded Overlap Tubular K Joints,”
Brace Axial and Moment Loads, Report to the American Proceedings of the Ninth International Offshore and Polar
Petroleum Institute, EWI Project No. 42705-CAP, Edison Engineering Conference, Brest, France.
Welding Institute, 2003.
(33) Gazzola, F., Lee, M.M.K. and Dexter, E.M., 1999. “Strength
(18) Karsan, D.I., Marshall, P.W., Pecknold, D.A., Bucknell, J. and Sensitivities of Overlap Tubular K-Joints Under Axial Loading,”
Zettlemoyer, N., 2005, “The New API RP2A, 22nd Edition Proceedings of the Ninth International Offshore and Polar
Tubular Joint Design Practice,” OTC 17236, Offshore Conference, Brest, France, June.
Technology Conference, Houston.
8 OTC 17310

(34) Marshall, P.W., 2004, “Review of Tubular Joint Criteria”, Center (OTJRC), managed by the Edison Welding Institute
Proceedings, ECCS-AISC Conference on Design of (EWI), which made possible much of the research and
Connections, Amstredam. development work that led to the new API tubular joint design
provisions. Many individuals made significant contributions
(35) Dier, A.F., and Lalani, M., 1997, “Guidelines on Strengthening
and Repair of Offshore Structures,” BOSS ’97, Vol. 3,
during the course of this work, including George Rodenbusch
Structures, Delft University, Holland. and Andy Radford (API); Roger Thomas (Phillips Petroleum),
Demir Karsan (Paragon Engineering) and Nick Zettlemoyer
Acknowledgments (ExxonMobil) on the OTJRC oversight committee; Bill Mohr
The authors would like to thank API SC2 for their generous and Kyle Koppenhoefer (EWI); Adrian Dier (MSL); and Chris
long-term support of the Offshore Tubular Joint Research Ha, J.B. Park, and Y-K. Chang (University of Illinois).

1.2 Old API
FE (1.0)
1 FE (0.6)
UTA (0.35)
UTA (0.67)

0.6 UTA (1.0)



0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2
(M/Ma) IPB
Figure 2. K Joint Geometry
Figure 1. Old (21st Ed) & New (22nd Ed) Brace Load
Interaction Equations vs Test & FE Data

Normalized Brace Compression P/FyT2

Brace Compression, kN


1000 OTJRC Shell FE

500 Veritec Shell FE
TEST (Boone
1982) Test (Veritec 1991)

0 0
0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15
0 2 4 6 8 10
Normalized Brace Displacement (δu+δl)/D Brace Relative Displacement δ, mm

Figure 3. Test vs FE for a DT Joint Loaded in Brace Figure 4. Test vs FE for a 45o K Joint under Balanced Brace
Compression: Chord Preloads P/Py=-0.3, Mip/MP=-0.25. Axial Loads. No Additional Chord Loads. Joint Geometry
Joint Geometry (β=0.67,γ=25,τ=0.8) (β=0.72, γ=24, ζ=0.1, τ=0.9, α=6.6).
OTC 17310 9

10 15

8 12
Musinθ/FyT d

Musinθ/FyT d
6 9
t/T=0.6 t/T=0.4
4 6
2 t/T=1.0 3 t/T=1.0
0 0
0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2
Brace Rotation φ Brace Rotation φ

(a) β=0.6, γ =10, ζ= 0.15 (b) β=0.9, γ= 10, ζ= 0.05

Figure 5. Effect of Brace-to-Chord Thickness Ratio on BIPB Response of 45o K Joints. No Additional Chord Loads.

10 10
60 deg
8 8 60 deg
Musin /FyT d

45 deg Musin /FyT d


6 6 45 deg

4 4

2 2

0 0
0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2
Brace Rotation φ Brace Rotation φ

(a) β=0.3, γ=10, ζ= 0.05 (b) β= 0.3, γ= 20, ζ= 0.05

Figure 6. Effect of Brace Angle θ on BIPB Response of K Joints. No Additional Chord Loads.

Rotation Limit = 0.130 Rotation Limit = 0.130

10 10

8 8
Musin θ / FyT d
Musinθ / FyT d


6 6
4 Opening 4 Closing
P/Py=0 Closing P/Py= -0.6 Aligned
2 2
0 0
0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25
Brace Rotation φ Brace Rotation φ

Figure 7. Effect of Brace Bending Moment Direction on Response of 45o K joint. β= 0.6, γ= 10, ζ= 0.15
10 OTC 17310

New API (Comp)
New API (Comp)
Old API (Tens & Comp)
New API (Tens) γ=30

Qu 30



0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0
T joints: axial loading

60 60
New API (g/D=0.5) New API (g/D=0.05)
50 New API (g/D=0.15) 50 New API (g/D=0.15)
Old API (g/D=0.05) γ=15 Old API (g/D=0.05) γ=30
40 Old API (g/D=0.15) 40 Old API (g/D=0.15)

Qu 30 Qu 30

20 20

10 10

0 0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0
K joints: balanced axial loading. γ=15 K joints: balanced axial loading. γ=30

60 60
New API (Comp) New API (Comp)
50 Old API (Comp) 50 Old API (Comp)
New API (Tens) γ=15 New API (Tens) γ=30
40 Old API (Tens) 40
Old API (Tens)

Qu 30 Qu 30

20 20

10 10

0 0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0
X joints: axial loading. γ=15
X joints: axial loading. γ=30

Figure 8. Comparison of Strength Factors Qu for Brace Axial Loads: New API (22nd Ed) vs Old API (21st Ed)
OTC 17310 11

30 30
25 New API γ=30 25 New API
20 20

Qu 15 γ=15 Qu 15
10 10 γ=15

5 5

0 0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1
All joints: IPB All joints: OPB

Figure 9. Comparison of Strength Factors Qu for Brace Bending Loads: New API (22nd Ed) vs Old API (21st Ed)


API RP2A (0<β<0.9)

Weinstein β=1.0
Chord Load Factor Qf

Boone β =0.67 0.8

API RP2A (β=1.0)

Weinstein β =0.35



-1.0 -0.8 -0.6 -0.4 -0.2 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0

Figure 10. Transition in Chord Load Factor for Axially Loaded DT Joints (β<0.9, and β= 1.0) vs UTA Tests (8), (10).
12 OTC 17310



Qf 0.6

0.4 New API

-1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 FS Pc/Py 1.0
K joints: brace axial loading

1.2 1.2
1.0 1.0
0.8 0.8
Qf γ=15 0.6
Qf 0.6
γ=30 New API
0.4 γ=30 New API
Old API 0.2 Old API
-1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 FS Pc/Py 1.0 -1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 FS Pc/Py 1.0
T joints: brace axial loading X joints: brace axial loading

1.2 1.2

1.0 1.0
0.8 0.8
Qf 0.6 Qf 0.6
γ=15 New API
0.4 0.4 New API
0.2 Old API
Old API 0.2
0.0 0.0
-1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 FS Pc/Py 1.0 -1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 FS Pc/Py 1.0
All joints: brace IPB All joints: brace OPB

Figure 11. Comparison of Chord Load Factors Qf : New API (22nd Ed) vs Old API (21st Ed).
OTC 17310 13

Note the different vertical scales

3.0 7.0

2.5 6.0
FE / New API

FE / Old API
0.5 1.0

0.0 0.0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0
DT jts: axial comp: FE vs New API DT jts: axial comp: FE vs Old API

2.5 2.5
Test / New API

Test / Old API

2.0 2.0
1.5 1.5

1.0 1.0

0.5 0.5

0.0 0.0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0

DT jts: axial comp: Test vs New API DT jts: axial comp: Test vs Old API

Figure 12. Comparison of Test & FE Data vs New (22nd Ed) and Old (21st Ed) API for Axially Loaded DTs.

2.0 2.0

1.5 1.5


1.0 1.0

0.5 0.5

0.0 0.0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1
K joints: Balanced axial loading: FE vs New API K joints: Balanced axial loading: FE vs Old API

3.0 3.0

2.5 2.5
Test/New API

Test/Old API

2.0 2.0
1.5 1.5
1.0 1.0

0.5 0.5
0.0 0.0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8
1.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0
K joints: Balanced axial loading: Test vs New API K joints: Balanced axial loading: Test vs Old API

Figure 13. Comparison of Test & FE Data vs New (22nd Ed) and Old (21st Ed) API for Axially Loaded Ks.
14 OTC 17310

3.0 3.0

2.5 2.5
FE / New API

FE / Old API
2.0 2.0

1.5 1.5

1.0 1.0

0.5 0.5

0.0 0.0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0

T joints:Axial loading:FE vs New API T joints:Axial loading:FE vs Old API

6.0 T, compression 6.0

T, compression
T, tension T, tension
5.0 5.0
Y, compression Y, compression
Test / New API

Test / Old API

4.0 Y, tension 4.0 Y, tension

3.0 3.0

2.0 2.0

1.0 1.0

0.0 0.0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0
T/Y joints:Axial loading:Test vs New API T/Y joints:Axial loading:Test vs Old API

Figure 14. Comparison of Test & FE Data vs New (22nd Ed) and Old (21st Ed) API for Axially Loaded Ts.

4.0 4.0
3.5 3.5
3.0 K K
FE / New API

FE / Old API

2.5 T 2.5 T
2.0 2.0
1.5 1.5
1.0 1.0
0.5 0.5
0.0 0.0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1
All joints: Brace IPB: FE vs New API All joints: Brace IPB: FE vs Old API

4.0 DT 4.0 DT
3.5 3.5
Test / New API

Test / Old API

2.5 T 2.5 T
2.0 2.0
1.5 1.5
1.0 1.0
0.5 0.5
0.0 0.0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0
All joints: Brace IPB: Test vs New API All joints: Brace IPB: Test vs Old API

Figure 15. Comparison of Test & FE Data vs New (22nd Ed) and Old (21st Ed) API for Brace In-Plane Bending.
OTC 17310 15

3.0 3.0
2.5 K 2.5 K
FE / New API

FE / Old API
2.0 2.0

1.5 1.5

1.0 1.0

0.5 0.5

0.0 0.0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0
All Joints: Brace OPB: FE vs New API All Joints: Brace OPB: FE vs Old API

3.0 3.0 K
2.5 2.5
Test / New API

Test / Old API

2.0 Y 2.0 Y

1.5 1.5

1.0 1.0
0.5 0.5
0.0 0.0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 β 1.0
All Joints: Brace OPB: Test vs New API All Joints: Brace OPB: Test vs Old API

Figure 16. Comparison of Test & FE Data vs New (22nd Ed) and Old (21st Ed) API for Brace Out-of-Plane Bending.