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Fixed Pipes - Stress vs. Change in Temperature

Temperature changes introduces stress fixed pipes.

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With temperature change stress is introduced in fixed pipes. The stress can be calculated as:

σ = α E dt                                   (1)


σ = stress (MPa, lb/in2)

α = linear expansion coefficient (m/moK, inch/inchoF)

E = modulus of elasticity of the piping material (MPa, lb/in2)

dt = temperature change from installation temperature (oC, oF)

The stress must not exceed maximum allowable stress for the chosen piping material. Be aware that with frequently temperature changes - the stress cycle (with stress well below the maximum allowable limit) may fatigue the pipe.

Example - Introduced Stress in a Fixed Pipe when Temperature Changes

A carbon steel pipe with linear expansion coefficient 11.7 10-6 m/moC and modulus of elasticity 29.5 106 psi (203 109 Pa (N/m2), 203000 MPa, 203 GPa) is heated from 0oC to 50oC. The stress introduced in the pipe can be calculated as

σ = (11.7 10-6 m/moC) (203 109 N/m2) ((50oC) - (0oC))

  = 119 106 N/m2

  = 119  MPa

Depending on the material and the codes used - this may be within maximum allowable stress.

Stress Calculator

Linear expansion coefficient (m/moC)

Modulus of elasticity (MPa)

Temperature differance (oC)

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This page can be cited as

  • Engineering ToolBox, (2005). Fixed Pipes - Stress vs. Change in Temperature. [online] Available at: [Accessed Day Mo. Year].

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