Drill pipe, and the connections used to join the pipe together, have had a long history of development and improvement. With the growing use of high tensile-strength pipe, the rotary shouldered connections used to join the lengths of drill pipe have become more critical. Fatigue-type failures of rotary-shouldered connections, or tool joints, have become a cause of much concern to operators and manufacturers. Most fatigue tests on tool joints have been made on the basis of bending moment applied vs number of cycles, rather than on the basis of stress vs cycles. A desire to learn more about the nature of stress in a tool joint due to bending caused a rather intensive experimental study to determine what actually happens to cause fatigue failure. It was known that a tool joint with insufficient make-up torque was subject to early fatigue failure. Therefore, the establishment of the relationship between make-up torque and allowable bending moment would enable a testing engineer to better correlate the results of various tests. The problem of calculating the stress in a tool joint due to an applied bending moment was complicated by: the effect of unknown stress concentrations; the applicability of the well known formula S = Mc/I; and the question of whether to use the combined cross section of the pin and box in calculating the moment of inertia I.

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