Every month Mechanical Hub and the Plumbing Museum will be collaborating to bring you a piece of plumbing history. We kick off the segment with what was thought to be a game changer in alternative pipe joining methods.
Introduced in 2009 for a limited time, the StreamTECH adhesive joining system from Mueller Industries was launched as an alternative to soldering and as a flame-free option. It was the alternative to pipe joining systems.
According to the catalog, the company recognized that the existing mechanical joining systems were either too expensive or cumbersome. The StreamTECH System offered the lowest installed cost of any flameless copper piping system currently available. No expensive fittings or compression tools were required, only economical StreamTECH fittings and adhesives, which were easy to use and assemble quickly.
Working in close collaboration with Mueller engineers, 3M’s research team developed a 2-part epoxy adhesive based on their Scotch-Weld technology which was specially formulated for joining copper, brass and bronze metals.
Recognizing that even the strongest adhesive might not provide a 100% reliable joint by itself, Mueller® engineers developed a proprietary internal elastomeric seal for the new StreamTECH copper fittings, which provided a self-adjusting one-way barrier to maximize the effectiveness of the bond and unparalleled protection against leakage or joint failure.
It all started with StreamTECH’s one-way lip seal, which provides more surface contact, therefore better sealing than traditional O-rings, says the brochure. It also acts like an internal wiper to evenly disperse the adhesive over the entire surface of both tube and fitting, and adjusts to imperfections in the surface of the copper tube. This results in the most reliable sealing mechanisms among mechanical, heat-free joining systems.
Located in a renovated ice house in Watertown, Mass., the American Sanitary Plumbing Museum is dedicated to promoting the contributions of the plumbing industry and its talented craftsmen across the United States. Through its unique mix of industrial history and modern art, it showcases artifacts and exhibits that range from 19th century tubs to modern toilets and a functioning rainwater reclamation system. The museum welcomes nearly a thousand visitors each year for tours and private events, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal. For more information, visit: www.theplumbingmuseum.org.