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hollow structure, usually cylindrical, for conducting materials. It is used primarily to convey liquids, gases, or solids suspended in a liquid, e.g., a slurry. It is also used as a conduit for electric wires.

The earliest pipes were probably made of bamboo, used by the Chinese to carry water c.5000 B.C. The Egyptians made the first metal pipe of copper c.3000 B.C. Until cast iron became relatively cheap in the 18th cent. most pipes were made of bored stone or wood, clay, lead, and, occasionally, copper or bronze. Modern materials include cast iron, wrought iron, steel, copper, brass, lead, concrete, wood, glass, and plastic. Welded steel pipe is made by bending strips of steel into the form of a tube and welding the longitudinal seam either by electric resistance, by fusion welding, or by heating the tube and pressing the edges together. Seamless pipe is made from a solid length of metal pierced lengthwise by a mandrel with a rounded nose.

Steel pipe, introduced in the early 20th cent., is widely used for conducting substances at extremely high pressures and temperatures. Cast-iron pipes, which came into common use in the 1840s, resist corrosion better than steel pipes and are therefore frequently used underground. Clay and concrete pipes usually carry sewage, and concrete pipes are also used to carry irrigation water at low pressures; for moderate pressures, the concrete is reinforced with steel or mixed with asbestos. Seamless copper and brass pipes are used for plumbing and boilers. Because of its softness and resistance to corrosion, lead is used for flexible connections and for plumbing that does not carry drinking water. The chemical and food industries use glass pipes. During World War II manufacturers developed plastic pipe to replace metals that were in short supply. Today PVC pipe is widely used to carry waste water as well as certain corrosive liquids.

A pipeline carries water, gas, petroleum, and many other fluids long distances. In laying an oil pipeline, 40-ft (12-m) sections of seamless steel pipe are electrically welded together while held over a trench. Before being lowered into place the pipe is coated with a protective paint and wrapped with a substance composed of treated asbestos felt and fiberglass. Pumping stations located 50 to 75 mi (80–120 km) apart boost the dwindling pressure back up to as much as 1,500 lb per sq. in. The piping must be kept clean, either by applying a negative electrical charge to the pipe or by regular use of a "pig," or scrubbing ball, inserted at one end and carried along by the current. An oil pipeline 6 in (15 cm) to 24 in (60 cm) in diameter will move its contents at about 3 to 6 mi (5–10 km) per hr.

Water has been moved since ancient times in pipelines called aqueductsaqueduct
[Lat.,=conveyor of water], channel or trough built to convey water, chiefly for providing a densely populated region with a supply of freshwater. The flow in aqueducts is ordinarily by means of gravity, although pumps are often used.
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. The first natural-gas and petroleum pipelines in the United States were built during the 19th cent. Today in many parts of the world pipelines are an extremely important means of transporting diverse fluids. The Trans-Arabian Pipeline, which carries oil from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean, is over 1,000 mi (1,600 km) long. There are more than 180,000 mi (288,000 km) of pipeline in the United States alone.


A long, tubular vessel used to carry a fluid or gas from a supply source to fixtures, or from plumbing fixtures back to sewer lines.



(1) The common name for wind instruments that are related to single- and double-tube flutes.

(2) A Russian musical instrument (svirel’), a type of double-tube, vertical flute. One of the tubes usually measures from 300 mm to 350 mm long, and the second, from 450 to 470 mm. Each tube has a whistle structure in the upper end and three finger holes in the lower end for altering the pitch. The tubes are tuned a fourth apart. Together, they cover a diatonic scale with a range of a seventh.

(3) In literature, panpipes, which consist of a row of tubes. Kuvikly are also called panpipes.



(or tube), a hollow cylindrical or shaped product whose length is great in comparison to its cross section. In spite of their relatively light weight, pipes are highly resistant to bending and torsion.

Steel and nonferrous metal pipes are made mainly in circular sections, but they are also produced in square, rectangular, oval, and other sections. Cast-iron and nonmetallic pipes and tubing (made of glass, asbestos cement, and plastic) normally have a circular cross section.

Metal pipe and tubing is classified according to method of production as seamless, welded, or cast. Seamless tubing, with an outside diameter of 1–820 mm (for special applications, up to 1,420 mm), is produced from ingots and round bars by drawing or rolling (see). Welded pipe, with an outside diameter of 8–1,620 mm (for special applications, more than 2,500 mm), is made from steel plate, strip, or skelp, with preparatory forming on presses and forming mills (see). Cast pipe, with an outside diameter of 50–1,000 mm, is produced on pipe-casting machines (see).

Steel pipe and tubing is divided into six grades. Grades 1 and 2 are produced from carbon steel. Grade 1, called standard and natural-gas pipe, is used for ordinary applications, such as the construction of scaffolding, partitions, or supports, for laying cables and irrigation systems, and for local distribution and supply of gases and liquids. Grade 2 pipe is used for high-pressure and low-pressure mains for natural gas, petroleum, water, petrochemical products, fuels, and solid substances (see). Grade 3 pipe is used in systems operating under pressure and at high temperatures—for example, in the chemical and food-processing industries, in nuclear engineering, in piping for petroleum cracking plants, and in furnaces and boilers. Grade 4 pipe is used as drill, casing, and auxiliary piping in the prospecting and exploration of petroleum deposits. Grade 5 pipe, or structural tubing, is used in the construction of transportation equipment, such as motor vehicles and railroad cars, in such steel structures as bridge cranes, masts, drilling towers, and supports, and for furniture parts. Grade 6 tubing is used in machine building for production of pump cylinders and pistons, bearing rings, shafts, and other machine parts, and pressure vessels. Steel pipe is divided into three size categories: small (with an outside diameter of up to 114 mm), medium (114–480 mm), and large (480–2,500 mm and more).

Some pipe is heat-treated to improve the structure and properties of the materials. To protect against corrosion and abrasion, pipe can be coated with nonmetallic materials, such as plastic, cement, asphalt, paint, and varnish, or it can be encased in basalt, rubber, glass, or similar materials. Steel pipe and tubing accounts for most of the world production of tubular products.

Cast-iron pipe with an inside diameter of 65–1,000 mm is made from gray cast iron, which is machinable. It is used mainly for water-supply lines (bell-mouthed pressure pipe), in refrigeration plants and acid pipelines (flanged pressure pipe), in the heat exchangers, condensers, and coolers of soda-ash plants (soda-ash pressure pipe), for sewerage systems (nonpressured overflow and sewage pipe), and in gas and petroleum pipelines (nonpressured pipe).

Nonmetallic pipe is manufactured from polymer materials (diameter up to 300 mm), asbestos cement (50–500 mm), reinforced concrete (500–1,600 mm), heat-resistant glass (up to 100 mm), and basalt (up to 1,100 mm). The way in which pipe is produced from various nonmetallic materials is determined by the characteristics of manufacture of the materials. For example, asbestos-cement pipe is produced on pipe-molding machines, and basalt pipe is fabricated by casting in molds (seeSTONE CASTING and ROCK-CASTING INDUSTRY). Plastic pipe is used in water-supply systems. Asbestos-cement and reinforced-concrete pipe is used not only in water-supply systems but also in irrigation and drainage systems. Glass pipe is used for pipelines in the chemical, food-processing, and pharmaceutical industries, and cast-stone pipe is used to convey abrasive materials and slurries in the coal industry and in metallurgy and power engineering.


Polunepreryvnaia otlivka chugunnykh trub. Minsk, 1965.
Shevakin, Iu. F., and A. Z. Gleiberg. Proizvodstvo trub. Moscow, 1968.
See also references under TUBE ROLLING.


What does it mean when you dream about a pipe?

A pipe may indicate a peaceful outcome to a troublesome situation, as in smoking a “peace pipe.” A pipe may also represent knowledge or contemplation, as symbolized by the stereotypical professor puffing on his pipe. Alternatively, if the pipe in the dream is a conduit, as in a pipeline, then the interpretation may be of communication—hopefully the pipe is clear of rust and corrosion.


(computer science)
Any software-controlled technique for transfering data fron one program or task to another during processing.
(design engineering)
A tube made of metal, clay, plastic, wood, or concrete and used to conduct a fluid, gas, or finely divided solid.
A vertical, cylindrical ore body. Also known as chimney; neck; ore chimney; ore pipe; stock.
A tubular cavity of varying depth in calcareous rocks, often filled with sand and gravel.
A vertical conduit through the crust of the earth below a volcano, through which magmatic materials have passed. Also known as breccia pipe.
The central cavity in an ingot or casting formed by contraction of the metal during solidification.
An extrusion defect caused by the oxidized surface of the billet flowing toward the center of the rod at the back end.


A continuous tubular conduit, generally leakproof, for the transport of liquids and gases.


1. a long tube of metal, plastic, etc., used to convey water, oil, gas, etc.
a. an object made in any of various shapes and sizes, consisting of a small bowl with an attached tubular stem, in which tobacco or other substances are smoked
b. (as modifier): a pipe bowl
3. the amount of tobacco that fills the bowl of a pipe
4. Zoology Botany any of various hollow organs, such as the respiratory passage of certain animals
a. any musical instrument whose sound production results from the vibration of an air column in a simple tube
b. any of the tubular devices on an organ, in which air is made to vibrate either directly, as in a flue pipe, or by means of a reed
6. an obsolete three-holed wind instrument, held in the left hand while played and accompanied by the tabor
7. the pipes See bagpipes
a. a boatswain's pipe
b. the sound it makes
9. Informal the respiratory tract or vocal cords
10. Metallurgy a conical hole in the head of an ingot, made by escaping gas as the metal cools
11. a vertical cylindrical passage in a volcano through which molten lava is forced during eruption


a measure of capacity for wine equal to four barrels. 1 pipe is equal to 126 US gallons or 105 Brit gallons


(operating system)
One of Unix's buffers which can be written to by one asynchronous process and read by another, with the kernel suspending and waking up the sender and receiver according to how full the pipe is. In later versions of Unix, rather than using an anonymous kernel-managed temporary file to implement a pipe, it can be named and is implemented as a local socket pair.


"|" ASCII character 124. Used to represent a pipe between two processes in a shell command line. E.g.

grep foo log | more

which feeds the output of grep into the input of more without requiring a named temporary file and without waiting for the first process to finish.


(jargon, networking)
A connection to a network.

See also light pipe.


(1) Slang for "communications channel" (line, wire, fiber, etc.). See data pipe, fat pipe and thin pipe.

(2) The symbol for Boolean OR operations, which is the Shift-Backslash key on a computer keyboard. For example, to search for Dell or Toshiba laptops in Google, the pipe symbol can be used instead of upper case OR as follows:
       laptops (dell | toshiba)

       laptops (dell OR toshiba)

(3) The symbol for a shared space that accepts the output of one program for input into another. In Windows, DOS and Unix, the pipe command is a vertical line (|). For example, the DOS/Windows command dir | find directs the output of the directory list to the FIND filter. In Unix/Linux, the statement ls | wc directs the directory list output to the word count function to count the number of files. See ls and filters and pipes.
References in periodicals archive ?
At the end of the service, the hearse was piped away to the strains of We're No Awa Tae Bide Awa one of Ally's favourites.
Eventually the naturally treated water filters out the other end and is piped away.
There, it can be piped away for reuse or, in this case, for retesting.