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What is a Tee Joint?

By Kirsten C. Tynan
Updated May 17, 2024
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A tee joint is a connection of two members approximately perpendicular to one another, forming two right angles similar to the letter T. This is a result of one member being connected between the two ends of the other. It differs from a corner joint consisting of a single right angle formed by two members each connected to the other at one end. Many types of members may be used to form tee joints including structural members of wood or metal, pipes or tubes made of concrete or plastic, and more.

There are several ways to form a tee joint. Materials may be adhesively bonded, and a variety of tee connectors are available to join certain types of members together. Members may also be connected with the use of fasteners such as nails or screws, or they may be notched to fit together like pieces of a puzzle.

Sometimes a tee joint will be formed using multiple types of connections for added strength and stability. For example, wooden studs may be notched to fit the two pieces together snugly. They may then be both glued and fastened together with nails or screws as well.

Metal members are often welded together to form a tee joint and may be connected using several different welding techniques. Most commonly used is the fillet weld in which the cross section of the weld is roughly a triangular shape with two of the sides of the weld bonded to the pieces being connected. A fillet weld may be applied in one or both corners of the tee joint. The end of the vertical member may be beveled or grooved on one or both sides to allow better penetration of the weld and to strengthen the joint.

In plumbing applications, the T-shaped connector into which tubes or pipes are inserted to form a tee joint is also itself known as a tee joint. This connector may be used to direct the flow of fluid in one direction or the other, to divide it in two directions, or to combine flow from two streams into a single stream. A valve may be used to control the flow of fluid through the joint.

Tee joints are used in a wide variety of applications. Residential, commercial, and industrial construction of things such as buildings and bridges rely heavily on tee joints to connect structural members. Household and commercial indoor plumbing, outdoor irrigation systems, and other plumbing systems make use of tee joints using copper pipes, polyvinylchloride pipes, or other types of members. Ventilation is another application in which tee joints may be used. Where liquids or gases are conveyed through a tee joint, proper sealing of the joint is particularly important to prevent the material from leaking out at any of the points of connection.

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