Aluminum pipe is a tubular extruded product with outside diameter (OD) and wall thickness (WT) measurements that must conform to set sizes. The standard measurements follow the format used for steel pipe specifying the OD and WT. For example, pipe noted as 1-1/2” schedule 40 has an OD of 1-1/2” and WT that meets Schedule 40 standards. The higher the schedule number, the thicker the wall.
There are two ways of extruding aluminum pipe:
The porthole method – This produces a structural pipe. Because it has an extrusion seam, this pipe should not be used in applications that involve internal pressure. It is commonly used for handrails, flag poles and furniture.
Hollow Extrusion Billet – This method is more costly and produces a product called seamless pipe. Seamless pipe has no seams or weld lines is used in applications where internal pressure and severe forming are required, such as irrigation pipe, process equipment and electrical conductors.
Steel maintains an inventory of 6061 and 6063 aluminum pipe.