Stainless steel pipes and hollow bars are flexible hollow cylindrical shapes used in a diverse range of industries and applications. While they look very similar, there are critical differences between them. Pipes are generally used to transport liquids or gases, such as water, oil, or natural gas whereas hollow bars are used for structural applications. Pipes are measured by their inner diameter and wall thickness while hollow bars are measured by their outer diameter and wall thickness. Pipes are made from different kinds of materials such as steel, copper, and PVC; hollow bars are also made from different materials, including, steel, aluminum, and stainless steel.
In this blog, we will compare and contrast pipes and hollow bars in detail with their in-depth various applications analysis as well as their manufacturing process. We will also throw some light on how to choose the right type of components for your business-specific needs. If you are looking to buy stainless steel pipes or hollow bars then this guide is especially curated for you.
What is a Pipe?
A pipe is a hollow tubular cylinder that is usually of circular cross-section but that is not necessarily, used to transport liquids or fluids, gasses, slurries, powders, and small solids. It is made from a variety of materials, including, steel, copper, PVC, cast iron, clay, concrete, and fiberglass. It is measured by their inner diameter and wall thickness. The inner diameter is the diameter of the opening inside the pipe, while the wall thickness is the thickness of the material around the opening. It is designed in a way such that it can handle a lot of pressure. Fittings such as elbows, tees, and reducers are very commonly used by pipe manufacturers to connect pipes. Fittings can be made of the same or a different material than the pipe.
Applications of Pipes
Pipes are used in a diverse range of industries and sectors. Some of them are mentioned below:
- Pipes are employed throughout the buildings and other constructions to transport water as well as wastewater.
- Pipes are employed in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems to transfer refrigerant and various other liquids.
- Pipes are used in sprinkler systems and fire hydrants to transport water and fire retardants.
- Pipes are used in oil refineries and oil processing systems to transport oil and gas from wells.
- Pipes usage is in water sprinkler systems in fields to transport water to gardens and agricultural fields.
- In chemical processing industries, pipes are used for the transportation of chemicals and other fluids to manufacturing units.
- In food and beverage processing industries, pipes are applied to transport food and beverage materials throughout processing facilities.
- Pipes are employed throughout mines to transport water, minerals, and other materials.
- Usage of pipes at construction sites is to transfer concrete, water, and other raw materials.
- Pipes are used in factories to transport fluids, gases, and other raw materials.
- In the cabling process, pipes are used to transport electrical cables and fiber optic cables.
What is a Hollow Bar?
A hollow bar has a hollow interior with a cylindrical shape, typically made from steel, aluminum, or stainless steel. It is more versatile than pipe as it can be used for both – structural and fluid transport. It is measured by their outside diameter and wall thickness. The outer diameter is the diameter of the outside of the bar, while the wall thickness is the thickness of the material around the opening. Hollow bar manufacturer uses welding, brazing, or mechanical fasteners to join them together. It is more thicker as well as stronger than pipes.
Applications of Hollow Bars
Hollow Bars are applied in multiple sectors and industries. Some of them are mentioned below:
- In the building construction sector, hollow bars are used in structural applications such as framing, columns, and beams.
- While constructing a bridge, hollow bars are applied as structural support systems such as trusses, girders, and decks.
- For structural support systems in the aerospace sector, hollow bars are used in the engineering of aircraft fuselages and wings.
- Hollow bars are used as a structural support system in automotive industries such as chassis frames and suspension components.
- Machine frames and shafts are manufactured with the help of hollow bars. They are widely used in machinery manufacturing for structural support.
- In the sports industry, golf clubs, baseball bats, and bicycle handlebars are made from hollow bars. They are widely applied in this sector.
- Hollow bars are employed in various medical devices, such as prosthetics and surgical instruments.
Manufacturing Process of Pipes & Hollow Bars
The manufacturing process of pipes and hollow bars is more or less similar. The key difference relies on the material used and the desired dimensions of the final product. The common steps to both the manufacturing process are discussed below:
Pipes Manufacturing Process
- Heat the raw material at a high temperature until it converts into molten form.
- The molten form is forced through a die to create a hollow tube.
- After that, the hollow tube is cooled and hardened.
- Now, the tube is cut to the desired length.
- Lastly, to facilitate joining, the ends of the tube can be threaded, beveled, or flared.
Hollow Bars Manufacturing Process
- Heat the raw material at a high temperature until it turns into molten form.
- The molten form is poured into a mold to create a solid bar.
- After that, the solid bar is cooled and hardened.
- To create a hollow interior, a hole is drilled through the center of the solid bar.
- Now, the bar is cut to the desired length.
- Lastly, to facilitate joining, the ends of the bar can be threaded, beveled, or flared.
Another difference can be observed here is the step of drilling a hole through the center of the bar which is not followed in the manufacturing of pipes as they are already hollow. Extrusion, centrifugal casting, and cold drawing are other manufacturing processes involved in manufacturing pipes and hollow bars.
Tips to Keep in Mind While Buying
When you are going to buy a hollow bar or a pipe, it is important to consider the following points:
- What is the primary use of the component for your specific business need?
- What is the strength and the rigidity required for your specific business need?
- What is your desired material?
- Keep your budget in mind and then choose accordingly.
- You should know that hollow bars are more versatile than pipes as they are used for both structural applications as well as fluid transportation.
Now you know all the critical differences between pipes and hollow bars and have a brief knowledge about their characteristics, manufacturing process, and applications. Ultimately, the best approach to deciding between a pipe and a hollow bar is by carefully assessing the particular requirements of your application. It is best to consult with an engineer or other professional if you are not sure about the components that are ideal for your application.