What options do I have for visualizing pipe-elements or pipebend-elements with a circular (hollow) cross-section? These are elements defined by just 2 or 3 nodes plus some orientation point to specify the cross-sectional direction etc. .
At this stage, I would like to visualize:
At a later stage, I might want to visualize loads on external and/or internal surfaces as well.
What options do I have?
I would suggest looking at the paraview visualization tool. It supports exodus and might have the capabilities you are looking for.
You mean: Use element-type BEAM in exodus, store element results in exodus - and then apply a filter in Paraview?
Yes, in exodus I would use the beam type. It supports several attributes which would let you define the properties of the pipe cross-section (Area, moments of inertia, orientation).