Chapter 1


A piping system is the most efficient and common means of transporting fluids from one point to another. Within a petrochemical complex, acres and acres of piping can be seen running in every direction and at many different levels. Piping constitutes 25% to 35% of the material of a process plant, requires 30% to 40% of the erection labor, and consumes 40% to 48% of the engineering man-hours [1]. The actual importance of piping, however, can far exceed these percentages. An entire piping system is composed of a large number of components. The failure of just one single component has the potential to shut down the entire plant or, worse yet, cause serious public safety problems. In spite of this, piping is generally considered a low-technology subject in the academia. Very few colleges teach the subject, leaving engineers to gain this knowledge only through actual practice in the field.

To find out exactly where pipe stress fits in the piping design process, let us first find out what procedures are involved in designing a piping system. A piping system is designed in the following steps by different engineering disciplines:

  • 1.1. Scope of Pipe Stress Analysis
  • 1.2. Piping Components and Connecting Equipment
  • 1.3. Modes of Failure
  • 1.3.1. Static Stress Rupture
  • 1.3.2. Fatigue Failure
  • 1.3.3. Creep Rupture
  • 1.3.4. Stability Failure
  • 1.3.5. Miscellaneous Modes of Failure
  • 1.4. Piping Codes
  • 1.5. Industry Practice
  • 1.5.1. Load Cases
  • 1.5.2. Local Support Stresses
  • 1.5.3. Local Thermal Stresses
  • 1.5.4. Pressure Effect on Flexibility
  • 1.5.5. Stress Intensification for Sustained Loads
  • 1.5.6. Support Friction
  • 1.5.7. Guide and Stop Gaps
  • 1.5.8. Anchor and Restraint Stiffness
  • 1.5.9. Small Piping
  • 1.6. Design Specification
  • 1.6.1. Owner's Design Specification
  • 1.6.2. Project Specification
  • 1.7. Plant Walk-down

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