Abstract

Pipe systems have been widely used in industrial plants such as power stations. In these systems, the displacement and stress distributions often need to be predicted. Analytical and numerical methods, such as the finite element method (FEM), boundary element method (BEM), and frame structure method (FSM), are typically adopted to predict these distributions. The analytical methods, which can only be applied to problems with simple geometries and boundary conditions, are based on the Timoshenko beam theory. Both FEM and BEM can be applied to more complex problems, although this usually requires a stiffness matrix with a large number of degrees-of-freedom. In FSM, although the structure is modeled by a beam element, the stiffness matrix still becomes large; furthermore, the matrix size needed in FEM and BEM is also large. In this study, the transfer matrix method, which is simply referred to as TMM, is studied to effectively solve complex problems, such as a pipe structure under a small size stiffness matrix. The fundamental formula is extended to a static elastic-plastic problem. The efficiency and simplicity of this method in solving a space-curved pipe system that involves an elbow are demonstrated. The results are compared with those obtained by FEM to verify the performance of the method.

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