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ELBOW DESIGN : RULING STANDARDS

For the geometrical design is applied the AWWA C208-12 and the manual M-11 ed. 4 Cap. 9,
complying with the same AWWA Standard, for the calculation of the steel thickness.

CALCULATION SUMMARIZING TABLE

In the calculation final table we have shown the geometrical characteristics of elbows and the steel
sheet thickness. Furthermore we have added some geometrical data, useful for design check even
if not necessary for elbow design.
Since the formulas of AWWA Standards and Manual M11 are not dimensionless, we detailed all the
results in metric and English units.

DESIGN DATA
3.1 design stress for steel sheet

The design stress considered is 15000 PSI (1055 kg/cm 2): said value is corresponding to a steel
GR30 with yield stress of 30000 PSI (2110 kg/cm 2) suggested by AWWA specifications for fittings
manufacture. In any case the design stress never has to pass the half of the yield stress of
the used steel and, furthermore, for steel lined with concrete never has to overtake the limit
of 18000 PSI (1260 kg/cm2) because of deformability restrictions. According to the EU standard
the steel GR30 is similar to S235JR.
To design with these values we consider the working pressure without any increase.
3.2 min. design thickness
Here we consider a min. design thickness of ed = 6 mm, apart from the calculation, because of
stiffness reasons for transport and thrust block embedment. Said value is not fixed by any
Standard and it can be modified according to specific reasons of transport and site operations.
Suggestions are given by USBR and Pacific Gas & Electric, respectively :
emin =(D0+20)/400
4

emin=D0/288

GEOMETRY
4.1 segments quantity

According to AWWA C208-12 suggestions, the min. quantity of segments is stated by the max.
angle of deflection for each segment, that is q <= 22.5.
For angle 0 < D <= 22,5 the elbow is manuf. in two pieces (k*=1)

M-11, fig. 9-2 C

For angle 22,5 < D <= 45 the elbow is manuf. in three pieces (k*=2)

M-11, fig. 9-2 D

For angle 45 < D <= 67,5 the elbow is manuf. in four pieces (k*=3)

M-11, fig. 9-2 E

For angle 67,5 < D <= 90 the elbow is manuf. in five pieces (k*=4)

M-11, fig. 9-2 F

4.2 elbow bending radius


The AWWA Standard is fixing a min. radius for the elbow, so that to have a min. straight length for
each segment.
The suggested multiplier is 2.5 times the outside diam. of the pipe (M-11, pag. 125).

Small radii, even if allowed in particular cases, dont work very well under hydraulic conditions and
they need bigger steel thickness. Furthermore they need massive thrust blocks.
So :
ne

R
D0

: recommended 2,5

R = elbow radius (inch)


D0 = outside diam. of pipe (inch)
4.3 internal straight length for segment
In the final table of results and in figures (M-11, fig. 9-2 D,E,F), it is shown as S :

S 2 * R 0 * tan( ) D 0 * ( 2 * n e 1) * tan(
)
2
2
2 * k*

where :
R = design radius for the elbow (inch)
D0 = outside diam. of pipe (inch)
D = total angle of deflection (deg) (see M-11 fig. 9-2 )
In any case S should be not less than 1,5 (38 mm) or 6 times the thickness, whichever is
greater.
In the final table we included S and S/2 in (mm) and (inch) for an easy check.
4.4 length of tangent T
Distance from the beginning of the elbow (tangent point) and the cross point of the two inlet and
outlet axis (see M-11, fig. 9-2 D,E,F)

T R * tan( )
2

where :
R = elbow radius (inch)
D = total angle of deflection (deg)
At the inlet and outlet of the elbow, beyond the tangent point, it is a good practice to provide a
straight extension (see M-11, fig. 9-2 C,D,E,F shown as L 1, whilst in AWWA C208 shown as L)
that has a min. value determined by the formula :


)
D 0 * (n e 0,5) * tan(
2
2
*
k*

L min fD 0 n e * D 0 * tan

Note : Lmin can be less than T

(inch)

Furthermore it is practice to add a linear extension (see M-11, fig. 9-2 C,D,E,F shown as a) that is
related to the type of joint : usually its length is between 50 and 100 mm (24 inch)
4.5 segment deflection angle
is the angle for each segment of the elbow.
The angle for both the segments at the two end is half, that is /2.
In general :

k*

where :
D = total deflection angle of the elbow (deg)
k* = quantity of segments minus 1
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STRESS CALCULATION
5.1 min. thickness from calculation

The min. necessary thickness is fixed by the formula (M-11, formula 9-1, pag. 125) :

t min

P * D0 S D0

*
* tan( )
S * fs 2 3
2

where :
tmin = min. thickness (inch)
P = working pressure (PSI)
D0 = outside diam. of pipe (inch)
S = straight length of segment (inch) (see fig. 9-2 in M-11)
fs = allowable stress for steel (PSI)
= deflection angle for each segment (see fig. 9-2 in M-11)
5.2 actual design thickness td
It is selected by the engineer among the actual thicknesses available on the market provided that
is bigger than the calculated tmin .
Here we consider a min. design thickness of 6 mm, apart from the calculation, because of stiffness
reasons for transport and thrust block embedment. Said value is not fixed by any Standard and it
has to be modified according to specific reasons of transport and site operations or calculation.
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STRESS FOR PIPE UNDER PRESSURE

We included in the final table the stress calculated with the Mariotte/Barlow formula :

fc

P * D0
2 * td

where :
fc = steel stress

(PSI)

(kg/cm2)

P = working pressure

(PSI)

(kg/cm2)

D0 = outside pipe diam.

(inch)

(mm)

td = design thickness

(inch)

(mm)

NOTE : this stress is useless for the thickness design, but just give you an idea of the stress
conditions of the fitting under working pressure.

q=
D

q=
D/2

q=
D/3

q=
D/4