Within industry, piping is a system of pipes used to convey fluids (liquids and gases) from one location to another. The engineering discipline of piping design studies the efficient transport of fluid.
Industrial process piping (and accompanying in-line components) can be manufactured from wood, fiberglass, glass, steel, aluminum, plastic, copper, and concrete. The in-line components, known as fittings, valves, and other devices, typically sense and control the pressure, flow rate and temperature of the transmitted fluid, and usually are included in the field of piping design (or piping engineering), though the sensors and automatic controlling devices may alternatively be treated as part of instrumentation and control design. Piping systems are documented in piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs). If necessary, pipes can be cleaned by the tube cleaning process.
Piping sometimes refers to piping design, the detailed specification of the physical piping layout within a process plant or commercial building. In earlier days, this was sometimes called drafting, technical drawing, engineering drawing, and design, but is today commonly performed by designers that have learned to use automated computer-aided drawing or computer-aided design (CAD) software.
Plumbing is a piping system with which most people are familiar, as it constitutes the form of fluid transportation that is used to provide potable water and fuels to their homes and businesses. Plumbing pipes also remove waste in the form of sewage, and allow venting of sewage gases to the outdoors. Fire sprinkler systems also use piping, and may transport nonpotable or potable water, or other fire-suppression fluids.
Piping also has many other industrial applications, which are crucial for moving raw and semi-processed fluids for refining into more useful products. Some of the more exotic materials used in pipe construction are Inconel, titanium, chrome-moly and various other steel alloys.