A pipe support or pipe hanger is a designed element that transfer the load from a pipe to the supporting structures. The load includes the weight of the pipe proper, the content that the pipe carries, all the pipe fittings attached to pipe, and the pipe covering such as insulation. The four main functions of a pipe support are to anchor, guide, absorb shock, and support a specified load. Pipe supports used in high or low temperature applications may contain insulation materials. The overall design configuration of a pipe support assembly is dependent on the loading and operating conditions.
Types of pipe supports
- Rigid support
- Spring support
- Snubber/shock absorber
Rigid supports are used to restrict pipe in certain direction(s) without any flexibility (in that direction). Main function of a rigid support can be anchor, rest, guide or both rest & guide.
Spring supports (or flexible supports) use helical coil compression springs ( to accommodate loads and associated pipe movements due to thermal expansions).
The restraint system performs an entirely different function to that of the supports. The latter is intended to carry the weight of the pipe work and allow it to move freely under normal operating conditions. The restraint system is intended to protect the pipe work, the plant and the structure from abnormal conditions; it should not impede the function of the supports.
Conditions that necessitate the use of restraints are as follows:
- Fluid disturbance.
- Certain system functions.