Understanding NPT, NPTF & NPS Thread Connections
What is the Difference between NPS, NPT & NPTF?
NPS = National Pipe Straight
NPT = National Pipe Thread
NPTF = Nation Pipe Thread Fuel
Both NPT and NPS have the same thread angle, shape, and pitch (threads per inch). However, NPT threads are tapered and NPS threads are straight (parallel). Both threads have a 60° included angle and have flat peaks and valleys. Tapered Pipe Thread is commonly found on ends of pipe, nipples and fittings (ex: couplings, elbows, tees, etc.).
Sharply angled threads are very critical to joint being tight with no leaks. Thread sealant or tape is typically required to complete the seal. Straight Pipe Threads need a gasket or O-ring to create a seal. While NPT and NPS threads will engage, they do not seal properly with each other.
The requirements for NPT (National Pipe Thread) are spelled out in ANSI B1.20.1
The requirements for NPTF (National Pipe Thread Fuel) are spelled out in ANSI B1.20.3
Both NPT and NPTF have the same threads-per-inch, pitch diameters, and taper-per-inch. The differences come in the major and minor diameters, the root and crest of the threads.
The NPTF thread crests fall with in the parameters of the NPT requirements, but have a smaller range than the NPT.
The NPTF thread roots are different than the NPT thread roots. NPTF thread roots are designed to interfere with the crest of the mating thread with the intention of creating a mechanical seal through thread form deformation at assembly. NPTF threads have two classes identified: Class 1 and Class 2. NPT thread roots are designed to allow clearance with the mating thread crests on assembly.
While NPT & NPS threads will engage and seem like they fit - they will not seal properly with each other causing leaks.
Creating a leak free NPT connection involves the use of thread sealant tapes.
National Pipe Taper Fuel (NPTF), also called Dryseal American National Standard Taper Pipe Thread, defined by ASME B1.20.3, is designed to provide a more leak-free seal without the use of PTFE tape (aka "Teflon") or other sealant compound. NPTF threads have the same basic shape but with crest and root heights adjusted for an interference fit, eliminating the spiral leakage path.