White PaperMechanical & Fluid Systems

A Comparison of Fittings


This report reviews styles of fittings commonly used with plastic and rubber tubing. Included are barbed designs, push-to-connects, compression types with multiple components, and heavy-duty cam couplings. Materials such as polyethylene, polypropylene, nylon, acetal, PFA and brass are covered.

The paper explains each fitting’s features, applications, material availability, installation steps, and the tubing materials with which each works best. For example, push-to-connect fittings are typically used with rigid and semi-rigid tubing. But they can be adapted for soft tubing materials like PVC, polyurethane, and silicone with use of a tube support. Barbed fittings, however, work only with softer tubing materials, as the tubing needs to give a bit to fit tightly around the barbs to help ensure a leak-free seal.

Clamps for fitting attachment – ear, worm gear and double bond – are included in this paper. Each has its place, depending on the application. Ear-type clamps are breathable and can expand or contract with temperature changes. They require a special tool for installation but are compact and lightweight. Worm gear or screw clamps are easy to install and adjust. One size clamp can work within a range of tubing sizes, i.e., a 1” nominal O.D. worm gear clamp can work with tubing O.D. sizes from 11/16” through 1-1/2”. Nylon double bond or double grip clamps will not rust or corrode and require no tools for installation. However, double bond clamps, like worm gear clamps, are not as space saving as ear type clamps.

Fitting comparison charts illustrate differences and similarities in an easy-to-read format in this paper. The charts cover fitting styles (tees, wyes, elbows, adapters, etc.), clamp requirements, usage tips, material availability and more.

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