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Pipe Supports: Challenges and Solutions

By Scott Feller, AMG Inc. |

Pipe supports in industrial process plants are often more complicated than commonly thought. Presented here are some of the challenges that can arise and how to address them On one level, the topic of pipe supports seems like it should be simple: support the pipe. And sometimes, it is that simple, but most often, it is not. In industrial processing plants, regardless of the process or utility, there are a myriad of considerations when it comes to pipe supports. Concerns such as maximum allowable span for stress, deflection, vibration, harmonics and thermal growth need to be addressed, as well as the interaction among the pipe, its supports and the structures that support those supports. What happens when pipes of various materials of construction, with different allowable stresses, and operating at different temperatures share a common pipe rack? When these conditions are thoroughly considered, proper pipe supports can become more complicated. This article discusses various pipe-support challenges and some ways to overcome those challenges. It will also point out examples of supports that are either ineffective in the way they are utilized, or much more expensive to install than a simpler approach would be. Thermal expansion or…
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