When it comes to welding, nothing is more important than to ensure precise measurements have been taken in order to achieve the highest quality weld. This is especially the case for socket welding, which requires a gap between the two pipes being joined to allow for expansion and contraction of the pipe due to temperature changes. Aquasol welding has two products on the market that ensure a precise even gap is realized to meet quality control objectives every time. SoluGap is a water-soluble spacer ring that is inserted into the socket weld to create a gap for pipe expansion. SoluGap provides the 1/16ʺ (1.6 mm) minimum gap required by ANSI 31.1, Section III, ASME, US Navy, and Military Codes, eliminating the need for pre-measuring and guesswork. SoluGap is also available in 1/8″ (3.2 mm) thickness. Aquasols’ alternate, the traditional solution is SteelSpace, a spacer ring composed of 316L stainless steel. SteelSpace also provides the 1/16″ (1.6 mm) minimum gap required by US Navy & Military Codes and is known as the “Marine Grade” for its increased resistance to corrosion.
A gap between the two pipes in a socket weld means the difference between a good weld and a bad weld. Socket welding gap rings are used to eliminate cracked welds by providing a space for the pipe to expand into as it becomes warmer in temperature. The more heat is applied, the more materials tend to expand and soften. In the case of piping systems, linear expansion and contraction caused by this expansion could lead to costly mistakes when a pipe joint expands so much it cracks. For example, if a run of pipe is constrained at both ends, as it heats up linear expansion will cause compressive stress on the material. When this undue force exceeds the allowable stress on the material, it will result in damage to the pipe and potentially brackets, fittings, and valves. Therefore, the use of socket welding gap rings reduces the need of having to cut and replace pipe if the weld has failed due to the expansion of the pipe and lack of a gap.
When assuring the correct measurement for your socket weld gap, the best option for both accuracy and consistency is the selection of a socket weld spacer ring. Spacer rings eliminate the need for hand measuring the gap between the two joining pipes simply by just being inserted into the socket gap and taking up the space that is needed for the gap. A spacer ring can then either be removed by the introduction of water, if it is a water-soluble socket weld spacer ring, or become a permanent part of the weld. The premeasured, standardized width of spacer rings ensure it can be trusted to give an accurately measured gap every time. And that matters, because you might trust any old yardstick to measure and cut a fence post, but not to make a precision measurement when it comes to an important weld in the medical, food, nuclear or energy industry.
While most people rarely give them a second thought, standards are vital to the safe and efficient operation of virtually every part of our infrastructure. ASME Standards are set in place to ensure the highest quality specifications are used for a number of different applications. These standards are set to generally accepted specifications and provide manufacturers and service providers an industry-approved benchmark for which to design and offer their products. ASME B31.1 prescribes minimum requirements for the design, materials, fabrication, erection, test, inspection, operation, and maintenance of piping systems typically found in electric power generating stations, industrial and institutional plants, geothermal heating systems, and central and district heating and cooling systems. It is globally recognized as the leader in providing consensus standards for the field of mechanical engineering. The 1/16th” gap for socket welds is accepted as an ASME standard because it is proven to limit cracked socket welds.
Aquasol Corporation ensures the accuracy of its SteelSpace and SoluGap products through its adherence to ASME Standards so that our customers can be confident the required gap is maintained to produce a quality weld every time an Aquasol product is used. This way when you perform your next socket weld using one of Aquasols’ products you can eliminate the need of scribing and measuring the 1/16th″ measurement on the pipe. This is the simplest way to ensure quality control measures are met and guarantee the pipe maintains a lasting weld.
SoluGap and SteelSpace are both widely trusted across many industries given that they are uncomplicated to install and the most cost-effective way to maintain quality control for socket weld gaps. SoluGap and SteelSpace are used in the following industries:
Food processing, Pharmaceutical, Nuclear, and aeronautical, Nuclear and power plants, Petrochemical plants and refineries, Industrial hydraulics, Water heaters and boilers, Railroad air brake, Shipbuilding and more.