ASTM A53 vs. A500 Steel Pipe: What is the difference?

differences of ASTM A53 and A500 Steel Pipe

Steel pipes are commonly used in almost every industry. From construction to transportation, those pipes serve their purposes. Their different standards are used for pipes.

However, ASTM A53 vs. A500 steel pipe standard is common. However, their differences are least understood.

ASTM is an abbreviation of the American Society for Testing and Materials. These two standards cover different specifications of the steel pipes. The intended usage of this steel is also different. So, if you don’t have their understanding, fret not! This guide will help you understand them.

Overview of ASTM A53 vs A500 Steel Pipes

ASTM A53 pipes can be either seamless or welded. They cover hot-dipped galvanized steel pipes made of both hot and cold forming.

A500 pipes are made through cold forming. They feature welded pipes and carbon steel structures of different shapes.

ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) has standards for different materials. The A53 and A500 are two of those standards.

There are multiple differences between these two materials. Due to those differences, their usage is also different.

Steel pipes are integral to our lives and critical for our sustainability. A53 steel pipes specialize in bearing high pressure and transporting liquid, gas, steam, and steamer fluids. Notably, they are also soft and flexible.

Conversely, the A500 steel pipes are strong and have higher tensile strength, making them suitable for construction work.

Their manufacturing processes, looks, quality, and tolerance differ. Both ASTM A53 and A500 serve according to their features and properties.

What are the Differences Between ASTM A53 and A500?

Both of these materials are hollow structures. However, many differences set them apart. In the section below, I’ll explore their fundamental differences. Understanding these two will help you make your buying decision.

1. Intended Use

As I said earlier, both of these steel pipes have different usability. For example, the A53 has a high pressure bearing capacity, so it is used to carry liquids, gasses, and other fluids. Its shape is also circular, which facilitates the transportation of liquids.

On the opposite side, the A500 steel pipe is more rigid. Its shape can be rectangular or square. Its usage is common in construction work. It is also considered specialized for making highway signs and communication towers.

2. Quality And Yield Strength

Both these pipes are excellent and similar in quality. Remember that the expert quality control team tests ASTM A53, so there will not be an issue regarding the quality of either. However, the A500 wins when it comes to strength.

Yield strength is the material’s ability to bear stress without breaking. A500 steel pipes have a higher yield strength than A53 steel pipes. Therefore, they are used in construction work and can bear heavy loads. For example, the yield strength of A500 Grade C is 46 Ksi.

On the flip side, the yield strength of A53 is just 35 Ksi. This indicates a strength difference of almost 30% between these two materials. Due to higher yield strength, the A500 offers better durability and quality. All the grades of these materials share this yield strength difference.

3. Manufacturing Process

Both of these steel types differ in terms of their manufacturing process. For example, the A53 steel can be produced through cold and hot forming. Forming is a technique used in metalwork. It helps to make a product by joining or removing parts.

A500 exclusively employs cold forming. After joining the parts, they undergo welding to create seamless welds. The good thing is that the A500 steel pipe does not undergo any additional process for finishing. The cold forming is smooth and gives optimal finishing to it.

4. Chemical Composition

Both of these two materials consist of similar elements. Those include carbon, silicon, nickel, and manganese. The content or portion of these elements varies in each type. Here is the table showing their chemical composition:

Chemical CompositionA500 Steel PipeA53 Steel Pipe
Carbon (C)0.28%0.22%
Manganese (Mn)0.07%0.09%
Silicon (Si)0.07%0.09%
Nickel (Ni)0.6-0.8%0.6-0.8%

5. Designation

When engineers discuss pipes and tubes for different jobs, they use specific names to describe them. It makes the usage of these pipes easier. This naming or specification of pipe is referred to as designation.

Their designation of A53 uses diameter and wall thickness. These steel pipes carry things like steam, air, or water under pressure. In contrast, A500 steel pipes are labeled with exact measurements, ensuring they fit as needed. Their naming relies on their outside diameter and thickness.

6. Lacquer Coating

As I said, the A500 steel pipes are made through cold forming. This method produces a very smooth pipe with excellent finishing. On the other hand, the production of A53 involves hot forming. Unfortunately, the process of hot forming does not produce any finishing.

So, manufacturers apply lacquer coating on the surface of A53 pipes. This coating improves the surface finishing. Although this finishing is essential, sometimes, it can cause a headache. For example, this coating acts as a hindrance during welding or painting. You’ll have to remove this to paint or weld the pipe.

The removal of lacquer coating is costly. As you know, welding and painting are crucial parts of metalwork. So, if you use an A53 pipe, you must remove the coating first. It will affect the surface finish and add cost to the product.

7. Tolerances

Another important distinction between these pipes is tolerance. The A500 steel pipes have stringent tolerances. It means that their material does not deviate from a specific measurement. Due to their strict tolerances, these pipes maintain their integrity for years.

On the flip side, A53 pipes don’t have strict tolerance. They contain manganese in higher amounts. This material makes the pipes soft and flexible. So, they don’t have strict tolerance and deviate from their measurement. Therefore, they are not reliable when compared with the A500 steel pipes.

Quick Tips: Due to their flexibility, A53 pipes easily bear pressure. Industries use them to transport liquids, gasses, and steam. A500 steel pipes feature strict tolerances. Therefore, they are used in construction work, where durability is critical.

8. Cost & Affordability

A500 is more cost-effective than A53. This is because this steel is more straightforward and offers excellent surface finishing. So manufacturers don’t have to take extra steps to get a smooth surface finish.

On the other hand, the production of A53 is complex. Manufacturers use both cold and hot forming to make it. These processes do not provide surface finishing. So, engineers use other methods or steps to get the surface finish. This additional process makes the A53 more expensive.

Not only is the price but also the usability of the A53 expensive. As I mentioned, the makers apply the lacquer coating to A53 pipes to achieve the finish. However, during use, the engineer has to remove this coating to weld or paint, which adds more cost. Moreover, the availability of A53 is also challenging.

Which One Should You Use: ASTM A53 vs. A500 Steel Pipe?

As I said, these two steel pipes are extensively used in metalwork. Although they differ in physical properties, they serve their purpose best. Your choice depends highly on your needs and preferences.

If you are working on construction, ASTM A500 should be your option. They are also suitable for highway signs and communication towers. Their strict tolerance, high yield strength, and affordability make them the best choice.

However, if you prefer liquid transportation, go with ASTM A53 steel pipes. They can easily bear pressure thanks to the manganese material that makes them soft and flexible. This flexibility enhances their pressure-handling capacity. However, they are more expensive than A500, which could be a drawback.

Conclusión

There is no debate that both of these pipes are helpful. Their usage in many industries also proves their importance. However, they vary from each other in many ways. Due to their different physical properties, their performance is suitable for various works.

This guide features all their fundamental differences. In summary, ASTM A53 covers hot-dipped galvanized steel pipe. A500 features carbon steel structural tubing. You can choose any of those depending on your needs, preferences, and budget.