Aluminum Tube Products and their applications

Tubes and Pipes

Usually, people consider tubes and pipes to be the same thing. A cylindrical-shaped hollow section that allows the flow of liquids, fluids, and gases. However, tubes are available in different shapes including round, rectangle, square and oval. The size of a tube is determined by the outer diameter and the wall thickness either in inches or millimeters.

Aluminum Tubes and its Properties

Aluminum has good corrosion resistance, heat conductivity, and strength to weight ratio. Due to its properties, aluminum is used in several industries for different purposes. Aluminum has an aesthetic appeal and better performance as compared to other metals. Due to its lightweight and heat conductivity, it is a widely preferred metal for applications that require temperature control properties.

Aluminum tubes are available in different alloys but the most common alloys are 6061, 6063, 3003, and 5052.

Aluminum 6061

6061 is an aluminum alloy that is heat-treated known as precipitation hardening for the purpose of making it stronger. It is composed of two elements mainly magnesium and silicon. It has different grades including 6061-O, 6061-T4, 6061-T6, and 6061-T651. It is highly resistant to corrosion. It restores its strength after welding. It is used for applications that require a medium to a high level of strength.

Aluminum 6063

It has good corrosion resistance, strength, smoother finish, electricity and heat conductivity, and weldability. It is highly cost-effective and durable. It has an aesthetic appeal and is considered suitable for architectural applications where strength is not the main concern.

Aluminum 3003

It has high resistance to corrosion, workability, and ductility. It has a medium level of strength which can be increased by cold working. The main element of aluminum 3003 is manganese.

Aluminum 5052

The main element of aluminum 5052 is magnesium. It has a high level of strength and toughness. It has excellent workability and resistance to corrosion. It is weldable and has good formability. The most common applications for which aluminum 5052 is used are those that are exposed to moisture and saltwater environment.  

Types of Aluminum Tubes

Aluminum tubes are available in various shapes.

Square Tube

It is a square-shaped hollow section having equal sides. 6061 aluminum square tube is considered suitable for industrial applications and machine parts while 6063 square tubings are considered suitable for construction and architectural purposes.

Rectangle Tube

It is a rectangular-shaped hollow section having equal opposite sides. 6061 rectangular tubing is considered suitable for machine parts and structural applications whereas, 6063 aluminum rectangular tube is suitable for applications that require less strength such as furniture, handrails, interior design, etc.

Round Tube

It is a cylindrical-shaped hollow section. Round tubing is the most commonly used tube. 6061 aluminum round-shaped tubing is considered suitable for engineering and structural applications such as frameworks. 6063 round tubing is considered suitable for fabrications projects such as shelves.

Round tubing is usually available in more sizes as compared to rectangular or square tubing. The rectangular and square tubing is available in ½ inch to 8 inches on each side with a wall thickness of ½ inch for large and1/8 inch for small tubing. Round tubing is available in sizes having an outer diameter ranging from 5/8 inch to 16 inches and wall thickness ranging from 1/16 inch to 1 inch.


Aluminum tubing is used in several applications that are listed below:

  • Automobile
  • Household construction
  • Furniture
  • Interior and exterior design
  • Machine parts
  • Medical equipment
  • Hydraulic systems
  • Fuel lines
  • Frames and braces
  • Structural applications
  • Home appliances
  • Aerospace and aircraft
  • Marine
  • Electric equipment
  • Architectural applications

How to order a tube?

When ordering an aluminum tube 3 measurements are required.

1.    Outer diameter

2.    Inner diameter and

3.    Wall thickness

When ordering remember to mention the size in the given format:

Outer diameter (OD) x Wall Thickness (WT) x Inner Diameter (ID)

The tubes are available in different material variations such as steel tubes, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, etc. These metals can be produced in different forms such as seamless tubing, drawn, extruded metal tube, welded tube, etc.

How to work with Aluminum Tube?

Fabrication involves bending and when bending the tubes consider 3 things:

1.    Consider using the alloy that allows good formability properties.

2.    When aluminum is bent it hardens and the smaller the radius of the bent the more likely it is that the material will crack.

3.    For checking the formability, you need to check the elongation percentage which is the difference between yield strength and tensile strength. Yield strength is the measure of the point after which the tube cannot be bent any further nor it can be brought to its initial position. The tensile strength is the maximum amount of pressure that a tube can sustain before it cracks. The more the elongation percentage value the better the formability.