Specifying Pipe Nipples and Threaded Fittings for Robust Piping Connections

Aug 28, 2023 | NEWS

From commercial plumbing to industrial plants, threaded pipe connections are ubiquitous for joining pipe segments. The humble pipe nipple plays a central role, working in conjunction with associated fittings like elbows, tees and couplings to create leak-free piping runs. Understanding nipples and female threaded fittings ensures proper material selection for long service life.

Pipe Nipple

Pipe Nipple Basics

A pipe nipple is simply a short length of pipe, usually ranging from 1-12 inches in length. They are available in various common materials:

  • Black Iron – Standard carbon steel, affordable but prone to corrosion. Used in non-critical applications.
  • Galvanized – Carbon steel coated with a zinc layer to resist rust. Suitable for indoor and protected uses.
  • Stainless Steel – Corrosion-resistant 316 stainless resists outdoor exposure and chemicals. Most durable choice.
  • Brass – Corrosion resistant for potable water use but more costly. Provides aesthetic appeal.
  • PVC – Lightweight Schedule 80 PVC nipples for chemical resistance. Restricted pressure ratings.

Nipple ends feature male National Pipe Threads for connecting to associated fittings and valves. Specifying appropriate material and threading is essential for service conditions.

Importance of Female Socket Fittings

Female threaded fittings provide the mating receptor to engage with nipples to complete connections:

  • Elbows – Change flow direction 90 or 45 degrees.
  • Tees – Branch flow from the main run.
  • Unions – Allow easy joint separation for maintenance.
  • Bushings – Adapt between different pipe sizes.
  • Couplings – Connect two pipe ends.

Like nipples, carbon steel socket female threaded fitting must match piping material and threads. Stainless and brass fittings are recommended for reliability. Use proper thread sealant to ensure leak-tight joints.

The lowly galvanized carbon steel nipple pipe fittings may seem insignificant, but proper material selection and pairing with suitable female-threaded fittings enables safe, leak-free joins in piping systems small and large. They form the fundamental building blocks of reliable piping runs.