Although pipes and tubes may seem similar, they are in fact quite different in nomenclature and sizing. Pipes and tubes are rarely interchangeable! Here are some of the main differences between pipe and tube:
- Pipes are always round in shape. Tubes can be square, rectangular or round.
- Tubes are typically rigid; however, copper and brass tubes can be shaped relatively easily. Pipes are invariably rigid and cannot be shaped without special equipment.
- Measurements. Pipes are only provided with an inside (nominal) diameter and a “schedule” (which means wall thickness). Tube measurements are provided as an outside diameter and set ranges of wall thickness.
- Pipe is typically available in larger sizes than tube.
- Only pipes are pressure rated and intended to be used for the transference of fluids or gas. Tubes, on the other hand, are used in structural applications.
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