What is the Future of ASME B31.3, Appendix P?

What is the Future of ASME B31.3, Appendix P?


Appendix P was written to introduce piping flexibility analysis rules that are more suitable for computer piping flexibility analysis, in contrast to the rules in the base Code which were written when piping analysis was done by hand calculations.  Most of the elements of Appendix P have been, or are proposed to be, added to the base Code.  So what does the future hold?

The primary reason Appendix P was written was to introduce the concept of taking differences in operating stress states.  This is because there is an interaction between sustained and displacement loads with nonlinear systems.  Supports, for example, can be engaged in one operating condition, and not another, which effects the stress range of the system.  The base Code was written based on looking at stressed due to sustained loads and displacement loads separately.  Although commercial pipe stress software may take differences in operating conditions to determine the stress range, this is not actually how the Code directs it be done.

A change to para 319.2.3 will be balloted, which will require looking at differences in operating conditions to determine the stress range when the piping system has nonlinear elements.

Other elements that were included in Appendix P that have been added to the base Code, or are will soon be balloted to change in the base Code, include the following:

• Including stress due to axial loads in the calculated displacement stress range, SE

• Including axial load stress intensification factors.  As a result, there has been work by Paulin Research, partially funded by ASME, to develop these based on testing and finite element analysis.  This was done as part of a larger project to update stress intensification and flexibility factors for the B31 codes

• Rewriting the method for calculating the effect of cold spring on reaction loads on equipment

• Explicitly stating that equipment loads should be calculated using the elastic modulus at temperature

As part of integrating Appendix P into the base Code, Becht Engineering conducted a study to determine if the equation for allowable stress range, SA = f [1.25(Sc  + Sh ) – SL]  could be changed to SA = f [1.25(Sc  + Sh ) ] .  This would provide a consistent margin of two on stress against fatigue failure (based on average fatigue performance of piping components), but the question was whether there would be protection against ratchet, which is progressive plastic deformation with cycles.  The change that was considered was without including the operating stress limit that was included in Appendix P.

To study this, Dr Nadarajah of Becht Engineering ran cyclic, elastic-plastic analyses of some simple piping systems.  It was determined that ratchet did not occur with straight pipe, but ratchet did occur in elbows.  The reason is because elbows are somewhat unusual in how they are treated in the B31 codes.

• The actual stress in an elbow is about twice the calculated value.  This is not unusual as it is a characteristic of the B31 flexibility analysis rules, since the fatigue limit is based on the nominal bending stress in butt-welded pipe.

• The calculated stress, including the stress intensification factor, is through wall bending in the elbow sidewalls due to ovalization of the elbow when subjected to moment loading.  This stress is likely to behave as a secondary stress, versus the calculated stress in components such as fabricated tees, which are likely to include significant peak affects.

• In calculation of sustained stresses in the Code, the longitudinal stress due to pressure is added to the stress calculated for the elbow due to bending moment resulting from weight loads.  However, the stress due to moment loading is actually through wall bending in the hoop direction, and would add to the hoop stress due to internal pressure. 

Considering the complications associated with elbows, it was decided to leave the allowable limit in the base Code for SA as is rather than try to modify it.

Given that the base Code is being updated to include the features of Appendix P, other than the stress limit therein, Appendix P will most likely be dropped from a future edition, probably the 2016 edition, since the changes to the 2014 edition are already finalized.

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About The Author

Dr. Becht, Fellow ASME, former Chairman of the ASME B31.3, Process Piping Code, is a recognized authority in pressure vessels, piping, expansion joints, and elevated temperature design. He has more than 40 years of experience in design, design review, analysis, check-out, mechanical integrity, development, troubleshooting, and failure analysis. He has been a member of 14 Codes and Standards committees, five of which he has chaired. He has more than 60 publications including two books (on B31.3 and B31.1 piping) and seven patents and is a frequent speaker and chairman in technical forums. He received the ASME Dedicated Service Award in 2001, the 2009 ASME Pressure Vessel and Piping Medal, the 2014 J. Hall Taylor Medal, and the 2022 ASME B31 Forever Medal for Excellence in Piping. He is CEO of Becht, CEO of Helidex, LLC, and Chairman of Becht Industrial Group.

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What is the Future of ASME B31.3, Appendix P?

2 thoughts on “What is the Future of ASME B31.3, Appendix P?

  1. Mr. Becht,

    You close out the above article by saying “…Appendix P will most likely be dropped from a future edition, probably the 2016 edition, since the changes to the 2014 edition are already finalized.” However, it appears Appendix P was dropped from the 2014 edition and implemented as part of the base code. Am I correct?


  2. Yes, at the last minute the deletion of Appendix P was implemented. I think all of Appendix P other than the alternative allowable stress equation has been incorporated in the base code.

    Further on the potential for ratchet in elbows, I did not mention that when the analysis was conducted considering large displacement effects, ratchet did not occur. This has since been confirmed by some elbow testing by Paulin Research. This indicates that the SL term could possibly be dropped in the base Code. However, there is not presently any actions being taken towards that.

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