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What Are Hydraulic Fittings Made Of

Hydraulic fittings come in different materials. So, if you need to purchase some fittings, it’s important to consider what material to go for.

This is because when you use the wrong fitting material for your system, you shorten the fitting’s lifespan. In addition, it could lead to leaks, damages or injury to the personnel manning the system.

what are hydraulic fittings made of

To ensure you get it right, we discuss the different materials hydraulic fittings are made of and their best applications.

Different Materials Used In Making Hydraulic Fittings

Listed below are the most common materials used in making hydraulic fittings.

Plastic

Plastic hydraulic fittings are the most affordable in the market. It’s unsurprising since plastic is not expensive to produce — not as expensive as metal in particular. However, plastic hydraulic fittings are not suitable for most hydraulic systems.

Physically, they are brittle and not durable and, as a result, are not ideal for high-pressure applications. Plastic will also fail in high-temperature hydraulic systems.

A seeming advantage of plastic over other hydraulic fitting materials is that it is corrosion-resistant. But this “advantage” is not really an advantage. This is because while plastic does not rust like metal, it deteriorates. So, with time, it loses quality as it comes in contact with corrosive elements.

Plastic hydraulic fittings are only suitable for simple, basic hydraulic systems. For example, hydraulic systems that operate under minimal temperature and pressure and convey non-corrosive fluids.

So, in an industrial setting, it’s almost impossible that you’ll ever need to use plastic hydraulic fittings.

Carbon Steel

Most hydraulic fittings you’ll find are made of steel. Usually, it’s either carbon steel or stainless steel. Considering carbon steel, it’s a strong and durable hydraulic fitting material.

Carbon steel is the go-to hydraulic fitting material for high-temperature hydraulic systems. The material is able to operate at temperatures ranging from –54°C to 260°C. Due to this, different hydraulic fitting standards support carbon steel, including JIC, NPT, SAE, and BSP.

As you’d expect, the main components in carbon steel fittings are carbon and iron. Some manufacturers, however, strengthen the quality of the fittings with zinc coatings. This is a notable advantage since it makes the fittings more durable.

Another advantage of carbon steel is that they are less expensive than stainless steel. But note that carbon steel does rust. Even though it’s corrosion-resistant, especially with the zinc coating, it’s less resistant than stainless steel.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is the most popular for hydraulic fittings. If you use a stainless steel hydraulic fitting, you’ll agree it’s the best for fighting corrosion.

This characteristic, the ability to fight corrosion, makes stainless steel a favorite material for hydraulic fittings. Nicknamed “rustless steel,” the material contains at least 10% chromium.

But stainless steel is not all about resisting corrosion. The material also handles high temperatures and pressure. As a result, stainless steel fittings will work in hydraulic systems that convey hot hydraulic fluids.

In particular, Grade 330 stainless steel — the highest grade of stainless steel — will operate in temperatures over 1000°C.

Suppose your hydraulic hose undergoes frequent bending and twisting. In such situations, stainless steel hydraulic fittings are advantageous due to their high impact resistance.

With all these positives, it should not surprise you that hydraulic fittings made with stainless steel material are the most expensive in the market.

Brass

Brass hydraulic fittings are suitable for moderate hydraulic applications. By moderate, we mean in terms of temperature and pressure. The material can handle higher temperatures and pressure than plastic but not as high as steel.

For illustration, brass has a 930oC melting point. Meanwhile, as pointed out earlier, Grade 330 stainless steel can withstand up to 1000°C.

Nevertheless, brass is a durable hydraulic fitting, so long as you don’t exceed its limit. Some brass hydraulic fittings come with pressure ratings as high as 3000 PSI.

Indeed, brass may tarnish with use. But this tarnishing will not affect its durability or performance. It only affects its luster. Furthermore, you won’t spend a lot to purchase brass hydraulic fittings.

Compression fittings, which are easy to install, are a popular fitting type that comes in brass material. Others include flange fittings and adapter fittings.

Aluminum

You’ll commonly find hydraulic fittings made with aluminum materials in low-pressure hydraulic systems. The main advantage of this hydraulic fitting material is its low density.

Having a low density makes aluminum lightweight and versatile. Hence, aluminum hydraulic fittings are relatively easy to use, assemble, and dissemble compared to steel or brass.

Due to their light weight, aluminum fittings pervade the automotive, military, and aerospace industries. Only plastic hydraulic fittings compare better to aluminum in terms of weight.

But aluminum is a far more durable material than plastic. Also, despite its low density, aluminum is highly resistant to corrosion.

Like steel, aluminum comes in different grades. And the aluminum grade will determine how much pressure and temperature the hydraulic fittings will handle. Most aluminum hydraulic fittings, however, should handle up to 4000 psi — relatively higher than brass.

If you are particular about the environment, aluminum is your best option as it is recyclable.

Which material is the best for hydraulic fittings?

From the above list of materials used in making hydraulic fittings, the best is stainless or carbon steel.

Stainless steel handles much higher temperature and pressure levels than other materials. When it comes to industrial applications, pressure and temperature are critical when choosing hydraulic fittings.

Carbon steel fittings with zinc coating works perfectly in most systems. It checks off most requirements in terms of durability, compatibility and sturdiness.

Contact an Industry Professional For Your Fitting Needs

Plastic, carbon steel, stainless steel, brass, and aluminum are the most common materials used in making hydraulic fittings. Each material has its pros and cons, as explained here. While steel is the overall best, your hydraulic system may perform better with other materials so make sure to confirm first.

At Sinopulse Group, we are experts at the supply and distribution of Hydraulic Hose and Fittings. All our products conform to all appropriate regulatory standards from SAE, DIN EN. Send us a message today and our professionals are happy to help you.

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