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Pipe & Tube Difference

The EverbrightChinaStainless steel pipe co., ltd. (EBSS) and it represents have made
every effort to ensure that the information presented in this paper is technically correct.
However, neither the EBSS nor its member companies warrants the accuracy of the
information contained in this paper or its suitability for any general and specific use. The EBSS
assumes no liability or responsibility of any kind in connection with the use of this information.
The reader is advised that the material contained herein should not be used or relied on for
any specific or general applications without first securing competent advice.

Pipe Sizes

How old were you when you learned that a "2 by 4" isn't a piece of lumber that measures 2

inches by 4 inches? Have you ever been told that 11/8-inch pipe doesn't exist? Using the

correct terminology when ordering material (or fittings, tools, or other items that must be

used with these materials) can save a lot of time, headaches, and money!

Many products have a name that for convenience only approximates the material's size.

These are sometimes referred to as nominal dimensions. Webster's describes nominal as

"in name only." In other words, you can't trust the "name" dimensions in actual

measurements or calculations. Differences and difficulties in correctly describing a tube

and pipe are common in the metalworking industry.

Pipe is a commonly used material in the ornamental iron industry. Pipe and tubing are not

the same materials! Pipe was originally used for the movement of water, and therefore the

ID (inside diameter) was the critical dimension. The nominal dimension for pipe is the ID.

So, 1?inch pipe is NOT 1?inch outside diameter, but instead is nominally, (approximately)

1?inch inside diameter. Pipe is typically manufactured to looser tolerances and less

expensive to purchase.

Specializes in Austenitic,Duplex,Nickel Alloy and Titanium Alloy Welded/Seamless Pipes/Tubes


B-602,Zhongxin Plaza,Huzhou,Zhejiang,China 313000 Tel.: 86-572-2033 388,2033 601 Fax: 86-572-2033 388,2033 602

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Pipe & Tube Difference
The wall thickness of pipe is designated by various "schedules," most commonly Sched. 5,

10, and 40. The exact wall thickness of any one schedule changes with the pipe size. A

1-inch Sched. 40 pipe has a. 133 inch wall, but a 2-inch Sched. 40 pipe has a wall

thickness of 154 inches.

Tubing, on the other hand, is typically produced to tighter tolerances and designed for

consistent mechanical and structural properties. To further complicate matters, tubing can

be manufactured to pipe size dimensions, and some companies market pipe to the fence

industry as "fence tubing!" The thickness of a tube's wall is normally described as a gauge.

A specific gauge is consistent regardless of tube OD (outside diameter).

NameDim. Thickness

1 x schedule 5 pipe 1.90" .065"

1 x schedule 40 pipe 1.90" .145"

2 x schedule 10 pipe 2.375" .065"

2 x schedule 40 pipe 2.375" .154"

17/8" OD x 18 gauge tube 1.88" .049"

2 OD x 16 gauge tube 2.00" .065"

Let's look at a typical example:

John needs to buy a pipe notching tool. When John calls and asks for a "2-inch pipe

notcher," there are actually many different sizes that could possibly fit this description, as

shown above.

This is only a partial list! You can see that all of the materials listed are about 2 inches, but

depending on the tolerance and precision of the tool or mating part, describing all of them

as 2-inch pipe is bound to cause problems.

Specializes in Austenitic,Duplex,Nickel Alloy and Titanium Alloy Welded/Seamless Pipes/Tubes


B-602,Zhongxin Plaza,Huzhou,Zhejiang,China 313000 Tel.: 86-572-2033 388,2033 601 Fax: 86-572-2033 388,2033 602

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Pipe & Tube Difference
So, given all the possible tube and pipe sizes and all the various names used to describe

them, how is the average person supposed to keep it all straight? Whether you think your

material is tube or pipe, when describing it, remember these key points:

1); Is a dimension OD (outside diameter) or ID (inside diameter)?

2); Is the dimension precise, (taken with a micrometer or calipers)?

3); Is the dimension approximate, (taken with a tape measure, eyeballed, etc.)?

4): What is the wall thickness/schedule/gauge?

If John had instead described his material as "a pipe just under (indicating that the

dimension is approximate) 2-inch OD (outside diameter) by about 1/16-inch wall," then he

would have narrowed down the possibilities. Most likely, he is using 1 ?inch by Sched. 5

pipe.

You probably work with the same few sizes over and over. Look and see what your

material supplier calls your material. You may wish to obtain and make a permanent file of

"material spec sheets" for each size of pipe or tube you commonly use. This document

should show precise dimensions, tolerance range, manufacturing method, coatings, or

treatments, etc. These documents can be valuable and even serve as a sales tool. Your

customers who scrutinize every detail may want to see why the same chain link fence job

can cost so much more, based on the quality of the material ordered.

You probably have reference charts in your office for fractions to decimals, inches to

millimeters, etc. If tube and pipe are a routine material for your business, post a chart

showing pipe sizes by OD, various schedules, and gauges for tubing. Make sure the

employees who do purchasing understand these distinctions and are comfortable in

correctly describing the various materials.

http://www.nomma.org/support/Pipe%20Sizes/Pipe%20Sizes.html

Specializes in Austenitic,Duplex,Nickel Alloy and Titanium Alloy Welded/Seamless Pipes/Tubes


B-602,Zhongxin Plaza,Huzhou,Zhejiang,China 313000 Tel.: 86-572-2033 388,2033 601 Fax: 86-572-2033 388,2033 602

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