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What are the challenges in Piping Design?

Updated: Feb 6

Piping processes which are essential for the transport of fluids or gas for domestic and commercial purposes is inevitable. So after considering the importance, piping design plays an indispensable role in engineering services. The two components to piping design are Piping Modeling and Piping Stress. To achieve the goal of the piping process we need a safe, efficient and exemplary design. Piping systems are the frames throughout the industrial network.


We can't take a chance with a catastrophic design while considering the safety of the employees and the monetary losses successive to that. A knowledgeable design is the spine of an authentic and secure piping system. Carving a piping system design that considers the factors such as the pressure, load, flow rate and temperature of the transferred fluid or gas can be somewhat complex. Apart from all these complexities only expert hands can ensure a realistic and believable design.


1. Contemplate the temperature and weather conditions

By acknowledging the temperature and weather conditions of the process plant we can't give a common design for each situation. The dimension and tolerance should be customized for colder climates and tropical areas. Distinct codes like ASME, ASTM, ISO, SAE, MIL, ANSI, BS, DIN and SAE are applied to specific oil and gas amenities depending on the weather conditions. A good design team/partner would verify the regulations, codes and standards then only apply for the specific process and project location. Meager proficiency or application of these standards in designing can have drastic effects on the project.

2. Picking the Right Material

The next milestone is the selection of piping materials recommended during 3D Modeling. Whether it is power or petrochemical we need explicit knowledge about the process. The requirement blueprints from the design team include process data sheets, equipment data sheets and other details for specific designing and materials. The design engineer will have an idea about the amount of pressure, the width of piping, the components used in the process, when deciding the structure material.


Most onshore facilities are obliged to obey ANSI/ASME Standard B31.4 or B31.8, regarding whether it is an oil or gas facility. But piping design in the U. S, on offshore facilities is standardized in conformity with ANSI/ASME Standard B31.3. So, distinct codes apply for distinct engineering disciplines be it Oil and Gas or Petro chemical. Perfect implementation and interpretation is required throughout the whole process.


3. Piping stress and Vibration

Due to thermal gradients, thermal transients. Weights, pressure and strain, stress arises. Pipe stress analysis or thermal flexibility analysis anticipates this stress. It assumes the constructional responses and stresses of piping systems with international codes and standards so, it is a vital part of piping design. It is also involved in situations where the machinery is susceptible to external loads.


Exclusively in situations that require precise flexibility to incorporate expansion/contraction of pipes because of thermal loads. Usually pipe stress prerequisites are not appropriately anticipated while routing and supporting piping systems. It derives awareness that the layout is stiff and the engineers suggest routing changes to make the design more flexible. This results in ample back and forth design repetitions until a satisfactory layout and support scheme is conformed.


Mostly, a majority of the piping design codes never address vibration issues in detail. Sometimes vibration analysis is forgotten or misunderstood at design stage and elementary static analysis is performed. As time flies, the vibration tendency of piping systems seen to augment due to increased flow rates of process industries through pipes. Also due to usage of high strength thin walled piping (flexible) material during design.


Vibration complications are the major interruption at operating plants. It is a risk for facility holders because of the implications of breakdown product releases from fractured piping. But, these can be reduced at design level by conducting a vibration analysis with regard to the process, equipment and material adopted. In vibration analysis and piping stress need to be sufficiently addressed to include realistic pipe support stiffness guesses, and use of vibratory clamps/restraints that have enough flexibility for thermal growth.


Piping Design Engineering is a complicated and delightful science on which the achievement and productivity of a project largely depends. Only with the right kind of piping design partner you can overpower many of the threats and complications experienced in design.

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