Pipe clamps, or pipe fixings, are best defined as the s […]
Pipe clamps, or pipe fixings, are best defined as the support mechanism for suspended pipes, whether that be horizontal overhead or vertical, adjacent to a surface. They are vital in ensuring all pipes are fixed securely while also allowing for any pipe movement or expansion that may occur.
Pipe clamps come in many variations as the requirements for pipe fixing can range from simple anchoring in place, to more complex scenarios involving pipe movement or heavy loads. It is essential that the right pipe clamp is used to ensure the integrity of the installation. Pipe fixing failure can cause significant and costly damage to a building so it is important to get it right.
Temperature variations can cause pipes to expand and contract. If the correct fixings and clamps are not used to take into account the pipe movement due to temperature changes, the installation could fail and cause damage to the building.
Before you can select the right clamps to deal with thermal expansion, you first need to calculate the level of thermal expansion on the pipework.
The size of the pipe will influence the type of clamp you need, since all clamps will only be available in certain minimum and maximum diameters. For example, single screw clamps often have a more limited size range as they have to hinge open on one side, so are suited to smaller pipes.
Larger pipes will often need two screw clamps, traditional fixings or heavy duty clamps which are manufactured to suit larger sizes and heavier loads.
All pipe clamps have a maximum load bearing capacity, which means you need to select a clamp which is suitable for supporting the load required.
As an example, you may require special heavy duty pipe clamps with a high safe working load to ensure the pipes are secured properly. These can also help you achieve maximum bracket distances between clamps as they are able to take more force.
The environment into which your pipe clamp will be installed can affect the type of clamp you should use. For example, if the installation is external and exposed to the weather, this is an important consideration and will more than likely require a pipe clamp with a special coating for corrosion resistance.
Pipes made from different materials will react very differently in certain scenarios. For example, there are many different types of plastic pipe (PE, PVC, PA, PP etc). Each has a different temperature resistance, and different resistance levels to chemicals such as oils, greases, acids, chlorine etc. This can affect what type of clamp should be used. For example, plastic pipes should usually be secured with a lined metal clamp or plastic clamp. An unlined metal clamp can lead to corrosion if used on a plastic pipe.
Then there are different types of metal pipe – steel, iron, copper and so on. This can determine what kind of pipe clamp can be used, for example, stainless steel pipe clamps cannot be used to fix a copper pipe as the two metals will react. So a nylon coated or plastic clamp must be used.
Some construction projects can have special requirements such as noise insulation or fast installation needs. In these cases, there are specialist clamps that can be used.
For example, if the requirement is to install the pipe clamps as quickly as possible, a one screw clamp that requires no tools would be better than a two screw clamp. For noise insulation, pipe clamps with rubber lining will provide soundproofing.