Tubing is a hollow, cylindrical object used for various purposes such as transporting fluids, gases, or wires. Conduit, on the other hand, is a specific type of tubing that is used for protecting and routing electrical wires and cables, typically made of metal or plastic with specific standards for electrical safety.

What is tubing?

(Photo by Mikael Blomkvist)

Picture of two men fixing tubing

Tubing is a type of piping used to transport fluids or gases. It is typically made of metal, plastic, or rubber. Tubing can be rigid or flexible. Rigid tubing is often used in high-pressure applications, while flexible tubing is used in low-pressure applications.

What is conduit?

(Image by Stadnik from Pixabay )

Picture of conduit pipes

Conduit is a type of piping used to protect electrical wiring. It is typically made of metal or plastic. Conduit can be rigid or flexible. Rigid conduit is often used in high-pressure applications, while flexible conduit is used in low-pressure applications.

Tubing Vs. Conduit – Key differences

Tubing and conduit are both hollow cylindrical objects, but they are used for different purposes and have some key differences, such as:

Function: Tubing is typically used for transporting fluids, gases, or wires, while conduit is used specifically for protecting and routing electrical wires and cables.

Material: Tubing can be made from a variety of materials, including metals, plastics, and rubber, while conduit is typically made from metal or plastic.

Flexibility: Tubing is generally more flexible than conduit and can be bent or shaped to fit a particular application. Conduit, on the other hand, is designed to be rigid and provide protection for the wires or cables it contains.

Standards: Conduit must meet specific safety and performance standards for electrical wiring, while tubing may not have any specific standards or requirements depending on the application.

Size: Conduit is available in a range of standard sizes to accommodate different wire and cable diameters, while tubing can vary widely in size depending on the application.

While tubing and conduit may look similar, they have distinct differences in their functions, materials, flexibility, standards, and sizes.

When to use tubing?

Tubing can be used in a variety of applications, depending on the material and specifications of the tubing. Some common uses of tubing include:

  1. Transporting fluids: Tubing can be used to transport liquids or gases in a variety of industries, such as oil and gas, chemical processing, and medical equipment.
  2. Structural support: Tubing can be used as a structural component in buildings, bridges, and other infrastructure projects, providing strength and support to the overall structure.
  3. Heat transfer: Tubing can be used to transfer heat, such as in radiators, heat exchangers, and HVAC systems.
  4. Protection: Tubing can be used to protect wires, cables, and other components from damage or wear and tear, such as in automotive and aerospace applications.

Overall, tubing can be used in many different applications, depending on the specific needs and requirements of the project or industry.

When to use conduit?

Conduit is typically used in applications where electrical wires and cables need protection from physical damage, moisture, and other environmental factors. Here are some common uses of conduit:

Electrical wiring: Conduit is often used to protect electrical wiring in commercial and residential buildings, providing a safe and secure path for wires and cables to run through walls and ceilings.

Industrial applications: Conduit is commonly used in industrial applications, such as manufacturing plants and refineries, to protect electrical wiring from damage caused by heavy machinery and equipment.

Outdoor installations: Conduit can be used to protect electrical wiring in outdoor installations, such as streetlights, traffic signals, and other outdoor lighting systems.

Hazardous locations: Conduit can be used in hazardous locations, such as chemical plants and oil refineries, to protect electrical wiring from exposure to dangerous substances and conditions.

Grounding: Conduit can also be used as a grounding conductor, providing a path for electrical currents to flow in the event of a fault or electrical overload.

Conduit is a versatile and essential component in many electrical installations, providing protection and ensuring the safe and efficient flow of electrical power.

What is the difference between tubing and pipe?

Tubing and pipe are often used interchangeably, but there are actually some subtle differences between the two. For one, tubing is usually more flexible than pipe, which makes it ideal for applications where a lot of movement is required (such as plumbing). Pipe, on the other hand, is more rigid and is better suited for carrying fluids under high pressure (such as in an irrigation system).

Another difference between tubing and pipe is that tubing is typically made from softer materials such as PVC or copper, while pipe is usually made from harder materials such as steel or concrete. This means that tubing is more likely to kink or collapse if not supported properly, while pipe is less likely to be damaged by external forces.

Finally, tubing can be round, square, or rectangular in shape, while pipe is always round. This gives tubing a bit more versatility when it comes to applications, although both types of piping can be used for a variety of tasks.

What are the 2 types of conduit?

There are two types of conduit: Rigid conduit and Flexible conduit.

Rigid conduit is made of metal or plastic and is used to protect electrical wiring.

Flexible conduit is made of metal or plastic and is used to protect electrical wiring and tubing.

The advantages and disadvantages of tubing and conduit

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of tubing and conduit:

Advantages of Tubing:

  • Tubing is versatile and can be used in a wide range of applications, including transporting fluids, gases, or wires.
  • Tubing is often flexible and can be bent or shaped to fit a particular application.
  • Tubing is available in a variety of materials, including metals, plastics, and rubber, which can offer different properties such as corrosion resistance or heat resistance.

Disadvantages of Tubing:

  • Tubing may not provide the same level of protection for wires and cables as conduit, leaving them vulnerable to physical damage, moisture, and other environmental factors.
  • Tubing may not meet specific safety or performance standards for certain applications.
  • Tubing may not be suitable for high-voltage electrical applications.

Advantages of Conduit:

  • Conduit provides protection for electrical wiring and cables, preventing physical damage and exposure to moisture and other environmental factors.
  • Conduit meets specific safety and performance standards for electrical wiring.
  • Conduit can be used in a variety of applications, including residential, commercial, and industrial settings.

Disadvantages of Conduit:

  • Conduit is typically more rigid than tubing and may be more difficult to install in certain applications.
  • Conduit may be more expensive than tubing, especially for larger installations.
  • Conduit may require special tools and equipment for installation and maintenance.

Is PVC pipe a conduit?

Yes, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipe is often used as a type of conduit for electrical wiring. PVC conduit is a popular choice for residential and commercial electrical installations because it is relatively inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to install. PVC conduit can be used in a variety of applications, including underground and above-ground installations, and is available in a range of sizes to accommodate different wire and cable diameters. PVC conduit is also resistant to moisture, corrosion, and other environmental factors, making it a durable and long-lasting option for protecting electrical wiring.

 

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