Got a question?

Contact us direct on:

+44 (0) 118 989 6000

or use our online Enquiry form it is simple to use and we will reply within 24hrs (business days only).

Enquire »

Quality Assured

We hold independent and customer approvals covering our products and our quality systems.

Find out more »

Copper Engineering Tube

Copper tube not covered in more specific sections in our website is generally referred to as "Copper Engineering Tubing" and has an extremely wide range of applications.

Copper has a single, "alpha" phase structure even up to relatively large percentage additions of second elements. However copper in the engineering sense is generally regarded as those alloys having less than 0.5% of any additional elements.

Copper 99.90 C101 Cu-ETP UNS C11000 Electrolytic Tough Pitch, HC
99.95 (C103) Cu-OF UNS C10200 OFHC
99.85 C106 Cu-DHP UNS C12200 Phosphorus Deoxidised
99.99 (C110) SE-Cu/Cu-OFE - Special Electronic

In short, copper engineering tubing is used in engineering applications where a combination of properties are required:

  1. Thermal conductivity – better than gold or aluminium, copper excels in transferring heat.
  2. Electrical conductivity – and electric currents.
  3. Malleability – copper, especially phosphorous deoxidised copper (Cu-DHP) retains a combination of ductility and strength that has allowed it to be used for metal fabrication since before the bronze age. Because it work hardens, it can retain its formed shape after easy manipulation.
  4. Strength – in the hard condition copper has a tensile strength of about 385 MPa.
Some characteristics of copper:
Thermal and electrical properties

Like aluminium, copper has been used in the electrical industry for many years because it offers good electrical conductivity (about 150% that of aluminium). The purer the grade, the higher the conductivity: Cu-ETP and Cu-OFE are high purity grades, widely used for electronic and electrical applications.

Copper also has good thermal conductivity at about six times that of steel. As long as other requirements are satisfied (corrosion resistance, strength and electrical characteristics) copper may be a perfect choice of material.

Corrosion resistance & coatings

Copper is termed a "noble" metal as it resists corrosion in a wide variety of media.

Plating can be used to enhance the appearance, electrical performance or corrosion resistance of copper but can also cause problems if a galvanic cell is set up between plating and the copper substrate; specialist advice should always be taken.

Strong but malleable

Copper grades attain about 385 MPa when fully hard and over 200 MPa in the soft condition. Unlike steel, copper and its alloys become stronger at low temperatures and do not suffer the ductile/brittle transition of steel.

Copper tube is widely used to fabricate complex components where the combined properties of strength and ductility are required. Typical applications include gas and oil boilers, refrigeration and air conditioning plant. Copper is also pre-eminent in the field of household water systems.