copper and gasoline

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I'm sure I read somewhere that one should not use copper for fuel lines for gasoline that something happens between the copper and the gas. Am I dreaming all this up or what? Mike in BC

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snipped-for-privacy@telus.net wrote:

Copper tends to work-harden and become brittle where there's high vibration.

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says...

Ie, near engines. My take on this is there are plenty of other materials to use instead of copper, for fuel or oil lines. Sure they look purty all shined up, but that won't get you home when the motor pumps all its oil out on the ground, or a fuel leak hits a hot manifold and lights off.

Jim

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Been done for probably 100 years I imagine. I do not know of any chemical reaction. It is sometimes not recommended because of vibration causing cracks or breakage. Don Young

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Keep the lines short and supported and there will not be an issue. Barring the ability to keep it short, I use copper for my oil pressure lines in my car, but I put a little coil to spread any movement out over a longer span, and supported in a way that it wouldn't vibrate unnecessarily. The nylon that came with the gauge set got brittle and broke, making a royal mess inside my car on the way to work one day. Copper fuel lines were used for years in old machinery, cars, and so forth. You'll find little really old equipment lacking a copper fuel line somewhere.

| I'm sure I read somewhere that one should not use copper for fuel | lines for gasoline that something happens between the copper and the | gas. | Am I dreaming all this up or what? | Mike in BC

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carl mciver wrote:

No chemical reaction whatsoever. Careful design must be used to prevent fracture due to vibration 'work hardening'. I had a copper oil pressure gauge line (OEM with this top of the line gauge) that decided its service life had been exceeded one fine night. This in itself would not have been a really big deal except this particular line was in my boat and it decided to let go (right at the instrument panel) on a particularily nasty night while trying to dock said thirty foot boat in a 60 Knot SE gale. The phrase "I didn't know whether to shit or go blind" really applied there! It is truly amazing how slippery and vision impaired things can get with a lousy 1/8" stream of hot oil at 80 PSI ripping round the helm - fast too. And, by the way, shutting down the engine was NOT an option! Being a firm believer of the various 'Laws o Murphy' I had that sucker crimped off in a few seconds with my ever-present Vice Grips. Hell of a mess anyway. Bottom line - copper and vibration *can* lead to disaster. I highly recommend 'fuel rated' tubing!

Regards. Ken.

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A similar thing happened on one of the BC Ferries boats a year or two ago. These use big diesel engines for propulsion. There was a copper line leading to a fuel pressure gauge that cracked due to work hardening. It started spraying diesel fuel around, and some of it landed on the exhaust manifold. Instant fire.

The crew managed to put out the fire with the CO2 extinguishing system, and the boat was towed back to port with no loss of life. But it could have been much worse.

    Dave

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On Fri, 07 Jan 2005 04:38:53 GMT, "carl mciver"

Or use the system the folks who make aeroplanes learned the hard way by about the 1930s. Interrupt the run of copper tubing with a short section of rubber tubing near the ends.

Yes copper is subject to vibration fatigue, but so is steel, and steel also rusts.

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On Fri, 07 Jan 2005 04:38:53 GMT, "carl mciver"

Ever see a fuel system with a good case of the "greenies"? Todays fuel and copper lines do NOT get along well. Fuel (gasoline) is hygroscopic - meaning it attracts and absorbs moisture. Possibly the alcohols and other oxygenators contribute too, but the copper corrodes (forms freen oxides), and the green stuff makes a mess of jets and injectors.

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Yeah, I finally found some with the same experiences I have had--Green s**t inside the line after a summers dis-use..The old Aircraft manuals said--Anneal copper lines after 50 hrs of use..( anneal,--heat dull red & plunge in water}

snipped-for-privacy@sny.der.on.ca wrote:

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Since copper has a lower melt temperature than steel it won't hold up in the event of fire. Then again, neither will a plastic gas tank LOL.

Tony

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and the gas.(clip) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ You may be remembering something you actually read about copper and *gas,* but it may have referred to *natural gas* used to heat houses, etc. Natural gas causes copper to corrode to a black, flaky substance that clogs jets, etc. I have seen this, 'cause did it before I knew.

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On Fri, 07 Jan 2005 05:18:58 GMT, "Leo Lichtman"

Yet copper is now not only approved, but is the line of choice for connecting natural gas appliances.

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wrote: (clip) that something happens between the copper

*gas,*

Natural

copper is used on propane, not natural gas, i believe the reaction has to do with the odorant used in nat gas versus propane.

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On Fri, 7 Jan 2005 23:01:10 -0600, "Travis Thompson"

Sorry, but you are wrong. From the Wolverine copper tubing site - re: B149 code. The 2000 edition of the Canadian Standards Association B149 Installation Code, permits only three Types of copper tube for above ground natural gas and propane installations: Type G/GAS, Type L, and Type K. Bare and plastic-jacketed versions of these products are available for this purpose.

For underground applications, Type K copper tube, plastic-covered Type G/GAS or plastic-coated Type L tube are required.

also, from the ccbda site:

The results of a CCBDA survey of gas contractors, have confirmed that copper tube is the most cost-effective material to choose for natural gas distribution in residences.Copper is less than half the material cost of corrugated stainless steel tube (CSST) and is quicker and easier to install than threaded steel pipe. These factors combine to give copper the lowest installed cost when compared to the other materials. For every $100 spent on a copper system, it would cost, on average, $134 for an equivalent system using threaded steel pipe and $144 for the system using CSST.

and:

With soft temper copper tube (Type G/GAS or Type L), a contractor can use a coil of small diameter copper tube, and easily bend it around ducts and other obstructions, connecting it to an existing gas line. This ease of bending and small tube size is especially important in retrofit installations. The time-consuming and messy cutting and threading of steel pipe is eliminated.

Flexible copper gas tube has several advantages over threaded steel pipe and CSST. Copper is easier and faster to install than threaded steel pipe, and unlike CSST, no special fittings or joining techniques are required. Copper tube and flare fittings supplied by different manufacturers are completely interchangeable and readily availablewhich is not the case with CSST systems.

Operating a natural gas fireplace is easy, and many come with an optional wall thermostat or remote control. The natural, flickering flames have all the look and feel of a wood fireplace, and can help supplement the heating of a home. Natural gas fireplaces are usually very energy efficient, and are generally much less expensive to operate than wood or electric fireplaces. The CCBDA publishes an installer manual, Publication No. 14E, Copper Natural Gas Systems, as well as Publication No. 35, The Real Cost StoryNatural Gas Installed Cost Comparison, and No. 37, Installing a Natural Gas Barbecue. Available free of charge, they are guides for professionals involved in the design and installation of natural gas systems. They are also available on the Associations website at www.coppercanada.ca. For further information or literature contact the Association toll-free at 1-877-640-0946

and it's not just in Canada. Florida and Alabama too: Copper Delivers Gas Winter 2000

Many builders in Florida are now specifying copper for gas distribution as a result of a concerted program to promote copper tube to deliver natural gas within new homes. To builders and contractors, the main advantage of copper tube over competitive materials is lower cost, plus the fact that the copper is available in long, flexible rolls and is easy to install, which can reduce labor costs tremendously. The program was started in 1995 in Tampa by Peoples Gas, since acquired by Teco Energy, a division of Tampa Electric Company.

When Peoples Gas launched its drive to promote gas usage, builders told the utility's executives that gas installation costs for heating and cooking weren't competitive with electricity. However, Mike Romano, the utility's vice president of marketing, decided to find out what other suppliers of natural gas were doing to stay competitive.

At Alagasco, the Alabama gas company, he was attracted to its two-pound-pressure system for distributing gas with copper tube. "With a two-pound system, you can install -inch or 3/8-inch copper tube instead of -inch or 1-inch rigid black steel tube," Romano says.

As a result of Romano's investigation, the utility launched its Peoples Gas Advantage Dealer program, which Romano describes as "a partnership with developers and contractor-installers to promote gas service for new homes." The program provides information to builders, training for installers and sales-support materials for homeowners about the benefits of a gas home, plus rebates on gas-appliance installations to defray costs.

I couls add dozens of more citations - but you get my point.

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On Fri, 07 Jan 2005 20:05:54 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@sny.der.on.ca

Sure, but that's very low pressure, _and_ low to zero vibration. Not at all like an automotive application.

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I would NEVER use copper in an automotive or aircraft application, due to both the work-hardening/fatique issues and the "greenies".My 1928 Chevy had copper lines. So did my 35 Chevy and 37 Terraplane. My old 2 stroke lawnmower built in 1957 HAD copper fuel lines. All of the above had "greenie" problems, and the lawnmower line cracked. (still have the lawnmower).

Aeroplanes use aluminum fuel lines, which also suffer from work hardening and fatigue - but the lines MUST be well supported, and isolated from vibration with rubber flex lines.

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It's not a reaction; copper washers are common on fuel line fittings (at least in cars with Bosch fuel injection systems). I wouldn't use it for lines because of copper's habit of work hardening.

Dave Hinz

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snipped-for-privacy@telus.net wrote:

There was a belief by some that copper would make gasoline form gummy deposits But I think the "problem" was just poor quality gasoline or maybe some kind of bioligy living in a water / gasoline mix.

I don't have a clue as to the facts.

Bill K7NOM

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I doubt it'd be a biology issue, copper is really good at killing things.

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