Uses of Steel Tubes and Pipes – Their Similarities and Differences

Although steel pipes are long, hollow tubes, they’re not the same as rectangular steel tubing. Thus, there are different uses for steel tubes and steel pipes; and they’re manufactured differently, too. One major difference is that the specifications are different. One similarity between steel tubes and pipes is that they’re both commonly used by various industries. Below, we’ll look at uses of rectangular steel tubing and pipes, as well as their differences.

Differences and Uses of Steel Tubes and Pipes

As mentioned above, the uses of rectangular steel tubing and pipes depend on what purpose they’re needed for.  Pipes are used for larger applications, with sizes ranging from a half-inch to several feet; tubes, on the other hand, are used in applications requiring smaller diameters.  For example, a 10-inch pipe is common, but finding a 10-inch tube is rare.

Uses of Steel Tubes and Pipes – Dimensions and Shapes

The dimensions and the sizes of rectangular steel tubing vary. Thus, the thickness and diameter of each tube are also different. Therefore, one must determine its use before buying the tube. Common tube shapes are rectangle, square, round, and hexagon.  Common steel pipe shapes are rectangular, square, round, and hollow.

Common Uses of Steel Tubes and Pipes

In the industrial industry, round steel tubing is commonly used when transporting gaseous material or liquids from one area to another. Since steel pipes are strong, they’re used underground to transport gas and water through towns and cities. They’re also used in construction as protection for electrical wires. The difference in the uses of rectangular steel tubes and pipes is that pipes are looser, so they’re ideal for distributing or transporting.

Ideal Uses for Steel Tubes and Pipes

Due to its resistance to high temperatures and corrosion, rectangular steel tubing is used in industries that require resilience and longevity.  For example, the solar industry needs steel tubes because they can last for years.

Uses of Steel Tubes and Pipes – Where it gets Confusing

In short, the difference between rectangular steel tubing and pipe is in how they’re measured. Tubing is measured by outside diameter while pipe is measured by inside diameter. Often, there is confusion as to the size a customer actually needs—tubing size or pipe size. It’s important to note that pipe size refers to nominal, not actual diameter.

Uses of Steel Tubes and Pipes – Why They’re Different

To summarize, the differences between the two—rectangular steel tubing and pipes—is their function. Pipes are used to transport items, and tubing is used to build something. Hence, tubing is defined by the wall thickness and outside diameter for construction stability, and pipes are measured by inside diameter to allow for transportation.

Since the uses of rectangular steel tubing and pipes are so different, it’s important to know exactly what you need the product for (transporting or building), as well as the size and rigidness. If you’re not sure of the difference, you should always speak to someone knowledgeable before buying.