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Metal Tube Versus Metal Tubing

10/05/2012 4:04 PM

My question may seem trite but I'm involved in a heady discussion that we've been unable to resolve. So, I appreciate any guidance possible. In short, is there a difference between a metal tube and metal tubing?

There are some instances where an industry or company prefer one over the other but there are enough instances of overlapping or conflicting use that it seems there is no generally accepted or industry mandated distinction. If there is, however, I'd certainly like to know that distinction.

Many Thanks,

Walt

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#1

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/05/2012 4:37 PM

No.

I think it a matter of semantics.

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#2

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/05/2012 5:53 PM

Some people do seem to be rigidly attached to one term or the other, most often preferring "tube." Rigid tube has more tendency to be so called; soft tube is often called "tubing." This is just my informal observation; some Codes may insist on one oe the other term.

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/05/2012 6:57 PM

I'm inclined to call something without fittings a tube. Tubing would incorporate fittings.

There's probably no logical support for this.

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#3

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/05/2012 6:38 PM

Hi Walt - been a long time.

Reckon the other guys have it - it's just wordplay (AKA semantics). "Tube" vs. "Tubing"? C'mon.

So unless anyone can cite a formal definition of the difference, I'd just say "Bollocks" - and don't let anyone say otherwise (without citation).

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#5

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/05/2012 7:09 PM

Walt, sorry but he "other guys" have it wrong !! From a technical stand point there is a difference although the terms get used interchangeably and is incorrect. "Metal tube" typically referred to Tube Steel (TS) up until the late 90s. It was then changed to Hollow Structural Sections (HSS). It's mostly structural "tube" in square and rectangular shapes with some circular sizes avaliable. So Tube Steel or Metal Tube is an outdated way of specifying HSS. "Tubing" on the other hand refers to "As Welded Mechanical Tubing". It's always circular and available in SMLS, D.O.M, E.R.W, HR SMLS, with many diameter and wall thickness combinations. Dimensional tolerances are tighter. The primary application intent for "tubing" is for some type of mechanical function ie. drive shafts, telescopic cylinders, etc.

In a nutshell:

Metal Tube = Structural applications, low precision

Metal Tubing = Mechanical applications, higher precision

So it's not "bollocks" as was so eliquently put! .

Snipets form our Russel Metals catalog below. We always make a distinction between the two when specifying the material in our designs.

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/05/2012 7:45 PM

What? Haven't you contradicted yourself?

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/05/2012 8:39 PM

How exactly? I don't follow.

"Metal tube" is structural "tube". "Metal tubing" is mechanical "tubing". They are different...in application, size availability, material, etc.

Are we talking about the same thing?

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#11
In reply to #8

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 5:07 AM

You contradicted yourself with the snippets you posted.

The title of each incudes the word "tubing", and it is explicitly qualified by prepending the words "structural" and "mechanical".

You state:

"In a nutshell:

Metal Tube = Structural applications, low precision

Metal Tubing = Mechanical applications, higher precision",

but this is not supported by your examples, neither of which even mentions the word "tube".

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#28
In reply to #11

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 6:08 PM

Okay I see what you're getting at but I think we're not on the same page (pun?). I did not refer just to the word "tube" and "tubing" as you and Lyn are doing. I agree that the words "tube" and "tubing" used by themselves are interchangeable because they are vague. I made reference to the Walt's specific terminology of "metal tube" and "metal tubing". The term "metal tube" (or "tube steel (TS)") is old school for modern HSS or structural tubing. I suspect Walt's engineers are talking about "HSS" when they say "metal tube" and referring to "mechanical tubing" when they say "metal tubing". There is a difference and that's the question Walt was asking.

The word "tube" will not show up in our updated catalogs because it's not used anymore. As you observed, the modern term for "metal tube" is now HSS or Structural "Tubing". The term "Metal Tubing" is (and has always been) Mechanical "Tubing".

I found this on AISC.

Some others here started posting about pipe but I won't even get into that. That has nothing to do with either HSS or Mechanical Tubing. I don't think Walt is talking about pipe either.

Just a side thought here but if my wife were to ever read and follow this thread her comment to me would be like...

"WTF ???...get off your a$$, turn the off the f'n computer and go cut the grass!!, what's wrong with you?? "

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#25
In reply to #5

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 2:03 PM

ASTM B88

Abstract

This specification covers seamless copper alloy water tubes for general plumbing and similar applications in fluid conveyance.

There's a considerable amount of ambiguity at ASTM, too.

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#30
In reply to #5

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 6:26 PM

The H.S.S. abbreviation conflicts with HSS (high speed steel)

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#6

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/05/2012 7:35 PM

No yer all wrong...A tube is the part of the wave under the curl, and tubing is where rednecks drink beer and float down the river in inner tubes....

Metal? Oh,,, never mind....

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#26
In reply to #6

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 5:16 PM

Is that river the "hooch"?

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#31
In reply to #26

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 9:05 PM
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#9

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/05/2012 10:44 PM

Hmmmm lets see

Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

In a grammatical sense a tube is 1 piece of , tubing implies multiple pieces or a continuous length of.

tubing [ˈtjuːbɪŋ]n

1. tubes collectively 2. a length of tube 3. a system of tubes

I know you didn't mean this but I couldn't resist lol

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 5:04 AM

Tubes v pipes........yes, a significant difference

Tubes v tubing..........I fall in line wth most to say......no difference, maybe, "only in the eye (or mind) of the beholder"

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#19
In reply to #10

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 11:45 AM

When I look for tubing I'm taken to Pipe.

It is my opinion that Pipe and Tubing is the same thing. Tubing is used to convey something. Such as Rubber and Copper tubing and is measured by ID.

Tube is measured by OD and is for structural purposes, not that it can't be used for conveying substances through it, you just won't be able to purchase fittings for it.

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#21
In reply to #19

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 12:52 PM

Actually pipe and tubing are specified by O.D. and wall thickness. structural tube as Teraman says is not intended for pressure applications. different testing and quality standards apply.

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#22
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Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 1:06 PM

Tubing is ID. 1/2" tubing is 1/2" ID, and wall thickness will affect the OD. For example Sch40, Sch80, Sch5, all have the same ID, however each will have a different OD.

I also gave you a vote for on-topic to counter the off-topic designation. Who ever rated us as off topic needs to read the article again.

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 1:27 PM

No, tube/tubing is very specifically NOT ID, although both OD and ID may be specified.

Up through 12", pipe is nominal ID; 14" and over it is actual OD. For each size, the pipe schedules are all the same OD; it is the ID that varies. That is so that fittings will fit.

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#32
In reply to #19

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/07/2012 1:52 AM

Tube dimensions are actual dimensions, e.g. 1'' tube is 1'' OD and wall thickness increases in standard steps

Pipes are nominal dimensions, e.g. a 1'' schedule 40 pipe has an ID of 1,049'' an OD of 1.32'' and a wall thickness of 0,133'' and wall thickness increases according to the schedule required for the job in hand.

Tube fittings can be ferrules, flares, ermeto type fittings, etc., whereas pipes are butt welded, threaded fittings, flange to flange bolted fittings, etc

Pipes are cylindrical whereas tubing can be cylinrical, square, and recangular.

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#33
In reply to #32

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/07/2012 3:16 AM

Minor discrepancy there: 1" pipe OD = 1.315" (and then the other numbers match). Other than that, your description, especially the general idea, is correct.

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#34
In reply to #33

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/07/2012 9:14 AM

My apolgies for that slight indisctretion.......I don't usually correct to two decimal places.

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#35
In reply to #32

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/07/2012 9:56 AM

This discussion has nothing to do with "pipe".

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#39
In reply to #35

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/08/2012 11:35 AM

Except that when you do a search it takes you directly to Pipe.

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#40
In reply to #39

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/08/2012 11:55 AM

Sorry, I'm very literal minded.

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#41
In reply to #19

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/08/2012 5:37 PM

Yes tube - tubing, Pipe - Tubing. It is terminology that is all interchangeable in the trades.

Copper tubing, is a roll of soft copper measured by its OD 5/8 dehydrated refrigeration tubing but the same tubing not dehydrated is 1/2" water pipe, measured by its ID.

Copper tube / pipe is the same - ACR - 1-1/8" OD for refrigeration, but its sister tube type M - L & G are measured by their ID since the wall thickness is different for the material that will flow through it. Same with steel tube for process plants, Id measurement is used but stamp ASTM ratings are different due to wall thickness for the material it Carry's.

Structural tube and tubing is OD since the application calls for a simple OD measurement as that is how structures are built.

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#42
In reply to #41

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/08/2012 6:04 PM

"...Yes tube - tubing, Pipe - Tubing. It is terminology that is all interchangeable in the trades"....

No it's not!!..pipe and tubing (tube) are not interchanegeable. It never was. Pipe has nothing to do with tube or tubing or this thread for that matter !!

"...Same with steel tube for process plants..."

Your wrong again. Process plants use "pipe" not tube. That's why the discipline is called process piping and not "process tubing".

I know what you mean but your terminology is incorrect.

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#43
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Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/08/2012 6:38 PM

I googled difference between Tubing and Tube and the information listed came up with Tubing and Pipe in place of tube.

About the uses of pipe, we use Pipe for plumbing yes, but we also use it for structural purposes and for making rollers on conveyors. We use black, stainless steel, galvanized and PVC of various sizes.

By the posts being made it seems the terminology is ambiguous and region where you reside has something to do with terminology used.

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#44
In reply to #42

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/08/2012 6:44 PM

I understand that in your "by the book world" this is not possible.

But walk in to any RSD, Cal Steam, United Refrigeration, and ask for tubing Stainless, Copper or aluminum they will assume that you mean refrigerant, it would be in a roll and annealed you would have to specify use...water or another material.

If you ask for pipe they will ask back ID - OD is that ACR (dehydrated) for refrigeration or M, L, K or G for other materials based on pressure. In the real world in everyday life the terms are interchanged often and it is common. It will be up to the individual in charge of the project to be specific as to what the dimension and structural integrity for the TUBE / PIPE will need to be or you may kill some one.

On the Process Piping note, yes that is usually pipe used in Process Piping (ID measurements due to material) but many times you will see tubing used in process piping to an end device due to flexibility and they still cal lit Pipe in the field.

It is usually only after 6 inches that Pipe is considered Pipe and tubing is gone, as you have moved now into the welded or groove locked designs.

Ahhh Get out into a service truck and live a little...............

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#53
In reply to #44

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/09/2012 1:31 PM

"It is usually only after 6 inches that Pipe is considered Pipe and tubing is gone..."

So...if I order a 20ft length of NPS 1 1/2 Sch 40 pipe and use only a short 5" piece of it for a particular application...I should call it a tube or tubing because that's what "they" call it??

That makes perfect sense! Next time we spec out some NPS 1 1/2 Sch 40 pipe, I'll be sure to identify it on the prints as "Tubing 1.900 OD x 0.145 wall". Brilliant!!

That'll make my customers really happy. Thank you and "them" for the tip!

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#54
In reply to #53

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/09/2012 1:51 PM

Correct! and for lengths under 1/2" they would be called washers.

I think we're being a little ridiculous now.

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#55
In reply to #54

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/09/2012 2:16 PM

Things were ridiculous a while ago!

Cheers.

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#48
In reply to #42

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/08/2012 10:10 PM

Process plants also use tube, particularly for instrumentation. The term "tubing" is also used, although some people do not prefer it.

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#49
In reply to #48

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/08/2012 10:51 PM

If we haven't stomped this subject out of sight in the mud and stuff, we have most certainly confused the confusable.

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#51
In reply to #42

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/09/2012 9:07 AM

I guess it is best we haven't strayed into OCT ("Oil Country" Tubular) products, things would start to get quite confusing then....

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#47
In reply to #41

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/08/2012 10:04 PM

Sorry, but that is not entirely correct.

ACR (air conditioning and refrigeration tube) is specified by OD and a letter to identify wall thickness (K or L; rarely if ever M), which is analogous to pipe schedules.

Copper pipe for water is usually specified by nominal (not actual) ID, with L and M being the common thicknesses. As you note, 3/4" copper pipe is actually 7/8" OD; the ID is approximately but not exactly 3/4".

Tube/tubing is always OD, but either wall thickness or ID may be specified also.

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#52
In reply to #47

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/09/2012 12:38 PM

Right, that is exactly what I meant I said.

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#12

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 8:26 AM

I am with TerraMan on this. Before they became HSSs we used tubes and pipes for structural work. We would have referred to tube(s) and pipe(s), never tubing.

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#16
In reply to #12

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 11:13 AM

Yeah, that's why we don't have videos on YouTubing.

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#18
In reply to #16

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 11:33 AM

I think they changed that term to gerbiling.

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#45
In reply to #16

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/08/2012 6:49 PM

hahahahahahahha

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

That was a good one!

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#13

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 9:07 AM

This is OT, but I have always preferred ZZ Tops's song "Tube steak Boogie"....

SPPPAAARRRFFFFF!!!!!!!!

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 9:52 AM

Here's one of my favorites....wait for it....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvBJLZPB7M8&feature=related

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 10:31 AM

Thanks SolareagleMan, that was enjoyable! Gotta love Carmen and her long log legs!

And now for your viewing pleasure:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTul8jNDrLM&feature=fvwrel

Long live ZZ Top, the best of the Texas Boogie Bands! Hells bells, the best thing to ever come out of TX!

[notice the sunglasses? hehehehe!]

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#20
In reply to #15

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 11:50 AM

Cool, here's one from the deep south...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oamfaVLuGTU&feature=related

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#36
In reply to #15

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/08/2012 3:33 AM

Long live ZZ Top, the best of the Texas Boogie Bands! Hells bells, the best thing to ever come out of TX!

(tongue in cheek) Hells Bells was AC/DC out of the UK.

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#17

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 11:18 AM

I recall back in the Jimmy Carter days, becoming motivated to build a Solar water pre-heater. The collector used 1/2 inch copper pipes, cut into tubes, and connected to a 60 ft. coil of 1/2 inch copper tubing. The system was filled with anti-freeze and had an expansion tank that also contained the pump.

It reduced my gas bill by about $15 per month, but maintaining it was a pain. After about two years I modified it to use air as the heat transfer medium and saved just as much, if not more on my gas bill. It was still running smoothly when I sold the house ten years later.

The copper pipe and tubing was the major expense.

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#24

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 1:37 PM

I think that, by now, Walt has decided that we don't know squat.

I still say it just doesn't matter.

If you really want to understand the difference, or lack thereof, between the two terms, a study of ASTM documents covering tube and tubing will perhaps cloud the issue even more.

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#27

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 5:51 PM

It really depends on who you are talking to. If an engineer or scientist, a tube and tubing may mean different things. If you talk to a layman who doesn't know or even wants to know the difference, he/she will usually refer to anything round and ridgid as a pipe and if flexible, a hose.

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#29

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/06/2012 6:23 PM

Just to confound things, in the vacuum industry a length of pipe/tube/tubing is often called a tubulation.

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#37

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/08/2012 9:44 AM

Wow, I never thought such a direct question could generate so much conversation.

To directly answer the question, "metal tube" is a generic lable attached to hollow cylindrical sections resembling pipe or tubing. On the other hand, "metal tubing" is a specific form that is defined by a rather large number of specifications. That said, "tubing" should not be confused with "pipe". They is different.

That my two cents.

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#38
In reply to #37

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/08/2012 11:24 AM

Welcome.

Your opinion is just that. Humble though it may be.

Since you offer no evidence that your opinion has any more validity than the other opinions offered here, it will be summarily ignored, as are most of the other opinions rendered here.

You will hardly ever see unanimous agreement on anything on the forum.

But, feel free to contribute any time you are moved to do so.

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#46
In reply to #38

Re: Metal Tube versus Metal Tubing

10/08/2012 7:00 PM

But the you tube videos have been fun to watch lyn.

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#50

Re: Metal Tube Versus Metal Tubing

10/09/2012 6:13 AM

Very entertaining thread, but forget for a moment how the question was posed, and it's really quite simple....also depends on correct use of language, but not actually semantics...

eg 1 an instrument tech does not go to the material store for 'an' instrument tube, or a number of instrument tubes. Rather, he requires some instrument tubing...correct English. eg 2 the engineer suspects the boiler tubes are leaking, not the boiler tubing ....again, correct English. Basically what we have here is common noun vs collective noun.

A 'tube' (common noun) is a hollow cylinder of fixed length or profile, such that it is fit for purpose. Whether it is formed from metal, cardboard, plastic, glass or other is not significant. Generally, a tube's length is not joined , and it remains open-ended.

Some examples are: Pitot tube, siphon tube; boiler tube; roller-towel tube; toilet roll tube; tube that paper mill stock is rolled onto, and blank tubes used for glass blowing etc .. that's why older radio's and amps are referred to as 'tube' apparatus, since the glass valve housings were blown from glass tube.

Now, pipe can be used to construct a tube, or even many tubes...no problem there....however, pipe is not used to construct tubing.

'Tubing' (collective noun) is the term applied to quantities of 'tube' where the application implies that various geometries, lengths and joints are required. Thus, there are standard stock-lengths of rigid tubing, and standard rolls/ coils of flexible tubing.

So the problem lies with many users, who are tempted to say 'load up that tube' and 'hand me that tube', because it doesn't sound wrong to them (aks them yourself) enough people say it for long enough, and it will become correct English.

Like the title of Shakespeare's work, Much Ado About Nothing....

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#56

Re: Metal Tube Versus Metal Tubing

10/16/2012 9:36 AM

"Tubing" refers to stock materials. "A tube" is a finished part. Steel mills make tubing. Machine shops make tubes by cutting tubing to particular lengths and perhaps welding on a flange or drilling bolt holes. It's like the diference between an egg and an omlet, cloth and necktie, or lumber and stud -- one is made from the other.

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