People may often think that piping and tubing are the same thing, but they are two very different items regarding steel manufacturing. Steel pipe is always round, whereas steel tubing can be produced in round, square and rectangular shapes. This article will define what is considered piping and tubing, and it will also describe the main differences between the two.
As stated above, steel pipes are exclusively round, and they are used to transport different gases and fluids across a variety of industries. One of the most important characteristics of steel tube is the inside diameter (ID). This will determine the amount of liquid or gas that can flow through the pipe at a given time. Another important characteristic of steel pipes is the pipe schedule, or wall thickness.
The two most common wall thicknesses are Schedule 40 and Schedule 80. Schedule 40 pipe has a thinner wall thickness than Schedule 80 pipe, so it is better for applications that require less PSI (pounds per square inch). The price of piping depends on the size of the pipe, but they are usually cheaper than tubing due to an easier production process.
Steel tubes are used in applications where durability and strength are important. They come in a variety of shapes including round, rectangular, and square, which is one of the distinctive differences between piping and tubing. Steel tubes can be produced in one of two methods.
Electric Resistant Welded (ERW) tubes are produced by forming a steel coil into the specified shape and then welding the two ends at the seam. Seamless tubes are manufactured by taking a round piece of steel and then stretching and piercing the middle until it takes the form of a tube. Steel tubes are usually classified by the outside diameter and dimensions, but another important characteristic to consider is the wall thickness.
Some of the more notable applications of steel tube include uses in the construction and engineering fields, as well as in automobile manufacturing. Steel tubing production requires more energy, labor and material cost resulting in a higher overall price than most steel pipes.
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