Pipe supports are used to support the Piping system to make sure that the piping stay in place firmly in all severe conditions.

Refer the below Picture-1, shows the line with simple pipe supports.

What, if supports are not provided.

Piping bending occurs at unsupported locations and cause severe damage to the pipes which leads to plant shutdown and monetary losses. 

Refer below picture that indicates pipe bending.

What if, supports are placed far apart.

Pipe sagging occurs if the supports are placed far apart due to weight. Sagging tend to oscillate the pipes during operating condition in turn reduce the strength of pipes and fittings.

What if, supports are provide in excess to the actual requirement?

More supports are unnecessary in piping and also it increases the total cost, Refer below picture. 

These days, the availability of the piping stress analysis software’s, helps to check the adequacy of the pipe supports and also to optimize the  quantity of the pipe supports.

Support Span:

Support span is also called as Pipe span, it is the distance between one support to other support. 

Support span varies with pipe size. Hence, calculated support span for the respective pipe sizes should be provided to ensure the safety of the line.

In general, Piping more than 2” NPS shall have a span length of 6 Meters between supports. Refer below picture.

Pipe support are designed to take the following loads:

  • Total weight of the Piping system
  • Weight of the Fluid passing through the piping
  • Weight of Insulation
  • Loads due to wind, flow induced, and seismic forces.
  • Loads due to thermal growth due to high/ low temperature.

What is the basis of pipe support design?

During operation ( While the fluid flow is active in the piping), piping subjects to severe conditions due to line temperature, pressure, turbulence flow, vibrations, wind, valve closure and opening etc.

All the conditions are well analyzed using, a pipe stress analysis software’s to check the adequacy of the pipe support. 

Insufficient supports are disastrous for the reliability of process plant and at the same time, excess supports increases the cost of the project. Hence, design engineer should balance the design between adequacy of the supports and the cost, without compromising the safety of the design.


Subash Chandran

Hi, I'm Subash Chandran, an aspiring piping design engineer with 15 years of experience and obsessed with piping design. This site is dedicated to educate the aspiring piping design engineers like me, to help them understand the knowledge required to work in live-projects. I will keep posting more contents about piping design and wish to build this platform to be useful for all engineers who wants to pursue piping design engineering.


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