What is the difference between Pipe & Tube? At the end of this video, you will know the difference and that to an oil & gas engineer’s point of view.
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You are aware that people used the term pipe and tube interchangeably. However, there is the difference between them.
What is Pipe? The pipe is pressure tight circular hollow section that used in piping systems to transport gasses or fluids.
What is Tube? Over the internet, you will find that tube is a circular structural member and the confusion start from here. In oil and gas industries, tubes are not just used as a structural part but also used in the heat exchanger and fired heater for a process application. Let’s check the difference. The first difference is how the size is define for the pipe and tube.
American code & Standard related to oil & gas such as ASME B31.3 Process piping code & ASME section IX Pressure vessel design code uses the term NPS – Nominal Pipe Size to define the diameter of the pipe.
Whereas in the case of Tube, tube size is define in fix number either in mm or in inches. Next is the thickness. Pipe thickness in specified in schedule number whereas tube thickness is specified in fix number either in mm or in inches.
This are the only two things that you have to know when you differentiate pipe and tube. Few other things that you have to know is that up to 12” NPS pipe, outside diameter is more than 12” and above 12”, it is same as pipe size. Whereas for the tube outside diameter is always equal to the size of the tube. The 2nd thing that you have to keep in mind is that outside diameter of both pipe & tube is standardized so whenever thickness change inside diameter will change.
As said earlier, pipes are used in all kind of process fluids and services. Tubes are generally used for heat transfer application such as heat tracing line, heat exchanger and fired heater and also used as instrument connection line. Tubes are also used as primary load bearing member in steel structure for the civil application.
Pipe are available in standard size of 1/8” to 80”, whereas tubes used in oil & gas generally of small size. Structural tubulars are available in all desired size.
This is all about Pipe Vs Tube.
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