February 2005

Engineering Case Histories

Case 25: The leaking flange gasket

A simple calculation can help determine the cause

Sofronas, A., Consulting Engineer

Flange and gasket analysis can be complicated, but sometimes a simple calculation can unveil the cause of a problem. Leaking gaskets are not unusual in industry, and can be either an annoyance or have serious consequences. New plants generally have well-designed joints in critical applications, but leaks still happen. This case involves a Class 150, 6-in. flange with eight 3/4-in. bolts that was leaking after a system upset. Gaskets usually leak because of one or more of the following reasons: Gasket clamping load or clamping stress too low Gasket or joint relaxed Gasket or flange surface damaged or flange warped External forces acting

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