Error Plots – Bolt Heads and Surface to Surface Contacts
File: PVE-3179, Last Updated: Dec. 13, 2008, By: LRB
Error plots show how well the complexity of a mesh matches the complexity of the deflections in a model. Once the mesh complexity matches the model complexity, the reported error is low. As a guideline, Pressure Vessel Engineering uses 5% error as an acceptance criterion.
It is possible to get stresses below 5% in general vessel areas by applying an appropriate mesh size. This report covers two areas where the error cannot be lowered to reach this acceptance criteria regardless of the mesh size used. These areas are: 1) stresses in and around the head of a bolt and 2) stresses at surface to surface contacts.
Other areas also exist in pressure vessels where mesh refinement can not be used to reduce errors to this 5% acceptance level. These areas: weld fillets, diameter transitions, nozzles, flanges and support legs and lug attachements are beyond the scope of this article.
ASME VIII-2 (2287 Ed.) sets the stress limits for bolts at locations away from the stress concentrations.
VIII-2 5.7.2(a): The maximum value of service stress, averaged across the bolt cross section and neglecting stress concentrations, shall not exceed two times the allowable stress values in paragraph 3.A.2.2. of annex 3.A
VIII-2 5.7.2(b): The maximum value of service stress, except as restricted by paragraph 126.96.36.199(b) [fatigue assessment of bolts] at the periphery of the bolt cross section resulting from direct tension plus bending and neglecting stress concentrations shall not exceed three times the allowable stress values in paragraph 3.A.2 of Annex 3.A
The bolts are studied at some location other than under the head. Large stress concentrations are also created at the location where the bolt threads into its parent material (not shown in this model). This area will also show a high indicated error.