Piping Design

Piping design is a sub-field in mechanical engineering that deals with the planning of flow transport and routing in a space. The design requirements define the building materials, pressure, route, piping layers, adaptation to environmental conditions, and the type of process required to perform on the flow. The pipeline route is divided into main and secondary lines that branch into additional sub-lines: flow control, flow, pressure, temperature, and the like. This is used for faucets, pressure and air vents, pumps, tanks, and a wide range of hydraulic equipment.


Today there is a wide range of piping materials; types of plastics resistant to harsh environmental conditions, metals, glass, silicone, concrete, chrome, and stainless steel. A combination of materials can match the required properties, such as piping diameters ranging from a few millimeters to whole meters. Piping design is done according to the pipeline’s purpose and function. For instance water-based piping, underground or underwater, on walls and ceilings and floors, on bridges or a supporting skeleton called a skid. The role of the skid is to provide a fixation and maintenance solution for the piping systems so that its human operator has access to all the main operating areas of the piping system. Skid design is an integral part of the piping design, it must bear the static and dynamic forces that develop in the system during operation and rest.

In some cases the skid must meet the requirements of earthquakes, and environmental conditions such as wind and temperature. Initial piping design begins with a process engineer who schematically defines the course of the piping, the equipment (e.g. pressure gauge / temperature gauge), and the hydraulic equipment needed for the process - from pumps to storage tanks for the process. Piping design requires resistance to evolving issues  from the weight of the pipe itself, insulation, internal and external pressures on the piping, and response to the effects of expansion or contraction of the pipes due to heat or cold. External loads on the piping must also be taken into account for the pipe wall thickness and appropriate skid design. The piping design is partly performed in combination with CFDs for identifying cavitation areas, standing losses, etc. These numerical methods enable the understanding and detection of problems in a timely manner for detailed planning and production of the piping.