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Tubing refers to fluid-carrying pipes that have a thin wall, typically made from semi-rigid materials such as steel, copper, aluminum, or plastic. Tubing is used in a wide range of applications, from automotive HVAC systems to brakes.

Types of Tubing

  1. Material-Based Types:
  • Steel Tubing:
    • Durable and strong, suitable for high-pressure applications.
  • Copper Tubing:
    • Known for its thermal conductivity, often used in plumbing and HVAC systems.
  • Aluminum Tubing:
    • Lightweight and resistant to corrosion, used in various industries including automotive and aerospace.
  • Plastic Tubing:
    • Flexible and resistant to corrosion, used in applications ranging from medical devices to water systems.
  1. Structure-Based Types:
  • Rigid Tubing:
    • Maintains a fixed shape and is often used where a permanent installation is required.
  • Semi-Rigid Tubing:
    • Can be bent to a certain degree without collapsing, providing flexibility in installation.
  • Flexible Tubing:
    • Highly pliable, used in applications where movement or frequent adjustment is needed.


  1. Plumbing and HVAC:
  • Water Supply:
    • Copper and plastic tubing are commonly used for hot and cold water supply lines.
  • Heating and Cooling:
    • Steel and copper tubing are used in HVAC systems for carrying refrigerants and heated water.
  1. Automotive:
  • Fuel Lines:
    • Steel and plastic tubing are used to transport fuel from the tank to the engine.
  • Brake Lines:
    • Steel tubing is used for hydraulic brake systems.
  1. Industrial:
  • Process Piping:
    • Used to transport chemicals, gases, and other fluids within industrial plants.
  • Instrumentation:
    • Small-diameter tubing used in control and measurement systems.


  1. Wall Thickness:
  • Tubing typically has a thinner wall compared to pipes, making it lighter and easier to bend.
  1. Diameter:
  • Available in a range of diameters to suit different applications, from small medical tubing to large industrial conduits.
  1. Strength and Flexibility:
  • The material and wall thickness determine the strength and flexibility of the tubing, influencing its suitability for various pressures and conditions.
  1. Corrosion Resistance:
  • Material selection affects corrosion resistance, with plastic and aluminum tubing offering high resistance, while steel tubing may require coatings or treatments.


  • Lightweight:
  • Easier to handle and install compared to pipes with thicker walls.
  • Flexibility:
  • Can be bent or shaped to fit specific installations, reducing the need for joints and fittings.
  • Versatility:
  • Suitable for a wide range of applications across different industries.

Installation and Maintenance

  • Cutting:
  • Tubing can be cut to the required length using a tubing cutter, ensuring a clean and precise cut.
  • Bending:
  • Tubing benders are used to create bends without collapsing the walls, essential for custom installations.
  • Fittings:
  • Various fittings, such as compression, flare, and push-to-connect, are used to join sections of tubing and connect to other components.
  • Inspection:
  • Regular inspection and maintenance are necessary to ensure the integrity of tubing, especially in high-pressure or critical applications.

Tubing is an essential component in many systems, providing a versatile and efficient means of transporting fluids. Its thin walls, material variety, and adaptability make it suitable for a wide range of uses, from residential plumbing to industrial processing and medical devices. Proper selection, installation, and maintenance are key to ensuring the performance and longevity of tubing in any application.

See Related Terms:

  • ACR Tubing
  • Butted tubing
  • Nominal Size Tubing
  • Plain gauge tubing
  • Seamed tubing
  • Seamless tubing
  • Tube
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