Strengthening copper pipe by filling with solid

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I am looking to use a length of 1/2" or 3/4" copper pipe as a rail for holding a curtain.
I would like to strengthen the rod by filling it with a liquid that solidifies. What would you recommend using?
Note I have considered using cement (regular or hydraulic) but am concerned that it will be hard to fill the pipe and that in any case the water won't have anywhere to go. Also, I have considered epoxy but again, I fear that it won't fill the pipe, plus it is very expensive.
Are there any other alternatives such as some type of liquid fiberglass?
Thanks
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How heavy is the curtain and how are you supporting the pipe? If you need more strength go with 1", 1.5" or even 2" pipes and forget about filling it. There are a few types of copper pipes: Type-L, Type-M and Type-K and Type-DWV which I don't know anything about but one is more rigid than the others.
Don't use cement, use concrete and rebar - much, much stronger. Copper will react with the concrete and develop pin holes but may take 20 or so years. Shouldn't be hard to fill at all, just use a vibrator and a shop vac at one end and let gravity work for you.
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Fred wrote:

And don't worry about the water having no place 'to go'. The water bonds chemically with the cement, it doesn't 'go' anywhere.
Harry K
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Good point and the Romans, before the Dark Ages, had the first concrete formulation that cures under water.
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Fred wrote:

I'd expect the aggregate in concerete would do a good job of jamming between the ID of the tube and the rebar.
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia

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Don't use premixed concrete, that wouldn't work. Use one part cement to 5 part clean sand (which now is concrete) that shouldn't have problem getting into the pipe along with some reinforcement like a #3 rebar.
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blueman wrote:

If you are using the copper for appearance, how about just sliding a piece of black iron or galvanized pipe inside it? Or a piece of rebar?
If you're concerned about rattle, a few dabs of Bondo slapped on it as you slip 'er in will prevent that.
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia

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Interesting idea... however, I need to have the pipe 16 feet long and rebar seems to come in much shorter bars.
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blueman wrote:

Rebar comes in 20-ft sections but isn't very stiff and 16-ft section small enough to go through a 1/2" pipe won't add much stiffness although it will prevent a buckle. 3/4" rod is awfully heavy. I think the black iron would be better.
However, if you're expecting an unsupported 16-ft section of such a small diameter to be stiff enough, I think you're going to be disappointed.
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Our BORG has it in 20' lengths...
-Tim
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The standard rebar is 20'. They cut it up at the home store.
I think mortar is the best choice. Buy a cheap plastic funnel and cut it down to a good fit on the pipe. Wear plastic gloves and shove it down the funnel until it comes out the other end. Tape them off and let it sit flat for a week or two. The water will come out eventually but the longer it takes the better. Makes the concrete harder if it slow cures. You could still try to work a #3 rebar in there with the mortar.
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I don't know of anything in that diameter that won't flex quite a bit in 16'. I'd look for alternative materials, something more of a box shape that will have stiffness. Will there be supports along the way?
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hardwood dowel. If you fill it with a liquid that hardens,you may make it easier to bend.

Two dissimilar metals and moisture makes galvanic corrosion.
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Jim Yanik wrote:

Yes, but what's that got to do with a CURTAIN ROD? I don't recall him saying it was for outdoor or underwater use. :-)
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Some areas have higher humidity that others.
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I needed a 12ft curtain rod, with heavy curtains. I used a 3/4" conduit, with a 1/2" inside it. At the 10ft point, I used JBWeld to connect the 1/2" to the 3/4", with that 1/2" one coming from the other direction. Used a couple of nails with the heads cut off to space the pipes relative to each other, and a hose clamp to hold the two sections of 3/4" in position relative to each other while the JB cured. Finished with almost no gap, used some JB to fill the space. Then I sanded it with medium grit paper, wiped it down with some vinegar water, rinsed it, dried it, and then painted it with some Rustoleum paint from WalMart. It looks good, and holds the curtains well. Supports at 1', 6', and 11'.
Jim Yanik wrote:

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So, the curtain rod could then also power some nice mood lighting!
rusty redcloud
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blueman wrote:

How heavy are the curtains?

What is the maximum span between supports and number of supports?

You're not adding a material for it's strength - you're really just looking to keep the tube from buckling - so I don't know that a "stronger" material would add strength. For a given diameter the heavier the pipe/rod/tube the more it will deflect under its own weight, so lighter is better.
I'm not sure if it it would work, but it might be possible to use a length of plastic tubing attached to an expanding foam can. If the tubing doesn't prove to be have too much friction (it might), and the spray can pressure can push the foam through the tube for half the length of the pipe (inserted from both ends), then it could work. Insert the tube fully, spray a dollop, withdraw the tubing and see how far the foam comes out. Or, if you're feeling lucky, use minimally expanding foam and spray while continuously pulling it out.
Another option would be to use another material and paint/patinate it to look like copper and not have to worry about the strength.
The bigger the diameter the stiffer the tube, and the relative stiffness goes up quickly, so you'll have to decide how much sag is acceptable and how big of a rod is the esthetic maximum size.
R
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Wood dowel? Another, smaller, pipe? I doubt you will find a reasonably priced liquid.
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