FEA Model - Vibration & Shock Analysis of Heat Exchanger
Part of FEA Heat Exchanger Model with the Panels Removed

FEA used to determine if heat exchanger meets code criteria

We performed vibration, shock and lifting load analysis of a shipboard heat exchanger to determine if it met engineering codes including ASME & AISC. Because the heat exchangers are shipboard equipment, the American Bureau of Ships (ABS) requires that they be analyzed for stresses caused by motion loads.

The unit was specified to maintain vibration conditions defined in MIL-STD-167-1 for frequencies up to 50 Hertz. A modal analysis was conducted to identify natural frequencies under 50 Hertz, and to confirm there were no frequencies in the range of 0 to 33 Hertz, with the exception of rigid body movement of the unit on the vibration isolation springs. The results of the modal analysis revealed seven natural frequencies below 33 Hertz.

A finite element analysis (FEA) of the unit was conducted for static shock loading, using the following assumptions:

1) Isotropic, linear elastic material behavior – assumed with small displacement theory
2) Stresses in the vibration spring isolators are acceptable for the applied loads

The finite element model was subjected to a vertical shock load of 18.5g and horizontal shock loads of 5.1g. These loads were applied independently of each other. The maximum stresses in all of the unit’s structural components and fasteners were found below the allowable stress limits.


We perform design and (thermal, stress, vibration and shock) analysis of equipment to codes including AWS, API and ASME.

Give us a call to discuss your engineering challenges.

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Tom O’Donnell, PE
Publications – Heat Exchangers, Pressure Vessels, Welds and Other Applications, Fatigue, Elevated Temperature
Links to Engineering Resource

(412) 835-5007

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