Pipe bends are frequently used to change the direction in pipeline systems and they are considered one of the critical components as well. Bending moments acting on the pipe bends result from the surrounding environment, such as thermal expansions, soil deformations, and external loads. As a result of these bending moments, the initially circular cross-section of the pipe bend deforms into an oval shape. This consequently changes the pipe bend’s flexibility leading to higher stresses compared to straight pipes. Past studies considered the case of a closing in-plane bending moment on 90-degree pipe bends and proposed factors that account for the increased flexibility and high-stress levels. These factors are currently presented in the design codes and known as the flexibility and stress intensification factors (SIF). This paper covers the behaviour of an initially circular cross-sectional smooth pipe bend of uniform thickness subjected to in-plane opening/closing bending moment. ABAQUS FEA software is used in this study to model pipe bends with different nominal pipe sizes, bend angles, and various bend radius to cross-sectional pipe radius ratios. A comparison between the CSA-Z662 code and the FEA results is conducted to investigate the applicability of the currently used SIF factor presented in the design code for different loading cases. The study showed that the in-plane bending moment direction acting on the pipe has a significant effect on the stress distribution and the flexibility of the pipe bend. The variation of bend angle and bend radius showed that it affects the maximum stress drastically and should be considered as a parameter in the flexibility and SIF factors. Moreover, the CSA results are found to be un-conservative in some cases depending on the bend angle and direction of the applied bending moment.

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