We all know that the price of copper is skyrocketing. As the material of choice in the air conditioning industry what are the options for the future? Aluminium is cheaper for a aluminium seamless pipe multitude of reasons, but just how good a material is it for air conditioning?
Over the last few years we have seen astonishing increases in the price of copper. Just in the last two years, for example, copper prices have risen by more than 25%. In a recent landmark, early this year, the prices of one tonne of copper exceed $10,000 for the first time in history. Just one side effect of these rising prices is the theft of copper, something that has also been on the increase.
With all of this happening, it really isn’t a surprise to see that refrigerant aluminium tubing is becoming an increasingly popular material in air conditioning. Copper certainly has the perfect properties for use in air conditioning, but as costs force manufacturers to look for cost effective alternatives, aluminium (which is one of the most abundant materials on the planet) looks like a great option.
Aluminium piping creates savings in multiple different ways. As well as being a cheaper material, the dies used in the manufacture of refrigerant aluminium tubing are cheaper to make themselves. The dies used during manufacture can be used time and time again, which along with the lack of waste in the manufacturing process makes aluminium piping much cheaper than copper piping. As well as saving money, the lack of waste in the manufacturing process makes aluminium piping more environmentally friendly.
The benefits of aluminium piping are not all cost related though. Although it is cheaper, in many ways aluminium is a superior material to use in the air conditioning industry. Aluminium is much lighter than both copper and steel, so it is easier to use during the building process. It also has a much higher strength to weight ratio; so it is strong enough to be effective in its role, but at the same time it is more easily molded than copper. This means aluminium piping can be used in many more situations than copper piping.
We have seen the use of aluminium grow commercially in many different industries but in the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration it is certainly the major material of the future. We will certainly see aluminium used widely in the manufacture of components for heat exchangers, air-con units and extruded tubing.