How to calculate minimum bend radius for tubing

Updated March 23, 2017

Mechanical tubes can bend around fixed or rotating form blocks. Sand or some other particulate matter may have to fill the tube to keep it from collapsing, but the tubes risk another danger as well. If the tube bends too sharply, fractures will form, cracking the material. The tube's minimum bend radius is the smallest radius of a curve that it can form without cracking. Smaller tubes and tubes made from more flexible material can safely bend further.

Consult documentation from your tube's manufacturer to determine the tube's percentage tensile reduction in area. This value describes the extent to which a fracture would affect the tube's cross-sectional area.

Divide 50 by the tube's percentage tensile reduction in area. If the tube, for instance, has a value of 15, divide 50 by 15 which gives you 3.33.

Subtract 1 from this answer which gives you 2.33.

Multiply the result by the thickness of the tube. If the tube is, for instance, 3 cm thick: multiply 2.33 by 3 which gives you 7. Therefore, the tube should form no curve with a radius less than 7 cm.

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Ryan Menezes is a professional writer and blogger. He has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Boston University and has written for the American Civil Liberties Union, the marketing firm InSegment and the project management service Assembla. He is also a member of Mensa and the American Parliamentary Debate Association.