What are plastic pipe cements and how do they work?

A plastic pipe cement or solvent cement is a mixture of plastic resin dissolved in solvents. The cement works by solvent action to dissolveĀ the plastic surfaces of the pipe and fitting and fuses them together to create a joint.

How strong is a solvent-cemented plastic pipe joint?

Plastic pipe cements are designed to make a plastic pipe joint that is as strong or stronger than the pipe itself.

What are the main installation problems to avoid?

  • Loose-Fitting Joints
    1/3 to 2/3 dry fit is recommended. Dry fit is the fraction that the pipe can be pushed into dry fitting without cement.
  • Improper Cement Selection
    Follow guidelines on can or data sheet for proper pipe type, schedule, diameter, application and working conditions. Do not mix plastic types.
  • Pipe Burrs
    After cutting the pipe square, remove any burrs to avoid a leak.
  • Insufficient Cleaning
    For best results, use ARROW Primer, 911, for pressure applications, and ARROW Cleaner, 901, for non-pressure.
  • Not Enough Cement Used
    After cementing, a properly made joint will show a bead of cement completely around the pipe/fitting interface. Wipe off the bead for faster curing.

Is there a way I can tell if I have made a good joint ?

Check the above main installation problems prior to cementing. During installation, you can get an indication of a good joint if the pipe “grabs” (i.e. fuses) the fitting a few seconds after joining and becomes a firm union. If the pipe is wobbly in the fitting after the joint has been assembled, it indicates a loose-fitting joint and should not be used. The use of a primer prior to cementing overcomes some installation problems and will make a stronger joint. After the joint properly cures (24 hours recommended), you can pressure test the joint.