White jointing compound (also known as dope or joint compound) is a thick sealer that is placed around pipe threads. It is used to fill the small gap between male and female threads once they are screwed together, and when properly applied, creates a seal that does not leak. White/yellow sealing tape can also be used, instead of the compound.
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If gas pipe joints are not installed properly, the gas line will leak, which could lead to a build-up of gas and even an explosion. Jointing compound is brushed all around the threaded end of the pipe before it is screwed into the coupling joint. Once properly tightened with a pipe wrench, the joint won't leak.
Both PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) sewer lines sometimes use adaptor fittings that join the PVC/ABS line to another type of metal sewer line (cast iron, copper). The adaptors have one female end that cements to the PVC/ABS sewer pipe, and the other end has either a male or female thread that joins to the metal pipeline. The male threaded end of the fitting is brushed with joint compound or, in the case of adaptors with female threaded ends, the male end of the metal pipe has compound applied.
Old galvanised water supply pipe is no longer accepted by code, but if old sections need to be replaced, the threaded ends of the new pipe are brushed with joint compound before they have coupling joints screwed and tightened in place. The installation process is the same as installing gas supply lines.
Metal nipples with threads at both ends are screwed into the hot and cold access holes on the top of a water heater. The hot/cold water supply pipes are then threaded into the top end of the nipples. Prior to installation of the nipples, the threads on both ends are brushed with joint compound.
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