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HSS

BENDING OF HOLLOW
Hollow
Structural
Sections
STRUCTURAL SECTIONS

HSS:
TECHNICAL PAPER
by Jeffrey A. Packer, Bahen/
Tanenbaum Professor of Civil
Engineering, University of
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2013 Steel Tube Institute


2516 Waukegan Road, Suite 172
Glenview, IL 60025
TEL: 847.461.1701
FAX: 847.660.7981
BendingofHollowStructuralSections

byJeffreyA.Packer1

1
Bahen/TanenbaumProfessorofCivilEngineering,UniversityofToronto,Ontario,Canada
_____________________________________________________________________________________

1.Introduction

Curved steel hollow sections are widely used in the construction industry. The possible curvature of
these members, however, is limited by the magnitude of distortion of the crosssection during the
bending process. This is particularly a concern for cold bending HSS members, as the resulting
deformation from the fabrication process is much greater compared with other methods (Packer and
Henderson,1997).

In an early study of this topic, Kennedy (1988) deduced minimum bending radii for cold rolling HSS,
basedonaseriesofexperimentsheestablishedusingthreerollermachinesanddeformationlimitsof
1%and2%ofthewalldimensions.Theserecommendations,forsquareandrectangularHSS,aregiven
in Tables 8.2 and 8.3, respectively, of Packer and Henderson (1997). By using more specialized
techniques,however,modernbenders(typicallyaspecialtysubcontractorofthefabricator)canachieve
evensmallerradiithanreportedbyKennedy.AlistofAISCmemberbenderrollersacrossNorthAmerica
isobtainablefromwww.aisc.org/benders.

2.BendingTechniques

TheAmericanInstituteofSteelConstruction(AISC)listsanumberofavailablebendingmethods,which
are described below (Alwood 2006). It is important to note that some are common to the steel
constructionindustry,whileothersaremorecommontotheautomobileormanufacturingindustries.

2.1PyramidRollingorColdBending
ColdbendingusingpyramidrollersisacommoncurvingtechniqueusedtocreateHSSmemberswitha
constantradius.Themethodinvolvesrunningthememberthroughbetweenthreerollers,orientedina
pyramidshapeasshowninFigure1,varyingthedistancebetweentherollswithsuccessivepasses.



Figure1:ThreerollbendingapparatusforcurvingroundHSS,andthefinalproduct
2.2GagPressingorPointBending
This is another form of cold bending that creates a curved member through application of a small
number of point loads (typically up to two at the member third points) using a hydraulic ram. This
methodisusuallyusedforcamberingandcurvingbeamstoverylargeradii.

2.3HotBending
Hotbendingentailslocalheating,usingadirectflameorafurnace,andthenbendingthemembertothe
desired radius using a bending method. Hot bending is a common repair method for straightening
bridgegirdersafterstructuraldamagefromaneventsuchasimpact.

2.4RotaryDrawBending
WiththismethodtheHSSisclampedintoaformandthendrawnaroundadiewithagivenbendradius
(seeFigure2).Differentbendsrequiredieswithdifferentradiiwhichmeansthatthismethodistypically
onlyusedforlargescaleproductionprojectsrequiringmanyofthesamebend.Rotarydrawequipment
canbendmemberstoverysmallradiiandisusedtocreatecomplicatedbendsinsmallerproductsfor
themachineandpartsindustry.Thismethodcansignificantlymitigateflatteninganddistortion.

Figure2:RotaryDraworCompressionBendingSchematic

2.5InductionBending
Similartohotbending,thismethodinvolvesheatingtheHSSmember.However,thismethodonlyheats
ashortlengthofthememberandusesanelectriccoilaroundtheHSStocreatetheheat,asopposedto
afurnaceorflame.Onceitisheated,thememberisdrawnthroughaprocesssimilartorotarydrawing
andquenchedwithwaterdirectlyafterwards.Tighterbendscangenerallybeachievedwithinductionor
hotbendingthanalternatecoldbendingmethods.

2.6SynchronizedIncrementalColdBending
Inthismethod,similartotechnique2.2,loadingisappliedatmultiplepointsalongthelengthinahighly
synchronizedfashion.Thisprocessgenerallyinvolvesmultipleloadcyclestocreatethedesiredradius,
butcanresultintightradiiwithminimaldistortion.

Basedontheinformationonwebsitesofvariousbenders,themostcommonlyusedmethodsinindustry
at present appear to be pyramid rolling, gag pressing, rotarydraw bending and induction bending
(CMRP,2012;Hodgson2012;Kubes2012;Tulsa2012).

3.0MinimumBendingRadii

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TheminimumbendingradiusachievableforHSSdependsonmanyfactorsincluding:

(i)Thebendingmethodnotethatcoldbendingmethodsarethemostcommon.
(ii) Whether the side walls are properly supported during bending (by using rolls that fit the
sectionshape);i.e.theequipmentusedisinfluential,asistheoperator.
(iii)TheshapeoftheHSSbeingcurvedround,square,rectangular(andtheratioofwallheights
forthelatter).PipeorroundHSSiseasiertocurvethansquare/rectangularHSS(Marksetal.,
2002).WhenbendingarectangularHSSabouttheweakaxis(seebelow),agreaterB/Hratio
produceslargerconcavitydistortionsontheinsideradiuswall(SmithandKing,2002).
(iv)Thewallthickness,ortheslendernessD/t,H/torB/t.Alowerbendradiusisachievablewith
stockier(thicker)walls,withoutwalldistortions(SmithandKing,2002).
(v)Thebendingaxis,ifrectangularHSS(strongversusweakaxisbending).Bendingabout
thestrongaxis(orthehardway),althoughrequiringmoreforce,makesarectangularHSSless
susceptibletodeformationproblems,relativetothesamerectangularHSSbentabouttheweak
axis(ortheeasyway).(SmithandKing,2002).
(vi)Theyieldstrengthofthesteel.Overstrainingandhencedeformationofamemberduring
thecoldbendingoperationismorelikelytooccurwhenusinglowerstrengthsteels,compared
tohighstrengthsteel(Bjorhovde,2006).
(vii)TheallowabledistortionsoftheHSSwalls,andanypermittedsurfacescratching,etc.This
maybeparticularlyimportantforArchitecturallyExposedStructuralSteel(AESS).

Becauseofthesemanyvariables,onemustbeverycautiousinassumingthataparticularbendingradius
can be attained and one should check a particular member curvature with specific benders to verify
their capabilities. Also bear in mind that the bending radius dimension must be mutually understood;
usuallythebendingradiusreferstothemembercenterlineforpipeandrounds,butoftenreferstothe
outside radius for square and rectangular HSS. For rectangular HSS, it is important to differentiate
betweenbendingHSStheeasywayversusthehardway,asdescribedin(v)aboveandillustratedin
Figure3.Furthermore,whenbendingHSSthememberneedstobesuppliedoverlength,asnot100%
ofthemembercanbecurved;smallersectionsneedabout10eachendandlargersectionsneedup
to 60 each end (Marks et al., 2002). More bending tips are also available on the AISC website:
http://www.aisc.org/content.aspx?id=24890.

(a)Benttheeasyway(b)Bentthehardway

Figure3:ExamplesofrectangularbentHSS(AlbinaPipeBendingCo.)

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Since benders tend to consider their process both a science and an art, as well as intellectual
property, published data for HSS bending radii are generally only given as a guide. Nevertheless, the
minimumbendingradiigiveninTable1forrectangularHSSareindicativeofcontemporarycoldbending
practiceforASTMA500.BarnshawsMetalBending(2012),whichclaimstobetheworldslargeststeel
bending company, provides an online bending calculator, which gives the minimum inside bend
radiusforamultitudeofstructuralshapes,includingHSS.Whilethismayproveausefultool,thisU.K.
companymightnotberepresentativeofNorthAmericanpractice.

HSSMember BendingAxis B/H B/tdes Min.Outside Rmin/B Rmin/H


BendRadius
20x12x Easyway 1.67 43 350 21 35
16x12x Easyway 1.33 34 300 22.5 30
14x6x3/8 Hardway 0.43 17 150 30 12.9
12x8x3/8 Hardway 0.67 23 150 22.5 15
10x6x5/16 Hardway 0.60 21 150 30 18
8x6x Hardway 0.75 26 120 24 18
6x4x Hardway 0.67 17 100 30 20

Table1:Typicalcontemporarycoldbendingradii,whereB=dimensionofHSSattheinsidebendradius
(WhitefabInc.,2012)

4.Costs

Althoughmostconstructioncostsarestillgivenperunitweightofmaterial,thecostofbendingislargely
determinedbythetimeittakestobendamember.Henceitisbetterandmoreaccuratetoapproach
the cost on a per bent member basis, irrespective of member weight. There will be some economies
with repetition and handling lighter members. Bender/rollers will quote to potential clients on a
particular job, but a very general rule of thumb provided in AISCs Modern Steel Construction is to
allow$0.25/lbforsteelbendingonsmallerprojects(Marksetal.,2002),butthisshouldbeincreasedfor
AESSapplicationsormultidirectionalbending.

5.References

AlbinaPipeBendingCo.,2012.http://www.albinapipebending.com.Accessed11102012.

Alwood, T.A. 2006. What Engineers and Architects should know about Bending Steel, Modern Steel
Construction,AmericanInstituteofSteelConstruction,Mayissue.

Barnshaws Metal Bending, 2012. http://www.barnshaws.com/capacitycalculator18.php#step2.


Accessed31122012.

Bjorhovde, R. 2006. Cold Bending of Wide Flange Shapes for Construction, Engineering Journal,
AmericanInstituteofSteelConstruction,Vol.43,4th.Quarter,pp.271286.

ChicagoMetalRolledProducts,2012.http://www.cmrp.com.Accessed1182012.

HodgsonCustomRollingInc.,2012.http://www.hcrsteel.com.Accessed11112012.

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Kennedy,J.B.1988.MinimumBendingRadiiforSquare&RectangularHollowSections(3RollerCold
Bending),CIDECTReport11C88/14E,UniversityofWindsor,Windsor,Canada.

KubesSteel,2012.http://www.kubesteel.com.Accessed11112012.

Marks,D.,Wendt,G.andLibby,E.2002.BendingSteel,ModernSteelConstruction,AmericanInstitute
ofSteelConstruction,Juneissue.

Packer,J.A.andHenderson,J.E.1997.HollowStructuralSectionConnectionsandTrussesADesign
Guide,2nd.Edition,CanadianInstituteofSteelConstruction,Toronto,Canada.

Smith B. and King, M. 2002. Bending Square and Rectangular Tubing Modern Science or Ancient
Art?,TheFabricator.com,Fabricators&ManufacturersAssociationIntl.

TulsaTubeBending,2012.http://www.ttb.com.Accessed12302012.

WhitefabInc.,2012.http://www.whitefab.com.Accessed12302012.

January2013