Tube Fittings are being used for various residential, commercial, and industrial applications today. Out of different fitting types, how can you choose the right ones for your application? Well, several factors are there to consider at this stage of the process. The material type, temperature, environment, and so on. Tube Fittings are used for hydraulic applications. Such fittings should able to withstand high-pressure. If you are not sure about the factors to consider when selecting Tube Fittings for your application; read this article. Let’s get started!
First of all, confirm your application. PVC pipes and fittings — widely used for residential applications. PVC fittings don’t usually require threads like the metal ones to connect. PVC tubes and connections are usually joined/fixed using a glue. Of course, some PVC tubes and fittings have threads on them for resulting in a more secure joint. Still, fluids can leak through these treads, so to minimize/prevent this leakage; a material called a thread seal tape is used. You can wind the thread seal tape around pipe threads. The thread seal tape fills the gaps between joining connections and creates a leak-proof connection. Well, we were discussing PVC pipes and connections so far, and now we are moving on to Tube Fittings.
The thread seal tape does the same job when connection two metal fittings. Other than creating a leak-proof connection, the seal tape acts as lubrication for deeper fixing. Some metal pipe connections are tight, so lubrication is necessary to fix them tightly to prevent possible leakage.
Size: This is one of the important factors to consider when selecting Tube Fittings for your application. The outside diameter of the tube and wall thickness are the factors to consider here. Why should you consider wall thickness? Well, it depends on your application. For example, your application is something more general such as fittings for the boiler. You can’t use PVC tubes and fittings here as this application involves high-temperature. Well, PVC tubes and fittings can handle high-temperature, but the water from the boiler is too hot. And, that is why metal Tube Fittings are used for the boiler and plumbing.
Brass is widely used for boiler and plumbing applications. Brass is strong, light-weight, corrosion-resistance, and can handle high-temperature. Stainless steel is also a good choice for domestic boiler and plumbing. Anyway, we don’t focus on tube’s wall thickness here (domestic boiler is not a high-pressure application.) Anyway, considering wall thickness is essential for high-pressure applications such as hydraulics. PVC tubes and fittings are not suitable for high-pressure applications such as hydraulics. There are limitations with respect to the tube wall thickness. You cannot connect two tubes of different wall thicknesses. The minimum wall thickness that you can use for the application should be determined first. You can’t use Tube Fittings that you use for domestic boilers for hydraulics. Hydraulic applications require tubes and fittings that can withstand very high-pressure.
Temperature: The temperature that the tube can withstand will depend on several factors such as material, thickness, and size. PVC tubes and fittings can fail at high-temperature (at least deform.) Well, other than the tube and fitting, we should focus on sealing too. O-rings and gaskets are materials for preventing leakage from two connecting joints. So, you should use an O-ring or a gasket that can withstand high-temperature. The downside of focusing only on tubes’ and fittings’ properties could be a complete failure of the entire system. Modern manufacturers have introduced metal gaskets for high-temperature applications. Using such gaskets ensure the long life of the entire system. The temperature that Tube Fittings can handle varies depending on the material:
* Electroplated steel can withstand up to 260 Celsius.
* Stainless steel can withstand up to 650 Celsius.
* Brass can withstand up to 205 Celsius.
* Aluminium can withstand up to 204 Celsius.
* Nitrile sealing material can withstand up to 121 Celsius.
* Fluorocarbon sealing material can withstand up to 204 Celsius.
* EPDM sealing material withstands up to 204 Celsius.
So, stainless steel Tube Fittings can withstand the highest temperature (650 Celsius.) Now, you can understand why stainless steel is the best material option for hydraulics. Strong, corrosion-resistance, chemical-resistance, and price are the top advantages of stainless steel. PVC tubes and fittings can be used for general outside applications. PVC shows high corrosion-resistance and can withstand sunlight. Steel is strong but can get corroded. Brass is a reliable metal for Tube Fittings, so widely used for hydraulics.
Corrosion: One of the most-talked topic in today’s industrial world. Corrosion can lead failure of metals and items made of metals including Tube Fittings. As mentioned, modern tubes and fittings are now produced with metals that show high corrosion-resistance. In simple words, corrosion is the reaction of a substance with its environment. Steel readily reacts with oxygen even when not exposed to water (reacts with oxygen in the air.) Below is a list of corrosion and its side effects:
* Damage to the item and adjacent equipment.
* Decreased efficiency.
* Sudden failure.
When it comes to Tube Fittings, crevice corrosion and pitting corrosion is the common corrosion forms. Pitting corrosion can happen even on brass tubes and fittings. No matter the corrosion form, we can’t afford it today. Stainless steel shows high-resistance to both these corrosion forms. So, for serious applications such as hydraulics, stainless steel can be the best metal option. So, you should consider this factor when selecting Tube Fittings. The temperature, moisture, and metal type can increase the risk of corrosion. Underwater plumbing is under high corrosion risk. Seawater can accelerate the process to a greater extent. For such applications, you should not use ordinary tubes and fittings. Well, PVC is not the best option for underwater applications as it cannot withstand high-pressure. And, that is why metal tubes are used for under-sea applications such as oil rigs.
Some final words: Pressure, temperature, working environment, material type, wall thickness, and thread types are the factors to consider when selecting Tube Fittings. Well, you should know the right fittings type that suits your application the most. If you are not sure about which fitting to use for your application, contact professionals in the industry or your nearest distributor.
Don’t ignore any of the factors explained in this article. A failure of Tube Fittings on a hydraulic system can lead to a disaster. The sealing material plays a major role in the hydraulic system. A leakage can lower the pressure, reducing the overall force exerted by the hydraulic system.