Copper Metal Fabrication in Shipbuilding

By April 15, 2016 Article, Technology No Comments
Copper alloys in shipbuilding

By Hein Mück (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Copper alloys are used in shipbuilding mainly because of its ability to resist corrosion by salt water or salt-laden atmosphere.

Copper and copper alloys are largely used for shipbuilding are used to the greatest extent, specifically in engine and boiler rooms.  They are also utilized in cooling systems, evaporators, low temperature steam lines, feed heaters, pumps, valves, and coolers. The electrical equipment in a ship that consist of generators, lighting, electric motors and communications systems depend largely on copper and copper alloys to function properly whether on land or water.

Copper is an exceptionally powerful electrical conductor. It is also more stable than aluminum especially when it comes to using them as electronic wires. Copper withstands higher temperatures, doesn’t corrode the way aluminum does, has longer life and a more secure resistance to damage. Although copper wire is significantly more expensive than aluminum wire, it is still increasingly more popular than aluminum in a variety of applications, including for the electrical purposes in the building of ships.

The following are other features of copper alloys for shipbuilding projects.

1.       A study proves that copper and its alloys of silicon, aluminum, tin, nickel and beryllium has significantly lower long-term corrosion rates after 18 months versus the mentioned metals after only six months of exposure to seawater.

2.       Copper tubes are expected to last a period of up to 50 years. They are proven to be stable in various environments where they are installed.

3.       Copper is resistant to hot and cold water, countless industrial fluids, solutions and gasses.

4.       Copper tube joints are resistant to high pressures, vibrations and dynamic shocks. They are joined through soft or hard soldering as well as mechanical or combined fittings.

As for its fabrication, copper and copper alloys are soft so common standard cutting methods and hand tools can easily cut the metal. However, damages due to bending, denting or scratching are not avoided. A fine toothed hacksaw is successful at cutting copper pipes. Cutting a copper sheet or plate depends on the amount of cutting required and the thickness of the material. As for large industrial cutting processes, methods such as shearing, laser cutting, waterjet cutting, guillotining, plasma cutting, electric discharge machining, and abrasive disc cutting can be utilized instead.

Kemplon Engineering offers marine engineering, custom metal fabrication, precision machining, laser cutting, certified welding, pipe fitting, and heavy rigging services to commercial and industrial customers. Our service technicians are dispatched all over the United States. Want a quote? Send us your details now.