Bends & Elbows

If you don’t know your bends from your elbows, you might have a tough time communicating with the marine engineer working in your engine room. Never fear, it’s not difficult to learn how to tell the difference.

Is there a difference?

Stainless Steel Bends

Yes. Most engineers use the term bend in a generic sense. The bend is there to simply create a change in direction for the piping system. It lacks any engineering definition in relation to direction or degree.

The elbow is a standardized, engineered, pre-fabricated piece that attaches to the pipe with threads, a flange or welded connection. Most elbows are either 45 or 90 degrees. Custom elbows are also an option. These are generally classified as “short” or “long” radius.

Now, in the interest of causing confusion, a bend can be an elbow, but an elbow doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bend. When using the word elbow, most people automatically assume a 45 or 90-degree bend, so add that to your reference.

Stainless Steel Elbow

Application of elbows :  

  • Elbows are used in pipelines for fuel, industrial fluids, construction and a variety of other uses.
  • Elbows require an increased resistance to temperature and pressure. An elbow creates an “impact zone” where the fluids meet the side of the pipe and are redirected. This often leads to erosion quickly if inferior materials are used.
  • Elbows should be selected and installed according to a specifically designed use. The elbows used in a system for chemical and petroleum industries are much different than a sanitary system that directs the flow of drinking water.
  • Be aware that pressure will drop as fluids pass through an elbow.