Copper and Aluminum Pipes
This spreadsheet has been populated with various uses of copper and aluminum across different industries. The two main copper pipe types used across industries are type K and L. Aluminum has several alloys that would be used for various purposes. Each alloy is manufactured in accordance to its purpose.
- Type K pipes are the thickest and most commonly used for water distribution and oil. It is also used for fire protection, HVAC, oil, and other applications primarily in the construction industry and comes in two main forms: rigid or flexible.
- It is primarily recommended for use in underground installations and main water lines. Transporting natural gas through these pipes is discouraged because natural gas could damage the joints.
- Type L pipes are most commonly used in interior plumbing and fire protection.
- It is also used in HVAC and is also available in two forms: rigid and flexible. It is most commonly used in copper piping. The flexible form is ideal in repairing water pipes but rigid tubing has higher durability.
- This list provided by one of the manufacturing companies demonstrates the diversity of aluminum alloys. Each alloy has a different composition and is the optimal option based on its functions.
- 2024, 3003, 5052, 6061, and 7075 are the most common alloys are ideal for tubing and piping. The main elements that create these alloys include copper, zinc, manganese, silicon, and magnesium.
- Aircraft structures use 2024, 6061, and 7075 because these alloys have good fatigue resistance and a high strength-to-weight ratio.
- 3003 is ideal for applications that may not emphasis on ductility but require immense strength and a high resistance to corrosion. Highly welded 5052 is ideal for applications that may require several joints.
- The properties of an alloy does not only depend on the composition but also on its heat-treatment history. Tempers are classified as T, T3, T4, and T6. These treatments work on toughening the metal at a molecular level.
- Manufacturers require information from their clients: the alloy and the temper treatment they require for the pipe depending on its application. Once that is decided, one needs to be specific on the size and any other fabrication operations. Suppliers can typically cut, flare, bend, and fabricate the tube based on the requirements.
This research determined the different types of copper and aluminum pipes. The different copper types are categorized by strength and aluminum is categorized by alloys. These insights have been provided for each metal separately.