During production, the diameter of steel pipes can be changed or set based on their intended use. One of the smallest steel pipes is the hypodermic needle, and one of the largest can route water through a town. Both of these pipes are made using the same techniques, with the only differences concerning thickness and diameter. The types of steel used in pipe production determine the possible thickness, flexibility and strength of the pipes. Other tailored details of steel piping include coating, length and end finish.
Steel pipes are desired in infrastructure, manufacturing, construction and appliances because they are durable and long-lasting. Steel does not rot and cannot become infested with insects or other parasites. Another positive aspect of steel is that it makes fire difficult to spread and makes buildings more structurally sound during earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes. Preservatives, adhesives and other treatments are not necessary for steel, allowing it to be safely handled, welded and worked without the risk of combustion or flammability.
Uses for seamless steel tubes include manufacturing bicycles and transporting liquids, while seamed steel tubes are used for plumbing, distribution mains, electrical conduits and gas transportation. Seamless tubes are more flexible and thin, while seamed tubes are thicker, more rugged and typically straight.