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A flange is used to mechanically connect two pipes together. It can also be

used to mechanically connect a pipe to a tee, valve, choke or any other piece
of equipment to form a pipework system. Flanges are available in round,
square, and rectangular shapes. In some cases, flanges are usually in the
shape of a ring or a plate to form a rim at the end of a pipe when fastened to
the pipe
It also provides easy access for cleaning, inspection or modification. Flanges
are usually welded or screwed into such systems and then joined with bolts.

Commonly used flange designs have a soft gasket squeezed between harder
flange surfaces to form a leak-free seal. The various gasket materials are
rubbers, elastomers, soft polymers covering a springy metal(e.g., PTFE
covered stainless steel), and soft metal (copper or aluminum).

Materials used:

Various materials used in the making of flanges are as follows:

Steel, Stainless Steels, Cast Iron, Brass, Galvanized steel, Carbon Steel,
Aluminum, Copper, Polypropylene, PVC etc.

Flange Types
Weld Neck:
This flange is circumferentially welded into the system at its neck which
means that the integrity of the butt welded area can be easily examined by
radiography. The bores of both pipe and flange match, which reduces
turbulence and erosion inside the pipeline. The weld neck is therefore
favoured in critical applications.
The weld neck (or welding neck) flange is bored to the ID of the pipe and
has a high neck to which pipe is welded. Probably the best welding flange
available because of its high, heavy neck.

Applications: Used wherever a sound welded joint connection is needed or

in critical applications.

The slip-on flange has a low hub and is bored slightly larger than the OD of
the pipe. This flange is welded on both inside and outside of the flange face
to prevent leakage. This flange is slipped over the pipe and then fillet
welded. Slip-on flanges are easy to use in fabricated applications

Applications: Used in lieu of welding necks when cost or space is a major

This flange is used to blank off pipelines, valves and pumps, it can also be
used as an inspection cover. It is sometimes referred to as a blanking flange.
This flange is a solid circle drilled to match a companion flange.

Applications: Used to shut off or blank off piping.

Socket Weld:
This flange is counter bored to accept the pipe before being fillet welded.
The bore of the pipe and flange are both the same therefore giving good flow
The socket weld flange is bored to the ID of the pipe and counter bored
slightly larger than the OD of the pipe to allow the pipe to be inserted and
welded in place.

Applications: Used for 4” and smaller high pressure systems.

This flange is referred to as either threaded or screwed. It is used to connect
other threaded components in low pressure, non-critical applications. No
welding is required. The bore of this flange is threaded to match the pipe

Applications: Used for low presure systems and where welding could be

Lap Joint:
These flanges are always used with either a stub end or taft which is butt
welded to the pipe with the flange loose behind it. This means the stub end
or taft always makes the face. These lap joint flanges slip over the pipe, and
are not welded. They are otherwise fastened to it. The lap joint is easily
assembled and aligned. To reduce cost these flanges can be supplied without
a hub and/or in treated, coated carbon steel.

Bored slightly larger than the OD of the pipe, the radius on the bottom
matches the radius on the stub end. It is slipped over the pipe and a stub
end is welded onto the pipe. The flange is then slipped over the stub end
and bolted up. The lap joint flange with the stub end assembly are normally
used in systems requiring frequent dismantling for inspection and cleaning

Applications: Used for systems that need frequent cleaning and/or


Ring Type Joint:
This is a method of ensuring leak proof flange connection at high pressures.
A metal ring is compressed into a hexagonal groove on the face of the flange
to make the seal. This jointing method can be employed on Weld Neck, Slip-
on and Blind Flanges.

Orifice Flange:
Orifice Flanges are intended for use instead of standard pipe flanges when an
orifice plate or flow nozzle must be installed. Pairs of pressure "Tappings",
mostly on 2 sides, directly opposite each other, are machined into the orifice
flange. This makes separate orifice carriers or tappings in the pipe wall

On the image above a set Orifice Flanges is shown, where the tappings are
sealed with a plug, and where a jack screw is machined. This jack screw is
used to facilitate separating the flanges for inspection or replacement of the
"Orifice Plate".

Long Weld Neck Flange:

Long Weld Neck Raised Face (LWNRF) flanges are similar to a standard
Welding Neck flange, but the "Neck" is considerably longer. This type is
often used as a nozzle for a barrel or column.

In addition, there are the type LWN Heavy Barrel (HB) and the Equal LWN
Barrel (E); they have a different shape and a thicker "Wall".

Expander Flange:
Expander Flanges is a Welding Neck pipe flange where the nominal size of
the non-flanged end is larger than the nominal size of the flanged end. They
can be used to change the size of a pipe run.

These are usually used to increase the line size to the first or second larger
size. This is an alternative to using a separate reducer and weld neck flange
combination. The expander flange can be used to connect pipe to pumps,
compressors and valves.

Reducing Flange:
Reducing Flanges are suitable for changing line size, but should not be used if
abrupt transition would create undesirable turbulence, as at pump connections.
a reducing flange consists of a flange with one specified diameter having a
bore of a different and smaller, diameter.

Except for the bore and hub dimensions, the flange will have dimensions of
the larger pipe size.

Flange faces

Different types of flange faces are used as the contact surfaces to seat the
sealing gasket material.Various types of flange facings including the raised
face, the large male and female facings which have identical dimensions to
provide a relatively large contact area. Other flange facings covered by these
standards include the large and small tongue-and-groove facings, and the ring
joint facing specifically for ring joint type metal gaskets.

Raised Face (RF):

The Raised Face flange is the most common type used in process plant
applications, and is easy to identify. It is referred as a raised face because the
gasket surfaces are raised above the bolting circle face. This face type allows
the use of a wide combination of gasket designs, including flat ring sheet
types and metallic composites such as spiral wound and double jacketed types.
The purpose of a RF flange is to concentrate more pressure on a smaller
gasket area and thereby increase the pressure containment capability of the
joint. Pressure rating of the flange determines the height of the raised face.
The typical flange face finish for RF flanges is 125 to 250 µin Ra (3 to 6 µm

Flat Face (FF):

The Flat Face flange has a gasket surface in the same plane as the bolting
circle face. Applications using flat face flanges are frequently those in which
the mating flange or flanged fitting is made from a casting.
Flat face flanges are never to be bolted to a raised face flange. ASME B31.1
says that when connecting flat face cast iron flanges to carbon steel flanges,
the raised face on the carbon steel flange must be removed, and that a full face
gasket is required. This is to keep the thin, bittle cast iron flange from being
sprung into the gap caused by the raised face of the carbon steel flange.

Ring-Type Joint (RTJ):

The Ring Type Joint flanges are typically used in high pressure and/or high
temperature services above 800°F (427°C). They have grooves cut into their
faces which steel ring gaskets. The flanges seal when tightened bolts compress
the gasket between the flanges into the grooves, deforming the gasket to make
intimate contact inside the grooves, creating a metal to metal seal.

An RTJ flange may have a raised face with a ring groove machined into it.
This raised face does not serve as any part of the sealing means. For RTJ
flanges that seal with ring gaskets, the raised faces of the connected and
tightened flanges may contact each other. In this case the compressed gasket
will not bear additional load beyond the bolt tension, vibration and movement
cannot further crush the gasket and lessen the connecting tension.

Tongue-and-Groove (T&G):

The Tongue and Groove faces of this flanges must be matched. One flange
face has a raised ring (Tongue) machined onto the flange face while the
mating flange has a matching depression (Groove) machined into it's face.
Tongue-and-groove facings are standardized in both large and small types.
They differ from male-and-female in that the inside diameters of the tongue-
and-groove do not extend into the flange base, thus retaining the gasket on its
inner and outer diameter. These are commonly found on pump covers and
Valve Bonnets. Tongue-and-groove joints also have an advantage in that they
are self-aligning and act as a reservoir for the adhesive.

General flange faces such as the RTJ, T&G and the F&M shall never be
bolted together. The reason for this is that the contact surfaces do not match

and there is no gasket that has one type on one side and another type on the
other side.

Male-and-Female (M&F):

With this type the flanges also must be matched. One flange face has an area
that extends beyond the normal flange face (Male). The other flange or mating
flange has a matching depression (Female) machined into it's face.

The female face is 3/16-inch deep, the male face is 1/4-inch high, and both are
smooth finished. The outer diameter of the female face acts to locate and
retain the gasket. Custom male and female facings are commonly found on the
Heat Exchanger shell to channel and cover flanges.

Advantages and disadvantages of T&G and M&F flange faces

Better sealing properties, more precise location and exact compression af
sealing material, utilization of other, more suitable sealing and spezialized
sealing material (O-rings).
Commercial availabillity and cost. Normal raised faced is far more common
and ready available both regarding Valves, flanges and sealing material.
Another complexity is that some rigid rules must be applied to the piping
design. Do you order Valves to be female end both sides, or on one side
maybe, in which case do you point all male ends in the flow direction, or
what. Same applies to any flanged joint / vessel connection of course.