THE BASICS OF STEEL FLANGES
Stainless steel flanges provide an easy access for cleaning, inspection or modification. They usually come in round shapes but they can also come in square and rectangular forms. The flanges are joined to each other by bolting and joined to the piping system by welding or threading and are designed to the specific pressure ratings; 150lb, 300lb, 400lb, 600lb, 900lb, 1500lb and 2500lb.
A flange can be a plate for covering or closing the end of a pipe. This is called a blind flange. Thus, flanges are considered to be internal components which are used to support mechanical parts.
Each flange material is to be considered for its application prior to ordering, this is due to the structural integrity of the application that the flange will be used on.
Currently, the most common materials for flanges are:
• ASTM A105/A266 Gr.2 (high temperature carbon steel flanges)
• ASTM A350 LF1 to LF3 (low temperature carbon steel flanges)
• ASTM A694 Gr. F42/F52/F56/F60/F65 (high yield carbon steel flanges to match API 5L linepipes)
• ASTM A182 Gr. F1/F2/F5/F9/F11 Cl.2/F12 Cl.2/F22 Cl.3/F91 (alloy steel flanges)
Stainless / Duplex Steel
• ASTM A182 F304/304L, 316/316L, 321, 347, 348 (stainless steel flanges), 904/904L
• ASTM A182 F51 (duplex flanges)/F53-F55 (superduplex flanges)
Nickel Alloys / Superalloys
• ASTM B166 UNS NO6600 (Inconel 600)
• ASTM B564 UNS N06625 (Inconel 625)
• ASTM B425 UNS-NO8800 (Incoloy 800)
• ASTM B564 UNS N08825 (Incoloy 825)
• ASTM B160 UNS N0200 (Nickel 200)
• ASTM B564 UNS N04400 (Monel 400)
• ASTM B564 UNS N10276 (Hastelloy C-276)
• ASTM B381 Gr.2 (Titanium)
In industry, flanges, including stainless steel flate flanges, stainless steel slip on flanges, and stainless steel weld neck flanges, form a vital connecting link for piping, valves and other equipment. They provide an easy point of access for cleaning, inspection, modification, and for necessary repairs. A flanged joint provides a strong seal in a closed system, and is made by bolting together a gasket flanked by two flanges.
In heavy industry, these flanges need to be especially resilient or they can prove to be the weak point in a system. It is important therefore, to ensure that the flanges you are choosing are up to the task.
Why are stainless steel flanges preferred for industrial use?
In all metal applications, corrosion is a constant consideration. Rust, chemicals and other environmental factors all take their toll on metals. Therefore, the choice of flange would need to be resistant to these factors. Stainless steel outperforms other metal flanges – including carbon steel – due to its high resistance to corrosion.
Stainless steel is incredibly strong and durable, capable of withstanding immense pressures. By comparison, aluminium may be a cheaper option but it is softer and not as reliable under heavy stress.
Any system or piece of equipment is only as strong as its weakest part. Joins and welds are traditionally a weak point, so it would be wise to make sure that your choice of metal is correct for the application.
Depending its use, a flange may need to withstand high very temperatures. The correct grade of stainless steel flange would ensure that there is no warping or deformation which would compromise the system.
Cheaper, lower grade metal flanges may be fine for certain applications, but if you want your system or equipment to work at maximum capacity, then you should consider spending a little more on stainless steel flanges.
WHAT ARE PIPE FLANGES AND HOW DO THEY WORK?
Offering a reliable way to connect pipe systems with the various equipment, valves, and other components of virtually any processing system, flanges are the second most used joining method after welding.
Using flanges adds flexibility when maintaining piping systems by allowing for easier disassembly and improved access to system components.
A typical flanged connection is comprised of three parts:
In most cases, there are specific gasket and bolting materials made from the same, or approved materials as the piping components you wish to connect. Stainless Steel flanges are some of the most common, and mostly stainless steel threaded flanges. However, flanges are available in a wide range of materials so matching them with your needs is essential.
Other common flange materials include Monel, Inconel, Chrome Moly, and many others depending on the application.
The best option for your needs will depend on both the system in which you intend to use the flange and your specific requirements.