Can manipulation make metal stronger?

At Multiform Tubes we have the skills and experience to adapt tubing to suit various needs. Our range of tube manipulation services is very broad. It includes bending, end forming, and even coilwork. The fact that we can work with many different metals means we are the go to company for almost any kind of tube work.


Tube manipulationWhile most people focus on the strength of metals and other properties such as corrosion resistance or electrical conductivity, the property you can’t ignore is ductility. This is especially true if you are considering adapting tubing. The last thing you want to do is choose tubing in a material that is not ductile enough to adapt. The end result here could be flaws in the final tubes or even a breakage.

What you need to do here is choose a material that is ductile enough to adapt without issues. You also need to think about work hardening and how the material can become harder as you work it. If you don’t plan for this you may fracture the tubes.

Work hardening makes tubes stronger

The thing you need to keep in mind is that work hardening actually means that the metal is harder. This happens because of a deformation in the crystalline structure of the metal. As a result it becomes more complex and the atoms can’t slip as much as they once did. That means less ductility but a stronger metal.

The thing to keep in mind is that when a metal hardens it becomes riskier to adapt further. The loss of ductility means fracture and failure is more likely if you continue working.

Hardening in different metals

The amount of work hardening that occurs will differ depending on the metal. For example, stainless steel will harden quicker than aluminium. Different alloys of materials will also harden at different rates. For example alloys in the 3 series of aluminium are highly workable whereas those in the 7 series are naturally stronger and less formable.


tubesThe most important thing when you are planning any kind of tube manipulation is to test. You need to see how each metal and alloy will respond when you work them so you can find out if your project is feasible. You may discover that the tube becomes much stronger when you work it so that you can’t have the degree of bend you want. Or you may find that it has too much springback.

You should do prototyping before you make a final decision on a metal or alloy. You should certainly do it before you commit to ordering a large amount of tubing and moving to production.

Talk to us about tube manipulation

Whatever use you have in mind for your tubes, Multiform can help. We provide a range of great services and have a huge amount of experience. If you need advice or prototyping we can provide it. Then, when you are ready to move on to production, we can offer the perfect service for you.

Contact us today if you want to learn more about the various types of tube manipulation we provide. We can give you a lot of info and help you select the right service.