What is a copper tube?
Copper tube is the go-to material in most European countries for drinking water systems, heating, air conditioning, medical gases and solar power. All copper tubes can withstand extreme temperatures, corrosion and high water or gas pressure, requiring zero maintenance over the years.
Copper tubing applications
Copper tubing is most often used for heating systems and as a refrigerant line in Heat Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems. Copper tubing is slowly being replaced by cross-linkeed polythurene tubing in hot and cold water applications.
Types of copper tubing
There are two basic types of copper tubing, soft copper and rigid copper. Copper tubing is joined using flare connection, compression connection, pressed connection, or solder. Although copper offers a high level of corrosión resistance it is also becoming very costly.
Today, copper tube for the plumbing, heating and air-conditioning industries is available in drawn and annealed tempers (referred to in the trades as “hard” and “soft”) and in a wide range of diameters and wall thicknesses. Joints are simple, reliable and economical to make—additional reasons for selecting copper tube.
Soft copper properties and applications
Soft (or ductile) copper tubing can be bent easily to travel around obstacles in the path of the tubing. While the work hardening of the drawing process used to size the tubing makes the copper hard or rigid, it is then carefully annealed to make it soft again; it is, therefore, more expensive to produce than non-annealed, rigid copper tubing. It can be joined by any of the three methods used for rigid copper, and it is the only type of copper tubing suitable for flare connections. Soft copper is the most popular choice for refrigerant lines in split-system air conditioners and heat pumps.
Rigid copper properties and applications
Rigid copper is the common choice for water lines. Rigid or “Hard” copper tubing is generally referred to as “pipe”. Copper “piping” is referred to by nominal pipe size, or the inner diameter. It is joined using a solder/sweat, roll grooved, compression, or crimped/pressed connection. Rigid copper, rigid due to the work hardening of the drawing process, cannot be bent and must use elbow fittings to go around corners or around obstacles. If heated and allowed to cool in a process called annealing, rigid copper will become soft and can be bent/formed without cracking.