Flanges according to their definition listed on Wikipedia, are a useful component of connecting pipes or other materials to one another. These pieces of hardware/method of connection serve as a reliable joint between two pipes and can even help with maintenance through means of being a more-readily accessible access point for cleaning or repairs. Meanwhile, it is also a reliable and strong point to build off of or add to when constructing a building or other structure.
Types of Flanges
Flanges come in all shapes and sizes and materials. According to Explore the World of Piping’s (EWP) website, there are slip-on, socket-weld, and lap joint flanges that are all different examples and each has its use. Each different job and the desired result will determine which will be utilized. The materials that are used to create quality flanges are brass, bronze, plastic, or even cast iron according to the EWP website. What determines this? Flanges serve as the joint of piping and will usually match the piping that it’s being used for. For example, EWP states that if a pipe is made out of plastic, the flanges that serve as joints for this system will be made of plastic. Meanwhile, a cast iron piping system will have cast iron flanges.
Alternatives to Flanges
EWP explains on their webpage about flanges that another method of making a connection that a flange might serve is by simply welding the materials together. This would be done to avoid some of the negative factors of using a flange in a pipe system. Welding obviously wouldn’t be able to be done to plastic piping. Some of these negatives are the possibility of leaks, increased cost, and the need for more space for the piping system–EWP explains that welded piping takes up less space.
Unique Flange Uses
Flanges have more uses than just to connect piping. Flanges are even used by trains. According to Wikipedia and Reliance Foundry, the protruding nature on one side of the wheel of a train keeps the train from slipping off the track and causing all sorts of issues. The protruding lip is on the inside edge of the circular wheel.
Additionally, a flange can be utilized to seel a vacuum chamber. The tight-sealed nature of a well manufactured/installed flange can seal in the air within a tube according to Wikipedia. Meanwhile, flanges can be installed and used within microwaves and even ski boots. Ski boots are a great way to visualize what exactly a particular flange does. The lips on either side of the boot, as explained by Wikipedia, hook into the boot and act as a connection point between the ski and the boot itself. The connection needs to be secure of the skier will slide out from his or her skis and be injured. The material for these unique purposes would vary as well–just as they would for a piping system based on the surrounding material or the need for the flange.