ABS Pipe Systems (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)
ABS industrial pipe systems tend to be chosen over PVC in applications where
operating temperatures are expected, where there is a risk of pipe shatter (such as compressed gasses or
impact) or where the chemical compatibility of PVC is unsuited. ABS pipe is quite a ductile material
means that it is less brittle at lower temperatures than PVC. ABS can provide excellent resistance to
impact damage at temperatures from as low as -40°C and up to 70°C. It is for this reason that ABS pipe
and fittings are the
best choice for cold process lines such as chiller circuits with glycol and those carrying ice
slurries, such as ice cream and chilled food factories.
ABS pipe is mid to light grey in colour, as opposed to the dark grey of
PVC. Care should be taken when identifying by colour alone, however, as some older PVC (up until the late
1990s) was also manufactured in a light grey. It is also possible to confuse it with Corzan CPVC which
is also a light grey colour in the UK and Europe.
Other industrial uses: ABS plastic is widely used in many
to its properties of ductility (meaning it can deform and then reform to its original shape) and the
ability to achieve a very high-quality gloss finish in the moulded product. It is commonly used in items
like power tool bodies, phone and instrument cases, car dashboards and Lego®, where the ability to
look good and deform to attach one brick to the other, and then reform when taken apart is very important.
ABS Pipe System Specifications
ABS Pipe Operating Temperature
Connection of ABS Pipe
Abrasion Resistance of ABS Pipe
ABS Pipe Rigidity
Toxicity of ABS Pipe
ABS Chemical resistance profile
Pipe Clip Spacing for ABS systems
ABS Pipe Dimensions
Pressure Rating of ABS Pipe
ABS pipe has a recommended operating temperature of between
to +70°C and so is often the choice of pipe system for cold applications. Unlike PVC pipe, ABS pipe
not shatter at low temperatures. Note, however, that at temperatures above 20°C, pressure derating
come into play. See the table below.
ABS pipe is generally solvent welded using proprietary cement and
cleaner products, although threaded fittings and flanges are also available. ABS solvent welds together
quickly and so accurate pre-cementing measuring and marking up are essential. Once the joint is made, it
cannot be turned or manipulated.
ABS pipe has a very smooth bore and is hard wearing which makes it
plastic of choice for abrasive slurries. As with all abrasive fluid applications, it is preferable to
fittings to a minimum and, where possible, use bends rather than elbows.
ABS pipe is designed to be a rigid product. Although there is some
flexibility in a long length of pipe, it should be regarded as rigid and not flexible.
Unlike PVC pipe, ABS pipe does not build up static electricity,
is why, along with its excellent impact resistance, it is a plastic of choice for power tool bodies.
quality makes it suitable for blown air where, in a material such as PVC, small particles in the air can
cause a build-up of static resulting in arcing to earthed objects, including people!
All of our ABS pipe systems are WRAS approved
use with potable
water systems in the UK.
Whether or not a material is "food safe" depends on
nature of the food. Some foodstuffs, especially when in concentrated form, can be quite aggressive. Our
recommendation is to consult the ABS Pipe Chemical Resistance Tables on our website. If you are
unsure, contact us and we will be happy to assist.
The correct spacing of pipe supports is important in an ABS pipe
system installation. The recommended spacing changes with pipe diameter and temperature. Please consult
ABS pipe spacings table below, remembering that additional support will be required around elbows, heavy
fittings such as valves and other equipment.
All our ABS pipe systems conform to all relevant UK standards for
sizing of pressure pipe systems. It is important to note, however, that ABS pressure pipe is not size
compatible with ABS waste or drainage pipe used in sink or bathroom-type applications.
See Imperial ABS Pipe Dimension Tables. Metric ABS is only manufactured by one company
so is far more expensive than imperial (inch)
sizes. We can supply this but do not list it on our website.
As temperature increases, the pressure rating of ABS pipe
decreases. See Pressure Derating Table for how to calculate.
Connecting ABS Pipe and Fittings
ABS pipe and fittings are joined together in several different ways:
• Flanges or threads are often used to join the ABS pipe to other
materials (such as brass or other
metals and plastics) and to connect to equipment such as pumps, blowers, filters etc.
• Solvent welding is the process used for the majority of the ABS pipe
and fittings. With solvent
weld, a "glue" is brushed onto the cleaned fitting and pipe and the two are then pushed together
in one swift movement. The joint is very rapidly made and there is little room for any
rotational movement of the fitting, once pushed together.
The rapid reaction of ABS pipe and fittings to the solvent cement is often
something as a
surprise for industrial pipe fitters who are more used to working with PVC Pipe.
The latter gives a window of a few seconds, when the fitting can be turned and lined up; however, with
ABS this window is reduced to almost
half a second. It is therefore vitally important that pipes are properly measured, and that both
the ABS pipe and fittings are
properly marked prior to gluing together. ABS pipe systems can be assembled dry as a trial run, but
ensure that they have not been cleaned with any solvents or cleaner first. The cleaner will key and
soften the plastic and make it almost impossible to disassemble. Our ABS pipe systems are generally
manufactured by: Polypipe
Italia - Effast and Plimat.
ABS Pipe Dimensions
ABS pipe is generally manufactured in imperial sizes only. There is one
manufacturer who supplies industrial metric ABS pipe pressure systems, but these tend to be far more
sized systems and are not widely used. At Plastic Pipe Shop Ltd, we are able to supply metric ABS pipe
from this manufacturer but do not list them as standard items to avoid confusion in ordering.
The imperial (or inch) measuring system used in ABS pipe and fittings is
around an approximate bore (internal) measurement of the pipe. Some first-time users find it very
the "name" of the pipe, such as 2″, does not actually relate to any specific
measurement found -
2 inches measures 50.8mm, but neither the internal or external diameter of the ABS tube measures exactly
The classification system is just letting you know what the approximate internal diameter of the ABS
The dimensions of imperial ABS pipe are given below in millimetres:
Class C PVC Pipe, 9 bar
Class E PVC Pipe, 15 bar
Wall thickness (mm)
Internal Diameter (mm)
Wall thickness (mm)
1 1/4 inch
1 1/2 inch
2 1/2 inch
ABS Pipe Dimensions Table
Pipe Clip Spacing for ABS Pipe
The distances between ABS pipe supports shown below are minimum
Additional support should always be added to an ABS pipe either side of valves or equipment, especially
and also either side of horizontally mounted elbows and bends, as these will have a tendency to put
stress on the
pipe if not properly fixed in position. The aim of supporting plastic pipes is two-fold, firstly to
sagging, which may end up with debris settling in the low parts and/or air collecting in the high parts,
secondly, to remove any stresses on the pipe that, if left unsupported, could result in the failure of
Spacing (m) at 20°C
Spacing (m) at 40°C
Spacing (m) at 60°C
ABS Pipe Support Centres Table
ABS Pipe WRAS Approval
All our plastic ABS pipe products are WRAS approved. WRAS is the acronym
Regulations Advisory Scheme" which is an organisation that collates test results of materials and
suitability with drinking water supply use from several different accredited laboratories. If the tests
the requirements have been met, WRAS will award a certificate. Only WRAS approved materials and products
can be used
in potable water systems in the UK.
We supply a standard, rather than a specific make or manufacturer, of ABS
pipe and fittings, and so the WRAS approval numbers may vary, but will generally be the following:
•1703070, 1703088& 1406537 - Polypipe Effast ABS Pressure Pipe and
•1412318& 1406538 - Plimat ABS Pressure Pipe and Fittings
•1406502 - Griffon ABS Solvent Cement Range.
PVC Pipe Pressure De-rating Table
Original ABS pipe pressure rating multiplied by the "De-Rating
Multiple" below equals the true pressure rating at the specified operating temperature.
For example, a 9 bar pipe operating at 40°C will be 15 x 0.81 = 7.29bar.
Industrial ABS Pressure Pipe Rating Change with Temperature Table
Where can I find ABS pipe near to me?
ABS pressure pipe is specialised type of plastic pipe and you will not find it in DIY or plumbing
stores (including the trade type ones). At Plastic Pipe Shop Ltd, we are a specialist supplier and stockist of ABS pipes and fittings and can deliver to
almost anywhere in the UK with a next day or morning service. If you are unsure of your requirements please call our highly experienced customer service department on 01786 472850
and they will help you find the best solution.