This paper deals with the determination of the stress distribution at the fillet of a ANSI B16.5 flanges attached internally to a hollow cylinder. A load parallel to the axis of the cylinder and of variable eccentricity acts on a bearing plate which rests on the flange. The strains are measured by means of electrical resistance wire strain gages. The ratios of the mean cylinder diameter to the cylinder wall thickness and of the mean cylinder diameter to the flange thickness are varied. The principal stresses at the fillet are given as functions of these parameters. The experimental results are compared with the stresses calculated on the basis of an approximate theoretical solution for both an axial and an eccentric load.
The use of bolted flange connections in the offshore wind industry has steeply risen in the last few years. This trend is because of failings observed in other modes of joints such as grouted joints, coupled with enormous economic losses associated with such failures. As many aspects of bolted flange connections for the offshore wind industry are yet to be understood in full, the current study undertakes a comprehensive review of the lessons learned about bolted connections from a range of industries such as nuclear, aerospace, and onshore wind for application in offshore wind industry. Subsequently, the collected information could be used to effectively address and investigate ways to improve bolted flange connections in the offshore wind industry. As monopiles constitute an overwhelming majority of foundation types used in the current offshore wind market, this work focusses on large ANSI welding neck flanges in the primary load path of a wind turbine foundation, such as those typically found at the base of turbine towers, or at monopile to transition piece connections. Finally, a summary of issues associated with flanges as well as bolted connections is provided, and insights are recommended on the direction to be followed to address these concerns.
The number of bolts depends on the ANSI plate flanges radius and thickness, type of tool used, size of the bolts, and predicted loads on the structure. These bolts serve the purpose of exerting a clamping force to keep the joint together . The behaviour and life of the bolted joint depend on the magnitude and stability of that clamping force. The preload is created by the tightening process during the assembly of bolt and nut in the joint to provide enough clamping force on the joint. Therefore, the bolts need to be preloaded at the assembly stage in the flange connection. An intuitive analogy would be to think of the bolts and the joint members as elastic parts. In that way, they can be modelled as spring elements, where the bolts are stretched in their elastic region when tightened, in order to compress the joint. The joint has a much stiffer elastic constant compared with the bolts, depending on material and dimensions.
The employment of ANSI blind flanges connections for OWTs has considerably increased in the past decade owing to the failures and subsequent economic losses associated with grouted connections. In this study, the issues and opportunities associated with bolted flange connections have been thoroughly reviewed and discussed for application in the offshore wind industry. The key conclusions drawn from this study are as follows:Further studies in the offshore wind industry can enable the optimal use of ANSI threaded flanges connections in design, manufacturing, installation, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning phases.