Soft Metals Used In Plumbing

Soft Metals Used In Plumbing

Soft metals are commonly used in plumbing systems. Soft metals are found in most items and systems that we use. While the type of soft metals can vary, there is a handful that is perfect for plumbing. So, why soft metals are found in plumbing, and for what reason?

What are Soft Metals? 

Soft Metals are a category of metal that is easy to dent, work, and cut without losing its malleability. That means that regardless of what you do to this material, it will not lose its ability to shape. As a result, the applications of these metals have a wide range. There are many types of soft metals. Yet, some of these metals work better in certain situations than others. So, which of these metals are best for plumbing systems?

Best Metals for Plumbing

As mentioned above, some soft metals work better in certain situations. That also applies to plumbing systems. However, what metals should be used in plumbing applications? 


Since 1963, copper has been widely used in plumbing systems and other domestic water supplies. 80% of all homes have copper tubing. While PVC piping is finding a place in the plumbing field, copper’s flexibility has still made it the top material for tubing. As a result, copper tubing could be bent around objects. In addition, this soft metal is resistant to water corrosion compared to other metals and endures longer. 


Another popular soft metal for plumbing systems is brass. While copper is the most common, brass can be found in larger plumbing systems. Similar to copper, brass has unique properties that make it an ideal choice compared to other metals. Pipes and nipples made out of brass have higher corrosion resistance, making them perfect for plumbing. However, this high corrosion resistance also makes it ideal for tubing systems that handle acid, minerals, and saltwater. Add the fact this soft metal creates air-tight seals, brass is a great material for plumbing. 

Soft Metal Tubing and Nipples at Detroit Nipple Works

Soft metals are amazing for plumbing systems. However, finding high-quality tubing and nipples is important. At Detroit Nipple Works, we carry an extensive inventory of pipes, nipples, fittings, valves, and tubing for various types of systems. For over 80 years, Detroit Nipples Works has been producing quality pipes and more. 

So, get your soft metal tubing and more for plumbing today!

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Types of Soft Metals

types of soft metal

There are various types of soft metals that are used in the industrial sphere. This variety means that not all metals are the same. In fact, soft metals can be more time-consuming than using steel. Yet, many soft metals find use in most items. So, what are these metals? 


Copper is a soft metal that is found in practical use everywhere. Since 1963, copper has been widely used in plumbing systems and domestic water supplies. As a result, almost 80% of all homes have copper plumbing. This is because soft copper metal is extremely flexible. As a result, it can be bent around objects making it ideal for tubing. Furthermore, copper has resistant to water corrosion compared to other metals. In addition, copper tubing endures longer than plastic piping.


As a soft metal, brass has found popular use for fittings and pipes. In fact, industrial brass can be found in large plumbing systems and more. Just like copper, brass has found popularity because of the benefits it has over other materials. Brass pipes and nipples have high corrosion resistance. In addition to water resistance, brass can handle other materials like acids, minerals, and saltwater. Furthermore, its soft material composition makes air-tight seals that are easy to install.  


Bronze is a soft metal that has found use in commercial, residential, and light industrial use. Brass material can be found in ball valves, a spherical disk that controls the flow throughout the pipes. Bronze ball valves are typically used with HVAC systems, hot and cold water, low-pressure steam, and natural gas. In addition, these ball valves are easy to use and reliable. 


Zinc is one of the four most widely consumed metals in the world, losing out to iron, aluminum, and copper. This soft metal has strong corrosion resistance and the ability to bond with other metals. In fact, 1/2 of all the zinc is used in the galvanizing process. Galvanizing pipes is essential to prevent rust on iron and steel pipes. During galvanization, a zinc coating is applied to protect more corrosive pipes from the rusting process. As a result, you have a significantly stronger and durable pipe, nipples, and more. 

Soft Metals at Detroit Nipple Works

As you can see, there are many types of soft metals that serve specific functions. These metals are used to increase the quality of the pipes, nipples, and other products through their anticorrosive properties and other functionalities. At Detroit Nipple Works, we use a variety of soft metals to create the best products for the industries we serve. Need one of our soft metal products? Contact us today!

Working With Soft Metals

When it comes to working with various metals, they are not all the same. Working with soft metals, such as aluminum, copper, or brass, can be a little more tedious than if you were working with steel. Why is this? What is the actual difference between metal and steel?

Metal vs. Steel

Copper pipe with Brass fittings and nipplesIs there a difference? Yes, there is a difference between metal and steel. Soft metals include those such as brass, titanium, copper, nickel, aluminum, among others. The various metals are actually elements, think of the Periodic Table. Iron, itself is considered a soft metal. You wouldn’t think so, having comic characters like Iron Fist and Iron Man. Or, the Iron Man contests you’ve heard about or seen.  Iron is also an element, but it is the base element in which you get steel. Steel combines Iron with various amounts of the carbon alloy. Technically speaking, it is not actually even a metal. The combination creates the strongest material used as a metal. Because of this, it is commonly used in construction applications, industrial applications, automobile industries, aerospace, hydraulic applications, as well as many other industries. 

Using Soft Metal to Braze or Solder

Often times when working with soft metals, they are used as the base material for soldering or torch brazing. This is because at high temperatures soft metals can liquefy, acting as a “glue” for other metals, or steel. Steel would have to reach temperatures of around 1370 degrees before it would begin to melt, whereas soft metals melt at temperatures less than 100o  degrees. hard steel used for bridge

Soft metals are often used in application such as:

  • Jewelry making
  • Electrical conduit applications
  • Plating, (i.e, gold plated, silver plated, etc.)

For more information about nipples using soft metals or the harder steel tubing, contact us today. We are happy to discuss your needs for whatever application you have at hand. Bulk ordering and nationwide shipping is also available to you. Check out our pipe chart to find the sizes available and get a free quote today!