Blogs background
  1. Home
  2. > Blog
  3. > The Difference Between Aluminum Pipe and Tube

The Difference Between Aluminum Pipe and Tube

Updated : Feb. 10, 2023

Pipe and Tube may be two terms for hollow cylinders, but they are not the same. In some cases, the two terms can be used interchangeably. However, there are some differences between aluminum pipe and tube, especially in the ordering method and tolerance of materials. We will help you to understand the differences between pipe and tube in detail from shape, size, application and other aspects. If you still have some questions, you can consult Chalco. With our rich production and sales experience and complete product inventory, we can solve all problems related to pipe and tube for you.Welcome contact

shape difference between aluminum pipe and tube

The definition of aluminum pipe and aluminum tube

Aluminum pipe

Aluminum pipes are classified as tubular vessels used in pipelines and piping systems, which are usually used to transport gases and fluids. They are specified by the Nominal Pipe Size (NPS) and Schedule (Wall Thickness).Generally, pipe refers to a hollow cylinder made of metal or other materials used to transport water, gas, steam, oil, etc.

aluminum pipe
aluminum tube

Aluminum tube

Aluminum tubes are usually used in structural engineering, and the outer diameter is an important and accurate figure. OD and WT (wall thickness) specify the pipe size. Aluminum tubes have many characteristics, such as the weight is light and it is more easily to accept paint and other decorations. In general, tube is a hollow aluminum cylinder, especially used to transport or contain liquid or gas.

The difference between aluminum pipe and tube

Aluminum Pipe Aluminum Tube
Shape circle circle, rectangle, square, oval
Key dimensions The most important dimensions are outer diameter (OD) and wall thickness (WT). OD-2×WT (SCHEDULE) determines the inner diameter (ID) of the pipe, which is the liquid capacity of the pipe. The most important dimensions are outer diameter (OD) and wall thickness (WT). These parameters, expressed in inches or millimeters, represent the true dimension value of the hollow section.
Wall thickness The thickness of aluminum tubes is specified by the "Schedule" value (the most common ones are Sch. 40, Sch. STD, Sch. XS, and Sch. XXS). Two pipes of different NPSs with the same schedule have different wall thicknesses (In inches or millimeters). The thickness of aluminum tubes is specified by the "Schedule" value (the most common ones are Sch. 40, Sch. STD, Sch. XS, and Sch. XXS). Two pipes of different NPS and the same specification have different wall thicknesses (in inches or millimeters).
Measure Measured by nominal outside diameter (also known as NPS or nominal pipe size) and wall thickness. It is measured by accurate outer diameter (OD) and wall thickness. Generally with more stringent tolerances and specifications.
Scalability Tube can be scaled.
Rigidity Pipe is rigid and cannot be formed without special equipment. It can be shaped through some efforts. The tubing will not be excessively deformed, wrinkled or broken when bent and coiled.
Strength Pipe is less powerful than tube. Stronger for applications requiring durability and strength.
Processing method Hot rolled only. Cold rolled and hot rolled.
Application Pipe is the rated pressure used to transport fluid or gas pipe is suitable for larger applications. Tube is used for structural applications. Usually used where small diameters are required.

Difference in shape, size and structure between aluminum pipe and tube

Pipes, usually round and seamless, require special equipment for shaping. Pressure-rated to prevent leaks, they transport liquids or gases and vary in size from half an inch to several feet for larger applications.

Tube can be rectangular, square, or circular. They are usually seam welded. Tubes are typically used for applications requiring smaller diameters.

Difference in diameter between aluminum pipe and tube

Pipes are characterized by their inside diameter and schedule indicating wall thickness. This is because, for fluid or gas transfer, the opening size is crucial. Unlike tubes, pipes have looser tolerances. They're primarily used for transportation or distribution, with strict specifications for pressure, straightness, and roundness.

Tubes are sized by their OD and wall thickness, crucial for strength. While a 3.0-inch OD tube may not measure exactly 3.0 inches due to machining tolerances, blueprints account for such variations.

Difference in wall thickness between aluminum pipe and tube

Wall thickness of pipe (mm, inch or gauges). Gauge measures (BWG or SWG) are used for thinner wall thicknesses, whereas larger measures are expressed with fractional or inch indexes. The wall thickness of a pipe is referred to as a pipe schedule thickness. The most common pipe schedules are SCH20, SCH40, and SCH80.

The thickness of tube is often specified by a gauge for thinner thickness and for thicker tubing. It is indicated by fractions of an inch or millimeter. The normal range of tubing is 20 gauge, which is 0.035 inches up to a thickness of 2 inches.

Difference in surface treatment between aluminum pipe and tube

Pipes need to be painted or coated to anti-corrosion or oxidation for outdoor field transporting or underground transporting.

Tube often goes through sour cleaning or special polish treatment for their particular field uses.

Difference in end finishes and connection between aluminum pipe and tube

Pipe ends are usually in a plain, beveled or threaded and coupling form. Connecting one pipe to another is much more of a labor intensive process as it requires welding, flanges, or threading. Pipe welding is safer than tube joining.

Tube generally comes with coupling ends or special end finishes like irregular ends, special screw thread, etc. Tube can be joined quickly and effortlessly with flaring, coupling, or brazing. Tubing assemblies can also take place through tube fittings where high standards of construction are needed.

Difference in order and cost between aluminum pipe and tube

Pipe is vital for fluid transport, so its capacity is crucial. Its circular shape efficiently handles pressure. Orders are typically based on nominal pipe size (NPS) and schedule number for wall thickness. While schedule numbers can be the same for pipes of different sizes, the actual wall thickness varies. The manufacturing process of pipe is easier and it is generally mass production. So, the price of pipe is relatively low.

Tube's outer diameter is vital for structural use, indicating its stability. Wall thickness, dictated by the specification number, affects strength. Ordered by OD and wall thickness, tubes can also be specified by OD and ID or ID and wall thickness. Tubes usually have stricter tolerances and specifications than pipes. Tube needs a higher level of process, testing and inspection. Therefore, the delivery time is longer and the output is much lower than pipe. So, the price of tube is slightly higher.

Chalco - professional manufacturer and supplier for aluminum pipe and tube

We have a large amount of aluminum tube products for any project you need. We are very proud that we are ready to help you meet your aluminum tube needs with our exquisite production technology and full model inventory. If you have any questions or needs about aluminum pipes and tubes, please contact us immediately for more information and obtain detailed product specifications, quotations and samples.

Tip: 10 points for ordering pipe and tube

  • Which alloy?
  • Which temper or hardness?
  • Welded, welded and drawn, or seamless?
  • What specifications do you need to meet?
  • What cross-sectional dimensions?
  • How long?
  • What surface finish?
  • How straight?
  • Do you need ovality, concentricity or eccentricity?
  • How clean does it need to be?
Quick Quote
Do you have the aluminum you need?

Welcome to contact us

  • Contact us to get quotation information
  • Contact us for the details of the product
  • Contact us to get free samples
  • Product demand
  • Name
  • Phone number or WhatsApp
  • Email
  • content