This paper presents an investigation into the energy absorbing behaviour of axially splitting square metal tubes. Tubes 50 mm square with a variable thickness were pushed slowly against rigid pyramid shaped dies, which had various semi-angles. By pre-cutting 5 mm long slits at the four corners, the tube splits along the corners and curls outward with a certain radius at a constant force. In this energy dissipating system, there are three components: tearing energy, plastic deformation energy and frictional energy. Theoretical analysis of the three energy components is presented. Curl radius is also studied in detail. Good agreement between experiments and theory is obtained. The results show that tubes which both split and curl may be used as efficient, long stroke energy absorbing devices.