The tube-to-tubesheet joint analysis can be greatly simplified by considering a single tube surrounded by an annular sleeve representing the tubesheet. One of the problems is how to choose the appropriate outer diameter of the annular sleeve model. In this paper, the nonlinear finite element method and some other analytical solutions were used to investigate this problem. Due to the many dimension, fabrication, and material-related parameters, the orthogonal design method was used to minimize the number of calculations while providing an accurate understanding of the influence of all involved parameters. Based on the results, empirical equations for determining the equivalent external sleeve diameter that can be used in the single-tube model and for approximating the residual contact pressure, are proposed.

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