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Thread seal tape (also known as PTFE tape, Teflon tape, or plumber's tape) is a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) film tape commonly used in plumbing for sealing pipe threads. The tape is sold cut to specific widths and wound on a spool, making it easy to wind around pipe threads. Thread seal tape lubricates allowing for a deeper seating of the threads, and it helps prevent the threads from seizing when being unscrewed.The tape also works as a deformable filler and thread lubricant, helping to seal the joint without hardening or making it more difficult to tighten, and instead making it easier to tighten.
Typically the tape is wrapped around a pipe's thread three times before it is screwed into place. It is commonly used commercially in applications including pressurized water systems, central heating systems, and air compression equipment.
Temperature Range: -268°C to +260°C (-450°F to +500°F). PTFE is completely stable up to +260˚C (500˚F). Decomposition is slow up to 400°C (750°F). Decomposition will occur on contact with open flames.
There are two US standards for determining the quality of any thread seal tape. MIL-T-27730A (an obsolete military specification still commonly used in industry in the US) requires a minimum thickness of 3.5 mils and a minimum PTFE purity of 99%. g/cm3. Relevant standards may vary between industries; tape for gas fittings (to UK gas regulations) is required to be thicker than that for water. Although PTFE itself is suitable for use with high-pressure oxygen, the grade of tape must also be known to be free from grease.The second standard, A-A-58092, is a commercial grade which maintains the thickness requirement of MIL-T-27730A and adds a minimum density of 1.2
Thread seal tape used in plumbing applications is most commonly white, but it is also available in various colors. It is often used to correspond to color coded pipelines (US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand: yellow for natural gas, green for oxygen, etc.). These color-codes for thread sealing tape were introduced by Bill Bentley of Unasco Pty Ltd in the 1970s. In the UK, tape is used from coloured reels, e.g. yellow reels for gas, green for oxygen.
In Europe, the BSI standard BS-7786:2006 specifies various grades and quality standards of PTFE thread sealing tape.
Thread seal tape is appropriate for use on tapered threads, where the sealing force is a wedge action. Parallel threads may not seal effectively with or without tape, as they are intended to be sealed by a gasket.
Thread seal tape is almost always applied by hand, although at least one machine is available for production wrapping of fittings.
Thread seal tape is also commonly used in the stretching of body piercings, through a process known as taping, because it is inert and safe for this use. The wearer wraps a layer of tape around a plug and uses the jewellery, adding another layer every few days, thus gradually stretching the piercing.
Overuse or misapplication of thread seal tape may be a hazard. Excess application of tape can prevent mating threads from fully engaging, reducing the shear point of the threads. Combining thread seal tape with a pipe dope compound can also overload threads. Also, internal overhangs of loose material may constrict a joint or slough off and form a foreign body that could jam a valve seat. Therefore, use of tape as a thread sealant is generally not considered appropriate in fluid power (hydraulic) systems.
Familiarity with the Teflon brand of fluoropolymers has led to the name becoming a generic trademark, and the practice of any PTFE-based thread seal tape being referred to as "Teflon tape". Chemours, owner of the Teflon trademark, no longer manufactures any thread seal tape,but objects to this practice.
Most references to "plumber's tape" nowadays refer to thread seal tape; however, the original use in the plumbing trade describes a strap of material with holes in it used for supporting pipes and fixtures.
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene that has numerous applications. The well-known brand name of PTFE-based formulas is Teflon by Chemours. Chemours was a spin-off from DuPont, which originally discovered the compound in 1938. Another popular brand name of PTFE is Syncolon by Synco Chemical Corporation.
Plumbing is any system that conveys fluids for a wide range of applications. Plumbing uses pipes, valves, plumbing fixtures, tanks, and other apparatuses to convey fluids. Heating and cooling (HVAC), waste removal, and potable water delivery are among the most common uses for plumbing, but it is not limited to these applications. The word derives from the Latin for lead, plumbum, as the first effective pipes used in the Roman era were lead pipes.
A flange is an external or internal ridge, or rim (lip), for strength, as the flange of an iron beam such as an I-beam or a T-beam; or for attachment to another object, as the flange on the end of a pipe, steam cylinder, etc., or on the lens mount of a camera; or for a flange of a rail car or tram wheel. Thus flanged wheels are wheels with a flange on one side to keep the wheels from running off the rails. The term "flange" is also used for a kind of tool used to form flanges. Pipes with flanges can be assembled and disassembled easily.
A plumber is a tradesperson who specializes in installing and maintaining systems used for potable (drinking) water, sewage and drainage in plumbing systems.
A gasket is a mechanical seal which fills the space between two or more mating surfaces, generally to prevent leakage from or into the joined objects while under compression.
A plumbing fixture is an exchangeable device which can be connected to a plumbing system to deliver and drain water.
In modern plumbing, a drain-waste-vent is part of a system that allows air to enter a plumbing system to maintain proper air pressure to enable the removal of sewage and greywater from a dwelling. Waste is produced at fixtures such as toilets, sinks, and showers. As the water runs down, proper venting is required to avoid a vacuum from being created. As the water runs down air must be allowed into the waste pipe either through a roof vent, or the "drain waste vent."
American National Standard Pipe Thread standards, often called national pipe thread (NPT) standards for short, are U.S. national technical standards for screw threads used on threaded pipes and pipe fittings. They include both tapered and straight thread series for various purposes including rigidity, pressure-tight sealing, or both. The various types are each named with a symbol and a full name; examples of the symbols include NPT, NPS, NPTF, NPSC, and others.
Viton is a brand of FKM, a synthetic rubber and fluoropolymer elastomer commonly used in seals, chemical-resistant gloves, and other molded or extruded goods. The name is a registered trademark of The Chemours Company previous Du Pont de Nemours and was introduced in 1957.
An O-ring, also known as a packing or a toric joint, is a mechanical gasket in the shape of a torus; it is a loop of elastomer with a round cross-section, designed to be seated in a groove and compressed during assembly between two or more parts, creating a seal at the interface.
A compression fitting is a fitting used in plumbing and electrical conduit systems to join two tubes or thin-walled pipes together. In instances where two pipes made of dissimilar materials are to be joined, the fittings will be made of one or more compatible materials appropriate for the connection. Compression fittings for attaching tubing (piping) commonly have ferrules in them.
A stuffing box is an assembly which is used to house a gland seal. It is used to prevent leakage of fluid, such as water or steam, between sliding or turning parts of machine elements.
A pipe is a tubular section or hollow cylinder, usually but not necessarily of circular cross-section, used mainly to convey substances which can flow — liquids and gases (fluids), slurries, powders and masses of small solids. It can also be used for structural applications; hollow pipe is far stiffer per unit weight than solid members.
British Standard Pipe (BSP) technical standards for screw threads that has been adopted internationally for interconnecting and sealing pipes and fittings by mating an external (male) thread with an internal (female) thread. It has been adopted as standard in plumbing and pipe fitting, except in North America, where NPT and related threads are used.
A threaded pipe is a pipe with screw-threaded ends for assembly.
A coupling is a very short length of pipe or tube, with a socket at one or both ends that allows two pipes or tubes to be joined, welded (steel), brazed or soldered together.
A fitting or adapter is used in pipe systems to connect straight sections of pipe or tube, adapt to different sizes or shapes, and for other purposes such as regulating fluid flow. These fittings are used in plumbing to manipulate the conveyance of water, gas, or liquid waste in domestic or commercial environments, within a system of pipes or tubes.
Pipe dope is any thread lubricant, thread sealing compound, and anaerobic chemical sealants that are used to make a pipe thread joint leak proof and pressure tight. It is also referred to as "thread compound" or "pipe thread sealant." Although common pipe threads are tapered and therefore will achieve an interference fit during proper assembly, machining and finishing variances usually result in a fit that does not result in 100 percent contact between the mating components. The application of pipe dope prior to assembly will fill the minute voids between the threads, thus making the joint pressure tight. Pipe dope also acts as a lubricant and helps prevent seizing of the mating parts, which can later cause difficulty during disassembly.
FFKMs are perfluoroelastomeric compounds containing an even higher amount of fluorine than FKM fluoroelastomers.
A cam and groove coupling, also called a camlock fitting, is a form of hose coupling. This kind of coupling is popular because it is a simple and reliable means of connecting and disconnecting hoses quickly and without tools.