Pipe connections are an important means of delivering steam and fluids, as well as gas, from refineries to factories or even across continents. Flanges are among the most efficient parts of a pipe-connection system. Along with forging connections in a pipe system, flanges provide the worker with inspection points that are simple to modify and clean. Different alloy grades are used in the production of various flanges used in the gas and oil industries’ piping systems. As a result, these flanges must not only be robust but also simple to install and maintain.
The following are some of the most common flange types in the oil and gas industry:
Because of the beveled hub, it is simple to identify the weld neck flanges in high-pressure settings. Furthermore, weld neck flanges are ideally suited for usage in repetitive bending conditions. Welding the pipe to the flange neck secures these flanges to the piping system. As a result, stainless steel grades with high weldability are selected for its manufacturing. Weld neck types not only minimize stress concentration at the hub’s base but also help in stress transmission from the flange to the pipe.
Slip-on flanges are suitable for use in low-pressure and low-temperature applications. Engineers in the oil and gas industries prefer them because they are less expensive than weld neck flanges. This type of flange is fitted over the pipe and then welded on both the outside and inside to enhance strength and prevent leaks.
A lap joint flange is a two-part connection that is ideal for usage in operations where space is limited and frequent disassembly is required. The lap joint stub end is welded to the pipe in this method of connection, and the loose supporting flange is slid over the pipe or stub end. Because the backing flange in the pipe system is not in contact with the product, a moderately corrosion-resistant and less costly material with high hardness, such as carbon steel, is appropriate. Furthermore, the stub ends must be made of a highly corrosion-resistant material with strong mechanical qualities.
It is beneficial in conditions where rapid adjustments are required. Threaded flanges, also known as screwed flanges, are made with threaded bores that allow for quick and easy installation. Because of the pre-existing threads, a threaded flange is often joined to a pipe without the need for welding. Threaded flanges are commonly seen in applications where the pipes in the systems are utilized to convey water or air. Threaded flanges work well in low-pressure and low-temperature settings.
Blind flanges are manufactured without a hole in the center, and their primary use is to blank off the ends of valves, pipe systems, or even pressure vessel openings. In the oil and gas industries, blind flanges can also be used independently, without the use of another flange, to isolate a pipe system. Furthermore, they make great manholes, especially if they are used to block the flow in a vessel or a pipe system.
The socket weld flanges have a static strength equal to that of a slip-on flange and are ideal for low temperatures and low-pressure settings. A socket-weld connection is created with the pipe by making a filler weld on the outer surface of the flange. Socket weld flanges are intended for use in procedures requiring limited bore piping. However, because of several corrosion-related issues, it is best to avoid them in some operations.
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