Miscellaneous Piping

Difference between pipe and tube

The main difference between pipe and tube is the critical dimension used to describe the pipe size or the tube size. For pipes, internal diameter (ID) roughly corresponds to the nominal pipe size.

For tubes, the outer diameter (OD) roughly corresponds to the tube size. Sometimes when you are working on your bachelor degree online this is the kind of topic you will come across. It is good to be prepared.

This correspondence between the internal / outer diameter and the nominal tube or pipe size is not exact. The pipe internal diameter is not exactly equal to nominal pipe size but deviates from the nominal diameter, depending on the schedule.

Similarly, the tube outer diameter is not exactly equal to the tube size, depending on tube wall thickness. Pipe wall thickness is defined by the 'pipe schedule' and tube wall thickness is defined by the 'Birmingham wire gauge' for tubes.

Other than the method and critical dimension used for defining nominal sizes, there is no difference between pipes and tubes. Pipes and tubes can be made from the same range of materials and can handle the same services.

The difference between pipes and tubes only comes into picture for defining the standard dimensions.

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