What is Rust, White Rust, MIC In Cooling Towers?
Throughout the United States, "metal-eating" bacteria have already infected thousands of cooling towers and will threaten many more, if ignored! Detection is very difficult, and failure to stop this condition can lead to the total destruction of a cooling tower. Microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC) is a result of destructive microorganisms that produce sulfuric acid, hydrogen sulfide, or other corrosive materials that can corrode metal. This is especially true in areas of low flow such as crevices at the bottom and sides of a cooling tower sump or small tubes in heat exchangers.
In conjunction with MIC, "White Rust" is another serious problem nearing epidemic proportions. White rust consist of a thick, off white waxy solid, that is a result of rapid deterioration of the protective galvanized coating in a cooling tower, and can lead to a total loss within a few years if left unchecked.
MIC and white rust not only eat away at cooling towers and heat exchangers, they can devour substantial sums of money in the form of increased electrical costs due to poor heat transfer, and increased cost for repairs or replacement. In fact, experts attribute many millions of dollars in equipment damage each year to corrosion by microorganism attack. This is true for cooling towers and the complete water system.
Three Factors of MIC and White Rust Escalation
Both MIC and white rust are relatively new maladies that have escalated to epidemic proportions locally due to three factors:
1. Due to environmental concerns, the EPA has banned the use of highly toxic heavy metal corrosion inhibitors, that help mitigate detrimental microorganism growth.
2. Stringent regulations on the use of lead have prompted the reduction of lead content in the galvanizing process, causing the coating to degrade at higher a pH making white rust more common.
3. Water conservation and environmental regulations have prompted Public Water Authorities to raise the pH levels of local water supplies, to reduce the corrosion rate of lead solder joints in water lines, thereby reducing the lead content in domestic drinking water. The resulting increased pH feeds white rust and reduces the effectiveness of biocides that inhibit the spread of MIC.
A Billion Dollar Problem!!!
Water borne sedimentation i.e. Scale, rust, lime, mud and silica that builds up in the waterside of your equipment causes Billions of dollars in losses to industries in breakdowns, unplanned shutdowns, process contamination, high product reject rate, expensive parts replacements etc..
Protection Against MIC and White Rust
The best protection is an educated owner, property manager, engineering manager, or building engineer ; and to learn more about the dangers of these two, and other cooling tower plagues, how to prevent them.
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