End fittings are essential components in marine flexible pipe systems, performing the two main functions of connecting and sealing. To investigate the sealing principle and the influence of the temperature on the sealing performance, a hydraulic-thermal finite element (FE) model for the end fitting sealing structure was developed. The sealing mechanism of the end fitting was revealed by simulating the sealing behavior under the pressure penetration criteria. To investigate the effect of temperature, the sealing behavior of the sealing ring under different temperature fields was analyzed and discussed. The results showed that the contact pressure of path 1 (i.e., metal-to-polymer seal) was 31.7 MPa, which was much lower than that of path 2 (metal-to-metal seal) at 195.6 MPa. It was indicated that the sealing capacities were different for the two leak paths, and that the sealing performance of the metal-to-polymer interface had more complicated characteristics. Results also showed that the finite element analysis can be used in conjunction with pressure penetration criteria to evaluate the sealing capacity. According to the model, when the fluid pressures are 20 and 30 MPa, no leakage occurs in the sealing structure, while the sealing structure fails at the fluid pressure of 40 MPa. In addition, it was shown that temperature plays a significant role in the thermal deformation of a sealing structure under a temperature field and that an appropriately high temperature can increase the sealing capacity.
Liping Tang, Wei He, Xiaohua Zhu