Copper Nickel Alloy:The Definitive Guide
I know you’re here looking for the best copper nickel alloy and a manufacturer you can trust.
Oh, yes – you’re just in the right place.
Because in this guide, I am going to walk you through very important information about copper nickel alloy. From basic chemical composition, classification to applications in the piping systems; you’ll probably learn a lot.
So, if you’re serious about finding the best copper nickel alloy, then read this guide to the end.
Let’s go straight to the main subject of this guide:
What is Copper Nickel Alloy?
You could be wondering what an alloy is.
Don’t worry, I will start with that.
These are metals that are made by combining either two or more metallic elements/compounds to improve chemical and mechanical properties.
For example, metal X may have elements a, b, c and d. During the manufacturing process, you can mix these elements in different proportions.
Now, back to our main subject of discussion here.
By the way, here is a good example of a metal alloy.
Figure 1: Copper Nickel Alloy Pipes
Copper-nickel alloy thus refers to a mixture consisting of copper and other elements like nickel and various strengthening components like manganese and iron among others.
What it therefore implies is that copper-nickel pipe (like the one you see above) is any kind of tube made from a combination of copper and various strengthening materials.
Now you understand, right?
Fine, but I’m still sure that you would like to know more about copper-nickel alloy.
So let me give you a bit of its history.
History from a Chinese Perspective
Initially, the Chinese knew it as white copper. In fact, during the ancient times in China, they were using it for making weaponry for wars.
During this time, the process for making copper was basic. It merely involved adding smaller pills of Yunnan ore, which were occurring naturally, to the molten copper bath.
The result was the formation of a crust of slag, and then saltpeter was also added, stirred and ingot cast.
The Chinese regarded this metal as unique and significant especially during the era of Liu An. It was one of the most valuable locally traded commodity.
History from European Perspective
Claims are rife that the rediscovery of this copper-nickel alloy was at the West.
However, its actual rediscovery took place during European copper importation from China. It is at this time that the rediscovery of its constituents became apparent.
On the same not, there was unsuccessful attempt by the Europeans to duplicate the exact Chinese patkong.
This was due to the fact of inadequate necessary complex cobalt-nickel-arsenic ore that occurs naturally.
The evolution of this metal carried on in Europe in a bid of finding a more refined grade.
And in the 1920’s a copper-nickel grade containing 70-30 ratio was developed for marine condensers.
In 1950, a 90-10 alloy was available first for naval piping but has ever since become a common alloy for various applications.
Now that’s brief copper-nickel alloy history.
Note that I haven’t gone deeper into many details because my primary aim was to merely let you know of its basic discovery and rediscovery.
Of significance, is also to understand that different people refer to this particular metal in various ways. Of course depending on the region of origin and purpose.
Cupronickel is the original term of how it was known. This is essentially copper-nickel, or cupernickel, which in other words refer to the group of alloys making up this metal.
Figure 2: Copper Nickel Pipes
Some people refer to it as plata alemana and hotel silver which is Chinese silver and German silver respectively.
The French refer to it as cuivre Blanc. In most cases, however, some people prefer calling it using its trade names such as Argentan Mirnagent and Alpaka among others.
In short, just like I told you earlier, it all depends where one comes from.
But it is still ideal to know some of these names to understand the significance of the naming.
Anyway, it’s now time to move on to the next chapter, and discuss the essence of using copper nickel pipes.
Why use Copper Nickel Alloy?
Copper as a metal, cannot meet the dynamic needs of many applications.
Therefore, you need to blend it with other elements to meet the dynamic needs of many applications in the industry.
Of course, later in this guide, I will take you through various types of copper nickel alloys, and the effects of various alloying elements.
For now, let’s focus on why you need a copper nickel alloy:
Figure 3: Corroding Pipe System
Addition of Nickel on to Copper and other elements merely strengthens this material, makes it ductile and shiny.
All these are characteristics of a high-quality metallic material. And that possibly clears any doubt regarding using this material.
Let’s go ahead and establish some of the fundamental benefits and advantages of copper-nickel and why you should consider it in your next project.
Excellent resistance to heat
Copper-nickel alloy pipe can withstand extremely high temperatures. In fact, this is one of its utmost outstanding element which makes it popular in several applications.
This material is known for enduring temperatures that even exceed 760 degrees Celsius.
Isn’t that amazing earth-shattering?
Its ability to withstand extreme high temperatures makes it one of the best metals to have around for various applications.
Figure 4: Copper Nickel Pipe with Excellent Heat Resistance
And ideally, it even explains why it is a desirable material for pipes that many people tend to choose.
Especially in various machines as well as structures which tend to create a lot of heat most of the time.
Ideal resistance to corrosion and biofouling
Copper-nickel pipes have considerable resistance to any form of corrosion. You need to notice that corrosion often occurs during oxidation.
That is when a metallic surface is exposed to and reacts with oxygen. Such reactions are what often lead to corrosion.
Figure 5: Oxidation of CuNi -Image source: Chava Science
But significantly, copper-nickel possesses components which enable it to comparatively reduce rates of oxidation.
And it is for this reason that copper-nickel alloys tend to resist corrosive elements in a considerable way for a more extended period.
This is often apparent specifically in highly corrosive environments such as aquatic areas.
Of the two common alloys available, one which contains 10% nickel is preferable for most of these saline and corrosive environments.
Easy to Fabricate
Again, in some instances, your project would require a material which can easily adapt to a specific shape after usage or encounter different conditions.
And the truth of the matter is that is very rare to find that kind of an alloy. Copper-nickel alloy allows you to fabricate it to a desirable shape.
Figure 6: Welding Copper Nickel Alloy – Image source: Copper Development Association
Such that it fits the requirements of what you need for your projects. You can use both hot and cold techniques to fabricate it.
Nonetheless, the ductility nature of this alloy is impressive hence making cold working techniques preferable.
Listen, piping is a project that requires significant investment.
So you don’t need to gamble over which materials to use lest you incur other unnecessary costs and inconveniences in future.
The thing is, go for a material that gives you the best in terms of durability. And this is where copper-nickel alloys become significant.
Figure 7: Mechanical properties of CuNi pipes
They are naturally extremely durable irrespective of the environment. This material is so durable that you can’t even imagine of repairing or replacing it when properly fitted.
What’s the bottom line here?
The initial cost might be relatively high, but in the long run, you end up saving quite a considerable amount of money.
Who doesn’t want to save a dollar anyway?
Low rate of expansion
In some instances, you’d require to install copper alloy pipes or metal with uniform size. But in most areas that experience high, varying temperature, achieving this can be somewhat tricky.
Some piping materials tend to expand when you subject them to varying temperatures from time to time.
Figure 8: Joining copper nickel pipes – Image source Eucaro Buntmetall GmbH
It merely happens because they have a high rate of thermal expansion. This material is strong enough to resist expansion even when subjected to high-temperature conditions.
What happens is that copper-nickel alloys seem to have a relentless modulus of elasticity. It also has a low expansion factor.
On the other hand, it would be imperative to learn one or two shortcomings of copper-nickel alloy.
A quite obvious one:
Copper Nickel pipes are expensive
You may not want to read this, but here we go;
Initial purchase and fitting of copper-nickel alloys to a certain extent can be costly. More so when you happen to purchase them in large quantity.
So be ready to spend a significant amount of money when obtaining this particular type of piping material.
A second shortcoming is that at the time of manufacturing is:
Copper-nickel alloy requires nothing short of the purest raw materials
Majorly, it is to assist in attaining the greatest possible product integrity.
Essentially, it suggests that in some instances, you’d easily get a product with less or inadequate composition of raw materials.
In general, it makes it a bit difficult for you because you just have to choose the ideal grade for your project. One that won’t compromise your project adversely.
Essentially, this places you in a tricky situation because should you go wrong, it’d probably affect the overall outcome and efficiency of your project.
In general, the advantages of copper-nickel alloys supersede the disadvantages considerably. So next time you think of this material for different applications, never hesitate.
Now that we’ve known the fundamental pros and a few but equally important cons, it’s time to move on and find out the types of copper-nickel alloys.
But on the same note, this aspect shouldn’t be a discouraging factor when purchasing this product.
Because, in the long run, you have to determine the particular application and design project that the material suits.
Some grades might still be suit some applications even if they aren’t necessarily as pure as such.
Types of Copper-Nickel Alloys
If you’re a newbie in matters to do with copper-nickel alloy pipes, there’s a high likelihood you don’t understand the types available.
Certainly, you’ve at some point in time seen some, but perhaps you cannot tell the difference.
Don’t worry though!
In this section, I want to take you through all the major types of copper-nickel alloys available.
So that it becomes easy for you to make an informed choice whenever you’re shopping or one that ideally suits your project.
We classify copper-nickel alloys in two categories;
In this section, you will know what constitutes the difference in both types and other essential information regarding the same.
Let’s get straight to the point and expound on some of these types of copper-nickel alloy materials for the pipe.
3.1. Copper Nickel for Marine Environment
This type of alloy refers to one that is common in naval applications. In simple words, you will find it mostly in different projects revolving around the aquatic surroundings.
For instance, they are the types used in seawater and desalination systems as well for protecting various offshore structures.
We’ve got quite a number of marine alloys. The major difference is that they vary in nickel percentage content and some additional compounds.
Here are some of these marine alloys;
90-10 Copper-Nickel (C70600)
As the name suggests, this marine alloy contains 90% and 10% of copper and nickel respectively.
Also, it also consists of a number of elements in smaller portions such as manganese and iron.
These additional elements are significant in enhancing corrosion resistance and overall strength.
Actually, manganese is present in this alloy as a desulfurizer and deoxidant. Such that its presence enhances working characteristics.
Figure 9: C70600
A combination of all the elements is what gives this alloy high ductility and robustness.
Again, it is apparent that the composition is what makes this alloy common in various industrial engineering, architectural and marine applications.
The 90-10 cupronickel also provides excellent biofouling in brackish and seawater.
It also offers outstanding fabrication and welding features and it is significantly resistant to embrittlement arising from hydrogen reaction.
Moreover, this alloy also has a high retention of temperatures and mechanical properties.
C70600 is the most popular grade that is widely preferred in most places especially in America and Europe.
In most cases, this grade offers the best efficiency when it comes to industries such as shipbuilding, petrochemical, offshore and marine among others.
They are also common in several cooling plants and heat exchangers. That alone demonstrates the quality and reliability that this particular grade offers.
The 90-10 alloy contains superb antimicrobial properties. Are you wondering what this means? Let me explain;
This copper-nickel alloy grade has undergone some tests that prove its ability to kill a wide range of organisms within the shortest time possible.
It kills up to 99.9% of such organisms including influenza A, E.coli, and MRSA just within 2 hours. For the record, an ideal manufacturer for this C70600 should be able to offer its products in custom-made sizes and shapes. This, of course, should depend on the preference of the customer.
Similarly, the name also suggests 70% and 30% of copper and nickel respectively. At times you may also refer to it as C71500.
It also consists of additional elements of iron and manganese. These elements are essential in enhancing the resistance of this alloy to corrosion and erosion.
The best part is that the strength level of 70-30 copper-nickel is relatively high than that of 90-10.
This is important, and it’s the more reason why it is preferable for applications which are somewhat demanding.
Figure 10: C71500
The corrosion resistance of this alloy is particularly great in polluted high-velocity waters.
The other good thing about this material is that it is readily cold worked, welded and also fabricated. All these are without any special attention to materials.
The most notable specifications that cover this particular alloy include CN107 and C71500, which is also the other common reference to it.
Like I’ve mentioned above, one of the outstanding features of 70-30 copper-nickel is excellent corrosion and resistance especially in marine areas.
Furthermore, this material is resistance to biofouling and presents ideal strength and toughness. It has high impact pressure as well as moderate machinability.
For this reason, it can widely be used in various applications across the marine environment such as salt water piping.
Also, you can use it for pipe fittings, pump bodies, evaporator tubes and water boxes among others.
In other cases, people use this copper-nickel alloy in oil and gas applications where there is a presence of moderate to high seawater corrosion.
It is yet another copper-nickel alloy grade that is also widely used in various applications. In some instances, it is referred to as C71640 and features excellent corrosion and erosion resistance.
The 66-30-2-2 Cu-Ni alloy also contains high antifouling properties especially against the micro-organisms within the water bodies.
Figure 11: 66-30-2-2 Cu-Ni
Moreover, it is easy to install and has excellent weldability. This particular alloy contains comparatively high content of iron.
Now, this is beneficial since iron content, in this case, assists in providing high ideal impingement attack resistance.
Furthermore, the 66-30-2-2 Cu-Ni is somewhat unique such that it resists corrosion cracking. The best part of this alloy copper is that it offers the best service life even when under the worst unfavorable conditions.
In most cases, the application for this alloys revolves around desalination plants, water heaters, chillers, condensers, refineries, distiller tubes for petrochemical and shipbuilding and repairs.
It is also one of the ideal copper alloys that you can use in various applications. Basically, this is a mixture of copper, nickel, and chromium.
The combination alone tells you the strength and resistance of this alloy to various elements such as corrosion and erosion among others.
In most instances, chromium is often used in reducing the traces or content of iron in such an alloy by a certain percentage.
So virtually, a combination of all these elements in addition to little traces of carbon and manganese results in formation of stainless steel.
And that’s the reason this particular alloy offers excellent resistance to corrosion as well as erosion.
Similarly, it is used in a wide range of marine applications including distiller tubes for petrochemical, desalination plants, refineries and water heaters among others.
High Strength Copper Nickel Alloys
In many occasions, the formations of high strength Cu-Ni alloys is always as a result of the addition of aluminum into copper-nickel.
So that the strength increases as a result of the development of age-hardening precipitates.
The design of this type of alloy is specifically to provide an exclusive blend of mechanical and physical features for extraordinary performance engineering.
At the same time, this alloy provides excellent wear and corrosion resistance and has ideal properties for electrical and thermal components.
The other outstanding feature of this alloy is that it is free from hydrogen embrittlement and resistant to spark.
Also, it provides ideal strength and hardness when you compare it to other non-ferrous alloys.
What’s more is that this alloy also has a low magnetic permeability and excellent cryogenic properties.
3.2. Non-Marine Copper Nickel Alloys
This is the other category of copper-nickel alloys. Just as the name suggests, they are mostly found in applications that do not necessarily revolve around the naval settings.
Figure 12: Non marine copper nickel pipes
Mostly, they are used for a wide range of applications that do not match the marine environment.
We have two main types of non-marine copper-nickel alloys. So let me expound them briefly;
This one has been in existence for quite some time now since the ancient days. It consists of 75% and 25% copper and nickel elements respectively.
In most cases, it is used for making coinage that people often use in a wide range of trading activities.
This alloy presents some of the best properties which make it ideal for its quality. For instance, it is resistant to corrosion.
Essentially, it becomes difficult to find a 75-25 Cu-Ni coin corroding regardless of how long it takes even in adverse conditions.
And on the same note, this alloy is relatively durable such that it can last for more than 30 years but the quality remains the same.
Apparently, it is the reason this alloy was preferred for the coinage since it is something that tends to circulate often.
Its malleability properties are also excellent, and that is the reason you’ll find portraits and other distinct images struck on the surfaces of the coin.
Furthermore, this alloy is easy to stamp and to recycle.
This alloy consists of 55% and 45 % copper and nickel respectively. One of its outstanding property is that it has great resistance to the low-temperature coefficient.
It also has ideal electrical resistivity. In fact, it is this particular aspect that makes 55-45 Cu Ni common in various applications surrounding thermocouples.
Primarily, it is because this resistivity feature tends to be comparatively constant over wide-ranging temperatures.
So in general, all these and other copper alloys not mentioned herein are suitable for efficiency in various applications.
You also need to realize that some of the marine alloys are not necessarily restricted solely to marine applications.
In point of fact, you will notice that quite a good number of them are used in varying non-marine applications.
For instance, the 90-10 Cu-Ni is used for antimicrobial uses as well as for brake tubing.
In summary, the uses tend to vary from one area to the other. But significantly, you need to realize that the efficiency and quality of this alloy are what necessarily play a great role.
So lets move forward and look at some of the impacts of additives in copper-nickel pipes in the next section
2.3. Effects of Alloying Additives on Copper Nickel Material
Here is the truth:
Various elements which make up a Cu-Ni alloy can considerably alter the mechanical properties, microstructure and corrosion resistance of the pipe.
To a certain extent, some small portions of different elements can be added to the copper-nickel alloy. The essence, in this case, is to attain particular properties that would offer desirable results.
Nonetheless, it is also fundamental to understand that some additives, when added to this alloy, can result to impairing of hot workability as well as the weldability of the material.
So, in essence, is to ensure that there is control of chemical concentrations. Apparently, it helps in knowing the effects these elements have on the alloys, both positive and negative.
In that case, it allows you to identify the specific applications where you can use certain alloys on. In this section, we will discuss some of these common additives.
Figure 13: Copper nickel pipes
Also, we will understand the possible effects that these additives have on copper nickel pipes.
Of course, these additives are quite a several, but in our case, we want to only touch on the most commons ones.
This element is regularly present in copper-nickel. It exists as a desulfurizer and deoxidant. The content of this additive in this alloy varies from 0.25% to 13% depending on various factors.
This additive enhances the strength specifically at high temperatures. In doing so, it eliminates any possible formation of iron sulfides.
Figure 14: Manganese
It is also an austenite forming component. Thus it makes a good substitute for nickel.
In general, manganese enhances the working features and immensely contributes to corrosion resistance more so in sea and salty waters.
This is another essential copper nickel additive. Certainly, it is a combination of iron and the alloy of copper-nickel.
For marine applications, the ideal iron content to add on this alloy is about 2.5.
Initially, the copper-nickel-iron alloy was developed to help in handling all the naval requirements.
This was by improving the corrosion resistant materials meant for applications that came into contact with seawater.
Figure 15: Iron
Iron offers resistance to impingement attack that might result from flowing water. It also follows that this additive enhances the overall strength of this alloy.
In addition, the iron element also increases resistance to high temperature carburizing and controls thermal expansion.
What’s more is that it reduces the overall cost of this alloy.
Zinc forms a fundamental constituent in CU Ni Zn alloy. In some cases, we refer to this alloy as nickel silvers.
The most important thing, however, is to note that zinc is often restricted to less than 1% in the Cu Ni alloy.
Figure 16: Zinc
It is equally resistant to corrosion and strong just like many other additives of copper-nickel.
This element is insoluble in liquid or solid steel. But in some instances, it is often added to carbon steels through mechanical dispersion.
This happens during pouring so that it can help in improving the machinability of the alloy.
Figure 17: Lead
The truth about lead, however, is that it provides a little minimal effect on corrosion resistance.
It is probably because it influences hot ductility hence may lead to impairment of the elasticity.
You, therefore, need to control it to minimum levels as possible.
This additive is a key constituent of stainless steel. It can be added in a range of 0.5% to 30%. The thing is, alloying with this element enhances resistance to higher temperature oxidizing.
Nitric and chromic acids are some of the oxidizing media for this element. They play a considerable role in improving corrosion and erosion resistance to fast flowing seawater.
Figure 18: Chromium
The other good thing about this element is that it plays replace some portions of iron content.
It increases strength even at 1% and used in 30% nickel casting alloy. Furthermore, this alloying material improves hardenability, wear resistance and response to heat treatment.
In some instances, it is known as columbium. It is also another ideal alloying material that offers the benefit of stabilizing carbon.
Figure 19: Niobium
This is in the sense of forming hard carbides and hence common mostly in high-temperature steels.
In small proportions, this additive can fundamentally increase the desirable strength and to a lesser extent, the tensile strength of steel.
The other aspect of this element is that it improves the weldability of cast alloys.
This element provides enhanced resistance to atmospheric tarnishing. 2% of Tin is used with 9% of nickel to form alloy C72500.
It contains properties that are ideal for stress relaxation. In most cases, it is used in applications revolving around electronics.
Figure 20: Tin
What you also need to know is that alloys that contain 4-10% tin are capable of providing hardening ingredients for high strength, galling and wear characteristics.
It is an alloying element widely used in various applications. Obviously, it is essential in the process of age-hardening for copper nickels which require high strength.
Also, this element is a deoxidizer which in many instances is used in limiting the growth of austenite grains.
Figure 21: Aluminum
Furthermore, adding aluminum can as well promote the foundation of a firmly adherent alumina gauge at high temperatures.
This is necessary because it helps in a significant way to provide resistance to attack by chlorination, oxidation, and carburization.
This additive element also provides age-hardening, especially when combined with Aluminum.
It can as well combine with carbon, and the resultant effect is reduced susceptibility to intergranular corrosion.
Figure 22: Titanium
Clearly, it is as a result of the formation of chromium carbide which happens after heat treatment.
This alloying element is also vital when it comes to welding consumables. What you also need to understand is that titanium enhances the formation of welds that are pore-free.
It is another critical metalloid that plays a significant role in improving elasticity, strength and acid resistance in sizeable grains.
Consequently, it leads to superior magnetic permeability. Essentially, silicon is used as adeoxidant in to improve castability.
Figure 23: Silicon
It is always present in some alloys to some percentage.
All these metalloids are essential in one way or the other. But like I mentioned earlier on, it is vital to ensure you measure the particular range for a certain alloy.
Failure to do these can naturally lead to adverse results which can impair the metal and also leave it inefficient.
To make copper nickel pipes, depending on the nature of the application, you may use different quantities of these alloying elements.
For example, you can look at these two tables:
Figure 24: Chemical composition for CuNi 90/10
And, this one:
Figure 25: Chemical composition for CuNi 70/30
I hope you can see what I am talking about.
With that in mind, let me take you to yet another important aspect of copper nickel pipes.
Copper Nickel Pipe Specifications
Do you know copper nickel pipes play an important role in modern piping systems?
This is due to their superior chemical and mechanical properties, more so in marine applications.
I will discuss more of those applications later in chapter 6.
Generally, copper nickel pipes come in two distinct grades:
- Cupro Nickel C71500 (70/30)
- Cupro Nickel: C70600 (90/10)
I hope you remember everything I said bout Copper Nickel alloys C71500 (70/30) and C70600 (90/10).
Just in case you have forgotten, please refer to chapter 3 of this guide.
So, it is upon you to choose one that meets your unique performance specifications.
Already, I have a comprehensive guide on copper nickel pipes. So here, I will walk you through a quick summary of what you should know.
Let’s dive right in:
Standard specification of copper nickel pipes: I know there are many dimensional standards of copper nickel pipes out there. However, some of the most common specifications include ASME B36.19 M, DIN 86019, EEMUA 144 and MIL-T-16420.
Furthermore, the pipes are available from ½ inches to 24 inch thickness with a maximum length of 6 meters.
Seamless and welded copper nickel pipes; depending on your unique applications, you can choose seamless copper nickel pipes with an OD of 16 to 419.
Alternatively, you have an option of welded copper nickel pipes with an OD of 457 or more.
In addition to these, they come in different pressure ratings. And, as a rule of thumb, always request for technical data of copper nickel pipes before buying any.
Still, quality inspection is something you can ignore when buying copper nickel pipes. More importantly, you need to focus on:
- Chemical component tests
- Mechanical test
- Visual inspection
Once you evaluate all these, I am sure you will get the best copper nickel pipes for your unique applications.
Remember, you can produce other copper nickel accessories. Take for instance, in any piping system, you will need many fittings.
And, that’s what I want to focus on.
Copper-Nickel Pipe Fittings
What is a piping system?
This is one question that you will come across several times.
Well, a piping system is a network of pipes, valves and fittings, connected together to perform a specific task.
For example, a copper nickel pipe is just a straight conduit. What about if you want to:
- Reduce the speed of fluid flowing in the pipe system
- Connect other accessories such as duplex basket strainers or simplex basket strainers
- Or, make some bends in the fluid systems?
Well, you will need copper nickel pipe fittings.
Now, what is a copper nickel pipe fittings?
These are pipes or tubes, made from copper nickel material that you can use to connect CuNi pipes to fit different applications. They aim to ensure consistent and easy flow of fluid in the pipe system.
For the scope of this section, I am going to walk you through the following copper nickel pipe fittings:
Elbows are useful when you want to change the direction of the pipe. Depending on the degree of bending you need, go for either 90° or 45°.
Copper nickel elbows come in both short and long radius. Below is a video showing different types of copper nickel elbows.
Remember, you can also opt for reducing elbow. Normally, the reducing elbow not only change the direction, but also the size of the pipe size.
Whenever you want to collect or distribute fluid in the pipe system, you need tee fitting. Basically, it’s a small pipe with a branch at the center – normally a 90° branch.
With an equal tee, the diameter of the branch is the same as that of the header pipe.
This is yet another type of copper nickel tee fitting. Here, the diameter of the branch is smaller than that of the header pipe.
Of course, there are other types of copper nickel pipe tee such as:
- Barred tee; the branching pipe has some bars welded across the pipe system
- Wye tee; the branch is at 45° and not 90°.
Reducers help to change the size of the pipe. Depending on the design of the copper nickel reducer, you can have:
- Concentric copper nickel pipe reducer; normally, the centerline of both ends of the reducer are on the same axis.
Figure 26: Concentric reducer
- Eccentric copper nickel pipe reducer; here, the centerline of both ends of the copper nickel reducer are on different axes.
Like other pipe fittings, copper nickel saddles also come in a range of shapes and designs. It all depends on the specific application at hand.
You can watch this short video to learn more about copper nickel saddles.
In copper nickel pipe systems, at times you may wish to cover one end of the pipe completely. In such situations, you need a copper nickel end cap.
You can learn more about copper nickel end cap in the video below:
Copper nickel ASME B16.9 Stub End is a special type of pipe fitting you can use in place of welded flange more so where the a rotating back up flange may be desired.
Figure 27: Stub end
Now, before I explore the practical applications of copper nickel pipes in the next chapter, let me mention something really quick.
At times, when you want to connect two copper nickel pipes, you may require a flange. A copper nickel flange makes connecting various pipes, valves, pumps or other components in pipe systems easier and faster.
Copper nickel flanges come in different shapes and designs depending on the type of the piping system. Some of the most common options include:
- Copper nickel weld neck flanges
- Copper nickel slip on flanges
- Copper nickel socket weld flanges
- Copper nickel blind flanges
- Copper nickel threaded flanges
As you can see, even as you shop for the best copper nickel pipes, don’t forget to buy a suitable copper nickel fitting too.
Let’s move on…
Copper Nickel Alloys Applications
Obviously, these alloys are manufactured because they are used in various applications. In fact, copper nickel alloy pipes are the most preferred for carrying out various projects.
However, the truth is that they cannot be used in every application that requires piping. And even if they would, it would be unnecessary to use them in specific projects.
Actually, you do not have to worry about where to use and where not to use this types of pipes. I’m here to let you know.
Nonetheless, I have mentioned some of these applications in the earlier sections of this guide, albeit briefly.
In this section, however, we want to look at all the practical applications of copper-nickel alloys, more in piping systems. Of course, the main focus will be on both marine and non-marine applications.
So that it gives you an idea of ideal project worth using them on.
7.1. Marine Hardware
Ideally, copper-nickel alloys are broadly used in numerous marine applications. It is as a result of their outstanding resistance to various elements surrounding the marine environment.
For instance, corrosion and erosion. Also, this alloy provides suitable fabricability and efficiency when it comes to reducing levels of macrofouling.
Figure 28: Oil Rig Offshore
For the longest time possible, copper-nickel alloy pipes have been excellent in providing dependable service.
And it thus follows that they are among the best alloys that provide the ideal solutions to all related technical problems that people face nowadays.
Let me repeat this once more as I talk about marine applications of copper-nickel alloy pipes;
Addition of nickel component and other elements like iron and manganese enhances the strength, corrosion and erosion resistance of this pipes.
Figure 29: Copper Nickel Alloy Pipes for Marine Environment
Also, these additives help these pipes to remain ductile, enhance their castability and weldability.
Now with this emphasis, let us look at some of the practical marine applications of copper-nickel alloy pipes;
Shipbuilding and Repair
For a long time now, copper nickel alloys have been common in building and repairing a wide range of ship parts.
You see, a ship consists of so many parts. And undoubtedly, the piping system has to be part and parcel of this vessel.
So these copper nickel alloys are preferable because definitely the have unmatched properties suitable for seawaters.
Bilge and ballast system in the ship also use this component in a significant way. You’ll realize that the pipes leading to bilge and ballast system aren’t necessarily exposed to water.
However, they tend to spend the better part of their time holding the seawater.
Figure 30: Shipment
Copper-nickel alloy pipes are also ideal when it comes to supplying water to sanitary systems within the ship.
The other area of marine application for copper-nickel alloy pipe is in supplying inert gas within the ship.
Furthermore, they are also used in firefighting systems on sea vessels, and they’re well distributed all over the ship.
In some cases, depending on the ship, the firefighting pipes are used for other tasks such as deck washing, albeit infrequently.
These are the dominant marine applications of copper-nickel alloy pipes.
Now let’s look at the next application.
7.2. Seawater piping systems
In shipbuilding, seawater is essential since they use it for firefighting system, cooling, and water injection in the oil field.
But of significant concerns regarding the seawater piping system is the means of containing corrosion and at the same time minimizing maintenance needs.
Undoubtedly, several factors determine the efficiency of seawater system design. And one of the ideal ways of dealing with issues of corrosion in this system is by using copper nickel pipes.
Seawater cooling systems form major part where these pipes are practically used in the marine setting. The piping system supplies heat exchangers in the respective parts of the ship.
Figure 31: Piping system
Additionally, they are used as channels for various systems within the ship hence making this material an ideal one for such tasks.
In general, the copper-nickel alloy pipes are preferable by many engineers in this case due to the fact that they have a number of suitable features.
For instance, it’s mechanical and physical properties, ease of maintenance and fabrication as well as durability.
So to a considerable extent, copper nickel alloys in seawater system design are critical when you consider some of the essential perspectives.
Primarily, this metal contains ideal alloy composition which makes it suitable for this particular marine application.
7.3 Cooling loops
The cooling loop is susceptible to corrosion as a result of heat transfer fluid abrasive action, chemical and electrochemical components.
It can be dangerous in the sense that corrosive parts might lead to clogging of the filters, impairing the components of the pump and ultimately affecting fluid flow.
Figure 32: Part of the piping system
In some conditions, leaks may also occur. And that is the fundamental reason why using copper-nickel alloy pipes becomes essential.
This alloy primarily has excellent resistance to corrosion and biological growth. What this implies is that using them on cooling loops enhances the efficiency and durability of the system.
This is also another marine environment where the use of copper-nickel alloy is fundamentally practical.
Desalination, in this case, is fundamentally about the removal of salt and related minerals from saline water bodies with the intention of producing fresh water fit for human consumption.
The fresh water can alternatively be fit for other purposes such as irrigation.
Figure 33: Desalination in offshore work
The components of a desalination system are quite comprehensive. And for the tasks, it is necessary to have its components designed using high-quality, durable materials.
It is in this aspect that copper-nickel alloy pipes become handy in this system. Given that the environment for this process is generally saline, corrosion and erosion of parts tend to be so high.
So you’ll find that copper-nickel alloy pipes are preferable in such environments due to their outstanding resistance to corrosion and erosion.
Furthermore, they also perform better in conditions that present high temperatures and chloride.
So that you will not necessarily need to constantly repairing and replacing the parts of this system.
7.5. Brake Tubing
This is one of the non-marine practical applications of copper-nickel alloy tube. Typically, the brake tuning is designed to hold pressurized fluid or air.
The location of this component is also beneath the vehicle chassis which tends to be susceptible to corrosion.
But you understand that brake system is one of the vital ones in a vehicle. It enhances your safety and of other road users.
Figure 34: Copper Nickel Brake Tubing
The ideal way of avoiding brake failures in this cases is undoubtedly by using copper-nickel tubes for the brake tubing.
This material will serve you appropriately given that it does not corrode or erode easily in as much as it will be exposed to elements that might trigger the same to happen.
For the sake of quality, durability, reliability and above all safety, copper-nickel tube is the best option for the brake tubing.
7.6. Heat exchangers
Most of the materials used in the heat exchangers piping system are from copper-nickel alloy tubes and pipes.
Generally, freshwater, seawater, and brackish water are the media that flows through these pipes often.
And that’s the reason it is apparent that the material is exposed to unfavorable conditions that might lead to corrosion of these parts quite easily.
Figure 35: Part of heat exchanger system
This is more specific when the water contains solid particles, impurities, and other dangerous elements.
So primarily, copper-nickel alloy offers the best resistance to corrosion making it an ultimate choice for heat exchangers parts.
7.7. Other piping systems
Other than the abovementioned applications, copper-nickel can as well be used in residential and commercial piping system.
In fact, it is mostly used in underground piping especially for large volume water transfer. Since it cannot erode or corrode, it becomes the preferred choice for this application.
The fact that this material also contains antimicrobial properties indicates that it would be difficult for the bacteria, virus, and fungi to survive on the surface of this material.
Copper-nickel pipes are also broadly used in oil coolers, steam turbine condensers, pressure heaters and auxiliary cooling systems especially in fossil power plants.
Figure 36: Other CuNi piping system
They also come in handy in conveying fresh water, brackish water and seawaters in these power plants.
As you can see, there are quite a number of applications where copper nickel alloy is often used.
If you’re keen enough, you’ll also realize that most of these applications are within unfavorable environments.
Therefore, it suggests that you need the type of piping material which can endure the adverse conditions for as long as possible.
And that’s mainly why copper-nickel pipe systems become ultimate choice for these types of both marine and non-marine applications.
As you can see, copper nickel alloy is an important metal for many applications, more so in the sea industry.
More importantly, the copper nickel alloys are widely used in the piping systems. As you can see, copper nickel alloy pipes have superior chemical and physical properties.
You can count on them in most offshore applications.
Now, it’s your turn:
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Or, do you find it difficult to choose the right copper nickel pipe?
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