Advantages of Steel Pipes in Fluid Conveyance Systems: A Comprehensive Comparison

Friday May 24th, 2024 | Francesco Grillo | Expertise

The manufacturing process of welded steel pipes was invented in the 1820s by the Englishmen James Russell and Cornelius Whitehouse during the peak of the first Anglo-Saxon Industrial Revolution. Since then, steel pipes have continued to lead in the construction of fluid conveyance systems for both civil and industrial use, owing to their chemical and physical characteristics. These characteristics remain among the best design choices, fulfilling requirements for performance, safety, and cost-effectiveness.

The qualities that determine these attributes are primarily:

  1. High Strength and Toughness: Steel pipes possess the ability to withstand high levels of additional stresses (such as water hammer, settlement of supports, vibrations, and earthquakes) due to their combination of strength and toughness.
  2. Long-Term Reliability: Steel maintains its mechanical and technological characteristics over time, even amidst cyclic variations in stress-tension conditions, ensuring consistently high safety factors.
  3. Versatility in Installation: Steel pipes can be cut and welded on-site, allowing for adaptability to various terrains and the creation of custom bends and fittings to accommodate different profiles.
  4. Range of Lengths: Available in lengths ranging from 3 meters to 13.5 meters and beyond, steel pipes offer flexibility in urban settings (where short pipes are often needed to navigate existing utilities) as well as in rural areas, where longer lengths reduce the need for joints and transportation costs.
  5. Variety of Steel Grades and Thicknesses: Multiple steel grades with different thicknesses cater to all hydraulic, static, and dynamic operating conditions, providing optimal technical and economic solutions unmatched by any other material.

Constructing pipelines using steel pipes consistently offers advantages that other materials cannot guarantee.

Steel Pipes vs. Cast Iron: Steel pipes are lighter and cheaper per unit weight compared to cast iron. Special steel fittings are not burdened by the high costs associated with cast iron, and they offer greater availability and shorter production times, especially for large diameters. Additionally, they typically do not require anchoring systems in concrete blocks, which would unfavorably affect installation time and method, as well as increase overall costs.

Steel Pipes vs. Polymer Materials (HDPE and PVC): Steel pipes do not suffer from the progressive deterioration of mechanical properties, ensuring longevity. Steel is also less sensitive to temperature fluctuations, a crucial consideration during storage and installation. Furthermore, steel does not release polymer substances into the transported fluid nor is it permeable to external substances like hydrocarbons, pesticides, and solvents, which could compromise water quality and safety for human consumption.

Steel Pipes vs. Cement Materials: Steel pipes exhibit superior mechanical and hydraulic characteristics compared to cementitious materials. They offer higher mechanical strength, greater sensitivity to dynamic loads, and maintain design elevations due to longer pipe lengths. Steel pipes provide perfect joint sealing and impermeability to external elements that may infiltrate aqueducts. Moreover, the absence of steel brittleness results in practical advantages, eliminating downtime necessary to prevent breakages during handling and installation.

It can be asserted that constructing pipelines using steel pipes consistently offers advantages that other materials cannot provide. This is upheld by advanced manufacturing technologies and stringent quality controls implemented in our facilities.