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SADDLES - The PD 5500 Approach

The design of horizontal vessels supported on twin saddles (see Figure 11.12) has been

dealt with by several authors over the years. However, the approach given in PD 5500 is

essentially the work of one man - L P Zick. He used a modified beam and ring analysis so

that the mathematical model for the vessel predicted values which agreed with the

experimental results he had available. More recent experimental work has indicated that

Zick’s treatment for the vessel full of fluid predict stresses which are in reasonable

agreement with the experimental values only when a flexible saddle is employed. When

the saddle is rigid the treatment under-estimates the maximum stresses in the vessel.

These stresses occur at the horn (the highest point on the support) in the circumferential

direction. In some cases they have a magnitude which is double that which occurs when a

flexible saddle is employed.

Figure 11.12 Horizontal vessel with twin saddle supports, hemispherical ends,

3.044 m diameter, 24 m tan to tan length, 78 mm thick, design pressure 99.3 bars,

design temperature -27oC to +38oC

When vessels of this type are supported at more than two cross-sections the support

reactions are significantly affected by small variations in the level of the supports, the

straightness and local roundness of the vessel and the relative stiffness of different parts of

the vessel. Support at two cross-sections is thus to be preferred even if this requires

stiffening of the support region of the vessel.

In this approach one of the supports should be designed at the base, to provide free

horizontal movement, thereby avoiding restraint due to thermal expansion. For very long

vessels multi-saddle supports may be required. An approximate approach to this case is to

derive the support forces and longitudinal moments assuming the vessels behave like a

continuous beam. These values can then be used in the manner outlined below for the

twin support case.

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16587 Pressurised Systems

To determine expressions for the longitudinal bending moments the approach adopted is to

consider that the vessel behaves like a beam supported at the saddles (see Figure 11.13).

Consideration is given to the additional moment caused by the weight of the dished ends

and by the hydraulic pressure on the ends. The result is shown in Figure 11.14(a). The

distribution of the bending moments and shear forces are shown in Figure 11.14(b) and (c).

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16587 Pressurised Systems

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16587 Pressurised Systems

The stress due to the overall mid-span bending moment M3 is calculated by assuming that

the full vessel section is available and that the cross section remains circular, i.e. secondary

bending in the circumferential direction is small. This assumption will be adequate for

most cases. However, for very thin vessels it is found that the cross-section does not

remain circular; especially so during filling with liquid. Furthermore, the axial membrane

compressive forces in the partially full condition are found to be larger than those when the

vessel is full. These vessels, therefore, have a tendency to buckle inwards at the location

of the liquid height during filling. Despite this, experience has shown that for steel and

aluminium alloy vessels with diameter to wall thickness ratio up to 1250/1, the methods

presented herein, based upon the full condition and assuming the cross section to remain

circular, produce designs which are satisfactory for the partially full condition.

In addition to the stress due to the bending moments the vessel cross section is also subject

to an axial stress due to the hydraulic pressure on the ends of the vessel. This corresponds

to pm r 2 t where pm is the internal pressure at the equator (horizontal centre line of the

vessel). The total stresses are thus

(1) at the highest point of the cross-section the stress f1 is given by

pm r M 3 r p r M3

f1 = − = m − (11.8)

2t I 2t π r2 t

(2) at the lowest point of the cross-section the stress f2 is given by

pm r M 3 r p r M3

f2 = + = m + (11.9)

2t I 2t π r2 t

The stress due to the overall saddle bending moment M4 is calculated on the basis that

only part of the cross-section of the shell at the saddle profile is effective. The effective

part is shown in Figure 11.15. The position of the neutral axis, NA, and the second

moment of area INA about the axis can be found. To this stress, which arises from the

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16587 Pressurised Systems

longitudinal bending moment M4 must be added the longitudinal stress due to the end

pressure, as before.

p r M4 p r M4

f3 = m + yT = m − (11.10)

2t I NA 2t K1 π r 2 t

The values of K1 are given in PD 5500 in Table G.3.3.2.3, reproduced in these notes as

Table 11.1.

It should be noted that when the full section is available K1 = 1

pm r M4 p r M4

f4 = + yC = m + (11.11)

2t I NA 2t K2 π r 2 t

Allowable Stresses

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16587 Pressurised Systems

The calculated stresses f1 to f4 which are essentially membrane stresses in the axial

direction, that is they are σ z , together with the circumferential membrane stress

σ θ = p r t have to satisfy two requirements:

(1) the general primary membrane stress intensity, acting at the various points and for the

different fill conditions, shall be taken as the greater of

σ θ − σ z ; σ z + 0 .5 p ; σ θ + 0 .5 p

this shall not exceed the design stress, f.

(2) to avoid buckling of the vessel the longitudinal compressive membrane stress, σ z ,

shall not exceed ∆ s f , where ∆ is obtained from the section in the Standard (PD

5500) dealing with external pressure loading.

It should be noted that if the longitudinal stresses in the saddle region exceed the allowable

stress then rings may be placed in the saddle centre profile - Table 11.1 show the

influence of such on the values of K1 and K2

As the bending moment varies along the length of the vessel, so also does the longitudinal

stress. The effect of this is to introduce longitudinal shear stress together with

complementary shear stress which occurs in the plane of the cross-section. The

distribution of the shear force is given earlier in Figure 11.14 (b). The inner saddle shear

force is invariably the greater since L > 4 A + 4 3 b . In which case the value is given by

W1 ( L − 2 A)

( L + 4 b 3)

The saddle region of the vessel may be either unstiffened (i.e. left as a plain cylinder) or

stiffened with rings. The values of the shearing stresses for both these cases have to be

considered.

Shell Stiffened with Rings in the Plane of the Saddle or Stiffened by being Located near the

Ends i.e. A ≤ r 2

In this case the full vessel cross-section is available to carry the shear stress q, thus

V r2

q =− sin φ

I oo

where, V is the shear force and Ioo is the second moment of area of the full cross-section of

the cylinder. That is,

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16587 Pressurised Systems

K 3 W1 L − 2 A

q max =

r t ( L + 4 b 3)

(11.12)

where K3 = 1 π = 0 ⋅ 318

When the shell is free to deform above the saddles, it is considered that the shear stress

acts on a reduced cross-section. As in the case of the longitudinal stresses, the upper

portion of the shell is considered as being ineffective in carrying shear. The shears in the

effective portion, that is close to the saddle, will therefore, be increased. The form of the

shear stress remains the same - that is equation 11.12 - but the value of the factor K3 is

increased. The values are shown in PD 5500 in Table G.3.3.2.4 for the various saddle

angles. This is reproduced in these notes as Table 11.2

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16587 Pressurised Systems

The Standard also provides details by which the shear stress in the dished end and also in

the shell may be obtained, when the saddle is located near the head.

Allowable Shear Stresses

These values are given above in Table 11.2 (Table G.3.3.2.4 of PD 5500). In this the

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16587 Pressurised Systems

should be taken as the allowable shear stress. The latter value has its origins in the

avoidance of shear buckling in the region of the support in vessels with a high r t ratio

(up to 625 : 1).

Important values of circumferential stress occur at two locations in the vessel, both in the

saddle centre profile. The first is at the lowest point of the cross-section, known as the

nadir. The second, by far the most important, is at the saddle horn (i.e. the highest point of

the saddle support).

The circumferential stress, given in the Standard (PD 5500), at this point is obtained by

summing the shear stresses in the saddle region. The width of the shell that resists this

force was considered by Zick to be the saddle width plus 5t on either side, i.e. ( b1 + 10 t ) .

Thus, the circumferential stress at the nadir is given as,

K5 W1

f5 = −

t ( b1 + 10 t ) (11.13)

The values of K5 are given in Table G.3.3.2.5.2 of PD 5500, provided here in Table 11.3.

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16587 Pressurised Systems

It should be noted that when the saddle is welded to the vessel the values of K5 given in

the Table 11.3 (G.3.3.2.5.2 of PD 5500) should be taken as one-tenth of this value. When

loose saddles are employed the full values from the Table should be used.

When the saddle is welded to the vessel the value of f5 should not exceed the design

stress f.

When the saddle is not welded to the vessel the value of f5 should not exceed ε E 3 ,

where ε is the circumferential buckling strain. The value of this is obtained from the

equation given in Figure 3.6(2) (of PD 5500), which in turn uses the n value from Figure

3.6(1). In this derivation the value of L 2 R always equals 0.2, both in Figure 3.6(1) and

in equation in Figure 3.6(2). Further explanation of this method is found in the book

‘Pressure Vessel Design - Concepts and Principles’ by Spence and Tooth.

The analysis of Zick assumes the shell in the region of the saddle to be an arch built in at

the abutments (that is the horn) and loaded with shear stress q = (V π r ) sin φ . This is a

redundant structure which can readily be solved. The resulting distribution of the bending

moment Mφ is shown in Figure 11.16.

shear stress round the arc and in the plane of the shell.

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16587 Pressurised Systems

In all cases the maximum value of Mφ occurs at the horn B which is identified in PD 5500

at an angle β from the zenith, i.e. M β = K6 W1 r . Values of K6 are given in Table 11.4

below, which is taken from Table G.3.3.2.5.1 (PD 5500). Those for A r ≥ 1 ⋅ 0 are

derived from the above analysis (the ring loaded with a shear stress). When A r < 0 ⋅ 5

the above factors are divided by 4. The variation in the range 0 ⋅ 5 < A r < 1 is assumed

linear.

Having obtained the bending moment at points round the ‘ring’, i.e. the shell in the region

of the saddle, we now have to determine the stress. This is the same problem we had

earlier for the axial and the shear stresses. In these earlier cases we obtained the bending

moment and the shear force relatively easily, but had to use a measure of scientific

‘cunning’ to find the stresses corresponding to these. We have to do the same here.

Zick made the assumption that a certain width (i.e. axial length) of shell was effective in

resisting the moment Mβ - see Figure 11.17.

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16587 Pressurised Systems

He found that if the effective width was four times the shell radius or equal to one half the

length of the vessel, whichever is the smaller, then the resulting stresses agreed

conservatively with the results from strain gauge surveys.

That is if L ≥ 8 r , the bending component of the circumferential stress is given by:

( t 2)

( Mβ 4 r)

( t 12)

3

This expression simplifies to

3 3 3

M β r t 2 = K6 W1 r r t 2 = K6 W1 t 2 (11.14)

2 2 2

When L < 8 r , the bending component of the circumferential stress is given by:

Mβ t 2 12

3 = 12 M β L t 2 = K 6 W1 r (11.15)

L 2 t 12 L t2

The direct component of the circumferential stress at the horns can be obtained in a similar

semi-empirical manner by first of all obtaining the direct thrust at the horn, and then by

allowing this to be carried over an effective width of shell. However, in this case Zick

proposed that the direct load at the horns be W1 4 distributed over the portion of the shell

stiffened by the contact of the saddle, i.e. ( b1 + 10 t ) . Using this approach the direct

component of the circumferential stress is assumed to be:

W1

4 t ( b1 + 10 t ) (11.16)

Combining equations (11.14), (11.15) and (11.16) where appropriate, gives the maximum

stress at the horn on the outer surface:

W1 3 W

For L r ≥ 8 ; f6 = − − K6 1

4 t ( b1 + 10 t ) 2 t2

(11.17)

W1 12

For L r < 8 ; f6 = − − K6 W1 r

4 t ( b1 + 10 t ) L t 2 (11.18)

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16587 Pressurised Systems

The stresses may be reduced if necessary by extending the saddle plate as shown in Figure

11.18 (a) to that shown in Figure 11.18 (b). [These are Fig G.3(14) of PD 5500.].

It is recommended that the thickness of the saddle plate in the case of steel vessels should

be equal to the thickness of the vessel shell plate. If the width of this plate is not less than

b1 + 10 t and subtends an angle not less than ( θ + 12o ) , the reduced stresses in the shell

at the edge of the saddle can be obtained by substituting the combined thickness of vessel

and saddle plate into the relevant equation, using a saddle angle of θ . A second check

must also be carried out to determine the stress in the vessel at the edge of the top plate. In

this case a saddle angle of ( θ + 12o ) may be used to derive the K6 value; thereafter the

actual vessel thickness must be used in the equations (11.17) and (11.18).

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16587 Pressurised Systems

Figure 11.18 (a) Simple saddle support, (b) saddle support with extended plate.

The appropriate pages of the Standard (PD 5500) give further details of the above.

The numerical value of f6 found from the above calculations should not exceed 1.25 f,

where f is the design stress of the vessel material.

above, exceeds the allowable the

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16587 Pressurised Systems

designer has a number of options. One Figure 11.19 Typical ring stiffeners

of these is to weld ring stiffeners to the

shell. These may be placed in the plane

of the saddle or adjacent to the saddle on

either the inside or the outside of the

vessel as shown in Figure 11.19 (a), (b)

and (c). These figures are Fig. G.3 (15)

of PD 5500.

the vessel is treated as an arch in the

saddle region loaded with a shear stress

is used to analyse this case. The

maximum bending moment occurs at the

horn, i.e. M β = K6 W1 r . In this case

the moment is assumed to be carried by

the stiffener and part of the plate equal

to 5 t on either side - shown shaded in

Figure 11.19. In some ways the case of

the ring stiffener is easier to analyse, in

that there is less dubiety as to way the

bending moment is carried.

than is the case for the unstiffened

vessel, since again there is less

uncertainty concerning the way in which

the force is carried.

design approach in detail; this can be

found on page G/63, section G.3.3.2.5.2.

The numerical values of the maximum

circumferential stresses should not

exceed 1 ⋅ 25 f .

When rings are used on the outside of a vessel in the plane of the saddle, it is usual to

use the rings as part of an integrated support system, as shown in Figure 11.20.

Arrangements of this type are referred to as a ‘ring and leg’ support. The stresses in the

vessel away from the saddle are given by the same relationships obtained earlier. As with

the unstiffened vessel a shear stress is applied to the vessel and ring combination, with the

support at the intersection of the load and the centroid diameter of the ring.

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16587 Pressurised Systems

A typical result for the bending moment distribution for this case is shown in Figure 11.21.

From this type of analysis the maximum values of the bending moment for various

supporting angles can be found. The resulting stresses are provided in the Standard (PD

5500) in terms of the least section modulus and effective area of the ring. The details are

given on page G/64.

[Note the section modulus = (Second moment of area, I)/(distance to fibre, y)]

11.4.6 Design Modifications to Reduce the Max. Circumferential Stress at the Horn

When the calculated value of the maximum circumferential stress f6 is greater than the

allowable stress a number of options are available to the designer. These are set down

here.

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16587 Pressurised Systems

In the Standard (PD 5500) a range of preferred saddle angles are given - 120 to

150o. It is also possible to increase the effective saddle angle by increasing the

angle of the top plate by 12o, that is a saddle angle of 162o. This is an effective

method, since K6 is influence considerably by the angle of support.

Increasing the width only effects the first term in the equations for f6 and is not

too satisfactory .

This is effective but rather expensive, unless the increased thickness is confined

to the region of the saddle. Details of using a ‘thickened strake’ in the saddle

region are now given in PD 5500.

The value of K6 is influenced by the A value, so this is a useful approach - it

does not cost any more, although it is necessary to check the axial stresses in

the mid-span position, since the distance between the saddles is now increased.

This method was discussed earlier. It is effective, but costly and could lead to a

fatigue problem in the region of the circumferential welding between the ring

and the vessel.

The question has to be answered for each case and is often a balance between material cost

and the labour cost involved. The designer is at the forefront of such decision making.

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