Elbow fittings are manufactured using quenching and tempering heat treatment processes. Such fittings can occasionally exhibit localized regions with lower yield strength than the design target, potentially due to non-uniform heat treatment. This paper presents an analytical methodology to examine the influence of these localized lower yield zones on the load capacity of the affected pipe fitting. In parallel, full-scale testing has been performed to quantify the actual response of the elbows under a combination of different loading conditions. The experimental data is used to validate the analytical approach. Details of the analytical method include a two-fold criterion: a global failure based on elastic–plastic stress analysis and a local failure based on the tri-axial strain limit per ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section VIII, Division 2. This paper presents the details of the finite element model development, assessment procedure, validation and parametric analysis of the size and location of the low yield zones in the elbow fittings. The fittings are analyzed for three possible operating scenarios: internal pressure, internal pressure with opening moment and internal pressure with closing moment. To characterize the influence of the low yield zone on the strength of the pipe, a parameter termed as “effective yield strength” is introduced. This approach is further demonstrated and found suitable for predicting burst pressures of components with lower yield zones of various diameters and thicknesses. This assessment method can be further extended to assess other pipeline components that exhibit similar behavior.

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