What is Piping?

By: Poonam Shah | Views: 1976 | Date: 20-Jan-2012

Within industry, piping is a system of pipes used to convey fluids (liquids and gases) from one location to another. The engineering discipline of piping design studies the efficient transport of fluid.

Within industry, piping is a system of pipes used to convey fluids (liquids and gases) from one location to another. The engineering discipline of piping design studies the efficient transport of fluid.

Industrial process piping (and accompanying in-line components) can be manufactured from wood, fiberglass, glass, steel, aluminum, plastic, copper, and concrete. The in-line components, known as fittings, valves, and other devices, typically sense and control the pressure, flow rate and temperature of the transmitted fluid, and usually are included in the field of Piping Design (or Piping Engineering). Piping systems are documented in piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs). If necessary, pipes can be cleaned by the tube cleaning process.

"Piping" sometimes refers to Piping Design, the detailed specification of the physical piping layout within a process plant or commercial building. In earlier days, this was sometimes called Drafting, Technical drawing, Engineering Drawing, and Design but is today commonly performed by Designers who have learned to use automated Computer Aided Drawing / Computer Aided Design (CAD) software.

Plumbing is a piping system that most people are familiar with, as it constitutes the form of fluid transportation that is used to provide potable water and fuels to their homes and business. Plumbing pipes also remove waste in the form of sewage, and allow venting of sewage gases to the outdoors. Fire sprinkler systems also use piping, and may transport non potable or potable water, or other fire-suppression fluids.

Piping also has many other industrial applications, which are crucial for moving raw and semi-processed fluids for refining into more useful products. Some of the more exotic materials of construction are Inconel, titanium, chrome-moly and various other steel alloys.

Engineering subfields

Generally, Industrial Piping Engineering has three major subfields:

• Piping Material

• Piping Design

• Stress Analysis

Stress analysis

Process piping and power piping are typically checked by Pipe Stress Engineers to verify that the routing, nozzle loads, hangers, and supports are properly placed and selected such that allowable pipe stress is not exceeded under different situation such as sustain, operating, hydro test etc as per the ASME or any other legislative code and local government standards. It is necessary to evaluate the mechanical behavior of the piping under regular loads (internal pressure and thermal stresses) as well under occasional and intermittent loading cases such as earthquake, high wind or special vibration, and water hammer. This evaluation is usually performed with the assistance of a specialized (finite element) pipe stress analysis computer program such as CAESAR II, ROHR2, CAEPIPE and AUTOPIPE.


The material with which a pipe is manufactured often forms as the basis for choosing any pipe. Materials that are used for manufacturing pipes include:

• Carbon Steel (CS)

• Low Temperature Service Carbon Steel (LTCS)

• Stainless Steel (SS)

• Non Ferrous Metals (Inconel, Incoloy, Cupro-nickel, etc.)

• Non Metallic (GRE, PVC, HDPE, tempered glass, etc.)


There are certain standard codes that need to be followed while designing or manufacturing any piping system. Organizations that

promulgate piping standards include:

• ASME - The American Society of Mechanical Engineers

 B36.10M Welded and Seamless Wrought Steel Pipe

• ASTM - American Society for Testing and Materials

 A90/A90M- Test Method for Weight [Mass] of Coating on Iron and Steel Articles with Zinc or Zinc-Alloy Coatings

 A370- Test Methods and Definitions for Mechanical Testing of Steel Products

 A530/A530M- Specification for General Requirements for Specialized Carbon and Alloy Steel Pipe

 A700- Practices for Packaging, Marking, and Loading Methods for Steel Products for Shipment

 A751- Test Methods, Practices, and Terminology for Chemical Analysis of Steel Products

 A865- Specification for Threaded Couplings, Steel, Black or Zinc-Coated (Galvanized) Welded or Seamless, for Use in Steel Pipe Joints

 B6- Specification for Zinc

 E29- Practice for Using Significant Digits in Test Data to Determine Conformance with Specifications

 E213- Practice for Ultrasonic Testing of Metal Pipe and Tubing

 E273- Practice for Ultrasonic Examination of the Weld Zone of Welded Pipe and Tubing

 E309- Practice for Eddy-Current Examination of Steel Tubular Products Using Magnetic Saturation

 E570-Practice for Flux Leakage Examination of Ferromagnetic Steel Tubular Products

 E1806- Practice for Sampling Steel and Iron for Determination of Chemical Composition

• API - American Petroleum Institute

 5B Specification for Threading, Gauging, and Thread Inspection of Casing, Tubing, and Line Pipe Threads

• AWWA - American Water Works Association

• MSS – Manufacturers' Standardization Society

• ANSI - American National Standards Institute

 B1.20.1 Pipe Threads, General Purpose

• NFPA - National Fire Protection Association

• EJMA - Expansion Joint Manufacturers Association


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