Question: Is there a limit to how much plastic pipe can be bent in the field?
Answer: Polyethylene (PE) pipe, without fittings, may be permanently bent to a radius 20 times the pipe diameter without damage or detrimental effect to the pipe. Here’s an example using 2-inch-diameter PE pipe: To calculate the bend radius multiply 20 x 2 inches = 40 inches. This is the allowable bend radius.).
In sections where a fitting is present in the curve (e.g., 45-degree elbow), the minimum bend ratio is increased. The bending radius should be limited to 100 times the pipe diameter.
Tip: Field bending of PE pipe often eliminates the need for fittings (installation pipe curvature in a cul-de-sac section). Minimum bend radius is the smallest radius to which the PE pipe may be safely curved. It’s important to prevent any kinking of the PE pipe by ensuring you do not exceed the allowable bend radius. Always refer to the specific pipe manufacturer’s guidelines and/or the company’s O&M Procedural Manual.