An elbow is a pipe fitting installed between two lengths of pipe or tubing to allow a change of direction, usually a 90° or 45° angle, though 22.5° elbows are also made. The ends may be machined for butt welding, threaded (usually female), or socketed, etc. When the two ends differ in size, the fitting is called a reducing elbow or reducer elbow.
Elbows are categorized based on various design features as below:
• Long Radius (LR) Elbows – radius is 1.5 times the pipe diameter
• Short Radius (SR) Elbows – radius is 1.0 times the pipe diameter
• 90 Degree Elbow – where change in direction required is 90°
• 60 Degree Elbow – where change in direction required is 60°
• 45 Degree Elbow – where change in direction required is 45°
A 90 degree elbow is also called a "90 bend" or "90 ell". It is a fitting which is bent in such a way to produce 90 degree change in the direction of flow in the pipe. It is used to change the direction in piping and is also sometimes called a "quarter bend". A 90 degree elbow attaches readily to plastic, copper, cast iron, steel and lead. It can also attach to rubber with stainless steel clamps. It is available in many materials like silicone, rubber compounds, galvanized steel, etc. The main application of an elbow (90 degree) is to connect hoses to valves, water pressure pumps, and deck drains. These elbows can be made from tough nylon material or NPT thread.
A 45 degree elbow is also called a "45 bend" or "45 ell". It is commonly used in water supply facilities, food industrial pipeline networks, chemical industrial pipeline networks, electronic industrial pipeline networks, air conditioning facility pipeline, agriculture and garden production transporting system, pipeline network for solar energy facility, etc.
Most elbows are available in short radius or long radius variants. The short radius elbows have a center-to-end distance equal to the Nominal Pipe Size (NPS) in inches, while the long radius is 1.5 times the NPS in inches. Short elbows are widely available, and are typically used in pressurized systems.
Long elbows are typically used in low-pressure gravity-fed systems and other applications where low turbulence and minimum deposition of entrained solids are of concern. They are readily available in acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS plastic), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for DWV, sewage and central vacuums, chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) and copper for 1950s to 1960s houses with copper drains.