A: Seamless pipe is formed by forcing molten metal through a round die to create a continuous tube of metal.
Steel pipe is typically used in pipe systems that transport fluids or gases. At TPC we carry many kinds of steel pipe for a variety of different applications. Steel pipe has become the go-to option for industrial applications across the country, with contractors opting for it over cheaper materials. There are quite a few advantages to implementing steel pipe into your next industrial project.
Why is Steel Pipe Better Than Other Materials?
While it’s true that there is an abundance of reasons to choose steel pipe, there are five major reasons that solidify its superiority:
Steel pipes are capable of taking much more abuse than other pipe materials such as HDPE or PVC. All of steel’s other benefits aside, the durability alone makes it ideal for most applications. It allows it to endure vibrations, impact, and extreme pressure levels. Unlike metals such as cast iron, steel has some flex and will bend instead of break when under stress.
Steel pipes can be manufactured to custom heights, strengths, and widths to suit the stringent specifications of any project. They can even be modd-ed on site, which makes for easy installation. Once installed, any mods or maintenance that needs to be done can be performed easily and quickly.
Steel pipe is significantly stronger than other pipes manufactured from other metals. Being able to be made bigger or with thinner walls without sacrificing strength, durability, or structural integrity is a huge advantage.
Steel is a very effective way to conserve the environment. Steel is easily recyclable and can be repurposed without losing its durability or level of quality. Over 70% of the steel used in North America is recycled for re-use annually.
How Does Seamless Pipe Fit Into The Equation?
Just as there are a variety of iron pipe variations or plastic variations, steel pipes come in a wide range of varieties as well. As industrial applications have expanded and grown in complexity the pipes and support systems that service them have had to evolve. One of the most popular developments in steel pipe products is seamless pipe.
Traditional steel pipe is welded, even though technology has advanced to make some specially welded pipe seamless—there’s still a weak spot on the weld. When taking on any construction project, having the right materials for the project is critical. When it comes to piping, a decision must be made between welded and seamless pipe. However, the decision is not so cut and dry as it is influenced by many factors.
For one, there are a lot of regulations regarding welded pipes and their usage. These regulations often focus on what substance will be transported through the pipe and pressure levels. Therefore, it’s crucial to know about the alternative—seamless pipe.
Welded Vs. Seamless Pipe
Seamless pipe is formed from a solid steel cylinder that is heated till it is pliable. Then a tool called a mandrel is forced through the center. The cylinder then gets rolled and stretched until it is formed to the specified thickness and diameter.
However, welded pipe works a bit differently as it starts as a flat sheet of steel that’s molded into a pipe shape. The two sides of the sheet are welded together, often through a high-frequency electrical current. Although the seams in the electric welded pipe are barely visible, it technically still has a seam.
Advantages of Seamless Pipe
Even though the seam may not be visible, welded pipe is more prone to fail, particularly along the weld. Even though advancements in welding tech have led to barely visible welds, welded pipe’s maximum pressure rating is still 20% less than seamless pipe. Seamless pipe is simply stronger and more adept in many different applications. Additionally, since there is no seam, seamless pipes do not need weld integrity inspections.
You can substitute seamless pipe for welded pipe. However, welded pipe cannot replace seamless pipe due to strict regulations.
One of the most important advantages is the corrosion resistance of seamless pipe. There are far fewer issues with impurities and defects regarding malleability. However, these issues usually occur in welded pipe and are not uncommon.
Advantages of Welded Pipe
While the seamless pipe does seem to have a clear overall advantage over welded pipe, welded does have some pros. Welded pipe, for example, is less expensive and can be produced much faster.
Whether a seamless pipe or a welded one is the proper option for your project can be a complicated decision. There are many factors at play but the main factor is what the pipe will be transporting. However, regardless of whether you go with seamless pipe or welded—steel, in general, has the advantage over other materials.
Advantages Of Steel Pipe By Application
It’s clear that steel holds major advantages and benefits compared to pipe of other materials. However, there are also many specific industries where steel offers a huge upgrade. The advantages of steel we’ve already covered play a major role in why these applications favor steel:
Water – Since steel pipe is both resistant to corrosion and rust, it’s the obvious frontrunner for water distribution in municipalities. It lasts for decades due to its strength and durability protecting it against underground pressure, vibration, and shock.
Construction – Most commercial construction and contractors favor steel pipe for foundation construction and framing. But additionally, they use it for handrails, scaffolding, fence posts, exhaust pipes, and more.
Utilities – Steel pipe is used as a protective encasement for underground utility lines. Utilities such as gas, electricity, fiber-optic internet, and more.
Sewage – Sewage is mostly comprised of wastewater plus some sludge and solids. Steel pipe is ideal because of its corrosion resistance, specifically galvanized corrugated steel. The contoured ripples in corrugated steel pipe enhance its ability to endure extreme pressure levels common in sewage systems.
Be Careful When Choosing Pipe
Seamless pipe is also chosen for many industrial applications with extreme conditions. It’s important to know your project specifications regarding engineering standards. You’ll need to follow the specification books for the project you are working on.
Standards such as ASME, ANSI, ASTM, and API are specifications that are crucial for safe operation and structural integrity. You should always consult with your lead engineer to ensure you are buying the proper pipe. For example, there are important size specifications that are application-specific to ensure a standardized product regardless of manufacturer. Take a look at the following example:
Seamless Pipe Sizes For Petrochemical Applications
The ASME B36.10 and B36.19 guidelines address weights as well as dimensions of seamless pipe for use in petrochemical applications:
- The ASME B36.10 spec discusses low-alloy and carbon seamless pipe in a size range of 1/8 up to 24 inches.
- The ASME B36.19 on the other hand, addresses dimensions and weights of stainless, nickel-alloy, duplex seamless pipe as well as welded pipe.
At TPC We Know Pipe. Let Us Help You
No matter what your project is, one of our knowledgeable consultants can get you a quote on exactly what you need. We have everything from pipes and flanges to hoses, fittings, and other components you need to get your project completed. Contact us today and let’s make your project a success!