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Study of Gaps Between Components During Dynamic Loading

[+] Author Affiliations
Jerry L. Bitner

JLB Engineering, Inc., Bethel Park, PA

David Raj

BWX Technologies, Barberton, OH

Paper No. PVP2003-1785, pp. 205-216; 12 pages
  • ASME 2003 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference
  • Pressure Vessel and Piping Codes and Standards
  • Cleveland, Ohio, USA, July 20–24, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Pressure Vessels and Piping Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-1694-X
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME


Gaps between mating parts of large industrial components are required for assembly and to allow for free thermal or pressure growth. However, the gaps should not be so large as to invalidate linear analysis assumptions for dynamic loadings. Large components may have locations where there are tightly controlled dimensions to accommodate mating parts. At these locations there are specified gaps that are crucial in manufacturing and installing the parts and assemblies. These gaps are strategically determined to provide reasonable assurance that the components can be economically manufactured and assembled without violating structural and functional requirements for the components. In general, large gaps are desirable to facilitate assembly. Small gaps may be necessary to ensure the validity of linear-elastic dynamic analysis and to control leakage. Industry practices for 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch gaps are cited for pipes supported by box frames. The justification for the use of these gap sizes is not readily available in the open literature. This paper presents the results of a preliminary investigation into the effect of gaps on the dynamic analysis of internal components of heavy pressure vessels. Parameteric analytical studies using simple finite element beam models show that loads and stresses increase with gap size. For example, using the results for 1/16-inch gap as the basis, the maximum stresses and loads for a 1/8-inch gap increase by a maximum of approximately 30%.

Copyright © 2003 by ASME



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