Glossary of Terms

  • Understanding Camlock Fittings

    Camlock fittings are used in a variety of industries to connect two hoses or pipes together quickly and easily. Also known as a cam and groove coupling, the camlock fitting does not require any tools to connect or disconnect the two halves. The ease with which this type of fitting works, and its affordability, make the camlock one of the most popular types of couplings worldwide.

    Benefits of Camlock Fittings

    FluiPro Camlock Fitting
    There are numerous benefits you will find when using camlock fittings aside from their cost-effectiveness. Here are just some of the benefits you will experience:
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  • Common Uses for Camlock Couplings

    Camlock couplings, also referred to as cam and groove fittings, are becoming increasingly popular in many industries. The innovative technology of the camlock coupling provides a simple and reliable method for connecting and disconnecting hoses without the use of extra tools. Not only are they amazingly easy to use (see a video on how to use camlock couplings here), they are also extremely versatile and are suitable for a variety of different settings and purposes.B-style coupling

    Camlocks are heavy duty couplings. As a result, these handy tools can be used in homebrew, agricultural, military, and industrial environments.  The most common uses for camlock couplings take place in industrial environments because hoses in industrial settings tend to be of larger diameters.

    Camlock Applications

    Camlock couplings are great for the transfer of both dry and fluid materials. There are a variety of camlock uses, such as transferring food, water, fuel, or sand and making them suitable for almost any industry. Because of the variety of substances that can flow through the camlock, it is important to choose the right material for the job. Common camlock applications and their materials are:

    • Stainless Steel Camlocks are best suited for acid, alkali, and corrosive substances.
    • Polypropylene and Nylon Camlocks can be used in the chemical industry, for transmitting liquid, and for irrigation in the agricultural industry.
    • Brass Camlocks work very well for transmitting salty water. They are suitable for most environments except for acid and alkali.
    • Aluminum Alloy Camlocks are great for use with fresh water or mixtures of oil and water.

    While Camlock couplings are extremely versatile, there are some types of substances that are not suitable for use with any type of camlock couplings. Cam and groove couplings should not be used for steam applications. Using Camlocks for steam is very dangerous and could result in an explosion. For more information about why camlocks should not be used with steam, visit the Industrial Knowledge Zone.

    Camlock Coupling Styles and Sizes

    The style is very important when deciding which camlock to use. The camlock uses vary from style to style in the same way as with the materials. Below is a brief description of the different types of camlock styles you can encounter: A-Style Coupling

    • A: male adapter with a female thread
    • B: female coupler with a male thread
    • C: coupler with a shank (hose barb)
    • D: coupler with a  female thread
    • E: adapter with a shank
    • F: adapter with a male thread
    • DC: dust cap
    • DP: dust plug

    Camlock couplings are handy tools that can benefit so many products. It is very important to understand camlock applications so that you can choose the proper tool for the job. Another important factor in the selection of camlock, is selecting the correct size for the job. Check out our article on how to choose the right size camlock coupling here.

    When looking for the perfect cam coupling, make sure you start with us! Our large selection of Camlock Fittings includes Camlock Couplings and Camlock Caps.

  • Malleable vs. Ductile Iron

    black malleable iron elbow fitting
    People know us for our plastic products (hint: it's in our name), but we are fans of everything to do with piping. Metal pipe, fittings, valves, and filters are no exception! This blog post is titled "Malleable vs. Ductile Iron" and will lay out a comparison between malleable and ductile iron.

    You may be thinking, "If they're both iron, they should behave basically the same, right?" That's a great question, but the answer is no. These are two iron alloys with different chemical compositions, so you cannot always use them interchangeably. First, we will look into the history of these materials. Then we will lay out the physical properties of each material. Finally, we will investigate common applications for each material.

    Iron History

    Humans have been manipulating iron to build things for centuries, maybe even millennia. However, most improvements to iron are somewhat modern. Until recently, the strongest types iron were "gray" and "white" cast iron. To make cast iron equipment, molten iron was molded in a cast. They had to do this because hammering cast iron breaks it. Gray and white iron were structurally sound, but cracked if bent or expanded.

    Malleable iron was the first iteration that could be hammered and bent into shape. This made it much easier to work with and less likely to fail. In 1943, however, ductile iron was developed. The difference between malleable and ductile iron was toted to be strength. This would allow ductile iron to be more easily bent and manipulated without breaking. So which material is actually better? Let's list their physical properties.

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  • Block Valve: What It Is & How It's Used

    If you've ever read our blog, you may know a thing or two about valves. We've posted an overview of butterfly valves, guides to cleaning and fixing ball valves, and even a semi-comprehensive list of the most common types of valves. Until now, however, we have not mentioned block valves. But the term "block valve" describes many of the valves we've talked about.

    The strictest definition of "block valve" (or shutoff valve) refers to it as "any valve that has the capacity to block movement in one or more directions." Usually, however, people use the term when referencing a valve that can totally prevent or allow motion. This means that a block valve should A) be able to completely stop flow when closed and B) allow fluid motion to happen unrestricted when open. Flow is either completely allowed or completely denied when a block valve is in action.

    In this post we will cover the most common types of valves that fall under the "block valve" umbrella. This could help you when choosing block valves for your next project!

    Types of Block Valves

    An important detail about block valves is that their name is not an official classification of a specific type of valve. Rather, it is a broad description of several types of valves that are designed to block flow.

    Several valves immediately disqualify themselves from being block valves due to their design. Globe valves are a type of control valve that, because of their design, limit flow regardless of how far open they are. The same is true of butterfly valves, which have discs right in the middle of the pipeline. The following are a few types of valves that have block valve characteristics.

    Ball Valves

    PVC ball valve with red handleBall valves are probably the most common type of valve there is, especially in the PVC applications we tend to see.These valves are usually used to totally turn on/off flow in a system using a spherical seating with a hole in it. This hole allows liquid to flow through when the valve is in the "on" position.

    Some ball valves are available in "full-bore" configurations, which means the hole in the ball is the same diameter as the pipeline. Full-bore ball valves are perfect examples of block valves, as they are not ideal for slowing down or limiting flow, but excel at completely stopping it and letting it pass uninterrupted. Ball check valves are not block valves, as they typically limit flow even when being pushed open by liquid.

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  • PEX Piping vs Flexible PVC

    pex piping vs flexible pvc

    In this day and age, there are many interesting and creative piping methods. One of the most popular materials for home plumbing right now is PEX (cross-linked polyethylene), an intuitive system of tubing and fittings that is flexible enough to move around obstacles in floors and walls while also being tough enough to withstand corrosion and hot water. PEX piping connects to plastic or metal fittings at hubs in the system with crimps instead of glue or welding. When it comes to PEX piping vs flexible PVC, which is the better option?

    Flexible PVC is exactly what it sounds like. It is a type of flexible tubing with the same sizing as regular PVC and that can be attached to PVC fittings with flexible PVC cement. Flexible PVC is usually much thicker than PEX tubing, as it has schedule 40 dimensions and wall thickness. Keep reading to find out whether PEX tubing or flexible PVC is better for your application!

    Material Composition

    These two materials may seem similar due to their flexible nature, but their composition, application, and installation, are totally different. We will start by looking at the materials. PEX stands for cross-linked polyethylene. It is made from high-density polyethylene that has cross-linked bonds in the polymer structure. This sounds complicated, but it just means that this material is flexible and can handle high pressures (up to  180F for plumbing applications).

    Flexible PVC is made from the same basic materials as regular PVC: polyvinyl chloride. However, plasticisers are added to to the compound, making it flexible. Flexible PVC can withstand temperatures from -10F to 125F, so it is unfit for hot water. Despite this, it is still extremely useful in several applications, which we will cover in the next section.

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  • Glossary of PVC Terms

    We've put together a list of the most common PVC terms and jargon and made them easy to understand. All terms are listed in alphabetical order. Find the definition of the PVC term you're wondering about below!


    ASTM – stands for American Society for Testing and Materials. Known today as ASTM International, this is a leader in international standards use for safety, quality and consumer confidence. There are a number of ASTM standards that apply to PVC and CPVC pipe and fittings.


    Belled End – bell end pipe is made to flare out at one end, allowing another piece of pipe to slide into it without the need for a coupling. This option is usually only relevant for use in long stretches of straight pipe line.


    Bushing – a fitting used to reduce the size of a larger fitting. Sometimes called a "reducer bushing"


    Class 125 – this is a type of large diameter schedule 40 PVC fitting that is similar in every way to a standard schedule 40 fitting EXCEPT that it has not been through testing. Class 125 fittings are generally less expensive than standard sch. 40 PVC fittings of the same type and size and are therefore used commonly for applications where tested and approved fittings are not required.


    Compact Ball Valve – a relatively small ball valve usually made of PVC that offers a simple on/off function. The valve cannot be taken apart or easily repaired and so it is generally the least expensive ball valve option.


    Coupling – a fitting that slips over the ends of two pieces of pipe to join them together


    CPVC (Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride) – a material similar to PVC in its rigidity, corrosion resistance, and chemical resistance. CPVC, however, has a higher temperature tolerance than PVC. The maximum working temperature of CPVC is 200F compared to 140F (standard PVC)


    DWV – stands for Drain Waste Vent . A system of PVC created to handle non-pressurized applications.


    EPDM – (Ethylene Porpylene Diene Monomer)  a type of rubber used for sealing PVC fittings and valves.


    Fitting – part of a pipe line used to fit together sections of pipe. Fittings can come in all shapes, sizes, and materials.


    FPT (FIPT) – aka Female (Iron) Pipe Thread. This is a type of threading that is found on the inside lip of a fitting, allowing connection to a MPT or male pipe threaded end. FPT/FIPT threading is commonly used for PVC and CPVC piping systems.


    Furniture Grade PVC – a type of pipe and fitting made especially for use in non-liquid handling applications. Furniture grade PVC is not rated for pressure and should only be used for structural/recreational applications. Unlike standard PVC, furniture grade PVC is made without any markings or obvious blemishes.


    Gasket – a seal that goes between two surfaces to create a water-tight seal that is leak-free.


    Hub – a type of DWV fitting end that allows pipe to slide into the end.


    ID – (Inside Diameter) the greatest distance between the two inside walls of a piece of pipe.


    IPS – (Iron Pipe Size) a common sizing system used for PVC pipe, also known as Ductile Iron Pipe Standard or Nominal Pipe Size Standard.


    Modular Seal – a seal that can be put in place around a pipe to seal the space between the pipe and the surrounding material. These seals are commonly made up of links that are assembled and tightened to fill the space between the pipe and a wall, floor, etc.


    MPT – aka MIPT, Male (Iron) Pipe Thread – a type of threaded end found on PVC or CPVC fittings where the outside of the fitting is threaded to facilitate connection with a female pipe threaded end (FPT).


    NPT – National Pipe Thread – the US standard for tapered threads. This standard allows NPT threaded fittings to fit together in a water-tight seal.


    NSF – (National Sanitation Foundation) a system of standards for public health and safety.


    OD – Outside Diameter – the longest straight distance between the outside of a piece of pipe on one side to the outside of the pipe wall on the other side. A common measurement in PVC and CPVC piping.


    Operating Temperature – the temperature of the media and immediate surroundings of a pipe line. PVC has a maximum recommended operating temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.


    O-Ring – a ring shaped gasket usually made from an elastic material. O-rings are found in some PVC fittings and valves and are used a seal to create a water-tight joint between two (usually moving or removable) pieces.


    Pipe Dope – the slang term for pipe thread sealant. This is a pliable material that is applied to the threads of fittings before installation to ensure a water-tight and long-lasting seal.


    Plain End – standard end type for pipe. Unlike belled end pipe this pipe is the same diameter the entire length of the pipe.


    PSI – Pounds per Square Inch – a unit of pressure used to describe the maximum recommended pressure to put on a pipe, fitting or valve.


    PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) – a rigid thermoplastic material that is corrosion and chemical resistant. Used commonly in a wide range of commercial and consumer products around the world, PVC is known for its use in media handling pipe.


    Saddle – a fitting used to create an outlet in pipe without cutting or removing the pipe. Saddles generally clamp on to the outside of a pipe allowing a hole to then be drilled for the outlet.


    Sch – abbreviation for Schedule – the wall thickness of a piece of pipe


    Schedule 40 – usually white, this is a wall thickness of PVC. Pipe and fittings can come in various "schedules" or wall thicknesses. This is the most commonly used thickness for home projects and irrigation.


    Schedule 80 – usually gray in color, schedule 80 PVC pipe and fittings have a thicker wall than schedule 40 PVC. This makes sch 80 able to withstand higher pressures. Sch 80 PVC is commonly used for commercial and industrial purposes.


    Slip – See Socket


    Socket – an end type on a pipe fitting that allows the pipe to slide into the fitting to create the connection. In the case of PVC and CPVC, a solvent cement is used to weld the two pieces together.


    Solvent Weld – a method of joining pipe and fittings by applying a solvent chemical softener to the material.


    Spigot (Sp or Spg) – a type of fitting end that fits inside of another socket fitting of the same size (Note: This fitting does NOT fit inside of pipe! No pressure fittings are designed to fit inside of pipe)


    Threaded – a type of end on fittings in which a series of interlocking tapered groves come together to form a water-tight seal.


    True Union – a style valve that has two union ends that screw off to allow the valve to be removed from the surrounding pipe line after installation.


    Union – a type of fitting used to join two pieces of pipe. Unlike couplings, unions use a gasket seal to create a removable connection between pipe.


    Viton – a brand name fluoroelastomer used in gaskets and o-rings to provide a seal. Viton is a registered trademark of DuPont.


    Working Pressure – the recommended pressure load on a pipe, fitting or valve. This pressure is usually denoted in PSI or pounds per square inch.

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