Gas is one of the most important utilities that we use in our everyday life, mainly in the kitchen. Our stoves primarily use natural gas as its main fuel and thus it is crucial for us to maintain its supply through a durable medium.
In this extract you will learn which metallic element is best suited for use with natural gas.
Can I use brass for natural gas?
Brass can be used for natural gas piping due to its durable and flexible nature compared to other material options. It is also resistant to corrosion and chemical resistance – which makes it a common element for carrying water, flammable gasses, chemicals and other materials.
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Brass is not a naturally occuring metal and is an alloy – which means it is made from a combination of two metals such as copper and zinc.
The different proportions of copper and zinc gives brass varying properties from either both the elements or a completely new property.
These properties made brass resistant to corrosion and chemicals while being durable – making it an ideal element for making pipes for carrying water, gas and chemicals as well.
Besides pipes, it is also used for making gears, bearings, locks, fittings and even bullet casings. Brass is also viable economically for widespread use as it has a low melting temperature while being malleable – meaning they can be bent or molded into different shapes.
Brass also has an antimicrobial nature, although that does not seem very useful when used in natural gas pipes but incase of water lines, they are very useful in maintaining hygiene by removing disease-causing bacteria within hours of contact.
The properties that make brass suitable is its resistance to corrosion from chemicals and rust due to humidity. Metals are usually vulnerable to corrosion and rust but that does not pose a threat to brass even in exposure to the most corrosive chemical.
And this resistance makes them less likely to have leaks or cracks – which is crucial for gas lines.
Besides brass pipings, brass is also used for brass fittings due to the same reason brass is used for piping – resistance to corrosion and rust more than any other metals.
Usually rust and corrosion of metal fittings cause the pipe connections to go loose and lead to leakage – which is excessively dangerous as it poses serious fire hazards.
Is brass ok for natural gas?
Leakage and cracks in pipes carrying natural gasses is one of the biggest issues which could lead to fire hazards and other severe accidents.
Metallic pipes are commonly used to carry flammable gasses such as natural gas but their reactive nature with the humidity of the air or any chemicals cause their surfaces to rust and corrode.
With enough rust and corrosion the interior of the pipes could get exposed and cause leakages.
However, brass is an alloy of copper and zinc which does not have similar reactive nature as other metals. Their properties prevent them from being rusted or corroded as they are exposed to high humidity or corrosive chemicals. Thus brass can be considered okay for natural gas.
This is a crucial matter to consider while drawing gas pipelines because other metallic pipes would get rusted and corroded to leak gasses. And if those gasses leak into an enclosed area, exposure to sparks or open flames would result in a devastating accident.
Can you use brass compression fittings for gas?
Similar to brass piping, brass is also used for compression fittings in gas lines due to its non-corrosive and rust resistant nature. Compression fittings are used for joining two pipes or tubes together and prevent leakages from the joint.
But if the compression fitting is made of metals vulnerable to rust or corrosion, then the joint will not be durable and long-lasting. This increases the chance of leakage at the joints and risk of fire hazard.
Brass fittings on the other hand do not have the risk of facing rust or corrosion therefore they can firmly join and hold two pipes together for a long time without running the risk of leakages.
Why is brass used for gas fittings?
Metals have been traditionally used for gas pipings and fittings due to their rigidity, however, there are some critical issues and risks that accompany the use of naturally occuring metals in gas pipings and fittings.
That is where metal alloys such as brass gains the advantage – which is described in the list below:
Durable and malleable:
Metals are known mostly for their rigid and durable nature and also their ability to be molded into different shapes. Brass is no different as it is quite malleable while being durable – this makes brass a prime candidate for being processed into gas fittings.
Rust and corrosion resistant:
What makes brass a more favorable material for gas fittings is its rust and corrosion resistant properties. Most metals are unsuitable for use as gas fittings in the long run because they rust and corrode – which leads to leakages in the pipe joints and runs the risk of fire hazard.
Brass on the other hand undergoes no such reaction and therefore are the perfect choice of material to use as gas fittings.
Lower production cost:
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc with a low melting temperature. Since copper and zinc are found in relative abundance, the production cost of brass is comparatively low which makes them suitable and economically viable for widespread use in gas pipes and fittings.
The low melting temperature also reduces the cost of molding the shape of the brass to form fittings – thus reducing the industrial cost.
When to use brass for natural gas?
Different types of pipes can be used in natural gas lines to serve the same purpose, but not all pipes are equal and some have advantages over the other while being disadvantageous to another.
Typically natural gas lines can be drawn using metal pipes, plastic pipes such as pvc or pex or alloys such as brass pipes.
Plastic pipes are a strong contender against brass pipes due to their inertness to chemical reaction as well as resistance to corrosion and rust.
However, the disadvantage of plastic pipes is that they cannot retain their shape in high temperatures and their internal molecular structure begins to weaken. And since gas lines are used to carry flammable gasses, using plastic pipes are usually not used for gas lines.
Metal pipes on the other hand do not have this issue regarding temperature but in case of humidity or exposure to corrosive chemicals, they can rust or corrode – causing leakage in the gas line.
And a flammable gas leakage poses a serious fire hazard which makes it unsuitable for use in exposed areas.
But brass is suitable for use in any situation whether there is high temperature or humidity due to its metallic resistance to high temperature and non-reactive nature with humidity or chemicals.
Can I use brass to cap a gas line?
When a gas line is not in use, it is highly recommended to seal the line with a gas cap to prevent the gas from leaking out.
Putting the cap on does not mean that there is no gas in the gas line, therefore it is important to use a suitable material that can withstand various environmental changes and still seal off the gas line for a long term.
However, it is important to note what material the gas line is made of to ensure that the gas line does not leak after several years. Most commonly concrete caps are used to seal off gas lines and it is one of the most effective ways to seal off an unused gas line as well.
But there are other options as well which allows you to seal off unused gas lines just as effectively. Gas caps made of non-reactive elements such as brass can be used to cap off unused gas lines.
Since gas lines are often unused, they could be exposed to many harsh environmental fluctuations and the brass cap is durable enough to withstand that.
What kind of pipe is used for natural gas outside?
Gas lines are one of the most crucial utilities that we use almost everyday, therefore we should know what kind of pipes can be used for natural gas lines. The types of pipes are listed down below:
- Galvanized Steel pipe
- Black Iron pipe
- Brass pipe
- PVC pipe
- HDPE pipe
- Copper pipe
- PEX pipe
Since it is more robust and flexible than other materials, brass is often utilized for use in natural gas pipings. It is also resistant to corrosion and chemicals, making it a suitable element for transporting water, combustible gasses, chemicals, and other fluids.