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#529851 - 08/28/04 05:07 AM PVC Pipe For Air Lines
Ugly3 Offline


Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 2635
Loc: Chicago
My Grandson and I recently ran 200 feet of air line in their barn. We used 3/4" PVC for the long runs and 1/2" for the drops.

Now I read that some compressor makers do not recommend PVC pipe for air lines.

Anyone have any experience?

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#529852 - 08/28/04 05:29 AM Re: PVC Pipe For Air Lines
Rick in PA Online   content


Registered: 01/04/03
Posts: 2165
Loc: Southeastern, PA
While I don't have first hand experience, I seem to remember reading an article on the subject in Hydrulics & Pneumatics magazine. If I remember correctly PVC wasn't recommended for compressed air systems because it could shatter on failure, creating plastic shrapnel. I believe ABS was recommended because it was resistant to shattering on failure. At least that's how I remember it...

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#529853 - 08/28/04 06:34 AM Re: PVC Pipe For Air Lines
Mickey_M Offline


Registered: 08/13/04
Posts: 1001
Loc: Baltimore
quote:
Originally posted by Ugly3:
My Grandson and I recently ran 200 feet of air line in their barn. We used 3/4" PVC for the long runs and 1/2" for the drops.

Now I read that some compressor makers do not recommend PVC pipe for air lines.

Anyone have any experience?

It's on OSHA's verboten list.

http://www.lni.wa.gov/WISHA/regs/PDFs/WRD5.40-PVCPipe.pdf

"In enforcing the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA), the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) sometimes encounters the use of PolyVinyl Chloride (PVC) pipe as part of compressed air systems. Compressed gas contains a huge amount of stored energy. Any external incidental damage to the pipe, a nip or an unusual pressure surge in the system can greatly compromise the integrity of PVC pipe. PVC pipe also can be damaged by oil and other contaminants contained in the air supply. Subsequently, failure of the pipe can result in an explosion with fragments of shattered pipe flying in all directions. The potential for injuries resulting from such accidents is significant. There is a history of explosion in the state and the hazard should be widely recognized. Manufacturers will not accept liability for unapproved PVC piping used to carry compressed air. Furthermore, the Plastic Pipe Institute has warned against using PVC pipe for compressed air purposes."

http://www.osha.gov/dts/hib/hib_data/hib19880520.html

Information Date: 19880520
Record Type: Hazard Information Bulletin
Subject: The Use of Polyvinyl Chloride Pipe in Above Ground Installations.

"When PVC piping explodes, plastic shrapnel pieces are thrown in all directions."

"'We're seeing more incidents of explosive failure, and we're citing more employers for using PVC air system piping,' said Paul Merrill, senior safety inspector in L&I's Spokane office."

"'It's probably just a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured in one of these explosions unless everyone pays more attention to the manufacturer's warnings,' Merrill said.
Last year, a section of PVC pipe being used for compressed air exploded 27 feet above a warehouse floor. A fragment of the pipe flew 60 feet and embedded itself in a roll of paper. Fortunately, nobody was in the area at the time.
A PVC pipe explosion in a new plant in Selah broke an employee's nose and cut his face."

"PVC piping buried 3 feet underground at a Yakima manufacturing plant exploded, opening up a crater approximately 4 feet deep by 3 feet across."

"Only one type of plastic pipe has been approved for use with compressed air. That pipe, Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS), is marked on the pipe as approved for compressed air supply."

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#529854 - 08/28/04 02:02 PM Re: PVC Pipe For Air Lines
Ugly3 Offline


Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 2635
Loc: Chicago
Oh Oh - time to re-pipe with ABS!

Thanks.

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#529855 - 08/29/04 04:46 AM Re: PVC Pipe For Air Lines
Amkeer Offline


Registered: 05/06/03
Posts: 2426
Loc: Florida
Copper is good...

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#529856 - 09/25/04 10:46 AM Re: PVC Pipe For Air Lines
Anonymous
Unregistered


I would suggest steel...it's designed for compressed air. 1.5" is the smallest size ABS comes in.

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#529857 - 10/04/04 09:16 AM Re: PVC Pipe For Air Lines
Chris142 Offline


Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 11461
Loc: apple valley, ca
The shop I work at has 3/4 inch plastic pipes for air lines. Been there for over 20 years, never had one break. I "think" they are rated for 300psi, we run 150psi.

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#529858 - 10/04/04 11:31 AM Re: PVC Pipe For Air Lines
Anonymous
Unregistered


quote:
Originally posted by Chris142:
The shop I work at has 3/4 inch plastic pipes for air lines. Been there for over 20 years, never had one break. I "think" they are rated for 300psi, we run 150psi.

I drove 100 miles an hour on the highway tonight...didn't kill anybody or get a ticket. Does that mean I should do 100 every time I'm on the highway? [Wink] NO PVC manufacturer says their PVC is good for use with compressed air, for good reason.

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#529859 - 10/05/04 09:28 AM Re: PVC Pipe For Air Lines
tom slick Offline


Registered: 05/26/03
Posts: 8596
Loc: Central Coast, Calif.
quote:
The shop I work at has 3/4 inch plastic pipes for air lines. Been there for over 20 years, never had one break. I "think" they are rated for 300psi, we run 150psi.
I dare you to go whack it with a hammer [crushedcar]

the issue isn't if it can hold the pressure, it's what happens when the pipe is damaged. PVC shatters and becomes a fragmentation bomb. ABS, Compper and iron pipe do not shatter when damaged.

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#529860 - 10/06/04 11:27 AM Re: PVC Pipe For Air Lines
goodoleboy Offline


Registered: 12/09/03
Posts: 429
Loc: US
Wow, its like having a pipe bomb in your home!

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#529861 - 10/09/04 11:12 PM Re: PVC Pipe For Air Lines
BlueOvalFitter Offline


Registered: 02/28/03
Posts: 3566
Loc: Cajun Country, La.
Going on my 23rd year as a pipefitter,ide recommend piping it in type "L" or "K" copper.Ive installed many of low pressure air lines (25 psi or less) using SCH.80 gray pvc pipe.Also,galvanized,stainless,and carbon steel.We use sch.80 gray pvc for our chemical feed systems,when it is specified.Overall,its cheaper in the long run to pipe it in copper.

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