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Buttweld Fittings, Pipe Fittings, Technical Library

Buttweld Pipe Elbow

Buttweld Pipe Elbow

A butt weld pipe elbows change the direction of a pipeline by 45, 90 or 180 degrees. Pipe elbows are manufactured from seamless and welded pipes, or from plates (large size, mitered, elbows). Steel elbows can be either short or long radius and feature different radiuses (from 1D up to 5D). The ASME B16.28 specification covers short radius and 180-degree return elbows, ASME B16.9 covers carbon/alloy steel long radius elbows and returns, MSS SP 43 sets standards for stainless steel and alloy-steel pipe elbows.



Pipe elbows are manufactured in a wide range of dimensions (combinations of outside diameter and wall thickness, i.e. pipe schedule, following the ASME B36.10 and ASME B36.19 sizes specifications for carbon/alloy and stainless steel pipes) to fit the needs of pipelines of sizes from 1 to 80 inches and above (consult the elbows size chart for details). Generally, steel elbows below 24 inches in diameter are produced by cutting and bending seamless steel pipes, and pipe elbows of larger sizes are manufactured using welded pipes or steel plates as feedstock. 

The three most common shapes for pipe elbows are the 45, 90, and 180 degrees (or return elbow), as shown in the image:

Pipe elbow types

Some special types of steel elbows are:

  • reducing elbow: a pipe connector with an inlet and an outlet in two different bore sizes is used instead of the combination of a standard elbow and concentric reducer.
  • mitered elbow: large size elbow assembled by joining steel plates

reducing elbow



The center to face distance of a long radius pipe elbow (see “B” in the image below) is always 1.5 times the nominal pipe size, whereas, for a short radius pipe elbow, the center to face distance (see “A” in the image) is equal to the nominal pipe size.


  • For a 4 inches long radius (LR) butt weld elbow, the center to face distance is 4 x 25.4 x 1.5 = 152.4 mm;
  • For a short radius butt weld elbow, the center to face distance is instead 4 x 25.4 x 1 = 101.6 mm. Short radius pipe elbows are available only for the 90 and 180-degree configuration (and not for the 45 degrees); instead, long radius elbows are available for all degrees.


Lond and short radius elbows

LR elbows .       SR elbows



The typical material grades for butt weld elbows are carbon steel (ASTM A234 WPA/WPB/WPC), alloy steel for power generation (ASTM A234 WP9/WP91 and other low-alloy grades), stainless steel (ASTM A403 WP304/WP 316 and so on) and, duplex/super duplex (ASTM A815 UNS S31803 and UNS S32750/32760). Nickel alloys like Inconel, Hastelloy, Incoloy are also used to manufacture pipe elbows.

Carbon steel elbows ASTM A234 WPB, WPC – chemical composition:

Grade C Mn P S Si Cr Mo Ni Cu V Nb
WPB 0.3 0.29-1.06 0.05 0.058 0.1min 0.4 0.15 0.4 0.4 0.08 0.02
WPC 0.35 0.29-1.06 0.05 0.058 0.1min 0.4 0.15 0.4 0.4 0.08 0.02

Stainless steel elbows ASTM A403 304, 316 – chemical composition:

Grade C Mn P S Si Ni Cr Mo
WP 304 0.08 2 0.045 0.03 1 8.0-11.0 18.0-20.0
WP 304L 0.035 2 0.045 0.03 1 8.0-13.0 18.0-20.0
WP 316 0.08 2 0.045 0.03 1 10.0-14.0 16.0-18.0 2.00-3.00
WP 316L 0.035 2 0.045 0.03 1 10.0-16.0 16.0-18.0 2.00-3.00



The manufacturing process of a butt weld elbow is shown in this chart:


Manufacturing process of steel elbows



Looking for the price of pipe elbows? Click on the image and check our online steel elbow price estimation tool!

price of steel elbow

The tool estimates the price for pipe elbows manufactured in Europe and Asia.

Even if our price estimates are reliable, prices shall always be double checked with butt weld fittings manufacturers and distributors.



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