Tubing vs. Hosing for Hydraulic Systems

Hydraulic systems need piping to transport hydraulic fluid from one point to another. To provide transportation in a safe and effective manner, engineers use a variety of hard metal tubing and flexible hosing, depending on the requirements of the hydraulic system and the aircraft in general.

For solid tubing, seamless steel is a popular choice. Seamless steel is easier to bend than steel pipe, does not require a large number of fittings, and can be reused. High-volume applications are one of the few areas that tubing cannot be utilized in.

Tubing size is measured on the outside diameter of the tube, with all sizes available in a variety of wall thicknesses. The use of the tubing will determine the wall thickness used, with considerations like the application, internal pressures, weight, environmental conditions, and whether flared or flareless tubing will be used all acting as considerations.

Tubing comes in a wide variety of materials, including:

  • Seamless carbon steel, the most commonly used. Possesses a tensile strength of 47,000 psi.
  • Stainless steel, used when conditions require noncorrosive materials. Also has a tensile strength of 47,000 psi.
  • Plastic, which is used when there is a need to save weight and the application is low-pressure.

When choosing a material, don’t just consider the price. Consult the manufacturer’s information as well, as it will inform you on the maximum allowable stress and working pressures that the tubing can handle.

Tubing does not use threaded fittings. Instead, the fitting attachment is done by a component or another tube, such as flared fittings used in low to medium pressure applications, SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) standard 37 and 45 degree angle fittings, and others.

Flexible hoses are far simpler to route, withstand vibration much better, and can deal with thermal expansion and contraction far more easily than fixed tubing. Flexible hose consists of an inner tube, reinforcements around it, and an outer protective cover. The thinner tube and outer cover are made from synthetic rubber or thermoplastic material, and the reinforcements consist of single or multiple fiber/wire braids. The SAE has a set of hydraulic hose specifications, the SAE J513 governing strength and reliability. When you’re selecting your hosing however, make sure that it matches the end fittings for other components.

At Aerospace Buying, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the hydraulic tubing and hoses for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@aerospacebuying.com or call us at 1-434-321-4470.


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July 9, 2019

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