Bolted flange connections with ring joint gaskets have been used to seal the inner fluid under higher internal pressure and higher temperature conditions where soft gaskets such as compressed sheet gaskets cannot be applied. Bolted flange connections are frequently tightened using torque wrench, and it is known that the values of bolt preloads are scattered. The effect of the scatter on the sealing performance for bolted flange connections with compressed sheet gasket or semi-metal gasket has been examined. However, no research on the characteristics for the bolted flange connections with ring joint gasket has been found. It is necessary to know the effect of the scattered bolt preloads on the sealing performance and mechanical behavior of the connection with ring joint gasket. In addition, it is important to know an optimum method for determining the bolt preloads taking account of the scatter in bolt preloads.

In this paper, leakage tests for bolted flange connections with octagonal ring joint gaskets were conducted for cases where the bolt preloads are uniform and scattered. The sealing performance of these connections with ring joint gaskets was measured and evaluated. In addition, the leak rate was estimated using the contact gasket stress distributions of the connections when the bolt preloads were uniform and scattered using 3-D FEM. Finally, the measured leak rate for the connection using helium gas was compared with the estimated results. The estimated results are in fairly good agreement with the measured values. It is found that the sealing performance of the connections tightened with the uniform bolt methods is better than that with scattered bolt preloads.

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