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Old 20th March 2017, 03:52 PM   #1
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Default copper oxidation with air insulation

Hi, i wonder how copper will oxidate with only air as insulation, for example with only cotton or a teflon tube?
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Old 20th March 2017, 04:23 PM   #2
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Location: The Jurassic Coast, England. GB
Back in the days of wooden conduit for single wire house wiring, (pre 1950 in the UK), the wire was insulated with cloth but was always tinned.
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Old 20th March 2017, 04:50 PM   #3
rayma is offline rayma  United States
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Originally Posted by jonsson View Post
Hi, i wonder how copper will oxidate with only air as insulation, for example
with only cotton or a teflon tube?
Definitely, copper wire must be tinned during manufacture to prevent oxidation
from the oxygen in the air.

Last edited by rayma; 20th March 2017 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 21st March 2017, 01:07 AM   #4
PRR is offline PRR  United States
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House wire (US) is never tinned(*). It oxidizes when hot-drawn so they run it through a "reducing furnace" where excess carbon eats-off the oxide and makes it pretty. In the house, over the years, it oxidizes, sure. In dry work it does not grow green-scuzz. The usual house-wire connectors use large pressure to break-through the oxide and this is rarely a problem(**). For soldering, old wire must be scrubbed or scraped to break the oxide so flux and solder will bond.

(*) Except under old rubber insulation, where the sulfides would quickly darken and eventually eat the copper.

(**) Unlike aluminum wire, where the tough insulating oxide resists ordinary pressure connectors and leads to trouble; little trouble in large gauges on proper connectors professionally cleaned and treated against oxidation.
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Old 21st March 2017, 11:09 AM   #5
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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Old copper in dry conditions just goes a dull brown colour on the surface. No harm done by this. So yes copper will oxidise, but no it doesn't matter.
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