Bending Pipes For Pipelines - A History

in Oil
Without the advancement of metal fabrication many things we take for granted could not be made today. One of the most useful forms is the one used to bend pipes to create such things as water lines, natural gas pipes and oil pipelines.

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Before the invention of pipe bending for oil pipelines, oil was transported from oil wells to railway stations by horse in converted wooden whiskey barrels. It is because of these wooden whiskey barrels that we still measure oil by the barrel today.

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In the beginning pipelines used to transport oil were made from wrought iron, such as the very first pipeline that stretched only 6 miles long. This first wrought iron pipeline connected an oil field in Titusville PA to a railway station in Oil Creek. After its success pipelines became more popular and eventually were built out of metal and steel.

Although when one thinks of pipelines they may immediately jump to those that are used for oil, there are many other types of pipelines that are used for different reasons. Generally pipelines can be categorized in three types, which are as follows:

1 - Transportation Pipelines: These are the pipelines that are the ones that probably first come to mind when you think or an oil pipeline. These pipelines consist of very long pipes with large diameters and are used to transport products such as crude or refined oil and natural gas long distances. Transportation pipelines can stretch between cities, countries and even continents.

2 - Gathering Pipelines: These type of pipelines are typically a group of smaller interconnected pipes that are used to gather crude oil or natural gas from a number of different areas or wells with the purpose of sending the material to nearby processing or treatment plants. The pipes used in gathering pipelines are smaller, both in length and diameter, than the large oil pipeline that most likely comes to mind. Gathering pipelines are also used in deep-water oil platforms.

3 - Distribution Pipelines: These are the pipelines that send the finished product, such as natural gas, directly to the consumer's home. Pipelines that are located at shipping and storage areas that send the product to tankers and storage facilities are also considered distribution pipelines.

As you can see, all three types of pipelines are important, and the pipes in each one would require bending at many points along the way.

Pipelines have been made from just about any material imaginable, from wood and stone to plastic and metal. Oil pipelines are typically made from bending steel while natural gas pipelines are made using carbon steel. When it comes to water pipes, the majority of them are made using copper, but older houses and buildings may still be using lead pipes.

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The Romans were the first civilization to use lead pipes to transport water. Plumbum is the Latin word for lead and one who works with water pipes is still known today as a Plumber. (The next time a plumber comes to your house - may it be a long time from now - ask him if he knows where the word "plumber" comes from.)

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In order to bend steel pipe for pipelines a significant amount of heat and pressure is required. This is why only a major metal fabrication plant can construct them. That's right - don't try this at home! As our population increases the demand for more pipelines to transport water, fuel and even sewage will increase as well. It is with this demand that the steel industry will have to respond with systems that are more economical, environmentally friendly and even more reliable. Without pipelines our civilization would come to a screeching halt.
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David Leonhardt and Corey Rozon are writing about pipe bending for Paramount Roll and Forming. You can learn more about how they bend pipe .

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Bending Pipes For Pipelines - A History

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This article was published on 2010/12/12