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Water As A Cooling Agent

Sixty five percent of water consumed daily by industry is used for cooling purposes. Despite this the water quality for industrial cooling have been neglected. A reason for this is that criteria is aimed at problems such as water pollution and treating water for quality as it relates to human consumption. Including pollution as it relates to the endangerment of animal species living in or adjacent to streams ponds rivers lakes seas and oceans. Another reason is that criteria or threshold for impurities in industrial cooling are more complex than they are for human consumption. Lastly one more reason is specific impurities and their effects vary from application to application thus water quality must be approached and developed relative to the specific application.

In general there are certain impurities that are taken into account because they are almost always undesirable. Biological growths such as algae and bacterial slime's can impede the efficiency of heat exchangers through fouling the narrow channels that cooling water flows through. Dissolved oxygen can cause corrosion of metal parts  in the proper conditions as well as carbon dioxide CO2.When concentrated at 400mg/l chlorides can accelerate the corrosion of steel and iron in water. Calcium and magnesium ions can cause scale and this lowers the heat exchanger efficiency. Additionally iron and manganese ions though not not as damaging to cooling systems can precipitate in valves and nozzles of fire suppression systems causing issues with their effectiveness.

When dealing with a nuclear reactor water is the primary coolant. Metal oxides and other contaminants can become radioactive by absorbing neutrons. To prevent stress corrosion and cracking chloride and oxygen levels are kept low. Products that cause corrosion are constantly removed so that they do not build up in the exchanger surfaces. This reduces localized overheating which can result in fuel element failure. To fend off the rate of corrosion a high pH is required this helps to diminish the the corrosive products in the coolant water. Water standards for a typical installation are 1ppm or parts per million total dissolved solids with no additives.The pH is 7 to 8 chlorides are 0.1 to 1.0 oxygen is less than 1 ppm and hydrogen is less than 3.36 ppm.

In some instances ultrapure water is is required for example klystron tubes used for generating microwave energy and in induction furnaces used in crystal growing. In order to prolong the life of klystron tubes must be continually cooled due to the fact that they emit large amounts of heat. Using impure water with mineral and bacterial deposits would likely clog the small passages in the tubes. This would impair water circulation and thus the perfomance of the klystron tubes.

Ultrapure water is also needed to cool induction furnaces. These furnaces produce very high internal temperatures, thus ultrapure water is circulated through coiling tubes welded around the furnace to minimize the damaging effects of the heat to the furnace and provide some comfort to the operator. If there were impurities in the water they would eventually clog the fine tubing causing damage and corrosion to the cooling system thus creating potential damage to the furnace as its internal temperature cannot be regulated.

Primer : Water Use In Industry

  • Water as a Raw Material
  • Water As A Cooling Agent
  • Water As A Heating Agent
  • Water As A Cleaning Agent
  • Water As A Solvent
  • Water As A Transport Mechanism

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