OPUS

Compressed Air: Stainless Steel Pipe

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Compressed air piping systems transport compressed air from air compressors to points of usage....
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Stainless steel defines a class of ferrous metals with high alloy content to enhance certain...
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Benefit of Material to Systems Application

Compressed air systems using stainless steel pipe benefit from a level of corrosion resistance that a traditional carbon steel pipe system cannot offer. However, due to the higher cost of stainless steel, it is cost prohibitive in many situations. However, if water vapor enters and condenses within the system, the corrosion resistance of stainless steel can extend the life of the pipe over other materials such as carbon steel. Maintenance costs may also be reduced because of its grade of cleanliness. Stainless steel pipe is very resistant to erosion from abrasive materials that may be present in pneumatic conveying systems. It is suitable for use in any type of building requiring a compressed air system.

System Application and Material Usage

The most common joining methods for stainless steel pipe in compressed air systems are grooved, welded, and flanged. Threaded joints are not recommended for systems that may experience frequent vibration as this can lead to potential leakage at the joints.

The system working pressure and pipe joining method will determine the required pipe wall thickness for each application.

Stainless steel pipe is generally available in diameters up to 36 inches with dimensions ranging from Schedule 5S to 160S with Schedule 5S and 10S being the most common for compressed air systems. Schedule designations indicate the pressure capacity of the pipe. When specifying the Schedule of stainless steel pipe, an “S” is added after the Schedule number to differentiate stainless steel from other steel pipe. 

Stainless steel is a generic name for a number of different steels used primarily because of their corrosion resistant properties.  All stainless steels contain a varying percentage of chromium, molybdenum and nickel.  The most common "family" of stainless steel is austenitic, which includes the stainless steel pipes made to the specifications of ASTM A312 in Types 304/304L and 316/316L. These materials are almost always the stainless steel option for compressed air systems.

Cleaned stainless steel piping also meets NFPA 99 requirements for medical gas systems allowing it to be used for oxygen service and other necessary compressed gasses.    Types 304/304L are for general corrosion applications and are typically used for compressed air.  Types 316/316L have a higher corrosion resistance and may be required based upon an externally corrosive environment. The “L” designation means that the stainless steel contains less than 0.03% carbon. This is beneficial if the pipe needs to be welded.   

An additional source for general information on stainless steel is http://www.stainless-steel-world.net/.

Manufacturers and Suppliers Participating in OPUS

ANVIL International

Anvil International offers a full line of domestically-produced iron fittings, steel nipples,......
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Embassy Group LTD

Embassy Group LTD is a 100-percent member owned, 3.2 billion dollar corporation consisting of......
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F.W. Webb Company

F.W. Webb Company is a multi-faceted distributor of plumbing and heating, HVAC and controls,......
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Ferguson

Ferguson specializes in providing PVF, Plumbing, HVAC and Related Specialty Products and......
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Grinnell Mechanical Products, A Tyco International Company

Grinnell Mechanical Products, a leading brand of Tyco International Company, manufactures a wide......
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J.O. Galloup Company

J.O. Galloup Company is a premier distributor of commercial and industrial piping products,......
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Metraflex Company

For over 55years Metraflex has met the needs of the contractor. The MetraLoop, a flexible pipe......
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Team Industries, Inc.

Team Industries, Inc. offers a 3000# Generation III and 3000# Generation IV (hydraulically......
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Tri Tool Inc.

Tri Tool Inc. designs and manufactures cutting and prepping tools for pipe and tube from .12 to......
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Victaulic

Victaulic is the world's leading manufacturer of mechanical pipe joining products. For over 80......
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Viega

Founded in 1899, Viega manufactures and distributes the highest quality plumbing, heating and......
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Weldbend Corporation

Weldbend Corporation is a manufacturer of carbon steel welding fittings and forged steel......
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Welding Outlets, Inc.

Welding Outlets, Inc. (WOI) is a manufacturer of domestic-only branch outlets......
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Applicable Joining Methods

Flanged

Flanging maybe used for threaded or plane-end pipe. After a flange component is installed on the...
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Grooved

Grooved pipe joints consist of two grooved pipe ends (typically roll grooved) connected with a...
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Press

Press joining is a form of mechanical connection for copper and steel tubing which uses a...
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Quick connect

Quick connect fittings are manufactured for specific applications and involve some mechanism...
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Threaded

A connection in which an internal threaded fitting and an external threaded piece of pipe or...
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Welding

Welding is generally defined as the act of joining together two or more components by heating...
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