Wall thickness is a term used to describe the thickness of the metal used to make a pipe. Wall thickness is also commonly referred to as a pipe's weight. Originally manufactured in weights known as standard, extra strong, and double extra strong, pipe has since increased in complexity with the development of new chemical processes.

Commodities with ever-changing corrosive properties, high temperatures, and extreme pressures have necessitated the development of numerous additional selections of wall thicknesses for pipe. Now called schedules, these additional wall thicknesses allow a pipe to be selected to meet the exact requirements needed for safe operation.

An example of this variance in wall thickness is shown in Figure 2-6.

As you can see in Table 2-1, nominal size is not equal to either the actual OD or the ID for pipe 12" and smaller. It is simply a convenient method to use when referring to pipe.

As a piping drafter, you should be aware however, pipe 14" and larger is identified by its actual outside measurement. The chart in Table 2-1 shows typical pipe diameters and wall thicknesses.

The following formula can be used to calculate a pipe's

inside diameter (ID):
ID = OD minus (2 x WALL THICKNESS)

Before selecting pipe, careful consideration must be given to its material, temperature and pressure allowances, corrosion resistance, and more.

Buying and installing pipe that does not meet the minimum requirements can be dangerous and deadly.

Using pipe that far exceeds what is required to do the job can result in tremendous cost overruns.

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