Tube fittings play an important role in the configuration of pipes, tubes, and hoses. For that reason, it’s important that you pay attention to detail and ensure that you get the right fittings for the job. Here are five things to look for when buying steel tube fittings to help you decide what’s best.
When you’re looking for tube fittings, you’ll notice that there are quite a few materials to pick from—ranging from copper and brass to cast iron and steel—which provide a range of benefits. Copper is fairly corrosion resistant, and iron and steel are abrasion resistant. However, all those materials pale in comparison to stainless steel fittings.
Stainless steel is king for sanitary tube fittings. They are strong and durable, and stainless steel is incredibly corrosion resistant. That makes it the material of choice for environments where sanitation is paramount, such as kitchens or hospitals.
The construction of your fittings can vary depending on the intended application. The three types of applications you’ll need to know include:
- Hydraulic Applications: The transfer of liquids. Hydraulic fittings need to seal tubing to prevent leaks and are at a higher risk of corrosion.
- Pneumatic Application: The transfer of gases. Pneumatic fittings need especially tight seals to prevent gases from escaping. They also must resist chemical corrosion.
- Other Applications: A less common application includes a structural design that requires strength and integrity but without the need for tight seals.
Once you’ve determined the correct type of fitting for the intended application, you need to size the fittings to your tubes, pipes, or hoses. This is a small but crucial aspect, as overly large or small connectors will be incompatible.
Next, you’ll want to consider the function your need the fitting to perform. Tube fittings come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Some are obvious—such as elbow or tee fittings to control the flow of liquids and gases—but it’s easy to confuse couplers with adapters. Couplers, for example, are for similar tubing, while adapters connect dissimilar tubing. If you’re not sure which one serves the function you need, contact our experts and describe the function you require.
The last thing to look for when buying steel tube fittings is the operating pressure and temperature range. These are indicative of a fitting’s working range of extreme pressure and temperatures. If the application of your fittings falls above or below these ranges, the fittings are at risk of failing entirely.