The new material is cost effective, according to experts
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/02/2012 -- The amount of seawater available is vast, while drinking water is fast becoming a scarcity in a growing segment of the world. Desalination plants are items that can convert the undrinkable water in that which can be consumed. However, these plants require extensive pipelines made from a specific type of titanium. The material is expensive and become increasingly difficult to obtain. Heat-conducting polymer composites may be a new replacement that can replace the titanium components altogether.
The polymer composite is important as the pipes must be capable of dealing with heat and also must remain robust in resisting corrosion and the formation of deposits. The pipes must retain this capability for long periods of time. That is why up until this point, titanium was primarily used. The cost of the material is now simply proving to be too much, and the use of the new material is becoming a more likely and welcomes possibility.
Researchers in Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Material IFAM in Bremen are developing this new material. The polymer composites are plastic, and yet are capable of handling heat. They produce continuous lengths and are economical compared to the metal counterpart.
“We introduced metal particles into the material - or more precisely, we add up to 50% copper microfibers by volume. This does not change the processing properties of the composite, and it can still be processed as any other polymer would, “ notes Arne Haberkorn, a scientist at IFAM.
The researchers say the material is developed, and they are now attempting to optimize its thermal conductivity. In order to accomplish this, they are installing piping into pilot water-desalination plant. This is where testing will take place to see how much of the microorganism-based coating forms on the pipes. Corrosion must be kept at bay. Temperatures during the evaporation process run as high as 70 degrees Celsius, which run through the lines.
The usage of the material is not simply confined to desalination. “We developed the pipes for desalination plants because they place the highest demands on the material. Designed with these constraints in mind, it will be no problem using it in the food or pharmaceuticals industries,“ Haberkorn points out.
ExcelPlas.com (http://www.excelplas.com/) provides customers with the latest in polymer testing services. Review their services and products tested, and browse their articles and books to find out more about the processes utilized by Excel Plas.
Contact Us: 888-4-SBWIRE (US) - 920-321-1250 (International)