Automotive Hydraulic Brake Tube: The Case for 90-10 Copper-Nickel Tubing 931028
For many years the tubing in automotive brake systems has been manufactured from low-carbon steel. One or more superficial coatings are applied after brazing to protect the steel substrate from corrosion, because steel has no inherent corrosion resistance to the road environment. Although coating composition has changed since the original hot-dip lead-tin coatings were used, coating flaws remain a problem. The addition of zinc-rich paints did little to improve the protection of the tube. Current aluminum-zinc coatings and added polyvinylfloride coatings are still inadequate to totally protect the steel tube.
In a recent series of tests, 90-10 copper-nickel tube (UNS C70600) was fabricated into typical brake system “shapes” which were then attached to a test trailer and conveyed through various corrosive and mechanically abusive test track environments. The tests included holding the tubes in a high humidity chamber for a portion of each 24-hour test cycle. After 40 cycles and at each 10 cycles thereafter, the individual tubes were required to pass a 20,684 kPa (3,000 psi) pressure test. Candidate tube materials had to complete 60 cycles to satisfy the minimum requirement.
Current production steel tubes passed the 60-cycle requirement but failed well before 120 cycles. The 90-10 copper-nickel tubes completed 200 cycles with essentially no reduction of their original burst strength.