by Evangelos Giakoumatos
Diploma Thesis, July 2002
The work investigates the response of elbows under in-plane bending and pressure, through nonlinear finite element tools, supported by experimental results from real-scale tests. The finite element analysis is mainly based on a nonlinear three-node "tube element", capable of describing elbow deformation in a rigorous manner, considering geometric and material nonlinearities. Furthermore, a nonlinear shell element from a general-purpose finite element program is employed in some special cases. Numerical results are compared with experimental data from steel elbow specimens. The comparison allows the investigation of important issues regarding deformation and ultimate capacity of elbows, with emphasis on relatively thin-walled elbows. The results demonstrate the effects of pressure and the influence of straight pipe segments. Finally, using the numerical tools, failure of elbows under bending moments is examined (cross-sectional flattening or local buckling), and reference to experimental observations is made.
Buckled shape of elbow specimen around the middle- cross-section; experiment (left and analysis with shell elements (right).