September 26, 2023

Types of steel pipes: essentials that you need to know

Pipes are hollow cylindrical pipes that have been used by mankind for various purposes for thousands of years. Tubes can be made from almost any material, but as the modern meaning of tubes calls for more than just hollow tubes that carry liquids, metals are becoming increasingly popular in tube making.

As an alloy of metals, steels have a wide range of mechanical and chemical properties that can withstand extreme conditions, which is why stainless-steel pipe is currently used in many different areas of transportation, manufacturing, and construction. Stainless-steel pipe can be made from different grades of steel using different manufacturing processes that vary depending on the needs of the application.

Types of steel pipes

How could pipes be used?

Pipes are used in construction, transport, and manufacturing. Various materials, structural properties, and manufacturing processes have been developed for stainless-steel pipe, which differs depending on the application for seamless pipe.

Structural usage

Structural use is commonly associated with construction, with stainless-steel pipe commonly referred to as a building material. Stainless-steel pipe is used to give strength and stability to particularly tall buildings or structures.

Steel pipe is used in different types and structures as support piles and hanging piles, which are designed to transfer the load of a building.

In these cases, before laying the foundation, stainless-steel pipe is driven deep into the ground, which provides additional support to the building, especially in unstable ground. Another constructive use of steel pipe is in scaffolding supports, allowing construction workers to gain access to all inaccessible parts of a building. They are made by joining steel pipes into a cage surrounding a building.

Manufacturing usage

Steel pipes are used in production for various purposes. Handrails are one of the most common uses in stairwells and balconies, and outdoors for cyclists and pedestrians. Steel pipe can also be used as a safety point to separate an area from vehicular traffic to protect people, buildings, or infrastructure.

In addition, steel pipe is an option for exterior finishes. Many commercial bike racks are made by laying stainless-steel pipe. The high-impact resistance and strength of steel make it reliable against thieves and to make steel pipe.

Transportation usage

Most often, steel pipe is used for transporting products, since the properties of the raw materials are very suitable for long-term installation. As mentioned above, different applications require different characteristics. At low pressure, stainless-steel pipe do not need to be particularly strong, since they are not subjected to significant stresses.

For more specific applications in the oil and gas industry, more stringent requirements may be required due to product hazards and possible pressure buildup. These requirements lead to higher costs and quality control becomes more important for seamless pipe.

Design options

There are two types of pipes: seamless pipe and welded, and both have different uses. Seamless pipe tends to be thinner and lighter, which is why they are widely used in the manufacture of bicycles and the transport of liquids. Nominal pipe size and welded pipes are heavier and stronger, resulting in better consistency and durability.

Pipes used for transporting gas, electrical wiring, and plumbing usually have a connection. Several parameters must be controlled during production to maintain the desired properties for the application. For example, the diameter of a pipe is directly related to its use for seamless pipe.

While smaller-diameter hoses can be used for hypodermic needles, larger-diameter hoses can be used for city driving. Wall thickness is also an important parameter to control, as it directly affects the strength and flexibility of the pipe. Length, girth, and finish are also other controllable parameters that are related to each other as described below for seamless pipe.

What type of steel is used for pipes?

Carbon steel pipe

Carbon steel pipe accounts for about 90% of all steel pipe production. They are made up of much smaller alloying elements and tend to perform poorly when used alone. Because their mechanical properties and machinability are reasonable, they can cost a little less and are better suited for some light-duty applications.

The lack of alloying elements reduces the ability of carbon steel pipe to withstand high pressures and extreme conditions, causing them to lose their strength under high loads. Perhaps the main reason why carbon steel pipe is preferred for pipes is their increased ductility and lack of bending under load. They are widely used in the automotive and marine industries, as well as in the transportation of oil and gas. A500, A53, A106, and A252 – grades of carbon steel pipe, which can be a seamless pipe.

Alloy steel

The presence of alloying elements improves the mechanical properties of steel and makes pipes more resistant to heavy loads and high pressure.

The most common alloying elements are nickel, chromium, manganese, copper, etc., present in the composition in an amount of 1 to 50% by weight.

Different amounts of different alloying elements affect the mechanical and chemical properties of the product in different ways, so the chemical composition of the steel pipe also varies depending on the requirements of the application. Alloy stainless-steel pipe is commonly used for high loads in unstable environments. in the oil and gas industry, refineries, petrochemicals, and chemical plants.

Stainless-steel pipe

Stainless steel can also be included in the alloy stainless-steel pipe family. The main alloying element of stainless steel is chromium, the mass fraction of which is from 10 to 20%. The main purpose of adding chromium is to give the steel anti-corrosion properties by preventing corrosion for seamless pipe.

Stainless-steel pipe is often used in extreme situations where corrosion resistance and high strength are required, such as shipping, water treatment, medical, and oil and gas industries. 304/304L and 316/316L are stainless-steel pipe grades that can be used in the production of it. Although the 304 grade has excellent corrosion resistance and strength, the 316 series is less durable and less amenable to welding due to its low carbon content.

Galvanized steels

Galvanized pipe is a steel pipe that treated with a zinc coating to prevent corrosion. The zinc covering prevents corrosion of a pipe by aggressive substances. It was once the most common plumber, but due to the labor and time involved in cutting, notching, and installing galvanized pipe, it is no longer used except in limited use, for repair.

This type of pipe is manufactured from 12 mm (0.5 in.) to 15 cm (6 in.). They are available in 6 meters (20 feet) lengths. However, galvanized water pipes continue to be used in larger commercial applications. A significant disadvantage of galvanized pipes is their service life of 40-50 years for seamless pipe.

Although the zinc coats the surface and prevents external materials from reacting with the steel pipe and corroding it, corrosion of the pipe can start from the inside if the transported materials are corrosive. Therefore, it is extremely important to regularly check and upgrade galvanized steel pipe.

Pipe types

Depending on the production process, pipes are divided into two groups: seamless pipes and pipes with seams. Seamless pipes are formed at the rolling stage, while seamless pipes require electrical contact welding after rolling. Depending on the geometry of the pipe connected with the joint, it can be divided into two groups: spiral seam and straight seam.

While there is debate about whether seamless carbon steel pipe is better than welded steel pipes, seamless and welded pipe manufacturers can produce stainless-steel pipe that provide quality, high reliability, and corrosion resistance. When determining the type of pipe, first of all, technical characteristics and cost should be taken into account for seamless pipe.

Seamless pipes

Seamless steel pipe is usually manufactured in several stages – from extrusion to billet, cold drawing, and cold rolling. Compared with welded pipes to control the outer diameter and wall thickness, it is difficult to control the size of seamless pipes, hardening during processing improves mechanical properties and durability in seamless pipe.

The main advantage of seamless steel pipe is that they can be made with a large wall thickness. Since they are not welded, they are superior to welded pipes in mechanical properties and corrosion resistance. In addition, seamless steel pipes are expected to be oval or round. As a rule, they are used in extreme environmental conditions such as high loads, high pressure, and high resistance.

Seamed tubes

Welded steel pipe is formed by electric resistance welding of a steel sheet rolled into a tubular shape by seam or spiral seam. Depending on the external dimensions, wall thickness, and application, there are various ways to produce welded pipes. Each process starts with a hot steel billet or a flat strip and then turns into a pipe by stretching the hot steel pipe, joining the edges, and welding them together.

Composite pipes have tighter tolerances but thinner walls than seamless pipe.

Shorter delivery times and lower costs may also be reasons why welded pipes are preferred over seamless ones. However, since welds can be sensitive areas prone to crack propagation and pipe rupture, the quality of the surface finish on the outside and inside of the pipe should be checked during production for seamless pipe.

Pipe manufacturing

In both manufacturing processes, raw steel is first cast into a more suitable original shape (hot block or flat strip). It is then made into a tube by stretching a hot steel block into a seamless pipe, or by joining the edges of a flat steel strip and sealing it with a welded letter.

With all the advantages and disadvantages, the question still remains: what are the advantages of certain types of pipes? Finally, both are made with anti-corrosion and anti-corrosion properties in mind. However, galvanized pipes are not as popular as they used to be, as stainless steel tends to be stronger and last longer.

The most important factor to consider when budgeting a project. Galvanized steel is good if you need a lot of steel pipes and can’t afford it, but it’s short-lived and difficult to repair. If you can afford it or have room in your budget, stainless steel offers you great durability. In addition, it is easy to keep clean.

Mannesmann Plug Mill process

The Mannesmann push roll process differs from mandrel milling in that it uses a roller punch instead of a mandrel mill. In the Mannesmann process, a pair of tapered rolls are stacked on top of each other and rotated against the direction of material flow. The coating of the thick-walled hollow pipe is fed onto the rolls of the press shop. As soon as it enters the conical part of the working channel, a small wave of material is sheared from the shell of the hollow pipe.

This shaft is forged on a mandrel to the required wall thickness by pulling the leveling portion of the work pass, hollow tube sleeve and mandrel back in the same direction as the rolls until they reach the roll nip pass and are removed. When turning, the shell of the hollow pipe is pushed between the rolls and a new rolling cycle begins.


Extrusion is a metal-forming process in which a workpiece is shaped with a smaller cross-section. The length of the extruded section depends on the amount of material in the workpiece and the extruded profile. Many cross-sections are made using this method. Stainless-steel pipe can be produced directly by extrusion using a mandrel attached to a blanking block.

The hole is made in a part parallel to the axis along which the pusher applies force to shape the extrusion. When the process starts, the piston is pushed forward. The extruded metal flows between the spindle and die surfaces to form the part. The inner profile of the metal profile is formed by a mandrel, and the outer profile is formed by an extrusion die.

Seamed Pipe manufacturing

Crimp tubes are made from sheet metal or endless rolls or strips. To produce a bent pipe, a first metal sheet or roll is wound into a circular section by a metal bending machine or by continuous rolling. When rolling a round profile from sheet metal, the pipe can be welded with or without additional material. Various electric resistance welding processes are used for pipe welding.

What are the three grades of steel pipe?

Standard Pipes: There are three different types of standard metal pipes: welded (ERW pipes), seamless pipes, and galvanized pipes. They account for 10% of all pipe products.

Pipeline pipe: It is mainly used in the oil and gas industry. Pipelines include ERW, FW, SAW, and DSW pipes. They are manufactured according to API 5L specifications and are available in classes X42, X50, X60, etc. They account for 21% of all pipe products. Pipeline products for the oil industry (OCTG) – these include drill pipes, pipes, and casing strings. It is used in the drilling and finishing of oil and gas wells. OCTG is manufactured by ERW and has seamless production. OCTG accounts for 35% of all pipeline products.

Pressure pipe: Used in industry and when working under pressure. Pressure pipes are manufactured by seamless production for electric resistance welding. They account for 2% of all pipe products.

Mechanical Pipe: Used for mechanical and structural applications and manufactured by ERW and seamless production. They comply with ASTM specifications. Mechanical pipes account for 17% of all pipe products.

Structural tube: Used for support or holding. These pipes can be round or square and are manufactured according to the ERW process. They are used for fences, structures, and other various auxiliary needs. They account for 15% of all pipe products.

What type of pipe is strongest?

On the other hand, stainless steel is a mixture of cast chrome and steel. After cooling, the resulting solid metal mixture is treated with an acidic solution, which removes the remaining impurities. Unlike galvanized steel, which is still mostly made of steel, stainless steel will contain at least ten percent chromium. In both cases, each of these metals is resistant to corrosion in electric resistance welding.

Prices for stainless and galvanized steel pipes

One of the advantages of choosing galvanized steel over stainless steel is the price. While stainless steel may be more expensive, galvanized steel is inexpensive. Steel pipes are produced in factories around the world and sold in different countries. Some of the famous pipe industry companies are US Steel, ArcelorMittal, Nippon Steel, Nucor Corp, Hyundai Steel, ThyssenKrup, Vallourec, Hebei Iron and Steel Group, Posco, Jiangsu Shagang, Ulma Piping, Shultz USA and Webco, etc.

Generally, stainless-steel pipes are the more durable of the two. Steel pipe is used in every part of our life. Sometimes you couldn’t even imagine how pipes applied in different spheres. Have you ever questioned yourself about it?

Pipes are an excellent building material. It is used in the construction of residential and commercial buildings and premises. The material, shape, and diameter of the pipes depend on the required functions of the tube. They are used in water supply, production of goods and human life support.

Which pipe rusts faster?

Like all metals, both of them inevitably rust. However, which of these two metals oxidizes more slowly? Among these two types of steel, stainless-steel pipe last longer because their anti-corrosion properties are part of their structure. Since galvanized steel pipes are only protected by a zinc coating, after the coating is closed, the pipes begin to rust faster than stainless steel.

Why does coating matter?

The steel is already strong, but the coatings provide additional properties, as they protect the steel from corrosion and difficult weather conditions. Therefore, it is highly recommended to use coated steel pipes if they are strong and durable. Others are based on your needs and budget.

Black steel pipes are an alternative to galvanized steel pipe when you only need steel pipes for other projects such as fences, barricades. Meanwhile, galvanized pipe is stronger, protect perfectly against corrosion and work better on water transport.

Prefabricated steel are also a good choice, from residential to commercial, due to their wide range of applications and competitive prices. It is durable, but at the same time visually attractive, which is very important for any project.

Which is the best steel pipe?

Steel is one of the most widely used materials in the world, represents an industry producing 1.3 billion tons per year, and is a material used in the construction of many architectural structures. Steel pipes are cylindrical steel pipes that can be used in various ways in production and infrastructure.

Pipeline number one is used to transport underground liquids such as oil, gasoline, and water.

However, pipes of different sizes are used in construction. Due to their aesthetics, strength, corrosion, ease of processing, and cleaning, steel grooves have gained popularity in almost all industries.

Steel pipes

There is selling a wide range of welded and seamless pipe. Based on our many years of experience, here are the main questions or concerns of our customers. Steel pipe is sold by nominal pipe sizes and schedules. Both are worthy of mention.

A106 B is the most common specification for seamless pipes. Most customers know that only A106B pipe is required, which means A106B carbon steel seamless pipe is required. A106 is not a stainless-steel pipe specification.

Pipe sizes over 10 inches are not directly related to special numbers. For example, MF 40 and MF 80 mean non-standard and very strict, respectively. Refer to the piping diagram to ensure you are ordering the correct wall thickness. A53 Class B is the most common specification for welded pipes. This is a tube made using the ERW manufacturing process.

Stainless-steel tubing comes in welded and seamless, and is available in 316 and 304 grades. Other grades of stainless steel exist, but are less common. Stainless-steel tubing is also very common in specification 10, which is thin wall tubing.

Stainless-steel pipe specifications are identified with an “s” after the specification number, e.g., B. Mid 10s, the Mid 40s, Mid 80s. Tables for stainless-steel pipes are not always the same as tables for carbon steel pipes. Refer to ANSI pipe tables for the correct specification number and wall thickness.

Tubes are mostly sold as SRL (single random length) or double random length (DRL). SRL means pipe length is typically 17 to 24 feet. DRL usually means the hose is 37 to 44 feet long. Most of the whistles sold are lacquered. If you require a stem tube, please specify when ordering. Epoxy-coated pipes can be made upon request. The most common types of pipe ends are flat ends or bent ends. Threaded ends are also available upon request

Final words

Whether you are looking for steel pipes for personal or commercial use, choosing the right steel pipe depends on the research results. Don’t let the information overwhelm you and force you to make hasty decisions. Follow the instructions, take your time and make the final decision. Consistency is important all over the world, and it’s the same process as when choosing the right steel pipe.

Pipe production standards usually require a chemical composition check and a series of mechanical strength tests for each section of pipe. All heat-resistant pipes are forged from the same molten block and, therefore, have the same chemical composition. Mechanical tests can be carried out with a large number of pipes made of the same material and subjected to similar heat treatment processes.

The material containing these relevant forms of evidence must be traceable. For critical applications, it may be necessary to verify these tests by third parties – in this case, an independent laboratory prepares a test report of certified material, and the material is called certified.

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