Your Complete Guide to Understanding the Materials Used in Plumbing
Standard set of rules are defined for specification of dimensions, design of operation, materials and performance, or describe quality of materials, products or systems. These set of rules are defined for the product for particular applications and to provide minimum quality, safety or performance specifications to ensure relatively uniform products and performance. This helps in reducing the risk of error by plumbers, and an assurance to the owners. Standards also give direction to manufacturers on the products that they produce.
This standard does not always ensure that all products meet a specific standard.
There are several organizations that perform assessment conformity. If a specific product, material, system, device or component meets a designated standard, the testing organization allow them to place a mark or logo of the organization on the product, material, system, device or component to certify that the standard was successfully met.
Pipes, valves, taps and other fittings used for the supply of drinking-water or the removal of wastewater must not contain harmful substances above the specified amount that could leach into the water. There are two type of materials available for water pipework systems: metallic and non-metallic materials. Galvanized steel or iron, copper, polybutylene, unplasticized polyvinylchloride (PVC), chlorinated polyvinylchloride (CPVC) and polyethylene (PE) are some of the commonly used materials for drinking water supply piping are. For the building industry and the plumbing industry, new materials and construction technologies are continually being developed.
Galvanized steel or iron was mainly used material in the plumbing industry for the conveyance of water and wastewater. Still practiced throughout the world, the popularity of galvanized piping is declining. Internal and external corrosion occurs where galvanized steel or iron piping is connected to which add iron, causing an undesirable taste and precipitation of iron salts on clothes.
The use of galvanized steel or iron pies for drinking-water is a greater problem when the water flow is slow or static for periods of time as they cause discoloration due to rust being caused by internal corrosion. These pipes also give an unpalatable taste and smell to the water due to corrosive conditions and are generally used for outdoor. Due to the inflexibility and size of the pipe and fittings, the material is not desirable for internal water plumbing.
Copper tubing is extremely flexible and smaller in overall diameter than galvanized steel pipes and fit-tings. Corrosion is to a lesser degree than with galvanized steel. As it is thinner, it is relatively light to handle. Copper pipes are useful for hot water supply systems but could cause heat loss if adequate insulation is not provided. Polybutylene in non-metallic piping systems is becoming popular for the conveyance of drinking-water for domestic purpose. As it is light and flexible, it is easy to handle and install and used for both hot and cold water supplies.
CPVC is widely used today in both water and sanitary systems for hot and cold water distribution. A thermoplastic produced by polymerization of vinyl chloride, with additional chlorination. CPVC piping is manufactured by extrusion methods ranging in sizes. It is non-corrosive and has got a high tolerance to acids. Though It is fire resistant, toxic fumes are emitted when burned. CPVC is lightweight, non-toxic and odourless, and reduces growth of fungi, algae and bacteria.
Un plasticized PVC, is lighter but is is susceptible to physical damage if exposed above ground and it becomes brittle when exposed to ultraviolet light. It is extensively used around the world for drainage (waste or soil and storm water) applications.
Numerous types and designs of PE pipes and fittings have been available for quite number of years. There are three types High-density, Medium-density and Low density. High-density PE is is used mainly for drainage applications as it can withstand higher temperature discharges. With a thinner wall thickness and capable of withstanding higher internal pressure Medium-density PE are more flexible than the high-density pipe. In the irrigation industry, where operating pressures are very low and require a high degree of flexibility and low cost, Low-density PE is preferred.
Furnace-baked earthenware pipes has been the most commonly used material for under-ground drainage systems. Installing and maintenance is difficult and also they are prone to breaks and blockages. As they are rigid it can cause the pipes to break loose at the joints or cause the pipe itself to break close to the joint just behind the collar. Tree roots can grow into the open joint or broken pipe and will eventually block the drain.
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