Optimal slot dimension for skirt support structure of coke drums
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The skirt-to-shell junction weld on coke drums is susceptible to fatigue failure due to severe thermal cyclic stresses. One method to decrease junction stress is to add slots near the top of the skirt, thereby reducing the local stiffness close to the weld. The most common skirt slot design is thin relative to its circumferential spacing. A new slot design, which is significantly wider, is proposed. In this study, thermal-mechanical elastoplastic 3-D finite element models of coke drums are created to analyze the effect of different skirt designs on the stress/strain field near the shell-to-skirt junction weld, as well as any other critical stress locations in the overall skirt design. The results confirm that the inclusion of the conventional slot design effectively reduces stress in the junction weld. However, it has also been found that the critical stress location migrates from the shell-to-skirt junction weld to the slot ends. A method is used to estimate the fatigue life near the critical areas of each skirt slot design. It is found that wider skirt slots provide a significant improvement on fatigue life in the weld and slot area.
Keywordscoke drum stress analysis cyclic stress fatigue life skirt slots
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This work was supported by the Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) Grant of the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada.
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