Ordering Steel Tubes for Your Next Project

We’ve previously discussed the difference between pipes and tubes and determined that, while they may look the same, their uses, strength, and classifications differ. 

A pipe is always circular and will be used to carry gas or liquid. They are, therefore, measured based on their carrying capacity and pressure tolerance. A tube, on the other hand, can be square, circular, or oval, and is used in structural applications where the wall thickness and therefore, its strength, becomes a major factor. 

Classification of steel tubes

Tubes are divided into three main groups, namely pressure tubes, structural tubing, and mechanical tubing. 

Most tubes are ordered based on two of their three dimensions:

  • The outside diameter (OD) and inside diameter (ID)
  • The inside diameter and wall thickness

The missing dimension can be calculated based on the measurements expressed.  

Tubing is offered in sizes up to 100mm in diameter with the wall thickness denoted in inches or millimetres and is also measured as gauge.

For the most part, when ordering custom-formed tube the focus will be on the true outside diameter of the tube as plus the tube gauge. 

One article sums it up simply for us saying, “Popular gauges of tube that are used are 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, and 20. The lower the gauge number the thicker the wall thickness of the tube. 

“For example, 10-gauge tube measures out at a .134 in. wall thickness, whereas 20-gauge tube measures out at a .035 in. wall thickness. The gauge measurement also remains consistent among the various tube sizes. For example, the thickness for 10-gauge tube will consistently measure .134 inches, whether it is 1-1/2 in. O.D., 2 in. O.D., or 4-1/2 in. O.D. tube.”

Much of this information remains theoretical until a particular product is required. From structural products to the most delicate of medical equipment, the engineers producing your tubes will need to fully understand your requirements in order to create the best product. 

Please feel free to call Steelmor for more information on steel tubes and other high-quality custom metal components.