What Are Flanges?

If you are an engineer or a plumber you will know instantly what flanges are, but very few other people know.

A flange is the collar that holds 2 tubes or pipes together. If you look at cement pipes you will see that they flare slightly at one end allowing the next pipe to be inserted into the first piece of pipe. In this situation the flange is what provides the seal between the 2 pipes. Many metal and plastic pipes use a similar system.

Not only do flanges allow one pipe to be inserted into another they provide strength at the joint. If you think about it, where one pipe slides into another one you have a double layer of material. Meaning that at the joint the pipe is twice as thick as along the rest of the pipe.

Other Types of Flanges

Some pipes or beams have a flared end, which looks like a ring on the end of each pipe. When the two pipes are butted together the rings touch each other and can be bolted or welded together providing a air and watertight seal.

When a pipe does not have a flared edge or a integrated collar two pipes can be held together using a separate collar, which is also called a flange. The two pipes are butted together and a two part collar which wraps around the pipe is applied and welded or bolted in place.

Finding the Right Flanges

There are many standards used for flanges around the world, so buying the correct size is a challenge in itself. You must also make sure that you buy a flange made of a compatible material to ensure that a good seal can be made and that it stays intact. Usually a pipe that needs a flange will be under pressure, so you need to make sure that you buy a flange that can withstand the pressure it will be put under. It is really important that you buy off of a supplier who can talk you through the selection process.


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