Stainless Steel Pipe Fittings
Stainless steel pipe fittings are attachments used to connect or close the end of pipes and tubing to increase in-line, offset, multiport, and mounting capabilities. As pipe bending can be a difficult and sometimes costly secondary operation, fittings are often used to join two straight sections of pipe together at an angle as needed for various pipe configurations.
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Applications of Stainless Steel Pipe Fittings
An integral part of plumbing and flow systems, pipe fittings must be able to safely transport all fluids, gasses, and even solids that may be entered into the system. For this reason and others, stainless steel is a common material used in the production of these fittings as it is extremely strong, durable, and resists corrosion in a number of corrosive environments. Pulp and paper, petrochemical, water treatment, automotive, medical, dental, semiconductor, food processing, and aerospace industries utilize these fittings in a number of different applications. Stainless steel pipe fittings are the most common choice in medical and food processing environments as high grade alloys are hygienic and easily sanitized. The many benefits of stainless steel pipe and fittings often outweigh the higher initial cost as the elemental structure of stainless steel significantly increases product longevity, reducing long term expenses such as maintenance and replacements. Although fittings may eventually need repair or replacement, this material is easily melted down and recycled, further reducing costs and waste.
Types of Stainless Steel Pipe Fittings
Steel is composed primarily of iron with varying amounts of carbon and a wide variety of additional metallic components. To be classified as stainless, chromium must make up at least 10% of alloy content. Stainless steels can be placed into one of four major categories based on content and properties. These categories are used to determine the proper composition required for pipe fittings in a given application. Ferritic, martensitic, duplex, and austenitic are common categorizations of stainless steel with the latter being the most popular choice for pipes, tubes, and fittings. Welding, seamless tubing via extrusion, die-cutting, and metal spinning are common techniques employed in the production of fittings that can be conformed to work with round, oval, square, and rectangular cross-sectioned pipes. Common examples of these fittings include adapters, bulkhead fittings, caps, couplings, end bells, expansion joints, flanges, reducers, and elbows. The process, particularly stainless steel alloy and part configuration should be carefully considered with regard to the intended use of stainless steel fittings. Further considerations include inner and outer dimensions, wall thickness, pressure rating, maximum bend radius, temperature range, length, and finishing. These concerns must take into account not only what will flow through the fittings but also the pipes to which they will be connected. Improper dimensions, for example, may lead to leaks and even the failure of a flow system.