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Pipes vibrations

Pipe vibrations

Pipes vibrations

Pipe vibrations can be easily detected by sound, touch and sometimes even by sight. The problem is being able to estimate the severity of this vibration in terms of the mechanical strength of the pipe.

Indeed, the vibratory amplitude of the pipe is not the only important parameter, but also fatigue stress.

Although this constraint depends on vibratory amplitude, it also depends on:

  • Vibratory deflection which depends on fixing points or guide points,
  • Specific features of the pipe, such as diameter, thickness, materials, etc.
  • Specific geometric features that cause stress concentration, such as branch pipes, flanges, valves, etc.

Pipe vibration analysis needs to be carried out to prevent cracking, leaks, breakage, etc.

Pipe vibrations can be easily detected by sound, touch and sometimes even by sight. The problem is being able to estimate the severity of this vibration in terms of the mechanical strength of the pipe.

Indeed, the vibratory amplitude of the pipe is not the only important parameter, but also fatigue stress.

Although this constraint depends on vibratory amplitude, it also depends on:

  • Vibratory deflection which depends on fixing points or guide points,
  • Specific features of the pipe, such as diameter, thickness, materials, etc.
  • Specific geometric features that cause stress concentration, such as branch pipes, flanges, valves, etc.

Pipe vibration analysis needs to be carried out to prevent cracking, leaks, breakage, etc.

Aside from these parameters, the fatigue strength of the material should be taken into account. This involves the type of oscillation, frequency and duration. Again, pipe vibrations are caused by a combination of excitation induced by fluid (flow rate, pressure waves, etc.) or from a connected machine (reciprocating compressor, diesel motor, etc.) and the dynamic behaviour specific to the pipe’s structure.

The objectives of piping vibration analysis are:

  • to prevent cracking of the pipe which may lead to breakage.
  • to prevent leaks resulting from breakage
  • to avoid interference with measuring devices installed on the pipes.
  • to make sure that piping vibrations, linked to structures, do not damage the structure
  • to ensure that employees working nearby are not exposed to these vibrations.

It is possible to eliminate this kind of problem at the planning stage by implementing the standards and specifications concerning this area.

On an existing installation, the methodological approach of the analysis is as follows:

  • Vibratory mapping of the installation taking the different specific features into account (elbows, valves, branch pipes, etc.) and comparing the measured values with the Wachel curves in order to identify at-risk areas,
  • On the at-risk areas identified, we fine-tune vibratory mapping and conduct an experimental modal analysis and/or a deflection depending on the operational stresses,
  • Additional measurements using strain gauges if necessary,
  • Finite element modelling of at-risk areas to determine changes to be made (attachment points, dynamic absorber, etc.).

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Pipe vibrations