Fire suppression systems and fire sprinklers can use pipe of several varieties, most commonly steel (black pipe or galvanized pipe), copper tubing, or plastic pipe (CPVC and polybutylene are permitted by NFPA).
In the case of steel pipe, pe fitting may be threaded, welded or make use of cut or rolled-groove end pipe and connectors which employ ring-and-cam systems to couple pipes together. The connectors are fast and easy to install and eliminate the cost and complexity of other techniques such as welding. As a result, these ring- and-cam systems seem to be quite prevalent in this industry.
Cut grove connections are generally permitted by specification on Schedule 40 or higher pipe, where higher schedule numbers indicate increased pipe wall thickness. Rolled grove pipe connection types are permissible on any wall thickness.
Copper tubing where used in sprinkler applications is generally brazed, but limited use of soldered connections is permissible by NFPA 13 for applications that are characterized by a low risk of hazard and light occupancy.
Plastic pipe can be used in some fire suppression and sprinkler applications, per NFPA 13. For CPVC, solvent joining of standard socket weld fittings is the usual method of connecting the CPVC pipe fittings to the sprinkler pipe. In limited light residential applications, cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) pipe has also been employed. For plastic pipe use, additional care needs to be taken to provide adequate support to the system and to protect the pipe and fittings from direct fire exposure.
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