Accelerated testing of soft soldered, small-diameter, thin-walled CuNi pipes subjected to cyclic internal pressure loading

Sophie A.M. McNair, Kamil Cichy, Jerome Daguin, Antti Onnela, Alexander J.G. Lunt

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Small-diameter, thin-walled pipes have applications in a wide range of industries including high-energy physics, heat transfer, nuclear, medical and communications. However, there are currently no standards that exist for permanently joining these components either via welding (melting the base material) or soldering. As such it is difficult to determine the likely performance of a thin-walled pipe connection. Porosity is largely inevitable in soldered joints and is a determining factor in the performance of a connection.

This study focused on characterisation of failure initiation and propagation within soft soldered CuNi thin-walled pipe joints under cyclic internal pressure loading. A step-stress accelerated life testing regime (SSALT) was developed to simulate the loads the joints would experience over their operational lifetime, in a shorter timescale.

10 soldered joints were studied in total, with varying levels of porosity within the soldered joints prior to testing. Pressurised Nitrogen gas was used to internally pressurise the samples, with cyclic loading between atmospheric conditions and a prescribed maximum pressure value.

The results of the SSALT showed that the soldered samples experienced early failure through crack initiation and propagation through the solder. Cracks, or failures, were seen to initiate from existing voids, or porosity, within the soft-soldered joints.

From this work, it can be concluded that the performance of soft-soldered joints under cyclic, internal pressure loading is strongly influenced by the presence of voids that are created during the manufacture of such soldered connections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-521
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Materials Research and Technology
Early online date8 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2024


  • thin-walled pipes
  • metallic materials
  • material characterization
  • thin-film solder
  • lifetime testing


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