Is copper or stainless steel the better option?

We are an establishment responsible for supplying an array of specialist tubing services. This includes tube swaging and various others. Thanks to our years of experience and a huge amount of equipment and tooling, we can get you the results you are after.

With industrial tubing, it is vital to consider the disadvantages and benefits. Also, you must know about the critical differences of available materials. Only then can you decide on what is most appropriate for your application.

The fact is that various tubing materials get used in industrial projects. However, the three most common are steel, stainless steel, and copper. What we want to do here is go over the distinctions between the latter too. Our information will help you in deciding on which one is better for your next job.

Corrosion resistance

Tube swagingOne of stainless steel’s prime advantages is its ability to resist corrosion. It has high resistance thanks to the passive chromium oxide layer that forms on the exterior of the steel. It will renew itself rapidly in the event of superficial harm. The result will be superior resistance in many different applications.

When encountering particular environmental factors, copper is able to corrode. This is certainly the case with elevated levels of gases like hydrogen sulphide, sulphur dioxide, and carbon dioxide. Another factor would be ‘hard’ water with high levels or chloride and/or chlorine, and a pH level exceeding 6.5-7.0. Exposure to acidic settings can lead to corrosion within the tubing.

Both copper and stainless steel are going to corrode under the right circumstances. But, the steel typically possesses better resistance to a broader range of fluids and gases.

Durability and strength

On average, stainless steel is 2.5 times stronger than copper. Also, it performs far better on the stress and strain tests. If you look at tubing, it comes with a tensile strength ranging from 570 to 620 Mpa. This is around three times greater than copper. Not to mention, it can put up with high temperatures and pressures without much fuss.

Copper is more of a malleable metal. As a result, it is easier to bend and cut. But, it is not the best for high temperature or high pressure jobs. If you need tube swaging services, contact us.


The instability of copper pricing, instead of its cost, can cause a lot of problems on a project. Stainless steel is a somewhat stable commodity. Its pricing does not shift as frequently as copper’s does. This can aid project heads in keeping things on track in regards to budgeting. It is becoming more common to find the pricing of the steel is comparable and sometimes cheaper.


The two differ in relation to installation as well. As we said, copper is a more malleable, softer metal. This means it is easy to bend. What it does is eliminate the need for certain fittings in smaller sizes. However, that demands extra skills and more time. Furthermore, you might require additional support.

The rigidity and strength of stainless steel makes it great for long-run installations. It often needs less support than copper. Additionally, it might be lighter when you look at tubing. The wall thickness is usually less whilst obtaining the same pressure rating. This makes installing it simpler.

Environmental impact

Stainless steel is a sustainable substance. You can reuse and recycle it. Moreover, it comes with a low carbon footprint due to its ability to be produced without hazardous chemicals. Copper is also a sustainable material possessing a low carbon footprint. But, it can result in environmental pollution if you don’t dispose of it properly.

Tube swaging for many materials

At Multiform Tubes Engineering Ltd, we are well known for providing some of the UK’s leading tube services. The materials we work with include stainless, mild, and food grade steel. Others are copper, brass, titanium, and aluminium. You can come to us with tubing for various applications and we will adapt it for you.

So, if you are interested in finding out more about tube swaging or our other skills, feel free to call or email us anytime. We can even offer project advice.