Comparing and choosing heat transfer fluids

April, 2014

The given article aims at assisting those who monitor the market and compare different offers when choosing a heat transfer fluid.

Currently the market offers glycolic heat transfer fluids (HTF) both of Ukrainian and other manufacture, as well as counterfeits of both. Herein we are not going to deal with counterfeits — this is the matter of another article.

Qualitative HTF of Ukrainian manufacture are highly competitive with their foreign analogues; they properly function for a considerable period of time at many sites throughout Ukraine. Therefore HTF should not be chosen solely based on their foreign origin.

In most cases HTF is chosen in two different stages:

  • choosing the HTF type according to its specifications;
  • choosing the HTF of a certain type based on its price.

HTF specifications depend on the operating conditions and purpose of the HTF.
The correct definition of technical design specification comprises 70% of success. One should choose the chemical base of the HTF, operating temperature conditions, the need for corrosion inhibitors, and other supplementary features.

Examples of mistakes made when choosing a coolant:

Coolant with respect to the project

Operating conditions

Mistake made

Consequences

Possible solution

Ethylene glycol 40%

open site in Kyiv region

Incorrect concentration

Coolant starts to crystallize at temperature below -23-240С; the circulation stops.

Ethylene glycol 50% will provide HTF pumpability up to

-32-330С.

Ethylene glycol 40%

food plant

 

 

HTF is moderately toxic and poisonous

Unfavorable impact on food and people is possible in the event of leakage, irruption, or evaporation

Propylene glycol 40% is an environmentally safe coolant.

Ethylene glycol 40%

ferrous metal system

Absence of corrosion inhibitors

Unhampered development of corrosion processes

HTF based on ethylene glycol 40% which comprises corrosion inhibitors.

After the HTF is selected according to specifications, a specialist monitors the market for appropriate offers, compares prices and supply conditions, and chooses the most favourable ones.
In order to correctly compare prices for coolants from different manufacturers/sellers, one should make sure that products compared are similar.
It means the following:

  • HTF have similar chemical base;
  • HTF have similar freezing point (approximately similar concentration of base substance);
  • products comprise (or do not comprise) corrosion inhibitors.

If the three basic parameters coincide, you deal with similar products. Consequently, the comparison is going to be correct.

The following should be taken into consideration as well:

  • documentation package (certificate of quality, safety and health certificate, operation manual, MSDS, other accompanying documents);
  • possible packaging;
  • availability in store or operational flexibility of manufacturing;
  • delivery;
  • warranty;
  • service support.

There are certain rules to be considered when choosing a HTF:

  1. The agent’s price may not be lower than the manufacturer’s price.

    Self-evident fact.
    If it is not so, then you are probably offered a cheap low quality counterfeit.

  2. The prime cost of similar products from different Ukrainian manufacturers may not differ significantly.

    Almost all raw materials for manufacturing HTF in Ukraine are imported, with prices within definite frames for all market participants. It means that manufacturer’s prices for similar products will not differ considerably likewise. As a rule, the competition here exists already on the level of related and additional services.

    If the prices still differ greatly, one of the products is probably not quite what it is claimed to be. The seller can keep something back, for instance, that the product contains some extenders.
    Examples are known of adding cheaper glycerin into more expensive ethylene or propylene glycol. Formally, the HTF remains «ethylene glycol» or «propylene glycol», while in fact glycerin supplement may considerably influence its density and, most importantly, its viscosity. Besides, the presence of glycerin may be detected based on the coolant’s density — it will be significantly higher than that of a «clean» HTF.

  3. Qualitative coolant from a conscientious manufacturer is accompanied with a complete documentation package and a great volume of additional information.

    A request to provide any obligatory document for the product does not cause any difficulties for the employees. Moreover, the staff can answer the customer’s questions, as well as select the necessary technical information.