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How do I determine strength and flexibility? Answered

So when I'm designing a new project, is there a way to simulate the physics of a build or pre-established stats on:
--How long the pipe can go without bending?
--How much weight it can bear without breaking/deteriorating?
--How long it can be outdoors in weather before it starts to deteriorate?

I don't mind doing some math if it means I don't have to restart the build or buy more supplies later. I understand that these stats vary based mostly on diameter and less so by schedule, but I'm looking for some concrete numbers. Like it can't bear more than x lbs per foot, x diameter will bend after x ft when under load, etc.

Alternatively if I could do a physics simulation in a 3D package, as long at it's accurate to within ~10-20lbs that would be suitable as well.

After doing a few low stakes projects with 1 1/4" and 3/4" pipe by guesstimating, I'd like to make something that holds more weight and will be more of a disaster if it fails, so that's why I'm asking. [Something that'll hold heavy loads of expensive equipment, etc.]

1 Replies

audreyobscuraBest Answer (author)2017-07-21

I think if you specify your material in most 3d simulators you can stress-test that way. I imagine PVC should already be incorporated in most software suites.

My rule of thumb is the larger the diameter, the less flexible it is, and the thicker the wall is. For this reason, I like working with 3/4" or 1" pipe for projects around the house. We've built a few bookshelves with 3/4" pipe and it holds weight very well, as long as you keep segments under 3'. I don't think 3/4" pipe starts really flexing until it's longer than 6'

PVC is made to LAST making it very environmentally unfriendly. I helped my dad recently had his first PVC problem when he was ripping out underground sprinklers, aside from being a little dirty, the pipes looked brand new, and they've been buried underground for at least 25 years.

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