The Difference Between Tubular Steel Types - rubiconsteel.com

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The Difference Between Tubular Steel Types

August 17, 2022

Tubular steel has a variety of functions in construction – from being purely decorative to highly essential to the function and integrity of a structure. Tubular steel is resistant to corrosion. It is durable, strong, cost-effective, and it comes in various sizes depending on what you may need for your project. So many construction projects and varying applications use tubular steel exactly for these qualities.

Tubular steel has two main types when it comes to construction. That is, mechanical tubing, and structural tubing – both of which we’ll explain down below.

Mechanical Tubing

Mechanical tubing seems rather similar to structural tubing. They have a lot in common. However, this is why it’s important to differentiate the two, as they have different uses. Mechanical tubing is used for – as the name suggests – mechanical uses, but it is also used for light gauge or low-stress structural applications. These applications often have very specific measurements and qualities needed. As such, manufacturers produce mechanical tubing in a highly specific way to meet these requirements, often needing to meet strict tolerances and precisions.

Mechanical tubing requires a great deal of precision in its production in order to function properly in its applications. Moreover, machinery, tools, and other processes use mechanical tubing in almost all industries. This kind of tubular steel is a component in mills, conveyor belts, hydraulic lifts, even automobiles and your home appliances. It’s highly versatile and is more often than not a component for the things around us.

Structural Tubing

Given the uses of mechanical tubing in low-stress applications and within mechanical purposes, we can infer that the usage of structural tubing is mainly located within buildings and high-stress applications. If you thought so, you’re correct! Structural tubing is used for buildings, infrastructure, and other forms of construction that require a lot of strength. As such, while mechanical tubing is strong enough in comparison to components like plastic pipes, structural tubing is required to be even stronger to sustain the loads that it may carry. 

This form of tubular steel has to be strong, durable, and long-lasting. The industry also calls them “hollow structural sections” or HSS for short. Engineers often use them on roads, buildings, and bridges. Support beams, scaffolding, rafters, and even other decorative purposes may utilize structural tubing. Much like mechanical tubing, they’re also fairly versatile.

The wonders of tubular steel

These two types of tubular steel are strong, durable, and resistant to corrosion. They’re very easy to work with in-site, and have a high strength-to-weight ratio. These qualities, combined with their relatively low cost, make them a popular option to use for construction and other projects. Depending on what you’ll be doing, it’s important to know whether you’re ordering structural or tubular steel, and what you’ll have to use them for.

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