Selecting The Correct Test Plug Materials
Testing the piping system in your home or building is essential for many reasons. It helps reveal problems like cracks and other damage that would affect the pipe's functioning. Therefore, it's imperative to test your piping system regularly to identify potential issues early enough and avoid high repair costs. In addition, testing your pipes also ensures your system runs efficiently. Generally, whenever you need to test your piping system, you will need to seal them off to protect other areas in your building connected to the pipe, protect the pipe from damage and isolate the problematic areas. To do this, you need test plugs or pipe plugs. Plugs are made from a wide range of materials, and this guide will help you choose the best for your needs.
Think About the Environment
Where do you intend to use the test plugs? Pipes are generally used in different temperature, moisture and chemical conditions. Therefore, the test plug material you choose should be resilient to withstand the conditions around your pipes. For instance, your test plug has to withstand both high and low temperatures. With that in mind, silicone is among the best materials to use when considering resistance to high and low temperatures. Other materials like vinyl and plastics such as nylon and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) can also withstand high temperatures.
If you need chemically resistant test plugs, plastics should be among your top considerations. However, while having excellent resistance to chemicals, some plastics like high-density polyethylene (HDPE) tend to perform poorly in oily and greasy environments. Thermoplastic rubber is also an alternative worth considering. For moisture resistance, vinyl test plugs would be the ideal choice.
Flexibility is crucial during pipeline testing. That's because some tests, like pressure tests, subject the pipes to different pressure levels. While it's always best to invest in a test plug that withstands your pipe's pressure system, you need to invest in test plugs that allow for stretching without splitting, tearing or breaking. In addition, flexibility comes in handy when dealing with irregularly shaped piping systems, as you will want something that's easy to fit and remove.
Many test plug materials are flexible. For instance, some plastics like PVC and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) are among the flexible options you will find. Paper (crepe) is also another option to consider when considering flexibility. However, for the perfect results, go for rubbers like ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM). It's among the most highly flexible rubbers you will find in the markets. However, it tends to have low-temperature resistance. Therefore, if your application involves high temperatures, choose silicone instead.