Stainless Steel Tube Suppliers

No matter what you are looking for, anywhere in the world, Special Metal Alloys are committed to bringing you exactly the right high-quality stainless steel tubing for your special applications, with fast turnaround times to deliver when you need it. We also provide special customised services for laser-cutting stainless steel tubes.

Knowing exactly which stainless steel tube to use for your exact purpose can be quite daunting and in this article, we attempt to clarify some of the most salient points. For comprehensive information and professional advice, please contact us at or tel +44 161 278 2386.

What is stainless steel tubing?

  •       Stainless steel tubes or pipes

o   Tubing invokes a round image and people often use the term stainless steel pipe interchangeably.

o   However, pipes are always round, while stainless steel tubing is manufactured in several lengths, thicknesses, and shapes ranging from oval to rectangular, triangular, polygonal, and round. Many of the stainless steel tubes are also available in coil shapes.

o   There are two key differences to consider between stainless steel tubes and pipes: The circular shape of the pipe distributes the pressure force more evenly and pipes are therefore chosen when tolerance to high pressure is important. For structural applications, tubes are usually stronger than pipes.

o   Tubes are often used in applications where precise outside diameter is important, whereas pipes are used in applications where the exact capacity and pressure handling are important factors.

o   Stainless steel pipes are available in larger diameters than the other shapes of tubing.

  •       What are the main qualities of a stainless steel tube or pipe?

o   A stainless steel tube or pipe is made from a special iron alloy with chromium, nickel, and molybdenum content in various combinations and percentages, to provide high resistance to corrosion, oxidation, heat, contaminants, and high pressure.

o   Depending on the required qualities for specific applications, varying amounts of manganese, carbon, and silicon may also be added.

o   Stainless steel tubes are structurally strong and highly durable, requiring very little maintenance.

o   Stainless steel tubes do not affect other metals with which they come into contact and therefore do not cause any chemical reaction.

o   Both the inside and outside surfaces of stainless steel do not allow for much adherence by particles, bacteria, or contaminants.

  •       What to specify when ordering stainless steel tubes or pipes.

o   Pipe is typically ordered using the Nominal Pipe Size (NPS) standard and by specifying a nominal diameter (pipe size) and wall thickness.

o    Tubes are usually ordered with more stringent tolerances with at least two of the dimensions. It may be ordered by using outside and inside diameter, outside diameter and wall thickness, or inside diameter and wall thickness.

o   Both tubes and pipes can be cut, bent, flared and fabricated.

What are the three main processes of manufacturing stainless steel tubing?

Generally, each of the three main types of stainless steel tubes, named for the manufacturing processes, is chosen for the type of application and interaction for which it is required.

  •   Seamless stainless steel tubes

o   These tubes are manufactured through extrusion, whereby long sections of stainless steel bar are forced through a die and can be formed in a hot or cold process.

o   Because they do not contain any seams or weld joints, they are able to withstand much higher pressure and temperatures.


  •   Welded stainless steel tubes

o   These tubes are formed by passing a rolled sheet through two weld rollers, with a contact that transmits electricity at a high enough current to weld the seam closed.

o   Due to their flexibility and corrosion resistance, they are used in a wide variety of industries where they are more cost-effective.

o   The tube, with a mandrel inside, is passed through a die with a smaller diameter, shrinking the outer diameter of the tube to create tight tolerances and precise specifications.

o   A mandrel is a small piece of metal inserted into the tube to define its shape and interior diameter.

What is stainless steel tubing used for?

Since stainless steel was first produced more than a century ago, it has become indispensable in a wide variety of industries and domestic applications. This includes medical devices, plumbing, water purification, industrial and residential construction, transporting gases and liquids, cryogenics, automobile hosing, exhaust systems and structural support, aircraft hydraulics, oil and gas industry, high-pressure steam pipes in nuclear reactors, cooling systems, desalination plants, mining industry, agricultural, and food and beverage applications.

Stainless steel tubes of all shapes can be welded, drawn, threaded or cut in any length, with additional sections available such as flanges, slip-ons, blinds, lap joints, and spacers.

Special Metal Alloys is a specialist stainless steel tube supplier and because each case is different, our qualified professionals can provide you with expert advice on all aspects of selecting and ordering the correct type of stainless steel tubing.

Visit our website; call us at +44 (0)7305 752346 or

+44 (0)161 278 2386; or send us an email at


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