Ducting What is Flexible Ducting?
Ducting, by conventional definition, refers to any series of tubes, canals or pipes designed to funnel dust, fumes, or abrasive materials from one location to another. Many industrial retailers of ducting, however, typically classify ducting as designed solely for the use of fumes or materials, whereas hose is the preferred terminology for piping designed for handling liquids. While ducting is rarely referred to as a product that handles liquids, hose does breach the boundaries of this term and is used across all applications from fumes, air, materials and to liquids.
The difference between ducting and a hose essentially comes down to size, wall thickness and the media you push through them. Hoses are designed to be generally smaller in diameter than ducts. Since liquid requires a high degree of pressure to be moved (such as is the case with water spigots, sink faucets, and heavy duty hoses), these smaller diameters help allow sufficient pressure to be created while minimizing the energy required to create that pressure. Since ducts primarily transport air, fumes, or small materials such as dust or wood shavings, they are capable of being constructed in sizes with interior diameters of up to 60 inches. As air requires very little pressure to move, ducting of practically any size will have little trouble transporting it from “Point A” to “Point B”.
When it comes to ducts, there are two types: active and passive. Passive ducts have no forced air movement, and exist to naturally ventilate environments over time or use gravity to transport light materials and abrasives. Active ducts, on the other hand, are those duct hose products that use machinery (often in the form of a fan or vent) to blow or suck air at a constant rate through the length of the hose. Active ducting is, unsurprisingly, used in many kinds of air conditioning or vacuum applications. Knowing your specific duct hose needs inside and out is the best way to ensuring that you are capable of identifying the right type of ducting for your situation.
When it comes to ductwork of all sizes – from as low as 4” duct to as high as 60” duct- there are several different materials that can be utilized. Rubber, polyurethane, PVC, stainless steel, silicone, and neoprene-dipped polyester fabric are the most popular types of flexible ductwork material available and each possesses its own inherent benefits and differences. Though each are capable of being used in more or less the same capacities, it is generally beneficial to recognize which type of ducting goes along better with each individual ducting situation.
Rubber, neoprene-dipped polyester, stainless steel, and silicone are the ideal ducting supplies for use in applications involving extreme temperatures, as their natural resistance to heat and cold will ensure a long-lasting and productive lifespan. When it comes to abrasive resistance, however, rubber and polyurethane should be the consumer’s top choice, as silicone is not as well suited to handling interior damage as it is to resisting temperature extremes. For air handling environments, silicone and PVC will typically be your best bet; each possessing a flexibility that can outperform other types of heavy duty hoses.
Ducting is a product that is critical to the success of so many industries. Whether used as floor duct or as heavy-duty hoses, flexible ductwork is something that employers the world over depend on. This is why it is critical to talk with your local duct supply retailer to determine which type of reinforced hose best suits your environment and your needs. Armed with this introduction to ducting, you have taken your first step on the road to making superior duct purchasing decisions!