Reliability-Based Design Of Piping: Internal Pressure, Gravity, Earthquake, and Thermal Expansion

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Although reliability theory has offered the means for reasonably accounting for the design uncertainties of structural components, limited effort has been made to estimate and control the probability of failure for mechanical components, such as piping. The ASME B&PV Code, Section III, used today for the design of safety piping in nuclear plants is based on the traditional Allowable Stress Design (ASD) method.

This dissertation can be considered as a primary step towards the reliability-based design of nuclear safety piping. Design equations are developed according to the Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) method. The loads addressed are the sustained weight, internal pressure, and dynamic loading (e.g., earthquake). The dissertation provides load combinations, and a database of statistical information on basic variables (strength of steel, geometry, and loads).

Uncertainties associated with selected ultimate strength prediction models -burst or yielding due to internal pressure and the ultimate bending moment capacity- are quantified for piping. The procedure is based on evaluation of experimental results cited in literature. Partial load and resistance factors are computed for the load combinations and for selected values of the target reliability index, β. Moreover, design examples demonstrate the procedure of the computations.

A probabilistic-based method especially for Class 2 and 3 piping is proposed by considering only cycling moment loading (e.g., thermal expansion). Conclusions of the study and provided suggestions can be used for future research.