Category Archives: Pipe Bending

Curved Pipe and Technology in Modern Architecture

Architects and sculptors are continuously coming up with new ideas to use steel pipes and tubes in their designs and work. Steel is a popular artistic medium because it is impactful to the viewer, seeing such a hard material twisted and curved, often on a large scale. Architects and sculptors also like using steel because it is a material that stands the test of time. Now incorporate technology, and a steel artwork or sculptures becomes even more awe-inspiring. Continue reading Curved Pipe and Technology in Modern Architecture

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Helical Curved Pipe for the Arts and Sciences

Frequently in the steel bending and fabrication industries, our work focuses on the somewhat austere nature of steel.  Even though it is curved, steel still maintains a sturdy, rigid aspect.  The solid nature of the metal is a defining characteristic that isn’t easy to shed.  Though there are some artists and designers who can push those notions. Continue reading Helical Curved Pipe for the Arts and Sciences

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Hot and Cold Steel Bending for a Fountain Sculpture

Each spring my wife and I take a short vacation in California. While there we usually spend a few days on the campus of Stanford University. While walking the campus grounds this spring, a sculpture/fountain caught my eye. We had walked this way many times in past years, but I had not seen this fountain before. It could be that it is a new fountain, or it could be that I had just not noticed it, since it is a fountain, and most of the fountains had been shut down due to the drought in California the last 3 years. With a rain-filled winter season, the drought in California has come to an end, and the campus fountains, silent for the last few years have come to life. Continue reading Hot and Cold Steel Bending for a Fountain Sculpture

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Giant Size NFL Helmets

The 2016 NFL season recently kicked off in September. With successful baseball and hockey teams, Chicagoans are hoping that the Bears will take home a few more wins this year. While we keep our fingers crossed for the Bears this season, we are flashing back to last April when Chicago proudly hosted the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre.

The city was buzzing with fans supporting their football team during the draft. One popular spot was Pioneer Court, an open area along Michigan Avenue that housed 32 giant NFL team helmets during the draft for fans to take pictures with. Continue reading Giant Size NFL Helmets

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Pipe Bending Techniques to Avoid Rippling

Because of its symmetrical nature, pipe can be bent to consistent radii with no distortion, but several things need to be taken into account in order to avoid rippling. In part one of this blog post, we discussed why rippling occurs and what material should be used to avoid it. Once the best material has been determined, a pipe bending company must use the right machine, tooling and methods in order to avoid distortion. Continue reading Pipe Bending Techniques to Avoid Rippling

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How to Avoid Rippling when Pipe Bending

Rippling on the surface of a pipe is a somewhat common problem that occurs during bending operations. Learning about the reasons behind the rippling can help avoid this issue.

Ripples are caused by high levels of compressive force on the inside of a pipe or tube with thin wall thickness. Thicker pipe walls can withstand higher compressive forces on the inside of a bend without distorting or wrinkling. With custom rolled pipe, material on the outside of the bend stretches – this causes wall thinning. The material resists this thinning and as a result the outside surface of the bend wants to cave in. This causes the flawed profile shape we know as ovality or distortion. Continue reading How to Avoid Rippling when Pipe Bending

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Galvanize Pipe Jackets Reinforce Communication Towers

A 167’-7” tall, Verizon Wireless communications tower, atop Smelter Mountain in Durango, Colorado required a structural upgrade on its 3 existing tower legs. The tower had originally been built with 2” to 3” standard structural pipe as its supporting legs, but after years of cyclical wind loads it was determined that the existing tower legs needed a structural upgrade. In order to reinforce the tower’s legs, engineers devised a plan to weld pipe jackets to the outer half of the existing legs, which can be seen in the diagram below.

Pipe jackets are a common term for pipe split or halved into 180 degrees. They are commonly used for heat exchangers and or coils welded to the outside of tanks. For this project the split/halved pipes are referred to as 180deg cut pipe. Various size pipes were to be split into halves, from 3” to 5” XXH and then straightened in order to surround the outer half of the existing tower legs. The additional support from the reinforcing 180deg cut pipe increases the stiffness of the tower 12x from its original design.

The pipe was split into 180deg cut pipe by way of a gantry track plasma cutting system. The pipe is fixed in order to restrict its movement when cutting and once the torch strikes an arc the movement of the cutting head is automated to eliminate any deviation from the cut line. Due to residual stresses within the pipe, from its melting and manufacturing at the mill, the pipe springs and twists open once it is fully split.  This is commonly known in the industry as the banana peel effect, and must be corrected by way of straightening. Most structural steel fabricators have the equipment to split the pipe through some sort of track cutting system, either flame or plasma, but it is the straightening of the halved pipes back to within, or better than, mill tolerance that is the challenging aspect of splitting pipe into 180deg cut pipe. For this, most fabricators seek out a bender/roller as they have the necessary equipment to bend, curve and straighten structural steel.  With the proper tooling, a machine which is normally used for bending steel can also be used for the opposite, to straighten out existing curvature.

In this case, a 3-Roll section bender with a special tooling setup was used to straighten the pipe and it was straightened to 1/8” over 10ft of length. After the 180deg cut pipes were straightened, they were bundled and sent to a galvanizer. The halved pipes were then hot dip galvanized for corrosion protection after installation. The galvanized reinforcing pipe jackets were then shipped to a terminal in Durango, Colorado where they were staged for pickup once the steeplejacks were ready for installation.

Straightened and Galvanized Steel Pipe
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Excellence in Structural Engineering Award Goes to Institute of Environmental Sustainability

Structural Engineers Association of Illinois (SEAOI) gives out an award every year to a project it feels helps encourage engineering education and advances the art and science of structural engineering. Loyola’s recently constructed Institute of Environmental Sustainability (IES) won the “Best Project” award given out by SEAOI for the Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards Competition. The judge commented that “the winter garden is an elegant curved glass enclosure with a minimized amount of structure to allow unobstructed views. The environmentally responsible IEC integrates academic and residential components of university to create space for an exciting and delightful whole student experience”.

IES – Loyola University Chicago

The crown jewel of IES is the winter garden. The winter garden is a 3,100 square foot urban agricultural greenhouse. The structure is designed using nine elliptically curved trusses that are made out of 8” SCH 80 pipe connected to 5” SCH 40 pipe though a triangular cross section configuration of a double top chord and single bottom chord system. The design of the continuously curving trusses helps minimize the amount of structure needed to hold up the glass curtain wall skin. The top roof portion of the greenhouse incorporates pipes curved to a very large 250ft radius to help maximize sunlight in the winter garden’s growing area while at the same time try to produce minimal glare to surrounding buildings. Also there is a tight 12 ft radius 90 degree bend at one end that goes down into an S shaped curve. This curvature in the steel pipe trusses design helps with passive ventilation. When you walk into the building you will notice the temperature. You are in an unconditioned environment that is not heated or cooled. The winter garden is shaped to assist natural ventilation with open end windows at both ends of the trusses. This unique curved shape of the winter garden also facilitates rain water harvesting. Water falling on the curved roof easily flows into a 3,000 gallon cistern located on the first floor. The water is then reused in the greenhouse operations for irrigation, landscaping and for flushing the toilets located off the lounge.

Curved 8″ SCH 80 and 5″ SCH 40 Pipe

In the greenhouse there will be two aquaponic systems. There are also two vertical farming installations where food crops are grown for harvest on a wall mounted lattice structure. The ecological system will grow fish and produce for food. Students taking courses in related fields will work to identify what to grow in these systems and how to process them for market. Students maintaining these gardens will sell the produce at Loyola’s famers market and through the Engrained Café. The IES is an innovative and interactive learning environment that demonstrates how students can participate actively within, as well as help to create a living/learning green community.

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