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Notes on Pipe

Oddly, there is nothing about a " pipe that is ", be it copper, iron, or PVC. The outside
diameter of copper is 5/8", and the inner diameter is either 0.527", 0.545", or 0.569",
depending on the series. So-called " iron pipe is 0.840" outside diameter and 0.622"
inside. PVC is the same outside as cast iron, but it is 0.608", 0.528", or 0.480" inside.
If no dimension is ", why call it " pipe?
Well, it seems that back in the beginning of time - copper pipe was introduced in the
1930's - copper pipe was indeed standardized at the nominal diameter inside with a 1/16"
wall, making it 1/8" bigger on the outside. As the metallurgy improved, allowing
manufacturers to use thinner metal (and thus increase profits), they increased the inner
diameter rather than decrease the outer diameter simply to allow the pipe fit existing
fittings.
As the manufacturers began to make bigger and bigger pipe, they found that 1/16" wall
thickness was insufficient. Thus, the inner diameter of larger pipes is smaller than the
nominal size, while smaller pipes are larger.
Wrought iron pipe has a similar history, though I don't know the details. When PVC was
developed, it inherited it's outside diameter from iron pipe.

Copper Pipe
Dimensions
Wall thickness of copper pipe varies with the pipe schedule - the four common standards
are named K, L, M, and DWV (Drain/Waste/Vent - non-pressurized), from thickest to
thinnest. The printing on the pipe is color coded for identification; K is green, L is blue,
M is red, and DWV is yellow.
Nominal
O.D.
Pipe Size

I.D.
K

Wall Thickness
M

DWV

0.035 0.030

DWV

1/4"

3/8" 0.305 0.315

3/8"

1/2" 0.402 0.430 0.450

0.049 0.035 0.025

1/2"

5/8" 0.527 0.545 0.569

0.049 0.040 0.028

5/8"

3/4" 0.652 0.666

0.049 0.042

3/4"

7/8" 0.745 0.785 0.811

0.065 0.045 0.032

1"

1-1/8" 0.995 1.025 1.055

0.065 0.050 0.035

1-1/4"

1-3/8" 1.245 1.265 1.291 1.295 0.065 0.055 0.042 0.040

1-1/2"

1-5/8" 1.481 1.505 1.527 1.541 0.072 0.060 0.049 0.042

2"

2-1/8" 1.959 1.985 2.009 2.041 0.083 0.070 0.058 0.042

2-1/2"
3"

2-5/8" 2.435 2.465 2.495

0.095 0.080 0.065

3-1/8" 2.907 2.945 2.981 3.030 0.109 0.090 0.072 0.045

The pressure that a copper pipe can handle is dependant on the temperature and the size
of the pipe - for more information, see Table 6, Publication 28E, of the CCBDA. The
joints are usually rated for less pressure than the pipe.
During manufacture, copper pipe is drawn through a die - this work-hardens the metal,
making it quite rigid. Flexible copper pipe (K and L only) is annealed afterwards to return
it to the softer state.
Drawn copper pipe makes nice axles. A 1/2" copper pipe will fit nicely in a 5/8" bearing.
Just remember that copper pipe isn't as strong as a proper steel rod, especially in bending,
and that overtightening the set screws on a pulley can crush the pipe. K series pipe,
having the thickest wall, will be strongest, but the difference is minor compared to using
a larger pipe.
Copper pipe fittings can be used as bushings - a 1/2" pipe coupling is 5/8" ID, though
you'll have to file off the nubs that keep the pipe from sliding all the way through. (There
are special "non-nub" couplings available.) You can use a T with a cap, drilled for a
grease fitting, on the branch to make a nice greasable bushing, or leave the cap off and
use it like an oil cup.

Copper Pipe References:

Canadian Copper and Brass Development Association.

PVC Pipe
PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, a fairly soft plastic that can be worked with normal
wood tools. Do not confuse it with ABS pipe, which is much thinner and brittle.
PVC pipe is available in three schedules; 40, 80, and 120. I believe it also comes in a
thinner DWV schedule, but I have no data on that.

Dimensions
Nominal
O.D.
Pipe Size

I.D.
40

80

Weight
lbs/ft

Wall thickness
120

40

80

120

40

80

Max
PSI
120

40

80

120

1/8"

0.405

0.261

0.203

0.068 0.095

0.045

0.058

810 1230

1/4"

0.540

0.354

0.288

0.088 0.119

0.081

0.100

780 1130

3/8"

0.675

0.483

0.407

0.091 0.126

0.109

0.138

620 920

1/2"

0.840

0.608

0.528 0.480 0.109 0.147 0.170 0.161

0.202 0.223 600 850 1010

3/4"

1.050

0.810

0.724 0.690 0.113 0.154 0.170 0.214

0.273 0.295 480 690

770

1"

1.315

1.033

0.935 0.891 0.133 0.179 0.200 0.315

0.402 0.440 450 630

720

1-1/4"

1.660

1.364

1.256 1.204 0.140 0.191 0.215 0.426

0.554 0.614 370 520

600

1-1/2"

1.900

1.592

1.476 1.423 0.145 0.200 0.225 0.509

0.673 0.744 330 470

540

2"

2.375

2.049

1.913 1.845 0.154 0.218 0.250 0.682

0.932 1.052 280 400

470

2-1/2"

2.875

2.445

2.289 2.239 0.203 0.276 0.300 1.076

1.419 1.529 300 420

470

3"

3.500

3.042

2.864 2.758 0.216 0.300 0.350 1.409

1.903 2.184 260 370

440

3-1/2"

4.000

3.520

3.326

2.322

4"

4.500

3.998

3.786 3.572 0.237 0.337 0.437 2.006

2.782 3.516 220 320

5"

5.563

5.017

4.767

3.867

6"

6.625

6.031

5.709 5.434 0.280 0.432 0.562 3.535

5.313 6.759 180 280

8"

8.625

7.943

7.565

0.322 0.500

5.305

8.058

160 250

10"

10.750 9.976

9.492

0.365 0.593

7.532 11.956

140 230

12"

12.750 11.890 11.294

0.406 0.687

9.949 16.437

130 230

14"

14.000 13.072 12.410

0.437 0.750

11.810 19.790

130 220

16"

16.000 14.940 14.214

0.500 0.843

15.416 25.430

130 220

18"

18.000 16.809 16.014

0.562 0.937

20.112 31.830

130 220

20"

20.000 18.743 17.814

0.593 1.031

23.624 40.091

120 220

24"

24.000 22.544 21.418

0.687 1.218

32.873 56.882

120 210

0.226 0.318
0.258 0.375

1.697
2.726

240 350
190 290

Wrought Iron Pipe


Wrought iron pipe is used for water supply in older houses. It comes either "black" or
galvanized. Joints are made by threading pipe into cast iron fittings - unlike screw
threads, pipe threads are tapered.

Dimensions
Nominal
O.D.
Pipe Size

I.D.

Wall
Thread
thickness TPI

430
370

0.540" 0.364"

0.088"

18

3/8"

0.675" 0.493"

0.091"

18

1/2"

0.840" 0.622"

0.109"

14

3/4"

1.050" 0.824"

0.113"

14

1"

1.315" 1.049"

0.133"

11.5

1-1/4"

1.660" 1.380"

0.140"

11.5

1-1/2"

1.900" 1.610"

0.145"

11.5

2"

2.375" 2.067"

0.154"

11.5

2-1/2"

2.875" 2.468"

0.204"

3/8" iron pipe is 5/8" O.D., making it a substitute (along with 1/2" copper pipe) for 5/8"
rod. 1/2" copper couplings make fair bushings for iron pipe.

Cast Iron Pipe


Cast iron pipe is typically used for sewer lines and municipal water. It comes in eight
classes, A through H, rated by pressure in increments of 100 feet of head. "Feet of Head"
is a measure of pressure, equal to the pressure generated by a given height of standing
water (think of a water tower). One foot of head is equal to 0.434 psi.

Dimensions

ss B
ot Head
psi)

all
kness

1/4"

Class C
300 Foot Head
(130 psi)

Class D
400 Foot Head
(173 psi)

Class E
500 Foot Head
(217 psi)

I.D.

O.D.

Wall
Thickness

I.D.

O.D.

Wall
Thickness

I.D.

2"

3.12"

3.96"

0.45"

3.06"

3.96"

0.48"

3.00"

5"

4.10"

5.00"

0.48"

4.04"

5.00"

0.52"

3.96"

8"

6.14"

7.10"

0.51"

6.08"

7.10"

0.55"

1"

8.03"

9.30"

0.56"

8.18"

9.30"

7"

9.96" 11.40"

0.62"

2"

11.96" 13.50"

6"

Class F
600 Foot Head
(260 psi)

O.D.

Wall
Thickness

I.D.

O.D.

Wall
Thickness

I.D.

6.00"

7.22"

0.58"

6.06"

7.22"

0.61"

6.00"

7.

0.60"

8.10"

9.42"

0.66"

8.10"

9.42"

0.71"

8.00"

9.

10.16" 11.40"

0.68"

10.04" 11.60"

0.74"

10.12" 11.60"

0.80"

10.00" 11.

0.68"

12.14" 13.50"

0.75"

12.00" 13.78"

0.82"

12.14" 13.78"

0.89"

12.00" 14

13.98" 15.65"

0.74"

14.17" 15.65"

0.82"

14.01" 15.98"

0.90"

14.18" 15.98"

0.99"

14.00" 16

0"

16.00" 17.80"

0.80"

16.20" 17.80"

0.89"

16.02" 18.16"

0.98"

16.20" 18.16"

1.08"

16.00" 18

5"

18.00" 19.92"

0.87"

18.18" 19.92"

0.96"

18.00" 20.34"

1.07"

18.20" 20.34"

1.17"

18.00" 20

0"

20.00" 22.06"

0.92"

20.22" 22.06"

1.03"

20.00" 22.54"

1.15"

20.24" 22.54"

1.27"

20.00" 23

9"

24.02" 26.32"

1.04"

24.22" 26.32"

1.16"

24.00" 26.90"

1.31"

24.28" 26.90"

1.45"

24.00" 27

3"

29.94" 32.40"

1.20"

30.00" 32.74"

1.37"

30.00" 33.10"

1.55"

30.00" 33.46"

1.73"

30.00"

5"

36.00" 39.60"

1.80"

36.00" 40.04"

2.02"

36.00" 38.70"

1.36"

39.98" 39.16"

1.58"

36.00"

8"

41.94" 45.10"

1.54"

42.02" 45.58"

1.78"

42.02"

2"

47.96" 51.40"

1.71"

47.98" 51.98"

1.96"

48.06"

5"

54.00" 57.80"

1.90"

54.00" 58.40"

2.23"

53.94"

7"

60.06" 64.20"

2.00"

60.20" 64.82"

2.38"

60.06"

5"

72.10" 76.88"

2.39"

72.10"

2"

84.10"
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2003 W. E. Johns