- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 17 Feb 2021
Copper in construction
Copper is a soft, malleable, ductile metal with high thermal and electrical conductivity and good resistance to corrosion due to the protective patina that forms on its surfaces. It has low thermal expansion, making it stable and resistant to deterioration from movement. It is relatively light compared to lead, and requires little maintenance. It is non-magnetic and has good biofouling resistance
Copper has the chemical symbol Cu (from Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. It has been used as far back as 8,000 BC because it is a native metal, occurring naturally in a useable form. It is also found in the minerals cuprite, malachite, azurite, chalcopyrite and bornite, and is a by-product of silver production.
It is commonly used in the construction industry to form pipes and tubing for potable water distribution and heating and cooling systems, as it is malleable and joints can be easily formed by soldering. The ease with which it can be made to form complex shapes means it is also used as a cladding and flashing material, for gutters, downpipes and coping. Electrical and communications cables are often formed with copper wire.
It can be hot and cold worked, and joints can be formed by soldering or welding, using mechanical fasteners, by brazing, or with adhesives. It can specified according to the temper levels; soft, half-hard, hard, spring and extra-spring.
Copper is a pinkish-orange colour when first exposed, but can oxidise to a blue green colour. This oxidisation is sometimes allowed intentionally to create a characteristic green cladding. It can also be given a range of brown colours.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Cast iron.
- Difference between cast iron and wrought iron.
- Failure of cast iron beams.
- Mesh mould metal.
- Metal composite panels.
- Metal fabrication.
- Metal profile cladding
- Metal roofing.
- The Iron Bridge.
- Traditional materials.
- Types of steel.
- Wrought iron.
Featured articles and news
LETI publishes guidance for energy efficient home retrofits.
Predictions about adequate post-pandemic IAQ in non-domestic buildings.
Government publishes plans to 'build back greener'.
The contentious nature of claims associated with cladding, fire safety and EWS1 forms.
ECA comments on low-carbon heating systems initiative and Heat and Buildings Strategy.
Cinders and other forms of domestic rubbish created filth but also generated great wealth.
CIC 2050 Group requests input to find out priorities for future industry leaders.
IHBC publishes response to consultation.
Institute applauds funding initiatives but presses for additional retrofit and tax measures.