Compressed air pipe systems are used to transport compressed air in industrial and commercial settings. The choice of material for these pipes is crucial, as the wrong material can result in leaks, corrosion, and other issues that can compromise the efficiency and safety of the system. Here are some of the most commonly used materials for compressed air piping systems:
Aluminum: Aluminum pipe systems are lightweight and easy to install, making them an ideal choice for compressed air systems that require frequent modifications. They are also highly resistant to corrosion. The initial cost of materials can be more expensive than steel or iron but that is offset in the dramatic decrease in labor costs.
Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion, making them an ideal choice for compressed air systems that operate in harsh environments. They are also very durable and can handle high-pressure applications. Stainless steel is more costly than any other piping system, while its function is great it should really be reserved for high pressure or clean environments.
Copper: Copper piping is a popular choice for compressed air systems due to their excellent thermal conductivity and corrosion resistance. They are also lightweight and easy to install (when compared to steel or iron). Copper piping was the go to system for many years but has become more costly and with advances in other material systems also more labor intensive to install.
Galvanized Steel: Galvanized steel pipe systems are commonly used in compressed air systems due to their durability and resistance to corrosion. Galvanized steel is very heavy and installation is relatively labor intensive making the system no longer a preferred choice.
Black Iron: Black iron is a cost-effective option for compressed air systems. They are easier to install then say stainless steel and can handle high-pressure applications. Black iron pipe can rust (and will) over time and may require regular maintenance to prevent leaks. The cost of damage to downstream equipment can also be a negative factor.
Plastic: Plastic pipes, such as PVC or polyethylene, are a cost-effective option for compressed air systems that operate at low pressure. They are lightweight, easy to install, and highly resistant to corrosion. However, plastic pipes may not be suitable for high-pressure applications, and they can be prone to cracking or breaking over time.