Piping and plumbing systems may become faulty as they age. For this reason, regular testing of your pipes is crucial to ensure they function correctly. Whenever there's a need to test your pipes, test plugs will always come in handy. These handy devices are fastened at the end of the pipes being tested, blocking them to ensure no interference with your entire piping system. However, test plugs are available in many options. Therefore, to narrow down your options, you will need to evaluate some factors. Test plugs are made from different materials, and one way to find the ideal models for your project is to choose based on material. Here's a quick materials guide to help you.
Metal is one of the most common test plug materials you will find. And when it comes to metals, brass tends to be a popular option. It's highly durable and strong, ideal for heavy-duty applications. The material doesn't crack with time and has immense resistance to corrosion or rust and extreme temperatures.
Plastic test plugs are a more economical alternative to their metal counterparts. They come in many options like high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polyester blends, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene (PP), and nylon. Generally, most plastic test plugs are flexible with excellent heat and chemical resistance properties. However, each plastic type has different properties that may make it ideal or unsuitable for your application. For instance, high-density polyethylene may not work well in oily and greasy applications.
Canvas and nitrile reinforced ballistic nylon are some of the standard fabrics used to make pipe test plugs. They are cost-effective and flexible, making them suitable for many applications. The nylon, for instance, is durable and puncture-resistant, ideal for high-expansion applications.
Rubber is another popular material used to make pipe test plugs. Like plastics, rubber is highly flexible due to its elastic nature. Also, rubber comes in a wide range of options with similarities as well as different properties, especially regarding chemical and temperature resistance. For instance, silicone and ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) are the standard rubber types you will find. Both have high weathering resistance, are excellent electrical insulators, withstand high temperatures, and stand up to chemicals to varying extents.
Generally, EPDM performs better in water resistance than silicone. However, it's not as durable as silicone and is highly susceptible to hydrocarbon fuels, oils, and greases. On the other hand, silicone is highly flexible. It's also longer lasting and can withstand higher temperatures.