Did you know that back in the day, pipes and connectors were handmade? Before the Industrial Revolution led to mass production, pretty much everything was handmade. Naturally, this resulted in pipes and fittings that weren’t held to one standard.
The Birth of Standardized Pipe Measurements
However, mass production of pipes and related hardware brought about positive changes. Based on the need to know how much product could flow through pipes, standard measurements were based on the inside diameter. Of course, knowing whether pipes could be connected was also essential, so an outside diameter measurement standard was also necessary. Additionally, piping workers were interested in the thickness of the pipe walls. Along the way, common fittings were labeled according to the standardized pipes they would fit.
Modern Confusion and Questions
But wait?! Why are there so many issues regarding modern pipes? For a clear answer, consider aerospace fittings? Today, buying pipes and their appropriate fittings is much more complicated than matching a ½” pipe to a ½” fitting. Modern purchases require knowledge of categories of pipe, piping materials, purposes of the pipes, and more.
More Progress Brings New Considerations
Consider the importance of aerospace fittings. You may not give much thought to the pipes and fittings running throughout an airplane when you’re traveling to a much-awaited vacation. If the connections between those pipes weren’t secure, you’d quickly realize the consequences. Modern technology and many advancements have led to many categories of standards.
Materials, Purposes, Contents …
The purchase of pipes and related hardware does require a lot of specific knowledge, not just about the connections, but also about the materials running through the pipes, the forces and environment that pipes are exposed to, and how well piping materials can withstand those exposures. It can be frustrating to study copper tubing size (CTS) one day and to learn iron pipe size (IPS) the next, but each specialized measurement standard is the result of progress.
The next time you’re tempted to curse the differences between CTS and IPS standards, and you can’t find your fittings chart, remember how far the piping industry has come. Who knows what the next fifty years will bring?