Steel Pipe And Tube: Choosing Aluminum Or Stainless Steel

Metal pipe and tubing are in all places in automotive, aerospace, industrial, architectural, analysis, and medical functions. The commonest parts are aluminum and stainless steel pipe and tube supplies, and each has attributes that make it the fitting choice for a given industry. Once you’ve determined whether or not you need piping or tubing, next you’ll want to choose the most effective metallic to your software.

Selecting the best Metal

When you’re choosing a tubing material, the alternatives might seem overwhelming; each aluminum and stainless steel pipe and tube come in a wide range of alloys and tempers, every with its own physical and mechanical properties. Each steel has basic properties which are true for all its alloys.

One issue to take into consideration is the mechanical properties that are required in your utility. In situations the place energy is extra important, it’s possible you’ll select stainless steel for its good power-to-weight ratio and means to gain vital power from cold working. If you are centered on conserving components lightweight, aluminum may better suit your application. An aluminum half weighs one-third less than a stainless steel bar part of the same dimensions.

Another issue to contemplate is the corrosion resistance or heat resistance of steel tubing. Usually, each stainless steel and aluminum provide corrosion protection, and the amount will differ depending upon the alloy chosen. The passivating oxide films that kind on the surfaces of each metals assist keep the metals from corroding.

Heat Resistance

One downside of passivation is that the oxide layer can inhibit electrical conduction. Consequently, stainless steels should not known for good electrical conductivity. Aluminum’s excessive conductivity, together with thermal conductivity three times larger than that of steel, has led to its use in energy transmission strains. If moving electricity or heat is necessary in your software, aluminum could also be the better option.

No matter whether or not your tube is intentionally conducting heat, you’ll need to ensure it may well handle the temperature of its operating surroundings. Stainless steels with high concentrations of chromium and nickel retain energy at excessive temperatures. On the other end of the spectrum, aluminum’s tensile strength increases as temperature drops and stays tougher at chilly temperatures than many steels.

Is Stainless Steel the identical as Aluminum?

In summary, the primary components to contemplate when selecting what metal and alloy are finest in your application are the mechanical properties, corrosion resistance, and heat resistance. Once you’ve chosen a category of metallic that greatest fits your software, you’re prepared to choose the precise alloy and temper you need.

Stainless Steel a hundred and one

For purposes that lend themselves to stainless steel, you’re positive to discover a grade that works from the wide selection of iron-carbon-chromium alloys coated by that term. The most common steel pipe and tube grades are T304 and alloy tube T316, part of the 300 series of stainless steel alloys in which austenitic iron alloys with nickel along with the chromium and carbon.

T304 is considered the traditional stainless steel alloy. Also called 18/8, it contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel. T316 is one other acquainted alloy, particularly in food service and medical purposes; it comprises molybdenum for extra corrosion protection.

The properties of a given alloy depend enormously on its heat-treatment and cold working historical past. To acquire a particular property or physical attribute to your tubing, check with a metallurgist or tubing specialist who can information you to the correct combination of alloy and processing for your application.

Tubing specialists can even advise you on tubing size and fabrication processes. Stainless steel tubing is available in fractional and metric outer diameters (ODs) ranging from 1/sixteen to eight in. for tubing and to as small as 0.008 in. for hypodermic purposes. Fabrication can include bending, coiling, finish forming, welding, and chopping.

Upon getting the appropriate stainless steel tubing installed in your utility, you may begin to consider what to do with it at the end of its useful life. Although the alloying elements that go into stainless steel make it troublesome to recycle, rest assured that about 50% of all new stainless steel is fabricated from melted down steel scrap.

Aluminum ABCs

The most common aluminum alloys used for tubing and pipe are 2024, 3003, 5052, 6061, 7075. Their primary alloying parts of copper, manganese, magnesium, silicon, and zinc lend each alloy barely completely different physical and mechanical attributes.

A variety of aluminum tubing sizes is available. Aluminum tubes are sometimes chosen for his or her lightweight, electrical and thermal conductivity, and corrosion resistance.

For example, engineers specify alloys 2024, 6061, and 7075 for aircraft constructions because of their high energy-to-weight ratios and steel pipe good fatigue resistance. Untreated 2024 and 7075 are liable to corrosion, while 6061 is innately corrosion-resistant and simpler to weld. 7075 gives higher strength with much less weight, but costs extra.

Alloy 3003 is good for functions that want corrosion resistance and high energy with less of an emphasis on ductility. And for purposes that depend on many joints, you would possibly choose highly weldable 5052.

As with steel, alloy composition alone doesn’t inform the entire story. The exact properties of a given aluminum alloy additionally depend on its temper or heat-treatment history. Temper O indicates the alloy is used as annealed, at its highest ductility and lowest energy. Tempers starting with “T,” like T3, T4, and T6, contain heat therapies. Cold working or aging steps typically comply with to strengthen the steel by toughening it on the grain or molecular stage.

Once you’ve chosen the correct aluminum alloy and temper on your application, alloy tube your subsequent steps can be specifying its size and any additional fabrication operations. Aluminum tubing ODs sometimes vary from 0.062 in. to 3.00 in. with wall thicknesses from 0.010 in. to 0.250 in. Aluminum tubing suppliers can minimize, bend, flare, and fabricate tube to your necessities. After your aluminum tubing enjoys a protracted service life, you possibly can plan to recycle it since it is made from 99.8% pure aluminum alloy.

Still Have Questions about Aluminum vs Stainless Steel Pipe and Tube?

If you continue to have questions concerning the distinction between aluminum and stainless steel pipe and tube functions, let the experienced staff at Eagle Stainless offer you customized products and services to suit your needs. Contact us right this moment to study extra!

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