The term "aluminum coil" describes aluminum that has been flattened into sheets where their width is significantly higher than their thickness and then "coiled" into a roll. Stacks of individual aluminum sheets are difficult to...
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This article will take an in-depth look at aluminum tubing and piping.
The article will bring more detail on topics such as:
This chapter will discuss what aluminum tubing and piping is, its manufacture, and selection considerations.
Aluminum piping and tubing is silvery-white, soft, and ductile. The metal belongs to the boron group. Aluminum is the third most abundant element present on earth. Aluminum has low density. When exposed to corroding environments, aluminum forms a passivating coating on its surface, which helps it avoid further corrosion on its internal structure. Aluminum is mostly made into an alloy by elements like copper, manganese, zinc, magnesium, and silicon.
These pipes and tubing only have 30% of coppers’ density, yet have good electrical and thermal conductivity. Aluminum can be categorized as a superconductor, since it is capable of conducting at cold temperatures.
Piping is a circular tube for the flow of gasses and fluids, characterized by a small pipe size offering a vague representation of the piping conveyance capacity. Tubing is a circular, oval, rectangular, or square hollow segment characterized by outer diameter and wall thickness, denoted in millimeters or inches.
The choices may be overwhelming when choosing a tube type; both aluminum and stainless steel are available in a number of alloys and tempers, all with their own mechanical and physical properties.
The strength of every material may be defined by a physical factor called Young’s modulus of elasticity, determined in force per unit area. This factor can be utilized to evaluate the strength of aluminum and steel tubing.
Young’s Modulus – At 70 °F, Young’s modulus of elasticity for aluminum is 10 million psi. For steel, irrespective of the type, it’s about 30 million psi. This effectively implies that steel tubing is 3 times stronger than aluminum tubing for the same dimensions.
Material Weight – Size for size, steel is about three times heavier than aluminum. The walls of aluminum tubing are required to be three times thicker than the walls of steel tubing so the weight advantage is insubstantial.
Diameter – The strength of aluminum or steel tubing also depends on the tubing’s diameter. The nominal diameter of the tube, the more intrinsic the strength and vice versa.
The various forms of manufacturing of aluminum tubing and piping include:
Aluminum extrusion is a procedure where the aluminum alloy metal is forced through a die of a specific cross-sectional area.
Aluminum extrusion can be compared to the squeezing of toothpaste from a tube. A powerful ram forces the aluminum through a die, which comes from the die’s opening. It emerges in a shape same as that of the die and is pulled over a run out table. At an elementary level, the procedure of aluminum extrusion is fairly simple to understand.
The force applied can be compared to the force applied while squeezing a toothpaste out of a tube with one’s fingers. As the tube is squeezed, the toothpaste comes out, taking the shape of the opening of the tube. The toothpaste tube’s opening basically serves the same purpose as an extrusion die. Because the opening is a solid round, toothpaste emerges as a solid, long extrusion. Below are round and square, which are among the most frequently extruded shapes.
Above are the drawings utilized to make the dies. The extrusion procedure enables complex shape manufacturing.
A circular-shaped die is made from H13 steel. If one is already available, it is taken from a warehouse. Before extruding, the die should be preheated to 450 or up to 500 degrees Celsius to help exploit its life and guarantee even metal flow. Once the die is preheated, it can be put in the extrusion press.
Next, a cylindrical block of Aluminum alloy, named a billet, is cut from a long mass of alloy material. It is put in an oven and preheated to 400 or 500 degrees Celsius. It becomes malleable enough for the extrusion procedure, but not molten.
As soon as the billet is done preheating, it is mechanically moved to the extrusion press. Before loading it onto the press, a lubrication or release agent is applied on it. The release agent is also applied on the extrusion ram, to avoid the ram and billet from sticking together.
The malleable billet is now loaded in the extrusion press, the hydraulic ram puts 15,000 tons of pressure on it. As the ram puts pressure, the billet solid is forced into the extrusion press’ container. The metal increases in size, filling the container walls.
As the alloy solid fills the container, it is pressed up onto the extrusion die. With constant pressure, the aluminum solid is trapped and can only emerge through the die’s opening(s). It comes out of the die opening as a fully-formed pipe or tube.
After coming out, a puller grips the extrusion. It directs it across the run out table, matching the speed at which it exits from the press. As it travels across the run out table, the tube, or pipe is “quenched,” or consistently cooled using a fan above the table or by water bath.
Once the extrusion gets to its full table length, it is cut by a heated saw, separating it from the extrusion procedure. At every stage of the procedure, temperature plays a significant role. Although the extrusion is quenched after leaving the press, it is not yet completely cooled.
After cutting, table length extrusion is mechanically moved from the run out to a cooling table. The pipes or tubes stay there until they get to room temperature. As soon as they do, they will have to be stretched.
Some natural twisting occurs in the pipe or tubes that need to be fixed. To fix this, they are transferred to a stretcher. Each piping or tubing is gripped mechanically on both ends and stretched until it is straightened and brought to specification.
With the table length extrusion now straightened and completely work-hardened, they are moved to the saw table. Here, they are cut to pre-specified sizes, usually from 8 to 21 feet (6.4 m) long. At this point, the qualities of the extrusion matches the T4 temper. After cutting, they can be transferred to an oven for aging to be aged to the T6 or T5 temper.
Once extrusion is finished, piping or tubing can be heat treated to improve their properties. Then, after heat treating, they receive several surface finishes to improve their appeal and corrosion protection.
They may also undergo fabrication processes to put them to their ultimate dimensions.
Alloys in the 7000, 6000, and 2000 series could be heat treated to improve their final yield stress and tensile strength.
To attain these improvements, piping is put into aging ovens where their aging procedure is sped up, and brought to T6 or T5 tempers.
How do their qualities change? Untreated (T4) 6061 aluminum has tensile strength of 241MPa/35000psi. Heat treated (T6) 6061 aluminum has tensile strength of 310MPa/45000psi.
After heat treatment, piping is finished.
Aluminum piping can undergo several finishing operations. The two major reasons to choose a finishing method is they improve the appearance of the aluminum and improve its corrosion properties.
For instance, the operation of anodization thickens the material’s naturally occurring oxide coating, enhancing its resistance to corrosion and also making the material more wear resistant, enhancing surface emissivity, and offering a porous surface which can accept different colored dyes.
Other finishing procedures like powder coating, sandblasting, painting, and sublimation (to make a wood look), can be done as well. There are many fabrication choices for extrusions.
Fabrication selections allow achievement of the final dimensions needed in extrusions. Piping or tubing can be drilled, punched, cut, machined, etc. to match desired specifications. Regardless of requirements, there’s a wide range of processes that can be done on aluminum tubing to make it the perfect fit for a project.
The most common aluminum alloys utilized for pipe and tubing are 2024, 3003, 6061, 5052, and 7075. Their main alloying elements of magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, and silicon lend each alloy marginally different mechanical and physical attributes.
A wide range of Aluminum tube sizes are available. Aluminum tubes are frequently chosen for their lightness in weight, thermal and electrical conductivity, and resistance to corrosion. For example, engineers specify alloys 7075, 6061, and 2024 for aircraft assemblies because they have high strength to weight ratio and decent fatigue resistance. Untreated 7075 and 2024 are susceptible to corrosion, and 6061 is naturally corrosion-resistant and simpler to weld. 7075 offers more strength with lesser weight, but is more costly.
Alloy 3003 is proper for applications that require resistance to corrosion and more strength, with less of an importance on ductility. For applications which depend on multiple joints, a highly weldable 5052 might be chosen.
The characteristics of a given aluminum alloy relies on its heat treatment history or temper. Temper O specifies the alloy is utilized as hardened, at its peak ductility and lowermost strength. Tempers starting with “T,” such as T6, T4, and T3, involve heat treatment. Aging steps or cold working frequently follow to anneal the metal by hardening it on the particle or molecular level.
After choosing the right aluminum alloy and temper for an application, the next stages will be specifying its dimensions and any extra fabrication operations. Aluminum tubing ODs usually range between 0.062in and 3.00in, having wall thicknesses between 0.010 in. and 0.250 in. Aluminum tubing suppliers can shear, flare, bend, and fabricate tubing to customer’s requirements. After aluminum tubing has had a lengthy service life, it can be recycled since it’s manufactured from 99.8% pure aluminum alloy.
The considerations when selecting Aluminum tubing and piping include:
Metal tubing is highly rigid. This enables them to remain in shape. Most tubing utilized for smooth liquid flow comes with round cross-sections. However, there are also metal tubing with various shapes, like rectangular, oval, square, and circular. Some manufacturers also offer customized shapes. But they are more costly than regular metal tubing. Circular tubing is the most popular shape among these, as it provides constant distribution throughout the tubing.
Every metal tubing that must be selected must have these performance specifications:
Features of the piping should also be considered before purchasing. Following are important features every metal piping should have:
Metal tubing must be finished and coated both in the internal and external surfaces. However, it must have a definite type of finish, like:
This chapter will discuss the various types of aluminum tubing and piping.
5052 aluminum pipe is a variation of aluminum alloys that is improvised for improved performance. The 5052-0 aluminum pipe is an aluminum and magnesium alloy which is modified for corrosion resistance. It is an average strength magnesium alloy. The composition has iron, silicon, manganese, copper, and other elements in small quantities.
The 5052 aluminum seamless pipe is produced directly from solid metal so that there’s no welding and the piping is dimensionally precise.
The aluminum 5052 box pipe is utilized in applications that need high strength and require staying in shape for a longer time. The aluminum alloys have longer lifespans or long-lasting life. The strength of the piping differs with each application, the form, and shape of the aluminum pipe used.
The 5052-0 aluminum welded piping is welded from aluminum sheets. This enhances the strength more than the ordinary piping. However, the aluminum 5052-0 ERW pipe can only be cold worked to strengthen it more after production. Heat treating is not appropriate for any kind of aluminum alloy.
The 5052 aluminum alloy hollow pipes are some of the most utilized pipes since it is the aluminum alloy 5052 round pipe. There are more like the square pipe, box pipe, hexagonal and rectangular, and hydraulic types. The most utilized is the round one. The 5052-0 aluminum alloy square pipes are frequently utilized with structural applications.
5083 aluminum pipes are some of many aluminum alloys utilized in various industries. ASTM B241 aluminum seamless pipes are drawn and smooth. They have fine granular structure, which allows them to be precisely and easily anodized. The application of magnesium and other elements to this alloy make it much resistant to corrosion for marine conditions.
This quality makes the alloy to be utilized widely in marine applications. The aluminum 5083 box pipe is used in strong applications which require strength. Aluminum is weak compared to steel, but the application of alloying metals together can make it strong, though not at the steel alloys level. EN AW-5083 aluminum welded pipes are some of the strongest non-heat treatable aluminum alloys. They can’t be heat treated after drawing. Cold working is utilized to toughen the pipe of this type.
AA 5083 aluminum ERW pipes are electric resistance welded and have good weldability. This quality helps the metal be utilized interchangeably with other metal made piping as well. The 5083 aluminum alloy hollow piping is one of the most utilized, but the shapes and sizes can differ. The ASTM B210 aluminum alloy 5083 round piping is the most utilized shape, where there are other shapes like the EN AW-5083 aluminum alloy square tubes.
5083 marine grade aluminum rectangular piping is also utilized in some applications. The shapes determine the durability and the application. Underwater lines typically do not need to be tough, but require corrosion resistance. Lines which are up in the air must be strong and corrosion resistant. The nominal sizes and wall thickness of the piping plays an important role in the strength too. The 5083 grade aluminum schedule 40 piping is mostly utilized in marine applications.
5086 aluminum pipe is an alloyed aluminum pipe. Aluminum is a lightweight, fragile, and corrosion resistant metal which has a higher reaction tendency with water than steel has. These characteristics make aluminum good for use in many applications. However, 5086 H32 aluminum pipes are manufactured from alloyed aluminum to overcome some of aluminum’s weak mechanical characteristics.
The application of manganese in 5086 aluminum seamless piping makes it strong and removes corrosion when it comes in contact with water. Aluminum is reactive with water, but alloyed aluminum is not. So the alloy is utilized in seawater and marine related applications.
The most beneficial property of the aluminum alloys is that it is very lightweight. This characteristic is utilized in applications in which energy is required to move the components which are in the transportation industry.
There are various shapes as well. Aluminum 5086 box piping is one such example. Box pipes are utilized frequently in structural applications which require strength. The 5086-H32 aluminum welded pipes are strong and much harder. This grade is utilized in oil, natural gas, and petroleum industries. Relying on the application needs and the cost advantages, the choice of material will vary.
The aluminum 5086-H32 ERW piping can be welded and be utilized with other metal made pipelines. The 5086 aluminum alloy hollow piping is the most utilized kind in this grade. There is box piping and other shapes like the rectangular and square pipes as well. Aluminum alloy 5086 round piping is the most utilized type.
Next to steel, aluminum is the most utilized material. The 5086-H32 aluminum alloy square piping is one of the many variants applied in various industries. There are several other deviations to offer the essential mechanical characteristics required in different applications.
6061 aluminum pipe is a variant of aluminum pipe grades. Pure aluminum and alloyed aluminum is utilized for making the aluminum pipes as well. The 6061 pipes are made from a silicon and manganese alloy of aluminum. There are various schedules of the piping which indicate the pressure classes and the wall thickness. The 6061 T6 schedule 80 aluminum piping is an average pressure grade, and it can withstand substantial pressure in a domestic application.
The metal has decent corrosion resistance. The addition of manganese and silicon provide enhancement in strength. 6061 Schedule 40 aluminum piping is of average strength level and will not collapse during bending like pure aluminum grade does.
The aluminum 6061-T6 piping is an average to high strength metal which has a good durability paralleled to other grades. The 6061-T6 aluminum structural piping is utilized in structural applications which need high strength. Aluminum is weak, but the alloying and the heat treating make it average to high strength, which could then be utilized in applications.
The 6061 aluminum thin walled pipe is utilized in applications in which the finish must be good-looking. Almost all aluminum alloy piping metals have a good finish and look better. Aluminum piping is also utilized in aesthetic applications. However, aluminum reacts with water. So it isn’t ideal as a plumbing metal under normal conditions.
The 6061-T6 aluminum seamless piping is modified for strength, yet it maintains most of the good mechanical characteristics of aluminum, like corrosion resistance. Most applications of the 6061 T651 aluminum welded piping can be seen in the aerospace and aircraft industries where weight must be reduced. The aluminum alloy 6061 ERW piping is easy to weld, so applications in which welding is needed can use these pipes.
6063-T6 aluminum pipes are silicon magnesium alloys of aluminum. These are used to improve the strength and corrosion resistance properties of aluminum. This type of metal can be heat treated after extrusion to enhance the strength and be toughened. The 6063-T5 aluminum pipes have good elongation of 8% and good tensile strength. There are different classes and schedules to determine different mechanical characteristics of the material.
The 6063 schedule 40 aluminum pipes govern the pipe wall thickness, with minimal size between 1.25 inches (3.18 cm) and 6 inches (15.24 cm). 6063 T4 aluminum pipe is regarded as the architectural aluminum grade because of its usage in the architectural industry.
6063 aluminum seamless pipes are drawn from the raw metal and so have a good finish. The fine grain arrangement of the metal also makes fine anodizing possible. Aluminum 6063 welded pipes are stronger and can also be welded. The utilization of t6, t5, t4 types of the metal are seen in many industries. The 6063 types are welded using tungsten inert gas welding.
6063 is utilized in architectural constructions which are visible as they offer aesthetic appeal. The 6063-T6 aluminum hollow pipe is one of the most utilized kinds of pipe though there are other types and shapes.
Aluminum 6063-T6 round pipes are the most utilized shape, but there are other shapes like the 6063-T5 aluminum rectangular pipes, hexagonal pipes, square pipes, etc. The use of this grade includes applications in window frames, door frames, roofs, and sign frames. These are relatively medium strength.
Where structurally strong aluminum alloys are needed, the usage of 6062 or 6061 is recommended. The aluminum 6063-T5 schedule 40 pipes are some of the schedules which determine the wall thickness of different minimal diameters of the pipes.
7075 Aluminum Piping is called an aircraft grade aluminum alloy pipe. The alloy contains zinc and is extremely stronger. AL alloy 7075 piping is among the many aluminum alloys which are utilized in various industries and applications.
The 7075 aluminum seamless pipes are drawn from the raw metal, and it enables the piping to be precise in sizes. Since the many applications of the 7075 metal is in the aircraft industries, the piping has to have precise dimensions. The aluminum 7075 box pipes are used in applications where strength is much prioritized. They are utilized in hydraulic systems for lifting tasks.
The 7075 aluminum alloy hollow pipe is one of the commonly utilized types. Due to strength needs, the 7075 alloy square tubes are also commonly utilized in the aerospace industry.
Aluminum pipe is a kind of metal pipe made from aluminum. The use of these pipes is seen in many industries. Although it costs less than copper, it is not applied in plumbing because the pipe can corrode easily with water. Aluminum reacts with water and creates oxides, depositing them into water.
The Seamless Aluminum Pipe is directly drawn from solid aluminum sources, which leaves no welded tracks or marks. The piping is made in different sizes and shapes. Since aluminum is not strong like other metal alloys, it must be optimized to improve strength.
Aluminum Square Pipes can be utilized in slightly stronger applications and to withstand collapsing. Instead of the round piping, which is weaker on the bends, the square piping is stronger at the corners because of its geometry.
The Aluminum Section Pipe can be utilized in bigger applications such as the fuselages of aircraft and fuel pipelines. Since aluminum is lightweight, it can be utilized in systems which need a lightweight option. Thus, the aluminum seamless piping can be utilized in applications which are lightweight and require high precision. The fitting of two pipes can be done using threaded joints.
The Threaded Aluminum Pipes can be joined without welding. There are large diameter aluminum pipes and small diameter aluminum pipes. The large diameter piping must be supported by some lattice which supports the piping structure.
Spiral-Welded Aluminum Piping is produced from spirally cut aluminum plates.
Anodized Aluminum Pipes are electricity treated to make oxides for finishing with protective or decorative layers.
The Jindal Black Anodized Aluminum Piping is anodized with a black decorative oxide color. The uses of all types of aluminum piping can be seen in applications which require corrosion resistant, lightweight material safe for usage in water lines.
This chapter will discuss the applications and benefits of Aluminum tubing and piping.
Aluminum exceptionally well absorbs heat making tubes which is a perfect specimen for temperature control applications like solar power, refrigerators, and air conditioning systems.
The light weight and durability of aluminum tubes makes it useful in hydraulic systems, braces, fuel lines, and frames.
Aluminum pipe and aluminum tube are frequently used for different industrial or building usages, but the use of aluminum pipe and the aluminum tube is also simply embraced by auto manufacturers and proprietors and has been optimized for common home use. Much of the applications of each aluminum tubing have already been discussed in the preceding sections.
The benefits of aluminum tubing and piping include:
Aluminum tubing doesn’t have a great strength to weight ratio. Certain alloys of aluminum tube don’t have the same corrosion resistance level like stainless steel. That’s why aluminum tubes aren't a prevalent option for electrical cables.
Aluminum tubes need special procedures to be welded. Welding wears off from tooling, or more precisely, the aluminum tube oxide layer which forms upon it. It is more costly than steel.
The first factor to consider when buying aluminum tubing is what industry it is to be used and what qualities are required in this industry. Light weight, durability, strong plasticity, low maintenance cost, high toughness, and corrosion resistance are features of aluminum tubing.
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