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Cooling Tower Materials
Materials & Maintenance
Check the manufacturing specs of your system so you know what materials you’re dealing with and how to treat them.

Chances are your cooling tower components are constructed mostly of metal, with wood, plastic, or fiberglass components. All of these products require attention and maintenance if they are to perform at an optimum level in your system. Even under normal circumstances, metals of all types can corrode or accumulate scale deposits. Wood is susceptible to decay or chemical attack and plastics must be kept clean and free of deposits to prevent clogging and biomass buildup. Being thoroughly familiar with your cooling tower materials is the first step in ensuring a long and efficient life for your system.

This chart shows how different material types are affected by water quality:

 Cooling System Material

Water Quality Parameters that Contribute To    Notes

 

Corrosion

 Scaling Fouling  

 

Mild Steel

TDS

-

-

Any deposit forming constituents create conditions for corrosion.

Heavy Metals
(Cu, Ni, Pb)

-

-

Scale

-

-

Biomass

-

Biomass

-

Hardness

-

-

Alkalinity

-

Galvanized Iron

TDS

TDS

-

Dissolved solids, particularly chlorides, can cause corrosion. pH <6.5 or >8.5 can result in corrosion of galvanized iron.

pH

-

-

-

-

Biomass
Stainless Steel 304-SS Chlorides

-

-

Chloride levels >200 mg/l can cause corrosion when deposit forming conditions exist. Chloride levels up to 1,000 mg/l can be tolerated on clean surfaces found on cooling towers. Thin wall stainless steel heat exchangers are more susceptible. Stainless steel towers can tolerate higher levels.
Biomass

-

Biomass
Stainless Steel 316-SS Chlorides

-

Biomass Chloride levels > 5,000 mg/l can cause corrosion when deposit forming conditions exist Chloride levels up to 30,000 mg/l can be tolerated on clean surfaces found on cooling towers. Thin wall stainless steel heat exchangers are more susceptible. Stainless steel towers can tolerate higher levels.
Copper Alloys Ammonia

-

-

Ammonia levels >0.5 mg/l can result in corrosion of copper alloys. Copper-nickel alloys with blend ratios of 90/10 and 70/30 are more resistant.
TDS

-

-

Biomass

-

Biomass
Plastics

-

-

Biomass Keep clean to prevent biomass.