What’s a cast iron pipe?

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Cast iron pipes are made by melting pig iron with scrap metal and casting it in a mold. They transport sewage and potable water and come in eight grades. Cast iron pipes have been used since the 15th century and are still used in sewer and drain lines. There are two types of cast iron soil pipes, hubless and hub and spigot. Ductile iron pipes, which are stronger and more flexible, have largely replaced cast iron pipes for new water and sewer lines.

A cast iron pipe is a metal pipe made by melting pig iron together with significant amounts of scrap iron and metal and casting it in a mold. It usually transports sewage and sewage and is also used for venting and transporting potable water. Cast iron pipe is available in eight grades, A through H, rated in increments of 100 head feet (30 meters head), which is the measure of pressure generated by a given water height. One foot of head equals 0.434 psi (305 kg/m²).

Although cast iron was invented in China in the 4th century BC, it wasn’t used for piping until much later. The first documented cast iron pipe was laid in Germany around 1455, and the French laid a network of cast iron pipes to supply water to the city of Versailles in the 1600s. In 1804, Philadelphia became the first city in the United States to use cast iron pipes for the ‘waterfall. While not used to carry water as widely as materials like copper, cast iron pipe continues to be used in sewer and drain lines around the world. Larger cities in Europe and the United States contain thousands of miles of cast iron pipes, many of which have been in service for over 100 years.

There are two varieties of cast iron soil pipe, each with distinctive joining methods. Hubless tubes have no hub, allowing a joint to be fitted to the straight ends of the tube. The joint can then be tightened to create a seal. The other variety is hub and spigot pipes, the fittings of which are unique. In this format, the spigot, or straight end, of one pipe is made to fit into the hub of another. A compression gasket usually made of rubber is used to seal this joint.

Early methods of manufacturing cast iron pipes by forming them into horizontal and vertical dies gave birth to the deLavaud centrifugal process in the early 1900s. To complete this process, a die is spun while the molten metal is slowly poured and then cooled. with water. Ductile iron pipes, invented in 1948, are produced in a similar process, but with the addition of trace amounts of magnesium or cerium to create a stronger and more flexible metal. They have largely replaced cast iron pipes for use in new water and sewer lines. Ductile iron pipes have flanges that are threaded or welded to the ends of the pipes and are joined by mating the flanges and connecting them with bolts.

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