What is FE/Pipe?

FE/Pipe is a finite element analysis specifically designed for use in the pressure vessel and piping (PVP) industry. What separates FE/Pipe from the rest of the general FEA tools is its ability to rapidly construct PVP geometries and produce ASME stress reports. FE/Pipe makes modeling typical pressure vessel and piping geometries faster and easier than is possible with general FEA tools due to the parametric design philosophy. The parametric approach used in FE/Pipe permits even novice finite element analysts to construct accurate models using only dimensional input. FE/Pipe automatically creates the model geometry, element mesh, applied loads, and boundary conditions based on standard dimensions.

Results are presented in terms of ASME requirements instead of generalized stress tensors and stress intensities as would typically be found in general FEA tools.

Why should I use FE/Pipe?

FE/Pipe addresses the direct needs of PVP engineers working in today’s market. The following are a few of the most important reasons to use FE/Pipe:

  • Typical pressure vessel design codes, such as ASME Section VIII, can not address all design cases. For instance, external loads on nozzles are not addressed within the Code. In such cases, Engineers need to go outside of the Code and apply recognized design procedures such as finite element analysis using FE/Pipe.
  • Simplified calculation methods commonly used in the PVP industry such as WRC 107/297 are based on limited test data and are known to be grossly inaccurate in many cases. FE/Pipe has no limitations and provides realistic answers for all cases.
  • FE/Pipe has been designed to meet the needs of the PVP industry. General FEA tools are not tailored to the PVP engineer.
  • FE/Pipe produces ASME code output reports in accordance with ASME requirements.
  • FE/Pipe automatically produces stress intensification factors and flexibilities for typical piping junctions. These are weak points in the piping code and FE/Pipe can be used to supplement detailed piping analysis using Caesar II or other software tools.

What types of geometries can be modeled using FE/Pipe?

Essentially any PVP geometry can be modeled using FE/Pipe templates. Some standard models routinely analyzed by FE/Pipe users include...

  • Unreinforced and reinforced tees, lateral, and hillside nozzles or piping intersections
  • Saddle supported vessels and heat exchangers
  • Large diameter piping and ducting using shell elements
  • Piping systems using standard 6 degree of freedom (DOF) beam elements, new 18 DOF beam elements, or shell elements
  • Vessels with all geometric features including nozzles, support skirts, heads, structural clips, and stiffening rings.
  • Flanges with bolt loads, pressure, external loads, and thermal analysis
  • Tangential entry nozzles in cylindrical shells (rectangular, obround, and cylindrical nozzles)
  • Rectangular pressure vessels
  • Any general geometry can be created thru Mesh/PRO which is a general model construction interface to AutoCAD

What loadings can be analyzed with FE/Pipe?

FE/Pipe includes a load case processor that automatically accounts for load cases that contribute to failure in piping and pressure vessel components.

  • Weight, Operating, Occasional, and Thermal Only.
  • Internal or external pressure
  • Applied point or surface loadings
  • Piping loads applied to nozzles
  • Wind
  • Acceleration due to ship motion or transportation
  • Seismic
  • Fluid head

What solution capabilities does FE/Pipe offer?

FE/Pipe offers similar solution capabilities that would be found in any FEA tool.

  • Comprehensive element library
  • Linear elastic analysis
  • Material non-linear analysis (plasticity)
  • Dynamic/modal analysis
  • Dynamic harmonic analysis
  • Eigenvalue buckling
  • Steady state and transient thermal analysis
  • Stress stiffening (large displacement)

What verification work has been performed for FE/Pipe’s solutions?

FE/Pipe’s solutions have been verified on many different levels. At the most basic level, the element formulations and related output has been compared against classical hand calculations. Additionally, FE/Pipe has been benchmarked against various general FEA tools such as ANSYS, Algor, ADINA, and others. The benchmark problems have included a range of complexity from single element verification problems to complete PVP analysis cases.

In addition, Paulin Research Group routinely conducts experimental work in the PRG Laboratory. PRG typically constructs FEA models for comparison against strain gauge measurements from experimental cases. This work even extends beyond strain gauges to included burst test, fatigue tests, cryogenic work, and heat transfer experiments. Further, PRG is active in the PVP research field and continually processes other available tests data for validation of the model building and analysis approaches PRG uses in FE/Pipe. Additional information