Bolted flange joints are extensively used to connect pressure vessels and piping equipment together. They are simple structures that offer the possibility of disassembly. However, they often experience leakage problems due to a loss of tightness as a result of a non-uniform distribution of gasket contact stresses in the radial and circumferential direction. Many factors contribute to such a failure; the flange and gasket stiffness and bolt spacing design combinations being a couple of them.
In our recent papers the effects of bolt spacing was investigated based on the theory of circular beams resting on a linear elastic foundation and based on the theory of ring on non-linear elastic foundation. The variations of the contact stress between bolts were of a concern. This paper is an extension of the work in which an analytical solution based on the theory of circular beams resting on a linear elastic foundation has been developed to determine flange bolt spacing. The relationship between bolt spacing, gasket compression modulus and flange thickness is deduced from an analysis that considers a maximum tolerated gasket contact stress difference between any two bolts.