Metal Tubes Selection Guide

What are some of the essential ingredients of metal tubes? For starters, metal tubes contain metallic alloys and elements. You will find them in various industrial applications. Metal tubing is stronger and robust compared to other types of tubing. Therefore, it has widespread applications in the structural industries.

How to buy metal tubes

You need to consider various factors while buying metal tubes.

Materials

Metal selection is crucial for determining the best pipes. Fortunately, you have many reliable materials, such as:

Brass – this alloy of zinc and copper provides excellent strength, electrical conductivity, and corrosion resistance. You can also polish brass easily.

• Aluminium – this metal is widely popular for its corrosion resistance and being lightweight. You will often see aluminium metal tubes in the construction and plumbing industry. Aluminium is highly corrosion-resistant and has low tensile strength, making it ideal for becoming an alloy with copper, zinc, manganese, silicon, and various other metals to increase its hardness and strength.

• Copper – it is the most popular tubing material because of its excellent conductivity and corrosion resistance. You will often find copper tubing in heating and plumbing applications. Copper’s flexibility allows users to bend and manoeuvre it for different purposes. You can also find rigid copper being used in directional fittings so that they go around obstacles and corners.

• Steel – it is one of the strongest and most durable metals for tubes. They can provide excellent heat resistance. Steel is often alloyed with various other metals to improve its durability and corrosion resistance. It allows fluids to transfer quickly, thus making it a prime component in the plumbing industry.

• Stainless steel – this allows of steel has excellent corrosion and chemical resistance. It consists of more than 10.5% chromium that makes it suitable for various sanitary applications and transferring aggressive materials and fluids available in square, rectangular and round tubes.

• Bronze – bronze consist of various metals, such as aluminium, manganese, silicon, and phosphorus as its alloying element. This metal has excellent toughness, corrosion resistance, thermal and electrical conductivity, and strength.

• Titanium – it has high corrosion resistance, high strength, and low weight material. Titanium alloys with aluminium and is comparatively more expensive than any structural material. It has widespread applications in various industries.

Shape

Metal tubes are highly rigid. This allows them to stay in shape. Most tubes used for smooth fluid flow come with circular cross-sections. However, you can also find metal tubes with different shapes, such as rectangular, square, oval, and circular. Some manufacturers also provide customised shapes. But they cost more than regular metal tubes. Circular tubes are most popular among these shapes as it offers equal distribution throughout the tube.

Performance specification

Every metal tube that you select should have the following performance specifications:

• Pressure rating – it defines the minimum or maximum pressure the tube can withstand. You should keep an eye on the tube’s pressure rating if you buy for fluid flow applications.
• Minimum bend radius – this rating shows the acceptable amount of deformation a tube’s cross-section can go through. Structural applications consider the minimum bend radius to understand the tube’s loading capacity.
• Maximum vacuum – it is the maximum pressure that you can create inside the tube.
• Temperature range – it shows the entire range of ambient temperature the tube can support. It is crucial in industries where the transported fluid is subject to extreme temperatures.

Features

You should also consider the features of the metal pipe before buying. Following are some of the essential features every metal pipe should have:

• Fluted or finned – metal tubes have flutes or fins that make significant space for heat dissipation. It is crucial for metals tubes used in refrigeration, air conditioners, and heat exchanger applications.
• Sterilizability – you can sterilize metal tubes using various techniques. Make sure the tubes you choose go through several sterilization methods, such as gamma irradiation, chemical disinfection, dry heat, and autoclaving.
• Spiral or coiled – the tube should be flexible enough to run in spring or wrapped reel format.
• Multi-layered – your metal tubing should have multiple concentric layers. It makes the tubes more durable and robust.

Finish

Metal tubes should be coated and finished both in the inner and outer surfaces. However, it needs to have a specific type of finish, such as:

• Galvanised – the tube has a zinc coating for greater corrosion resistance.
• Bright finish – the secondary polishing should make the tube look shiny.
• Plated – the tube will have a thin coating of another metal to enhance its exterior physical properties, such as conductivity and corrosion resistance.
• Painted – the tube will have a powdered-coloured coating for identification and corrosion resistance.

Always have a checklist ready before shopping metals. Make sure the metal tubes have all these features mentioned above. That will mean your metal tubes will last the longest.