Tubes are popular and necessary items, purchased for applications that require the conveyance of gases and/or liquids. Non-alloyed copper is one of the most commonly employed materials of all those available with which to make these hollow pipes. For information about purchasing copper tubes or designing tubing systems, interested parties are encouraged to contact an experienced manufacturer with their questions, concerns, and requirements.
Quick links to Copper Tubes Information
Applications of Copper Tubes
Copper is a naturally-occurring metal, unique in that, unlike most other elements, it is found in nature in a usable, metallic form. In other words, it requires no extra step of extraction from an ore. Compatible with a wide range of liquids, copper tube is commonly used for applications related to heating and cooling (HVAC) and plumbing.
These applications include:
- Gas and Steam Heating Systems
- Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems
- Fire Sprinkler Systems
- Hospital Oxygen Systems
- Venting and Draining Systems
- Cryogenic Plants
A few types of tube made from copper are:
- Vacuum Tubes
- Cathode Ray Tubes
- Refrigerant Lines
- Water Fountain Lines
- Rain Gutter Tubing
Manufacturing Process of Copper Tubes
Typically, copper tubes are created via extrusion, a hot-forming process. During the first step in extrusion, rod-shaped, solid-profile copper billets are heated to the point of malleability. After this, they are forced through a series of ever-shrinking tube-shaped molds. At the end of this step, the billets will have reached the desired shape. Copper tubes made with this method exhibit uniform wall thickness as well as a smooth and seamless surface. After extrusion, manufacturers often choose to bend the tubes using mandrels or rollers and attach them to one another at the ends via welding. Tubes may also be joined via a welding technique called brazing, which uses nonferrous filler material. Additionally, most copper tubes are made to attach and detach easily from one another with the help of two threaded ends, one male and one female. Though threading does not provide the permanent seal that welding does, it nevertheless provides a reliable water and airtight seal. Among others, examples of bent copper tubing include type L copper tube, type M copper tube, and coil copper tube.
Copper tubes are made from, at minimum, 99.9% pure copper material. Depending on their design, they may have either soft or hard overall hardness, or tempers. Soft copper tubes are bent easily and are the preferred choice for applications that have obstacles around which a tube must be curved. They are, for instance, generally chosen to work as refrigerant lines in split-system heat pumps and air conditioners. Also, they are the only type of copper tubes that work for flare connections. Hard, or rigid, copper tubes, which are popular for use in water lines, cannot be bent unless they are annealed. Annealing, however, adds additional time and money to the tube production process. Instead, to get them to go around corners or make an angle, manufacturers usually join separate tubes using elbow fittings. The temper of a copper tube is determined by post-fabrication heat treatment.
Benefits of Using Copper Tubes
Copper is valued for its characteristics of formability, ductility, light weight, strength, temperature resistance, corrosion resistance, and electrical and thermal conductivity. Because of the ease with which copper may be found and used, copper tubes are relatively easy and inexpensive to produce. In addition, it costs very little to transport and is simple to install, easy to maintain and extremely efficient. As copper can withstand both freezing temperatures and extreme heat, copper tube is equally well-suited to above ground and below ground applications. A special benefit of copper tubes is its resistance to flames and explosions. It is so resistant to these risks that, if a fire does manage to start within a tube, it will be stopped there and will not be able to advance any farther into the system.
Copper Tube Standards and Compliance
Over the ages, many things have changed in the world. However, one thing that hasn’t is the importance of copper and copper tubing in everyday life. Copper tubes are essential and beneficial to many applications in the heating and cooling, disaster prevention and intervention, plumbing, and above and below ground water services. Thus, copper tube manufacturers are held accountable via the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), which, among other things, dictate copper purity requirements, regulate design, standardize fitting material, and gas/liquid compatibility.