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What a Piping Engineer Should Know

What a Piping Engineer Should Know

Pipe engineers fit within several industries. They are on staff at refineries, manage gas plant pipe needs, and attend to chemical plants. Any industry that transports fluid substances through pipes needs someone to look after these turbulent systems.

Though they work in many fields, they share certain core competencies. To learn what a piping engineer should know, read this quick guide to three aspects.

How to Plan a Layout

Ideally, a pipe engineer is on the job from the initial plant feasibility study well into the future. In the early phases, a pipe engineer has the all-important job of planning the pipes’ spatial layout in collaboration with other team members. The idea is to take up the least space while also working around equipment that will fill the facility’s floor. This requires a thorough understanding of fluid behavior in an enclosed system.

How to Anticipate System Stressors

Part of fluid behavior is how it stresses the pipe system. Industrial facilities handle widely different substances that run through at various pressures, temperatures, and velocities. A piping engineer should know the tendencies of their respective facility’s fluids and how to mitigate these forces.

For one, as they plan a pipe’s layout, they must implement pipe loops and expansion joints effectively. Pipe loops—U-shaped sections of piping that accommodate thermal expansion—need extra, unblocked space to work. As for expansion joints, they come with their own glossary of terms with which piping engineers should familiarize themselves so they can maintain them. On the whole, though, they provide some give to accommodate not only thermal expansion, but directional forces and pressure changes.

How to Prepare Piping Material Specifications

Our final note: piping engineers should study the craft of submitting a piping material specification, or pipe spec. These documents allow their company to secure specialized parts that fit their build project. These requests require very close attention to detail—engineers can adjust everything from pipe wall thickness and fittings to bolting materials and flange types in a pipe spec.

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