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Buttfusion, the most common method, is a thermofusion process which involves the simultaneous heating of the ends of two pipe/fitting components which are to be joined, until a molten state is attained on each contact surface. The two surfaces are then brought together under controlled pressure for a specific cooling time and a homogeneousfusion joint is formed. This joint provides a continuous leak proof line and is as strong as the pipe itself with the same life expectancy.
Electrofusion is a method of joining MDPE, HDPE and other plastic pipes using special fittings that have built-in electric heating elements which are used to weld the joint together. The pipes to be joined are trimmed, cleaned, inserted into the electrofusion fitting (with a temporary clamp if required) and a voltage (typically 40V) is applied using a device called an electrofusion processor. As current is applied to the resistive wire, the coils heat up and melt the inside of the fitting and the outside of the pipe wall which weld together producing a very strong homogeneous joint. The assembly is then left to cool for a specified time. The joints produced tend to be more reliable than threaded fittings sealed with O-rings.
Socket fusion is distinguished from butt-welding by using custom-shaped and sized heating plates rather than a basic flat surface. These heads allow for more surface contact, reducing the time needed to heat and fuse the pipe. Socket fusion joins pipe and fittings together, rather than simply joining pipe to pipe. It requires less pressure than butt-welding and is more commonly used on smaller sizes of pipe (4" or less). Socket welding has additional advantages of requiring less machinery and is more portable than the heavier equipment required for butt fusion.
Sidewall (or Saddle) fusion is, like butt fusion, is another process based on hot plate welding. Sidewall fusion differs from butt fusion methods by performing fusion into the side of the pipe wall in a transverse orientation to the main pipe, rather than in line with the pipe. Adaptor plates that match the outside diameter of the main pipe are applied to the heating plate to perform this type of fusion.Sidewall fusion is typically employed in conjunction with either socket or butt fusion methods as a complementary process.
Extrusion welding is the main finishing technique for HDPE and other polyolefin geomembrane materials. Extrusion welding is a finishing technique where a bead of molten plastic is used to weld thermoplastic geomembrane materials.