Pipeline transport

From Academic Kids

An elevated section of the
An elevated section of the Alaska Pipeline

Pipeline transport is a transportation of goods through a tube. Most commonly, liquid and gases are sent, but pneumatic tubes that transport solid capsules using compressed air have also been used.

As for gases and liquids, any chemically stable substance can be sent through a pipeline. Therefore sewage, slurry, water, or even beer pipelines exist; but arguably the most important are those transporting oil and natural gas. Often these pipelines are inspected and cleaned using Pipeline Inspection Gauges ('pigs').


Oil and natural gas pipelines

When talking about the transportation of large quantities of oil or natural gas on the surface, pipeline transport is the only economically feasible way. Compared to railroad, it has lower cost per unit and also higher capacity. Although pipelines can be built even under the sea, that process is both economically and technically very demanding, so the majority of oil at sea is transported by tanker ships.

Oil pipelines are made from steel tubes with inner diameter from 30 to 120 cm. Where possible, they are built above the surface. The oil is kept in motion by a system of pump stations built along the pipeline and usually flows at speed of about 1 to 6 m/s.


Pipelines conveying flammable or explosive material such as natural gas or oil pose special safety concerns.

List of pipelines

NATO maintains a pipeline network supplying its airfields in Central Europe.

Pipelines for other liquids and gases

Water pipelines

Pipelines are useful for transporting water for drinking or irrigation over long distances when it needs to move over hills, or where canals or channels are poor choices due to considerations of evaporation, pollution, or environmental impact.

Example significant water pipelines in South Australia are the Morgan-Whyalla (completed 1944) and Mannum-Adelaide [1] ( (completed 1955) pipelines.

Beverage pipelines

Beer pipelines

Bars in the AufSchalke Arena are interconnected by a 5 km long beer pipeline. It is the favourite method for distributing beer in such large stadiums, because the bars have to overcome big differences between demands during various stages of a match; this allows them to be supplied by a central tank.

See also

fr:Oloduc pl:Transport rurociągowy uk:Трубопровідний транспорт


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