THE BENEFITS OF  PE PIPELINES

Why PE makes sense and cents!

This industry is pumped full of letters and numbers – like SDR11, HDPE, PE100 and PN16.  There is handy information in those codes that explains exactly what amazing PE can do.  And, when it comes to the different grades of PE, or polyethylene, the magic of what each one delivers is definitely in the detail.

You will find LDPE widely used in plastic packaging or plastic wrap. HDPE is often found in construction and plumbing. And UHMW PE, which is many times stronger than steel, is a high-performance plastic used in bulletproof vests!

The process that makes PE a success was developed in the 1950s by two scientists, Karl Ziegler of Germany and Giulio Natta of Italy. Polyethylene is now one of the most widely produced thermoplastics in the world. It’s light and strong – it’s cheap to transport, easy to handle and safe to store making it a smarter choice than most other materials – especially when it comes to PE pipe.

Drilling down

Polyethylene, like other plastics, starts with the distillation of hydrocarbon fuels into lighter groups called “fractions”.  Some can be combined with other catalysts to produce plastics (typically via polymerization or polycondensation).

Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) is a very flexible material with unique flow properties that makes it particularly suitable for shopping bags and other plastic film applications. LDPE has high ductility but low tensile strength, which is why it stretches when strained.

Ultrahigh Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMW) is an extremely dense version of polyethylene. It is spun into threads with tensile strengths many times greater than steel and used in bulletproof vests and high-performance equipment.

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is a robust, moderately stiff plastic with a highly crystalline structure. It is used to make all types of strong and tough containers.  The HDPE used to produce corrosion-free, long-life pipelines for water, waste water and gas is called PE100. PLASSON’s range of poly pipe joiners are designed to easily and securely join PE100 pipelines.

PE is classified as a “thermoplastic” (as opposed to “thermoset”), based on the way the plastic responds to heat.

Thermoplastic vs thermoset

One of the benefits of thermoplastics is they can be heated to their melting point, cooled, and reheated again without degradation.  By contrast, thermoset plastics can only be heated once. The first heating causes thermoset materials to set (a bit like a 2-part epoxy), resulting in a chemical change that cannot be reversed.  These properties are what makes PE ideal for gas pipelines joined by electrofusion fittings like the PLASSON SmartFuse range.

the benefits of PLASSON Australia EF branch saddles

PE is rugged, flexible, and durable.  Both the pipe and PE pipe fittings have outstanding chemical and environmental stress crack resistance.  PE pipelines have been successfully used in a wide variety of applications for over 50 years.  Add to that strength and corrosion-resistance, and you get a life-span far in advance of other pipe materials.

TAKE A LOOK AT THE INNOVATIVE RANGE OF PLASSON PE PIPE FITTINGS HERE…

TYPES OF POLY PIPE COMPRESSION FITTINGS


All compression fittings seal through an internal O-ring being compressed to create a seal between the fitting body and the pipe. There is a surprisingly vast range of poly pipe compression fittings. Even the most familiar options, like couplers, tees and elbows, have a range of reducing and connection options that can take some time to understand.


While pipe fittings or connectors attach one pipe to another in order to lengthen the run or change the flow direction in a plumbing system, there are also lots of clever fittings that do so much more to make plumbing life easier. They can combine, divert or reduce the flow of the water supply. They can monitor flow or stop it, reduce pressure and provide outlets for sampling. 


PLASSON compression fittings have a number of unique features that help deliver leak-free connections and reliable, long-life PE pipelines.

Compression fittings come in a range of standard sizes. PLASSON compression fittings start small for domestic plumbing at 16mm, 20mm, 25mm and 32mm and continue up to civil and industrial sizes like 40mm, 50mm, 63mm and right up there to above 1000mm.


All PLASSON compression fittings seal the instant they go on the pipe due to an innovative O-ring design.  The O-ring is held captive in the body of the fitting in a specially designed groove. This simple piece of engineering means the O-Ring can’t fall out, get contaminated or become easily damaged like other compression fittings.


While most have openings of the same size on each end, some fittings are designed with different-sized openings and serve as the transition from one size pipe to another. The following briefly explains some of the different PLASSON fittings, where and how they are used.


To see the full range of PLASSON metric compression poly pipe fittings click here…

PLASSON METRIC COMPRESSION TEES FOR POLY PIPE

Tee Fittings & Wye Fittings
Tees and wyes are used to connect three pieces of pipe. Tees can have one inlet and two outlets at 90-degree angles in the shape of a “T” and are used to split a supply line, or they can combine two lines into one outlet. You often see tee fittings connected to potable water supply lines. A wye is shaped like a “Y” with the two inlets coming together at roughly 45-degrees into a single outlet in drain applications.


Elbow Fittings
Elbows change the direction of flow between two pipes. Common elbows have 90-, 60-, 45- and 22 ½-degree bends and are used to make a turn. They can be joined together to move around obstructions in a pipe run.

Coupling & Adapter Fittings
Pipe couplers slip over the outside of two pipes to connect them. A coupling can be a reducer, or reducing coupling, meaning they reduce flow by joining a larger pipe to a smaller size. Adapters are used when connecting two pipes of different types. For example, an adapter could be fitted on the end of a plain pipe to allow a threaded connection at the other side of the adapter, or to connect poly pipe with another pipe material, like copper.

PLASSON OFFERS A RANGE OF METRIC COUPLING FITTINGS FOR PLUMBING

Bushing Fittings
Bushings, sometimes called reducer bushings, are used for connecting two pipes of different sizes. The larger diameter of the bushing fits inside of the larger pipe. The smaller pipe is then inserted into the smaller end of the bushing.

Flange Fittings
A flange is a flat, round fitting that creates a tight seal with bolts or clamps. They are used when pipes pass through walls, ceilings and floors. They are also used in electrofusion installations to connect valves to main lines.

Plasson Australia BSP threaded fittings range


Cap Fittings
A cap fits over the end of a pipe to stop the flow of water or gas. These fittings can be used for the permanent termination point of a pipe or used temporarily to cut off supply during a plumbing or pipeline project. 

Plug Fittings
Plugs used at the end of a pipe to seal the opening, similar to a cap. The difference is that a plug fits into the threaded pipe opening to make the seal while caps fit over the opening. They are commonly found at cleanout locations for sewer systems.

PLASSON METRIC COMPRESSION ADAPTORS FOR CONNECTING PE PIPE
https://merchant.plasson.com.au/metric-compression-fittings/


Nipple Fittings
Nipples are short sections of pipe that are male-threaded at each end and used for connecting two female-threaded pipe ends or fittings.


Ag Pipe Fittings
Agricultural pipe is widely used for stock watering, water mains, irrigation systems and bore water reticulation. PLASSON rural couplings and clamp saddles are specially designed to connect imperial-size polyethylene pipes from ¾” to 2″. The range is compatible with PELD, PEHD, PE40, PE80 and PE100 pipes complying with AS/NZS 4130. PLASSON’s special red barbed inserts fit a range of pipe dimensions so that ag pipe can be easily connected without the need for any tools.

Rural Ag pipe couplings from Plasson Australia

The PLASSON range includes solutions for most plumbing situations. You can take a look at the catalogue for the full range here….

TOP SOLUTIONS: POLY PIPE REDUCING FITTINGS

PLASSON reducing adaptor sets can be inserted into will existing PLASSON poly pipe fittings to reduce the size of the outlet whilst maintaining pressure ratings and eliminating leak risk.

THE POLY PIPE ABC’S: PN TO SDR

Why does poly pipe have a coloured stripe?  

And what about the markings on PE pipe….

The external stripes on polyethylene stripe indicates the type of medium it contains:

blue stripe = mains water

red = fire mains

purple = recycled water

yellow = gas

green = agricultural

Polyethylene, or PE, pipe has been successfully used throughout the world for more than 50 years. The main benefits of PE pipes and fittings are corrosion resistance, high strength, toughness and flexibility, so it’s no wonder it is a popular choice of water worldwide.

Aside from the colour indicating what is being carried by the pipe, there is valuable detail printed on the pipe too.

What is PN?

PN is printed on the pipe and, in the case of blue line pipe this is PN16. The acronym PN stands for Pressure nominal.  When a pipe has a rating of PN16, it is designed to handle 16 Bar internal pressure. This pipe can also be used to carry compressed air.

Metric Poly Pipe comes in different diameters, with popular sizes being 63mm and 25 mm, and in different pressure ratings:

PN10 which has a maximum pressure rating of 1000kpa
PN12.5 which is for a maximum of 1250kpa
PN16 for a maximum of 1600kpa

What is OD?

The OD is also printed on the pipe.  This is the Outside Diameter, or OD, of the pipe measured in ‘mm’.

The there is also the acronym SDR, which stands for Standard Dimension Ratio. When the outside diameter of the pipe is divided by the SDR, it gives the thickness of the pipe wall.

These are all important measurements to know and understand when installing pipes that will carry fluid under pressure.

What is PE100?

Pipe that carries potable water in Australia is made from PE100 which is a type of plastic resin that has been proven to have a minimum required strength (MSR) of 100 at 50 years and 20 degrees celcius.  But the operational service life of PE pipelines is dependent upon a number of factors that include: raw material quality, processing conditions, installation, the aggressiveness of the fluid transported, operating pressure and temperature.

‍Click to watch how OD, SDR and PN work together

Wondering how to join pieces of pipe of different sizes?   PLASSON make it simple.  Reducing sets and reducing fittings are the quick and reliable way to connect different diameter HDPE pipe.

Reducing sets are literally a set of inserts which fit inside PLASSON poly pipe joiners to change the diameter of pipe the coupler is compatible with. The sets come in two size ranges and offer an economical way to use standard fittings as poly pipe joiners on different diameter pipe work.

Compression reducer fittings are engineered with different sized outlets to match common pipe sizes and are usually PN16 rated. Reducer compression fittings are made from PE100 and are precision molded to they are light yet tough.

Using a compression reducing tee off a metric HDPE pipe provides a smaller size outlet to the main pipe
Compression reducing tees are often used to supply water or other fluids from a main pipeline
The smaller off-take will have less flow than the original pipeline

Read more

LEAK-FREE POLY PIPE JOINS

Poly pipe joiners are easy to use, they are long lasting and corrosion-resistant.  As with all pipe lines, joins mean there is a potential for leaks. But, by paying attention to key steps in the installation process, it is possible to achieve leak-free joins.

Incorrect installation
When pushing the plumbing fittings onto the pipe, ensure the pipe is fully inserted. If the fitting is only partially inserted onto the pipe it will not create a watertight seal. When the pipe is traveling through the fitting you will feel some resistance. This can mean you think the pipe has been pushed all the way into the fitting.   Making a witness mark will help show how far the pipe needs to be inserted in order to reach half way into the fitting.

Pipe issues

In order to seal tightly inside the fitting, pipe ends need a clean, straight cut. If the end is jagged or uneven, it will not create a watertight seal

If the tubing is cut on an angle, it is unlikely to seal and could also nick the O-ring

One way to avoid these issues is to cut pipe with a pipe cutter rather than a blade or saw

Read more