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# Pipes and Tubes - Temperature Expansion

## Pipes expands when heated and contracts when cooled and the expansion can be expressed with the expansion equation.

The temperature expansion of pipes depends on start and final temperature of the pipe, and the expansion coefficient of the piping material at the actual temperature. The expansion formula can be expressed as:

dl = α Lo dt                            (1)

where

dl = expansion (m, inches)

Lo = length of pipe (m, inches)

dt = temperature difference (oC, oF)

α = linear expansion coefficient (m/moK, in/inoF)

Note that the mean expansion coefficient may vary with temperature:

Mean Expansion Coefficient  10-6 (in/in oF,
MaterialTemperature Range (oF)
- 3232 - 21232 - 40032 - 60032 - 75032 - 90032 - 110032 - 1300
Alloy Steel
(1% Cr. 1/2% Mo)
7.7 8.0 8.4 8.8 9.2 9.6 9.8
Mild Steel
(0.1 - 0.2% C)
7.1 7.8 8.3 8.7 9.0 9.5 9.7
Stainless Steel
(18% Cr. 8% Ni)
10.8 11.1 11.5 11.8 12.1 12.4 12.6 12.8

Formula (1) can also be used with SI units. The expansion coefficient must be adjusted to oC.

### Example - Thermal Expansion of an Alloy Steel Pipe

An alloy steel pipe with length 100 feet is heated from 32 to 212oF. The expansion coefficient is 8 10-6 (in/inoF).

The expansion of the pipe can be calculated as:

dl = (8 10-6 in/inoF) (100 ft) (12 in/ft) ((212 oF) - (32 oF))

= 1.728 inches

## Related Topics

• Steam and Condensate - Steam & condensate systems- properties, capacities, pipe sizing, systems configuration and more.
• Temperature Expansion - Thermal expansion of pipes and tubes - stainless steel, carbon steel, copper, plastics and more.
• Piping Systems - Dimensions of pipes and tubes, materials and capacities, pressure drop calculations and charts, insulation and heat loss diagrams.
• Pipe Sizing - Sizing of steam and condensate pipe lines - pressure loss, recommended velocity, capacity and more.

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Temperature

oC
oF

Length

m
km
in
ft
yards
miles
naut miles

Area

m2
km2
in2
ft2
miles2
acres

Volume

m3
liters
in3
ft3
us gal

Weight

kgf
N
lbf

Velocity

m/s
km/h
ft/min
ft/s
mph
knots

Pressure

Pa (N/m2)
bar
mm H2O
kg/cm2
psi
inches H2O

Flow

m3/s
m3/h
US gpm
cfm

3 10