Tube Fitting Types

Tube fittings designed to connect a tube to pipe threads are called connectors. Tube fittings designed to connect one tube to another are called unions:

connector and union

If a tube union joins together different tube sizes rather than tubes of the same size, it is called a reducing union.

A variation on the theme of tube connectors and unions is the bulkhead fitting. Bulkhead fittings are designed to fit through holes drilled in panels or enclosures to provide a way for a fluid line to pass through the wall of the panel or enclosure. In essence, the only difference between a bulkhead fitting and a normal fitting is the additional length of the fitting and a special nut used to lock the fitting into place in the hole. The following illustration shows three types of bulkhead fittings:

Bulk head

Tubing elbows are tube connectors with a bend. These are useful for making turns in tube runs without having to bend the tubing itself. Like standard connectors, they may terminate in male pipe thread, female pipe threads, or in another tube end:


These elbows shown in the above illustration are all 90 deg, but this is not the only angle available. 45 deg elbows are also common.

Tee fittings join three fluid lines together. Tees may have one pipe end and two tube ends (branch tees and run tees), or three tube ends (union tees). The only difference between a branch tee and a run tee is the orientation of the pipe end with regard to the two tube ends:


Of course, branch and run tee fittings also come in female pipe thread versions as well. A variation of the theme of union tees is the cross, joining four tubes together:


Special tube fittings are made to terminate tube connections, so they are sealed up instead of open. A piece designed to seal off the open end of a tube fitting is called a plug, while a piece designed to seal off the end of an open tube is called a cap:

cap and plug


Compression tube fittings

Compression fittings are used to join a section of tube to another tube, or to a thin-walled pipe, or to a piece of equipment (such as an instrument). Compression tube fitting consists of three parts: the body, the ferrule, and the nut. Some compression fitting use a two-piece ferrule assembly, such as you can see in the diagram at the below,

compressor fittings
Just prior to assembly, we see how the nut will cover the ferrule components and push them into the conical entrance of the fitting body:

Tube fittings

After properly tightening the nut, the ferrule(s) will compress onto the outside circumference of the tube, slightly crimping the tube in the process and thereby locking the ferrules in place:

SS Tube Connections

Note: a Swagelok brass instrument tube fitting being installed on a 3/8 inch copper tube.

Article Source: InstrEng

Don't Miss Our Updates
Be the first to get exclusive content straight to your email.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

Leave a Comment