REU 1998 – Design of a Bending Pipe

In a rolling steel mill, blocks of red-hot steel are run between rollers until the blocks are stretched into long thin rods. At the end of the production line, these rods are traveling at close to 250 mph and you (or the steel manufacturer) has about 5 feet to stop the rod. Engineers (many years ago) designed an ingenious method for solving the problem: the pipe is sent into a bending pipe (shaped like a piece of a cork screw) and the linear motion is converted into rotational motion.

A well-designed pipe would be cheap to make and last as long as possible. The life of the bending pipe is related to the rate of wearing inside the pipe (which depends on the path of the steel rod against the wall of the pipe and the force that the rod exerts on the wall).

The project focuses on a combination of problems. First the accurate description of the path followed by the steel rod inside the pipe, and second the modeling the wear for a particular pipe design.