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What is a U-Bolt?

submitted on 23 October 2023
No matter the industry, fasteners are a critical part of literally keeping things together. Without them, essential structures or pieces of equipment could fall apart, causing unmatched problems as a result.

One of the fasteners that you might not necessarily be aware of is known as a U-bolt. In this guide, you will learn all that there is to know when it comes to U-bolts. That includes what they are, how to use them, and so much more.

What is a U-Bolt?

Think of a U-bolt from a reliable vendor like RS as being something like a jack-of-all-trades in the construction industry. For projects in that realm, there is a need for the utmost tensile strength and durability. Anything less would compromise entire structures and projects.

The U-bolt gets its name because it is a curved bolt that has threads on both ends. Since the bolt is curved, it is great for fitting around tubing or pipes. U-bolts are great for securing any tubing or piping in construction projects, acting as a restraint of sorts as well.

The Makeup of a U-Bolt

Like most other types of fasteners out there, U-bolts are made of a wide array of material types. For the most part, the U-bolts you find will be made of some sort of durable metal that has corrosion resistant properties. The most common materials used to make U-bolts are 304 stainless steel, 316 stainless steel, and plain carbon steel.

In addition to the anti-corrosion properties, most U-bolt manufacturers will add a protective coating. The additional finishes are meant to provide even more anti-corrosive qualities. These are the most common coatings:

Hot-dip galvanization This process is meant to add zinc but at a deeper level. The manufacturers will dunk the bolt into molten zinc in order to form a bond. That bond will make the U-bolt better suited for high humidity or salt environments that can cause corrosion.

Zinc plating. Zic is one of the most common coatings, done using a layer of electricity. The coating is thinner, and this kind of U-bolt is best for indoor applications.

Thermoplastic coating. Adding a thermoplastic layer essentially creates a buffer between metals. That contact between metals will lead to galvanic corrosion, which can lead to broken structures. By adding a thermoplastic coating, there is a protective neutral layer between the resistant and the pipe.

Fluoropolymer coating. Also known as Xylan, Teflon, or PTFE coating, this coating is meant to hold up in the face of extreme cold and hot temperatures without cracking.

When to Use a U-Bolt?

Now that we know all about the makeup of U-bolts, including the various coatings that make them stronger and more resistant to corrosion, it is time to learn where and how to use these fasteners. Because they can be applied in so many different applications, they are quite versatile.

That said, there are three instances in which you would want to use a U-bolt. Here are the three most common situations: As a guide and restraint. In a situation where piping or tubing needs to be restrained, U-bolts can perfectly fit the bill. They keep the piping from moving around, keeping them from banging into other structures, which can wear that piping down exponentially.

It is important to know that restraining the pipes is about more than simply keeping them pinned down. By using a guide, the U-bolt not only prevents movement but corrosion as well.

Elevating pipes. Where hanging pipes become a necessity, U-bolts can keep them from falling. They can be used on overhead structures, ceilings, and beams, limiting vibrations as well.


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