Leakage From Defective Soldered Joints Following Repeated Freezing
Soft-soldered copper pipe joints used in refrigerating plants failed. The solder had not adhered uniformly to the pipe surface. In addition, there were some longitudinal grooves on the pipe surfaces, parts of which were not filled with solder. The unsoldered areas formed cavities within the joints, some of which had been in direct communication with the outsides via the grooves or interconnected cavities. On cooling, moisture condensed on the external surfaces. Some of this was drawn by capillary action into the cavities in open communication with the external surface. On continued cooling to below freezing-point, water that entered the cavities solidified. This was accompanied by a slight increase in volume, which collapsed the pipe walls. In the examples, the pipe ends had not been properly tinned. The solder used was found to be of the tin-antimony type, containing about 5% antimony, which is more difficult to use than the usual tin-lead alloys. The use of this particular type of solder was a contributory factor in the production of unsound joints in the samples examined.