The Basics of Compression Fittings
In the realm of plumbing and fluid systems, compression fittings are a common form of coupler that may be found in various assemblies. With compression fittings, smaller flow diameter pipes can be attached together with ease, utilizing compression to maintain security. Typically, compression fittings are made from reliable materials such as brass, copper, and stainless steel, and they may be used to join tubing that is copper, plastic, nylon, or PVC. Since compression fittings find use in residential and industrial settings alike, it can be very useful to have a basic understanding of their functionality and applications.
As stated before, the role of a compression fitting is to serve as a connecting point for lengths of tubing or pipework, or as a connection point for a valve. Such fittings are fairly easy to install and remove as needed, and they present an easy way to lay out pipework in a confined space where soldering is not feasible. Alongside being present in standard plumbing systems, compression fittings may also be used in gas installations, hydraulic equipment, and various DIY projects.
The typical compression fitting is made from three pieces, those of which include a tapered, threaded nut, a slim ferrule, and a tapered insert. The tapered insert is the main body of the component, and when the nut is tightened, it will cause the ferrule to be compressed between the nut and the fitting. This allows for the ferrule to be compressed onto the outer diameter of the mating pipe, ensuring a reliable and tight seal.
Depending on the particular need of an assembly, there are a number of compression fitting designs that one can take advantage of. Compression elbow fittings are often used due to their angular design, allowing for the direction of piping to be adjusted by 45 or 90 degrees. Elbow fittings will feature two ports, and it is important to choose one with the right type of threading. If you have a piping system that requires a split in fluid flow, then a compression tee fitting may be best with its T-shape design. While a main line runs up the component, the flow will split across two outputs that are at a 90 degree angle from the main port. The final common form of compression fitting is the union variation, and they can be considered the simplest type as they are short and straight. With a compression union fitting, a simple joint can be established between two lengths of pipe or tube. Couplers are a closely related alternate option, those of which are designed to create a permanent connection once applied.
Regardless of the type of compression fitting that you procure, the process of installation is roughly the same. The first step to adding a fitting is to first clean all pipes that are to be joined before implementing a pipe insert. Then, the fitting’s tapered insert can be screwed onto the mating pipe while the ferrule is slid and secured with the nut. As the final step, the nut will be tightened over the threaded head of the fitting using spanners, ensuring that the assembly is very secure.
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