Know Your Pipes: 6 Common Pipe Materials and Their Uses

Industrial pipeworkThere are as many kinds of pipes as there are many materials used in making them. These vary in properties, which mean that one kind of pipe may be more suitable for use in a specific application than another.

An aluminium pipe, for example, is one of the most often-used materials in construction because of its lightweight and corrosion-resistant quality. Aluminium itself is a valuable material in construction because it’s easy to work with and is extremely versatile.

Let’s take a closer look at the different kinds of materials used in making industrial pipework and the applications they are best used for:

Standard steel

Pipes made of standard steel are long-lasting, deformable, and resistant. These make them great for applications that involve significant variations in temperature or pressure. These are the pipes of choice for situations wherein vibrations or impact can have an adverse effect on the pipeline. Standard steel pipes are usually galvanised to protect them from corrosion.

Stainless steel

Chemical stability and corrosion resistance are the top qualities of stainless steel, which make it popular in food, chemical, pharmaceutical, and petroleum industries. Stainless steel pipes are particularly favoured in applications that involve corrosive fluids and fluids that must not be contaminated.


As mentioned previously, aluminium is light, easy to form and assemble, and resistant to corrosion. It’s no wonder that this material is a natural choice in construction, transport, and aeronautics, and in manufacturing compressed-air pipelines.

Duplex steel

Pipes made from Duplex steel are commonly used in the gas and petroleum industry, particularly in offshore platforms. In these settings, pipelines need to be able to resist not only extreme pressure but salinity as well. Duplex, an alloy specifically developed to provide tensile strength and corrosion resistance, makes it the material of choice in this regard.

P91 steel

This steel contains 9% chromium and 1% molybdenum. The chromium gives the alloy a high resistance to corrosion and high temperatures, while the molybdenum serves to increase its creep resistance.

Fun fact: P91 was developed initially for the manufacture of pipelines in nuclear or conventional thermal power plants, where a material that can withstand extreme temperatures and pressures is necessary.


This material is most often used in the aeronautics sector, which requires components to have the ability to withstand extremely high temperatures and have a high resistance to corrosion whilst being lightweight.

You can also find pipes being used in interior design and furniture projects where they’re used to create an industrial look and feel. What other uses of industrial pipework can you think of?