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copper made heating Tank

unconventional Member Posts: 1
I am a new heat engineering student. My questions are:

1) In a fire-tube boiler, why copper is not used for furnace body and smoke pipes inside the boiler? Copper is x15 time more thermal conductive.

2) Doesn't Iron pipe/ heating tank/ furnace need more fuel to heat up (for low thermal conductivity) and keep at high temperature?


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,020
    Copper used to be, years ago -- but it isn't strong enough for power boilers, it work hardens and fatigue cracks, and it is at least as prone to corrosion as black iron or some (not all) steels.

    And on the second one, yes, on initial firing the mass of metal is somewhat significant, and does take a little more fuel to heat. However, the differences in thermal conductivity are not large enough -- though they are certainly significant -- to overcome the strength problems (which would require much thicker copper).
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England