Copper versus Copper Nickel

Construction of heat exchangers in the marine industry has been similar for nearly 50 years. Exterior of shell and tube designs is primarily made of a copper shell. The interior of the heat exchangers has been made of one of two materials:


The copper bundles have been the workhorse of the industry for many years. Most oil coolers are made of this material. As they are changed more often than a heat exchanger the cost benefit of having one that lasts longer comes into question.

Copper Nickel

Adding nickel to copper to create Copper Nickel works in the same way as adding nickel to steel to make stainless steel. It makes the composite harder and more corrosion resistant. In the case of copper nickel, it is more expensive but has a tendency to last longer. We strongly suggest this for seawater applications on heat exchangers and larger oil coolers as opposed to inland lakes (where you would find fresh water).