Tube Expanding: What You Must Know


When it comes to heat transfer vessel maintenance, there are a few basic tasks that are always needed, one of these is tube expanding. This is a process that  can be used to fix leaks or install new tubes. In order to get the best results, it’s important to have the right tools and knowledge. 


In this blog post, we’ll discuss the basics of the tube expanding process and provide tips for getting the job done safely and efficiently.

What Is Tube Expanding?

Tube expanding is the process of compressing the O.D. of a tube against a stationary container, such as tube sheets, drums, ferrules, or flanges. To assure a proper joint the tube wall must be reduced to a predetermined percentage.

How Do You Determine The Correct Amount Of Tube Expansion?

These are the steps to determine both the % of wall reduction required in the tube expanding procedure:
  • STEP 1- Determine the tube sheet hole inner diameter (ID).
  • STEP 2- Determine the tube outside diameter (OD).
  • STEP 3- Subtract the tube outside diameter from the tube hole dimension.
  • STEP 4- Using an Elliott Tube Gauge, determine the inside diameter of the tube before rolling.
  • STEP 5- By adding the dimension found in step 4 to the clearance between the tube O.D. and the tube hole, you can determine the inside diameter at metal-to-metal contact.
  • STEP 6- Roll the tube to what you feel is a good tube joint and check the ID with a tube gauge.
  • STEP 7- Subtracting step 6 from the rolled diameter reveals the actual amount of expansion (tube wall reduction) on the inner diameter of your tube. Convert this to a percent reduction by dividing the actual wall thickness (“step 2 minus step 4”), into the amount of roll.

Some Important Factors To Consider In Rolling Certain Alloys:

In general, you want to roll to the lowest wall reduction possible where a tight joint can be achieved. The harder the material, the less wall reduction is required. Refer to the below guidelines when working with different materials.
tube expanders elliott

Elliott Tool Technologies Provides Only Top-Quality Tube Tools

If you’re looking for a top-notch industrial manufacturer, look no further than our team at Elliott Tool Technologies. We pride ourselves on producing high-quality products that meet and exceed our client’s expectations. You can be sure that we can provide you with whichever tool you need for your tube expanding needs.


Get in touch with us today to discuss your project, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have. You can find our products’ specifications and details in our “product section.” We are proud to represent 125 years of manufacturing and engineering.

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