The impact of material hardness

At Multiform Tubes Ltd we provide a range of services to adapt tubing in different ways. For example we specialise in tube expansion, reduction and end forming. All three can help to create products with the correct ends to form tight joints, whether to other tubes or various fixtures and fittings. In addition, we can provide bending and various other types of manipulation to create bespoke tubing.

One thing that makes our service incredibly broad is we can work with different materials. For example we have a lot of experience with various steel tubes, including mild and stainless. On top of this we can adapt copper, brass, aluminium, titanium, and many other types of tube. The result is a first rate service for almost any needs.

Hardness is important

Tube expansionOur experience is very broad and we understand the things that can affect how easy it is to adapt tubes. One of the most important factors is the hardness. It is trickier to work with harder metals and they generally won’t allow as much change when it comes to things like expansion and bending. You need to consider this or you may struggle to get the right product.

However, you also need to be careful opting for materials that don’t have enough hardness. After all this is what determines things like wear resistance and flexibility. If you select a material that is not hard enough, the final tubing may be too flexible or experience more wear than you want.

Typical expansions for different materials

Generally you can expect to achieve between 8% and 10% with copper and brass tubing. However, the optimum is usually 7% to 8%. Going as high as 10% or above can cause issues such as tube splitting.

With carbon steel and harder brasses such as admiralty, the expansion will usually be between 7% and 8%. You must ensure you have suitable lubrication here to reduce the risk of issues. You also need to make sure you have an accurate idea of the hardness before you start.

Stainless steel and titanium tend to have the hardest alloys. As a result the reduction will generally only be 4% or 5%. An important thing to remember here is that these harder metals also suffer with work hardening. That means you need to work quickly or the metal will get harder and could become unable to expand further. It may even become brittle and break. You should try to get the expansion done in one go rather than stages or re-rolling.

Talk to us about tube expansion

If you need to adapt tubing, especially when it comes to expanding it, we are the team for you. We have great skills and experience. In addition, our facility has some really impressive equipment. That means we can deliver a first rate services for every client. We also offer the option of delivering tubing or letting you collect it from us.

We are happy to answer any questions about tube expansion or any of our other services. So, get in touch today and we will help you find the right solution for your project.