I live in SoCal, so I'm not speaking from experience, but copper will
stretch much more than the different plastics and iron (almost all
"steel" plumbing pipe is really iron, not steel). When it does rupture,
it will be less catastrophic and a less drastic leak than plastic or
iron. Help yourself by insulating it well.-Jitney
Besides the other points made, also depends heavily on wall thickness
-- all are made in varying "schedules" -- copper "L" and/or "M", for
example, Sch 30/40 as examples for pvc and/or galvanized/black iron...
What's the application and/or reason for the question?
:> which pipe can best survive a freeze.:> plastic, copper or steel?
:Besides the other points made, also depends heavily on wall thickness
:-- all are made in varying "schedules" -- copper "L" and/or "M", for
:example, Sch 30/40 as examples for pvc and/or galvanized/black iron...
:What's the application and/or reason for the question?
So, what will withstand freezing better? L copper or M copper?
That is what one would expect based on the
strength of the pipe. However, I suggest a test
by filling 12" lengths with water capping both
ends (no airspace) and then setting them outside
at night for 8 hours in 15 degree weather. If
that is too cold for you then set them outside
when the temperature is 25 degrees. I would
expect that if one pipe breaks then all pipes will
break. You could throw in an iron pipe and see
how that fares.
OTOH, there are lots of variable that could be
expected, so one has to be very precise about the
freezing temperature and length of period to
predict anything meaningful.
If you'll read the post, all that was compared was the expected
_relative_ likelihood which is the question asked and there's no doubt
at all that thicker-walled tubing/pipe of any type will be more
resistant than thinner walled which, again, was the only point being
Unfortunately "survive a freeze" is rather
ambiguous. Does the OP mean air temp drop below
32 or does he mean that the all of water in the
pipes actually freezes. If the latter, then one
would expect little difference relative to wall
thickness. In the real world where pipe
temperatures are such that all of the water
doesn't freeze, the shape of the pipe, the
orientation, joints, the wall thickness, etc. make
a difference. Possibly number of joints, types of
joints, and smoothness of the joints is more
important than the wall thickness.
"In the real world" it's highly unlikely the OP would be asking about
other than a condition where sufficient water freezes that a portion of
the pipe is solid so that, for all practical purposes, the entire pipe
may as well frozen.
Again, whether it actually causes a pipe burst in a real plumbing
orientation in a house, for example, has a tremendous amount to do with
length between joints, hot or cold supply line, etc., etc., etc.,
granted. That's why I asked OP quite some time earlier for the
motivation behind the question in the first place.
Again, all I pointed out was that for comparative purposes, a K or M
copper pipe is much more robust to freezing than an L pipe of the same
diameter, length, orientation and so on. That is still true and is
also just as true for Sch 40 vis a vis Sch 30 pvc or galvanized. No
more has been claimed, but no less, either...
As a practical "real world" thing, I don't recall ever having had a
break of an "M" piece of piping, but several in "L". That's not to say
"M" won't burst when frozen and I have never said such a thing and I'm
sure there are many instances where it has. But, I can certainly state
that one disadvantage in using "L" for the initial cost savings is that
it will certainly be far more susceptible to a break from freezing than
will "M" -- again, in the same configuration/environment. That it
would be guaranteed to hold, no; I'm not nor have I claimed that--only
that odds are are significantly improved.
The volume expansion owing to the phase change to ice from water occurs
at the freezing point so the atmospheric temperature doesn't make any
difference on that score. Once solid ice is formed, the thermal
coefficient of expansion is positive so as it is cooled further it
actually would contract slightly. (In fact, it's about three times
that of copper ~51E-6 vs 17E-6 in/in/C) so would actually reduce the
pressure on the pipe wall as the temperature were lowered as it would
contract more rapidly than the copper pipe itself).
You seem to just want to argue. No one cares
about this stuff. We are talking about the real
world experience where the weather gets colder
(atmospheric temperature drops), and I would
assume the pipes are in a house.
The point of specifying a time and a temperature
was to make sure that the water actually freezes.
So if you like, just put the pipes in a freezer
and you won't have to worry about the effect of
No, you are the one that seems to want to argue -- all I said was that
thicker walled pipe is more substantial than thinner and you started
the argument of trying (it seemed to me) of reading far more into that
than what I said -- If not, fine, let's let it drop. I do have a
penchant for not wanting what I post distorted nor taken from context,
But, as I noted elsewhere, we can assume all we want about OP's actual
purpose in asking the question but we don't know -- I asked earlier and
didn't get it answered so still don't know.
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