National pipe thread

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Threaded pipe and elbow. The pipe has a male NPT thread, while the elbow's is female.

National Pipe Thread Taper (NPT) is a U.S. standard for tapered threads used on threaded pipes and fittings. In contrast to straight threads that are found on a bolt, a taper thread will pull tight and therefore make a fluid-tight seal. In America, William Sellers set the standard for nuts, bolts, and screws which became the National Pipe Tapered Thread (NPT) in 1864.[1]

Usage[edit]

Threaded pipes can provide an effective seal for pipes transporting liquids, gases, steam, and hydraulic fluid. These threads are now used in materials other than steel and brass, including PTFE,[2] PVC, nylon, bronze, and cast iron.

The taper on NPT threads allows them to form a seal when torqued as the flanks of the threads compress against each other, as opposed to parallel/straight thread fittings or compression fittings in which the threads merely hold the pieces together and do not provide the seal. As the thread body is tapered (0.75 in/ft or 62.5 mm/m) a larger diameter keeps compressing into a smaller diameter and finally forms a seal (no clearance remains between the crests and roots of the threads because of the taper). This means that NPT fittings should be burr-free and lubricated using a lubricating material like lubricating paste or tape. The use of tape also helps to limit corrosion on the threads, which otherwise can make future disassembly nearly impossible.

Commonly used sizes are 18, 14, 38, 12, 34, 1, 1 14, 1 12, and 2 inch, appearing on pipes and fittings by most U.S. suppliers. Sizes smaller than 18 inch are occasionally used for compressed air, while sizes larger than 2 inches are uncommon, due to the use of alternative methods of joining that are used with these larger sizes.

Specifications[edit]

NPT is defined by ANSI/ASME standard B1.20.1.[3]

Pipe threads are different from machine-screw and bolt threads. Those are designated NC (national coarse) and NF (national fine.) The biggest difference is the taper on pipe threads.

The taper rate for all NPT threads is 1 in 16 (34 inch per foot or 62.5 millimeters per meter) measured by the change of diameter (of the pipe thread) over distance. The angle between the taper and the center axis of the pipe is tan−1(132) = 1.7899° = 1° 47′ 24″.

Nominal Pipe Size (NPS) is loosely related to the inside diameter of Schedule 40 pipe. Because of the pipe wall thickness, the actual diameter of the threads is larger than the NPS, considerably so for small NPS. Pipe of other schedules with a certain NPS has different wall thickness, but the same outside diameter and thread profile as Schedule 40, so the inside diameter of the pipe is therefore different from the NPS.

Thread form[edit]

NPTE and NPS threads have a 60° included angle and have a Sellers thread form (flattened peaks and valleys).

NPTF[edit]

A semi-compatible variant called National Pipe Taper Fuel (NPTF), also called Dryseal American National Standard Taper Pipe Thread, defined by ANSI B1.20.3, is designed to provide a more leak-free seal without the use of teflon tape or other sealant compound. NPTF threads are the same basic shape but with crest and root heights adjusted for an interference fit, eliminating the spiral leakage path.

Table of standard sizes[edit]

NPT – American Standard Pipe Thread Taper[4]
Pipe size (inches)TPI
Threads per Inch
Pitch
(inches or mm)
Approximate
length of thread
(inches or mm)
Approximate number of
threads turns
to be cut
Approximate
total thread makeup,
hand and wrench
(inches or mm)
Nominal outside
pipe diameter OD
(inches or mm)
Tap drill
(inches or mm)
116270.03703704 in or 0.9407 mm0.313 in or 7.950 mm
18270.03703704 in or 0.9407 mm38 in or 9.525 mm1014 in or 6.350 mm0.405 in or 10.287 mmR
0.339 in or 8.6106 mm
14180.0555 in or 1.4097 mm58 in or 15.875 mm1138 in or 9.525 mm0.540 in or 13.716 mm716 in or 11.113 mm
38180.05555555 in or 1.4111 mm58 in or 15.875 mm1138 in or 9.525 mm0.675 in or 17.145 mm3764 in or 14.684 mm
12140.07142857 in or 1.8143 mm34 in or 19.0500 mm10716 in or 11.1125 mm0.840 in or 21.3360 mm2332 in or 18.2563 mm
34140.07142857 in or 1.8143 mm34 in or 19.0500 mm1012 in or 12.7000 mm1.050 in or 26.6700 mm5964 in or 23.4156 mm
111-1/20.08695652 in or 2.2087 mm78 in or 22.2250 mm10916 in or 14.2875 mm1.315 in or 33.4010 mm1 532 in or 29.3688 mm
1 1411-1/20.08695652 in or 2.2087 mm1 in or 25.4000 mm11916 in or 14.2875 mm1.660 in or 42.1640 mm1 12 in or 38.1000 mm
1 1211-1/20.08695652 in or 2.2087 mm1 in or 25.4000 mm11916 in or 14.2875 mm1.900 in or 48.2600 mm1 4764 in or 44.0531 mm
211-1/20.08695652 in or 2.2087 mm1 in or 25.4000 mm1158 in or 15.8750 mm2.375 in or 60.3250 mm2 732 in or 56.3563 mm
2 1280.125 in or 3.1750 mm1 12 in or 38.1000 mm1278 in or 22.2250 mm2.875 in or 73.0250 mm2 58 in or 66.6750 mm
380.125 in or 3.1750 mm1 12 in or 38.1000 mm121 in or 25.4000 mm3.500 in or 88.9000 mm3 14 in or 82.5500 mm
3 1280.125 in or 3.1750 mm158 in or 15.8750 mm131 116 in or 26.9875 mm4.000 in or 101.6000 mm3 34 in or 95.2500 mm
480.125 in or 3.1750 mm1 58 in or 41.2750 mm131 116 in or 26.9875 mm4.500 in or 114.3000 mm4 14 in or 107.9500 mm
4 1280.125 in or 3.1750 mm5.000 in or 127.0000 mm4 34 in or 120.6500 mm
580.125 in or 3.1750 mm1 34 in or 44.4500 mm141 316 in or 30.1625 mm5.563 in or 141.3002 mm5 932 in or 134.1438 mm
680.125 in or 3.1750 mm1 34 in or 44.4500 mm141 316 in or 30.1625 mm6.625 in or 168.2750 mm6 1132 in or 161.1313 mm
880.125 in or 3.1750 mm1 78 in or 47.6250 mm151 516 in or 33.3375 mm8.625 in or 219.0750 mm
1080.125 in or 3.1750 mm2 in or 50.8000 mm161 12 in or 38.1000 mm10.750 in or 273.0500 mm
1280.125 in or 3.1750 mm2 18 in or 53.9750 mm171 58 in or 41.2750 mm12.750 in or 323.8500 mm
1480.125 in or 3.1750 mm14.000 in or 355.6000 mm
1680.125 in or 3.1750 mm16.000 in or 406.4000 mm
1880.125 in or 3.1750 mm18.000 in (457.2000 mm)
2080.125 in or 3.1750 mm20.000 in (508.0000 mm)
2480.125 in or 3.1750 mm24.000 in (609.6000 mm)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

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