What Causes Copper Pipe Fittings To Fail?

Posted on: 9 June 2018

Copper has been used in many different systems for a really long time, from plumbing to fuel delivery and beyond. The reason copper makes such a good material for different processes is it is lightweight, resilient to corrosion, and even stands up to excessive heat or cold temperatures. Because of this, copper pipe fittings are commonly used to bridge connections between pipes, but even copper pipe fittings can fail.

If you use copper pipe fittings in your industrial facility, no matter what the pipe fitting is used on, it is best to know how to spot signs that there is a problem and what causes these problems to occur. Check out this short list of things that can cause a copper pipe fitting to fail. 

Copper pipe fittings can fail because of pitting corrosion.  

Even though copper is resilient to corrosion from regular water, it can start to corrode if there are chemical compounds in the material that is moving through the pipe. So, for example, if you use the pipe fittings on an industrial machine that is fed by water laced with hydrochloric acid or some other corrosive material, corrosion can be an issue. Pitting corrosion is what takes place when acidic deposits etch small pits into the copper. Eventually, these small pits will lead to pinhole leaks. 

Copper pipe fittings can fail because the protective coating has worn off. 

Copper pipe fittings are manufactured with a protective coating that is meant to make them more durable and long-lasting. One of the problems that can occur if you are using a smaller pipe fitting or smaller pipes is this protective coating can wear away and leave the pipe and its fittings vulnerable to erosion. This tends to happen if the flow of the material through the lines is really high pressure or super fast. 

Copper pipe fittings can fail because of excessive heat. 

Excessive heat can cause issues with copper pipe fittings because these fittings are most often held together with solder. If you are using the copper lines to move high-temperature steam, there is always a chance that the connecting fittings will fail and start to leak because of the excessive heat passing through the line. Most of the time, this problem can be avoided by using a high-temperature solder during pipe fitting installation, so the issue can be mended in a way that you will not have problems going forward. 


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