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n o t e s m u s t not be longer t h a n 750 w o r d s ( a b o u t 2 7 s d o u b l e - s p a c e d t y p e w r i t t e n p a g e s , i n c l u d i n g
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notes will b e p u b l i s h e d a s soon as possible, n o r m a l l y in t h e n e x t issue of t h e Journal. T h e notes
should b e s u b m i t t e d to t h e T e c h n i c a l Editors of t h e J o u r n a l of A p p l i e d M e c h a n i c s .

Stresses in Curved, Circular

Thin-Wall Tubes
Curves are presented which give stress intensification factors for
curved, thin-walled circular tubes under various combinations of
in-plane and out-of-plane bending moments.
THE extensive use of thin-walled steel tubing systems on aircraft jet engines, missiles, and rockets as conduits for a variety of
fluids over a wide range of temperatures and pressures has focused
attention upon the stress levels as they relate to reliability and
weight of these components.
The stresses that exist in these tubes occur as a result of the
changes in their free lengths in relation to their points of anchorage. These changes may be due either to temperature variations of the fluids being conveyed or to temperature changes associated with engine operating conditions. These relative expansions and contractions impose restraints upon the tubing
which result in internal stresses in the tubing walls and forces and
moments imposed on points of tube anchorage. Dimensional
tolerances and misalignment of mating flanges may also increase
tube stresses to a substantial degree.
The circuitous arrangements in which tubing configurations are
customarily installed because of envelope and space limitations
usually afford a certain amount of tube flexibility which may tend
to relieve loads at anchorages. The maximum stress in the tube
walls at the bends, however, is usually several orders of magnitude
higher than that which would be calculated by treating the tube
as a simple beam. The origin and mathematical nature of these
stresses have been quite thoroughly demonstrated by von Karman
[1],J Hovgaard [2], Vigness [3], Gross and Ford [4, 5] among
others. Fig. 1(a) shows how the cross section of a tube becomes
elliptical under the influence of bending moments tending to decrease the radius of curvature, R (called an in-plane bending
moment). An out-of-plane bending moment acting alone causes
the angle of the major axis of the ellipse to be inclined at approximately 45 deg to the horizontal as illustrated in Fig. 1(6).
At any cross section of a tube bend the following stresses are
known to exist:
1 Longitudinal stresses which act in a direction perpendicular
to the plane of the circular cross section of the tube. These
stresses occur primarily as a result of the bending moments being
applied at the tube bend, but may be augmented by the end loads
causing direct tensile or compressive stresses. This component of
stress is shown in Fig. 2.
2 Transverse stresses in the plane of the circular cross section
of the tube tangent to the tube wall. These stresses are comparable to hoop stresses. Part of this transverse stress is due to
the transverse bending of the tube wall in becoming elliptical in
1 Supervisor, Configuration Preliminary Design, Flight Propulsion
Division, General Electric Company, Cincinnati, Ohio.
1 Numbers in brackets indicate References at end of Note.
Manuscript received by A S M E Applied Mechanics Division, June

6, 1962.



(a) In-plane bending

(b) Out-of-plane bending



Fig. 2

Tube bend showing longitudinal stress, Sz, (left)

Fig. 3 Tube w a l l cross section showing transverse stresses, ST, due to

in-plane bending (right)

shape. At the point of sharpest curvature of the tube wall, this

stress is tensile at the outer surface of the tube wall and compressive at the inner surface. In addition, a uniform transverse stress
has also been shown to exist by Gross [5] which, when superposed upon the one due to wall distortion, has the effect of increasing the compressive stress at the inner wall and decreasing
the tensile stress at the outer wall at the point of sharpest curvature, as shown in Fig. 3.
3 Shear stresses that may be due to any one or combination of
the following causes: (a) Out-of-plane bending moment. (6) Externally imposed shear loads, (c) Externally imposed torsional
The longitudinal and transverse stresses are usually of primary
importance and may be regarded for practical purposes as the
principal stresses. The equivalent stresses calculated from these
principal stresses by the shear strain energy criterion:
SE = (Si" + ST* - SJST)'/*
appear, however, to be too high to serve as a satisfactory basis for
design. In fact, there appears to be considerable evidence (Hovgaard [2] and Gross [4]) supported by current practical experience to justify the conclusion that the maximum longitudinal
stresses in the tube walls determine the point of breakdown of tube
bends. The maximum combined or effective stress in a tube may
locally exceed the yield strength of the material by a substantial
amount without causing the tube to suffer an observable permanent set.

Copyright 1963 by ASME

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Transactions of the A S M E

2 W. Hovgaard, "Further Research on Pipe Bends," Journal of
Mathematics and Physics, vol. 7, 1917-1928, pp. 239-297.
3 I. Vigness, "Electric Properties of Curved Tubes," TRANS.
A S M E , vol. 65, 1943, p. 105.
4 N. Gross and H. Ford, " T h e Flexibility of Short-Radius PipeBends," Proceedings, The Institution of Mechanical Engineers(B),
vol. IB, 1952-1953, p. 480.
5 N. Gross, "Experiments on Short-Radius Pipe-Bends," Proceedings, The Institution of Mechanical Engineers(B), vol. IB, 19521953, p. 465.
6 E. C. Rodabaugh and H. H. George, "Effect of Internal Pressure on the Flexibility and Stress-Intensification Factors of Curved
Pipe or Welding Elbows," TRANS. A S M E , vol. 79, 1957, pp. 939-948.

Fig. 4 Maximum longitudinal stress intensification factors versus X and y

for 0 ^ 7 $ 1

An Application of Perturbation Theory

to the Nonhomogeneous Elastic
Thick-Walled Tube
T H E R E has been recent interest in nonhomogeneous problems
of elasticity. Their engineering application is in the design of
thick-walled containers and piping, solid-propellant grains, and
so forth. It is the purpose of this note to show that perturbation
theory may be applied to the problem of determining the tangential stress in an axially symmetric, thick-walled tube (plane
strain) and that the results obtained are quite accurate for a
rather large nonhomogeneity. Other related problems have been
discussed in papers by Trostel2 and Nowinski.3
In the tube considered, Poisson's ratio v is constant but Young's
modulus E is a function of the radius r. The radial displacement,
u, is expanded in a power series of the coefficient which controls
the radial dependence of E. Collecting on like powers of this
coefficient gives a recurrence relation for the determination of the
The stress displacement equations are

Fig. 5 Maximum longitudinal stress intensification factors versus X and

y for 1 ^ 7 ^ 100

(1 -

Figs. 4 and 5 provide maximum longitudinal stress intensification factors for determining working stresses at tube bends for
which the ratio of in-plane to out-of-plane bending moments is
known. They were compiled from data generated from the
trigonometric series solutions of Rodabaugh and George [6]
carried out to the fifth approximation. The maximum longitudinal stress for a particular tube characteristic, A, is found by applying the appropriate stress intensification F to the stress found
from simple beam theory as follows:


(1 - 2i0(l + v)

SL = maximum longitudinal stress, psi

F = maximum longitudinal stress intensification factor (nondimensional)
M = the larger of the in-plane and out-of-plane bending
moments, in-lb
Z = section modulus of the tube in bending, in.3
The author is indebted to Mr. R. P. MacDonald, ManagerConfigurations Engineering, General Electric Company, who
directed his attention to the need for a more practical approach
to tubing stress analysis, and to Messrs. A. O. Goldfarb and R. E.
Bertram for assistance in computation work.
1 von Karman, Th., " U b e r die Formanderung dUnnwandiger
Rohre," ZVDI, vol. 55, 1911, p. 1889.


{vu,r + (1 - v)ur-']


[M,r + w - ]


(1 -

2v)(l + v)

where criy is the stress tensor and u is the radial displacement vector (the comma indicates differentiation). The single equilibrium
equation is
+ Crr -

SL = F

v)u,r + Pin- 1 ]

[(1 -

2i0(l + v)


crM = 0

With v constant and E a function of r, equation (4), when written

in terms of the displacement, becomes
(ELi + EirL2)u = 0


where L\ and Li are linear operators:

L, = (1


(dr 2

= (1 -

r dr

V) -





+ -

1 Assistant
Professor, Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Columbia University, New York, N. Y .
2 R. Trostel, "Stationiire Warmespannungen mit temperaturabhangigen Stoffwerten," Ingenieur-Archiv,
vol. 25, 1957, p. 416.
3 J. Nowinski, "Some Selected Problems of the Theory of Heterogeneous Elastic Bodies" (in Polish), Arcliiwum Mechaniki
vol. 6,1954.
Manuscript received by A S M E Applied Mechanics Division,
March 26, 1962.

Journal of Applied Mechanics

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