Pipe is a primary body of a piping system. Integrity of the pipe determines the life a piping system. In order to standardize pipes across the world, few terminologies are denoted for pipes. So its important to understand the technical terminology of pipe .

Lets understand, what is pipe?

Picture of a Pipe ( Carbon steel pipe shown below)


Cross section of Pipe


Pipes are indicated with respect to its size, which is known as NPS-Nominal Pipe Size. However, the NPS and outside diameter are not same. 

NPS is a term that refers only to the size of the pipe. 

For eg, 1″ , 2″ , 3″, 4″ …80″.

But OD (Outside Diameter) of the pipe is refers to the external size of the diameter of the pipe in term’s of millimeter’s.

The difference between NPS and OD is given in the below slide.



Design of Pipe in Process Piping:

a) Pipe size is determined by Process engineers based on the process flow requirements such as Velocity, flowrate etc…

b) Pipe thickness is determined by Piping design engineers based on the pressure of the service which passing through the pipe.

Pipe Thickness:

It is calculated based on the standard formula given in the international code for process piping ASME B31.3.

In the final calculated thickness, corrosion allowance is added to ensure that the thickness of pipe withstands while handling corrosive fluid services.

What is Corrosion allowance?



Next important terminology is, the end connections of Pipes.



Pipes are differentiated based on the type of manufacturing:

a) Seamless type –  Extruded Pipe through a mandrel.

b) Welded type     –   Welded pipe from a steel sheets.



Hence, above are few major terminologies used in defining a pipe, and same are listed below for quick reference.


Subash Chandran

Hi, I'm Subash Chandran, an aspiring piping design engineer with 15 years of experience and obsessed with piping design. This site is dedicated to educate the aspiring piping design engineers like me, to help them understand the knowledge required to work in live-projects. I will keep posting more contents about piping design and wish to build this platform to be useful for all engineers who wants to pursue piping design engineering.


47 comments on “Short Brief about Pipe

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