The first hydrocarbon pipelines recorded in history were in China around 500 BC. They were made of bamboo. Since then, this technology has evolved dramatically. In the U.S., the first oil pipeline is believed to have been built in 1862 in Pennsylvania. Today, there are over 2.6 million miles of oil and gas pipelines across the nation.
Oil and gas pipelines are constructed using different materials depending on the use, size, and environmental requirements of a given application. These materials include stainless steel, nickel alloys, and plastics. Stainless steel is the most common material for oil rigs and piping systems. As such, most fittings — including flanges — are made from steel.
Here are seven benefits of using stainless steel flange fittings.
1. Corrosion Resistance
Liquid and gas flow in oil pipelines will often cause internal corrosion within the piping systems. Corrosion remains a huge concern within the oil and gas industry, as it costs the U.S. economy approximately $9 billion every year. Stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion compared to other metals. This makes this material an ideal choice for pipe flanges and fittings.
Stainless steel is highly versatile. Different materials such as nickel, molybdenum, or nitrogen can be added to enhance the properties of stainless steel. You can utilize the different standard dimensions and specifications to order stainless steel flanges for a variety of environments. This allows the pipe flanges to fit a wider range of applications both indoors and outdoors.
Any system is only as strong as its weakest part. Weld fittings and joints are traditionally weak points for any liquid and gas flow equipment. The addition of titanium and molybdenum increases its tensile strength, reducing the chance of warping or deformation. Alternatives such as aluminum are soft and may not work under high temperatures or pressure.
4. Temperature and Pressure Tolerance
Stainless steel flange fittings can withstand high pressure and temperatures depending on the metal grade used. ASTM A182 flanges can handle extreme temperatures of about 500 to 800 degrees Celsius. ASTM, API, or ANSI classifications may provide an excellent guideline to the right pressure class for your application.
Stainless steel fittings are highly durable. Your pipe flanges may last for decades, supporting liquid and gas flow within your piping system. Stainless steel is a reliable material that is easy to maintain. Its stain and corrosion resistance properties mean that you may not have to replace the industrial long weld neck flanges for years to come.
Stainless steel flange fittings have a naturally shiny and elegant finish. You may not have to coat or line the flanges to protect them from corrosion. This actually makes this material a more environmentally responsible choice in the long run. Additionally, this metal is 100% recyclable if you decide to replace your bolts and flanges. Approximately 50% of all stainless steel produced nationally comes from recycled scrap metal, meaning that these flange fittings can help you reduce your overall carbon footprint for a project.
7. Easy Inspection
Pipe flanges linking equipment and valves provide an easy point of access for cleaning and repairs. With stainless steel being rust and corrosion resistant, the flanges provide easy access for inspection, modification, or cleaning. This can allow you to save time and money overall.
One of the key factors to keep in mind when purchasing pipe flanges is the material choice. Stainless steel is a strong, durable, corrosion-resistant metal, making it an excellent choice for flange fittings in the oil and gas industry. If you want to take advantage of these benefits, reach out to Lynco Flange and Fitting.