Difference Between Pipe And Tube

Knowledgebase

Pipes and tubes have similar shapes, but they are not the same thing. Pipes are usually used to transport liquids or gases, while tubes are designed for structural purposes.

Pipes typically measure from ½ inch up to 24 inches in circumference, although larger sizes can be found. They have thicker walls than tubes and come with a variety of different finishes and coatings. Pipes are designed to connect two components together, such as a valve or fitting, while tubes typically do not have any ends that can be connected to other components.

Tubes are usually available in round, square, or rectangular shapes. They range in size from 6mm up to 300mm, and they typically have thinner walls than pipes. The ends of tubes are often left open or could be sealed, depending on their application. Tubes are mainly used for supporting structures and transporting liquids or gases in tight spaces.

The main difference between a pipe and a tube is the way they are measured. Pipes are measured by their outside diameter (OD) and wall thickness, while tubes are measured by their inside diameter (ID) and thickness. It is important to know the differences between pipes and tubes when selecting them for different applications.

Pipe Vs. Tube

What is Pipe?

– Pipe

What is Tube?

– Tube is usually available in round, square,

What is Tube?

Tubes are hollow, cylindrical structures that are mainly used for structural purposes. They come in a variety of shapes such as round, square, or rectangular, and range from 6mm up to 300mm in size. Tubes typically have thinner walls than pipes and can be sealed at the ends depending on the application.

Applications

Pipe:

  • Plumbing.
  • Structural support for buildings.
  • Automotive frames.
  • Drain and sewer pipes.
  • Gas and water lines.
  • Oil and petroleum pipelines.

Tube:

  • Hydraulic systems.
  • Fuel lines.
  • Mechanical tubing structures.
  • Tubing for heat exchangers in power plants.
  • Appliances and general industrial applications.
  • Medical devices and laboratory equipment.
  • Bicycle frames, roll cages, and other automotive components.

Basic Differences In Comparison Chart

PROPERTY Pipe: Tube:
Key Dimensions (Pipe and Tube Size):  Measured by the outside diameter (OD) and wall thickness, usually ½ inch up to 24 inches in circumference. Measured by inside diameter (ID) and wall thickness, usually 6mm up to 300mm in size.
Wall Thickness: Typically thicker than tubes.  Typically thinner than pipes.
Ends/Connections: Can connect two components together, such as a valve or fitting. Often left open, can be sealed depending on the application.
Types of Pipes and Tubes (Shapes) Circular. Round, square, and rectangular.
Applications: Used mainly to transport liquids or gases. Used mainly for structural purposes and transporting liquids or gases in tight spaces.
Production range: Can be found in larger sizes. Available from 6mm up to 300mm.
Coating/Finish: Variety of finishes and coatings available. No coating/finish available.
Tolerances (straightness, dimensions, roundness, etc) Tolerances vary depending on the size, type, and application. Tolerances vary depending on the size, type and application.
Production Process: Can be made through a variety of methods, such as extrusion, water jet cutting, and machining. Can be produced through bending or welding processes.
Costs: Usually cost more than tubes. Generally the least expensive option out of the two.
Materials: Available in a variety of metals such as steel, aluminum, brass, copper, and stainless steel. Available in the same materials as pipes.
End Connections: Can have threaded, welded or socket connections. Usually not connected to other components.
Classification: Classified based on outside diameter and wall thickness. Classified on the basis of inside diameter and wall thickness.
Strength: Stronger than tubes due to thicker walls. Thinner walls make them weaker than pipes.
Types of Joining (Welding): Can be joined through welding, threading or with a coupling. Welded or brazed joining methods are available for tubes.
Bending: Can be cold bent, hot bent or pressed into shape. Tubing can be formed with bending machines to give it the desired shape.
Flexibility: Rigid and not very flexible. More flexible than pipes.
Heat Treatment: Can be heat treated or annealed to increase its strength. Heat treatment is not usually required because of its thin walls.
Durability: Long lasting and durable due to thicker walls. Not as durable as pipe due to thinner walls.
Corrosion Resistance: Available in a variety of materials with different levels of anti-corrosion properties. May be coated to increase corrosion resistance depending on the application.
Characteristics: Heavy, strong and rigid. Lightweight and flexible.
Pressure Rating: Pressure resistant depending on material type and application. Pressure ratings vary based on the material used.
Weight (lbs per foot): Weight varies depending on the material type and the size of the pipe. Generally lighter than pipes.
Temperature Rating: Can withstand higher temperatures depending on the type of material used. Temperature ratings depend on the material used.
Availability/Supply: Easy to obtain, and a range of sizes are available. Some types may be harder to find, depending on the size and material used.
Installation/Maintenance: Can be installed easily with the help of fittings. Assembly requires special tools or machinery.
Measurement: Measured using the outside diameter and wall thickness. Measured by the inside diameter and wall thickness.
Lengths: Available in short or long lengths, depending on the application. Can be found in standard lengths or can be customized to specific needs.
Telescoping Abilities: Not suited for telescoping applications. Can be used in telescoping applications due to its flexible nature.
Rigidity: Rigid in nature.  Flexible due to thin walls.
Metal Types: Commonly made of steel, iron, brass, copper, and aluminum. Available in a wide range of materials, including steel, aluminum, brass, copper, and stainless steel.
purpose: Used to transport liquids and gases. Often used in applications requiring heat exchange, structural support, or telescoping ability.
Pros/ADVANTAGES Durable, cost-effective, and available in a variety of materials and sizes. Lightweight, flexible, good heat transfer, and suitable for telescoping applications.
Cons Rigid in nature and not suitable for telescoping applications. More expensive than pipe and not as durable.
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FAQs

Is It A Pipe Or A Tube?

The main difference between pipe and tube is the purpose for which they are used. A pipe is generally used for transporting liquids or gases, while a tube is often used in applications requiring heat exchange, structural support, or telescoping abilities.

Is copper a pipe or tubing?

Copper is a type of metal that can be used for both pipes and tubes. It is common to find copper in applications such as plumbing, structural support, automotive frames, drain and sewer pipes, and gas and water lines. Copper tubes are also widely used in hydraulic systems, fuel lines, mechanical tubing structures, and other industrial applications.

Which Type Is Stronger – Pipe Or Tube?

A pipe is typically stronger than a tube due to its rigid nature. However, the strength of the pipe and tube also depends on the type of material used. Generally, tubes made from heavier metals such as steel are more durable than those made from lighter materials like aluminum or brass.

Which Type Is Lighter- Pipe Or Tube?

The tube is typically lighter than pipe due to its thin walls. However, the weight of the pipe and tube also depends on the type of material used. Generally, tubes made from lighter materials such as aluminum or brass are lighter than those made from heavier metals like steel.

Which Type Has Telescoping Abilities – Pipe Or Tube?

The tube has telescoping abilities due to its flexible nature, while the pipe is not suitable for telescoping applications.

Which Type Is More Expensive – Pipe Or Tube?

Generally, the tube is more expensive than a pipe as it tends to cost more depending on the material used and other characteristics, such as wall thickness. On the other hand, the pipe is usually less expensive as it is commonly made from materials such as steel, iron, brass, copper, and aluminum.

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Which Type Has More Applications – Pipe Or Tube?

The pipe has more applications than the tube due to its rigid nature and cost-effectiveness. It can be used for plumbing, structural support, and automotive frames, as well as for transporting liquids and gases such as water, gas, and oil. The tube is often used in applications requiring heat exchange, structural support, or telescoping abilities, including hydraulic systems, fuel lines, and mechanical tubing structures.

Which Type Is More Durable – Pipe Or Tube?

The pipe is usually more durable than a tube due to its rigid nature. However, the durability of pipe and tube also depends on the type of material used. Generally, tubes made from heavier metals such as steel are more durable than those made from lighter materials like aluminum or brass.

Is Pipe Or Tube Better For Heat Transfer?

The tube is typically better for heat transfer due to its flexible nature.

Is it PVC Pipe Or Tube?

PVC is a type of plastic that can be used for both pipes and tubes. It is common to find PVC in applications such as plumbing, structural support, automotive frames, drain and sewer pipes, and gas and water lines.

How Do You Know If It Is A Pipe Or Tube?

The main way to determine if it is a pipe or tube is by the purpose for which it is used.

Conclusion

Pipe and tube both offer unique advantages. Depending on the application, one may be more suitable than the other. Pipes are stronger, heavier, and more rigid, while tubes are lighter, more flexible, and better suited for telescoping applications. When selecting a material, it is important to consider the temperature and pressure ratings, corrosion resistance, and availability of the product. With careful consideration, choosing between pipe and tube can be made easy.

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