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Water P i pes

n Pharma companies a pin hole
in the chilled water pipeline
would mean partial closure of
the manufacturing facility and
loss in production. Quite often a
sample taken from chilled water
pipeline is reddish in colour due to
rusting. BacComber Treatment has

successfully protected
Chilled Water pipelines
at nominal cost without
any consumables. It is a
fit-and-forget system
successfully in use for
over 5 years in Indian
HVAC industry.
This article examines the
following issues:
The Corrosion Cell
Effect of dissolved gases on
Chilled Water Pipe Protection
A large pharmaceutical

Corrosion Control in company has 2.5 km long chilled

water pipe branching all over
their different production units.

Chilled The header size was 28. They

had corrosion problem with
dissolved Fe level as high as 100
ppm. They installed the

Water Pipes
BacComber ULF system on the
common header. Within three
months the dissolved Fe came
down to less than 1 ppm. With
BacComber Ultra Zinc System
their pin holes corrosion was
controlled excellently without
further interruption in production.

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The mechanism of corrosion due The area where electrical between partial pressure above the

Water P i pes
to dissolved oxygen potential is more negative is called liquid and the gas solubility.
Chilled Water Systems: Open an anode, and electrically more C=kxP
Loop and Closed Loop positive area is called a cathode. Where,
Pitting corrosion Electric current will leave the (anode) C is the concentration of gas in the
BacComber Corrosion Control for metal surface, flowing through the liquid
Chilled Water Pipes electrolyte and enter the surface of p is the partial pressure of the gas
BacComber Ultrazinc for pitting the electrically more positive area above the liquid
corrosion (cathode). When current leaves the k is the Henrys constant
Removal of Corrosion Products anode surface, the anode surface Temperature
from the Chilled Water Tank will corrode. There is no corrosion at Besides the partial pressure,
Slime Control in Chilled Water the cathode surface where the colder temperature will dissolve
Pipes. current enters. more gases whereas hotter water
will dissolve fewer gases.
The Corrosion Cell Effect of dissolved gases on
Corrosion is an electro-chemical corrosion
process. A typical corrosion cell is Dissolved gases in water can be
shown below: divided into two groups.
The four essential components Gases such as oxygen or nitrogen
involved are: remain in its non-ionic molecular

Oxygen solubility in water

at various temperatures

The presence of oxygen and

carbon dioxide can affect directly the
corrosion rate of mild steel in water.
The effect of these dissolved gases
must be taken into consideration
when designing corrosion protection.
It is important to maintain the water
pH value at high level.

The mechanism of corrosion

due to dissolved oxygen
Corrosion Cell As mentioned earlier, corrosion is
an electro-chemical process. Several
Both anode and cathode must be state when dissolved in water. small cathodes and anodes on steel
present Gases such as carbon dioxide can surfaces are created due to several
There must be a difference in be in both the ionic and non-ionic factors such as:
electrical potential between form when dissolved in water. Stress differences on the steel
anode and cathode When dissolved in ionic form, surface
A metallic electrical path must be compounds such as carbonic acid Discontinuity in oxide films
present to connect anode and will form and they change many Difference in aeration
cathode properties of water including pH.
The anode and cathode must be CO2 + H2 O D H2 CO3 At these anode and cathode
submerged in an electrolyte, areas, the following reaction
which is electrically conductive H2 CO3 D H+ + HCO-3 will take place.
The corrosion cell can only Anode: Fe  Fe+++ 2e- (Metal loss)
HCO-3 D H+ + CO32-
function when all the above four Cathode:O2+ H2O + 2e-2OH (No
conditions are met. If any one of the The solubility of these gases is metal loss, becomes alkaline.
four conditions is not met, the mainly determined by two factors: Excessive current can cause
corrosion cell cannot function and Partial pressure hydrogen evolution)
no corrosion will take place. Henrys law gives the relationship The hydroxide present will react

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Water P i pes

further in water to form ferrous will retard further reaction and oxygen gets replenished
hydroxides: reach a stable thickness showing frequently. This may happen
Fe2++ 2OH Fe (OH)2 good oxide film stability. because of:
When ferrous hydroxide is further The protective continuous  Air vents in the system in
converted into the oxide in the magnetite oxide films growth hot or cold wells
water, depending on the energy rate will follow the parabolic law  Sometimes due to leakage
available either Hematite (Fe2O3) or and its protecting power is in a 'closed' system
Magnetite (Fe3O4) will form. directly proportionate to its In an open loop chilled water line
Fe2O3 Hematite thickness. the DO (dissolved oxygen) level in
This iron oxide layer is porous the chilled water is much higher
allowing water, oxygen etc to Chilled Water Systems: Open than the room temperature water.
migrate through or from the steel loop and Closed loop
surface. This action is not that It is therefore important to Pitting Corrosion
free as without the hematite understand the water temperature Pitting corrosion normally starts
oxide layer. and pressure to design a corrosion from points under the deposit or
The hematite oxide film does not control system with ULF treatment. breakage in coating or oxide film. In
adhere well on the steel surface There are two types of chilled water the case of presence of dissimilar
as a result of its continual oxide systems: metals, pitting corrosion will be
film expansion. Closed Loop: It is assumed that accelerated. When the pitting
Fe3O4 Magnetite there is no replenishment of corrosion starts at the anode surface,
It is therefore not a good oxygen in the system. But in the electrical potential at the anode
corrosion protective film. practical situations there is often is more negative than the cathode
This layer in its pure form is leakage & oxygen replenishment and corrosion current will discharge
slightly magnetic and adheres takes place. from the anode to the cathode. The
very tightly to the steel surface. Open Loop: gases come in anode surface will become more
The magnetite layer once formed contact with chilled water and concentrated with Fe ions as the

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Corrosion Control in Chilled Water Pipes.indd 68 5/16/2012 11:20:36 AM

waters system and basically the

Water P i pes
chilled water system is fully enclosed
and not in direct contact with the
atmosphere. The common possible
source of oxygen supply is through
the new water replenishment.
Usually small amount of water is
replenished due to leakages at pump
seal etc.
Open Loop System
In the case of open looped chilled
water system, constant exchange of
oxygen with the atmosphere will
constantly take place. In fact the
amount of dissolved oxygen in the
current leaves the surface and the water and boiler condition, the chilled water system is much higher
cathode will become more OH supply of oxygen is minimum. As a than those in cooling water. In this
concentrated or more alkaline. result, the magnetite formation situation, corrosion design similar to
Because of the physical condition in reaction will proceed, and the top cooling water shall be adopted and
the deposit-covering pit, the positive layer of iron oxide in the closed loop in fact extra ULF capacity will be
Fe ions cannot be removed readily chilled water is usually magnetite
from the pit by the bulk solution and instead of the hematite. BacComber
created the tendency to attract the corrosion control is very effective for
negative ions. chilled water system where black
Of all the negative ions, chloride steel pipe is generally used. It has
has the best ability to penetrate the been proven that BacComber
scale or deposit and start reacting corrosion control is more effective in
with the ferrous ions, the pH in the many installations especially those
pit therefore become lower or having severe corrosion problem
electrically become even more due to earlier chemical treatment.
negative due to the production of Closed Loop System
hydrogen ions. The closed loop chilled water
Black Magnetite layer behind
The corrosion process is therefore system is common in HVAC chilled red rust scrapped off
accelerated further in the pit and
further pits through the metal. The
general corrosion rate of mild steel
in water is about 20~50 mpy for
unprotected steel for cooling water
system. In case of pitting corrosion,
it can reach even up to 120 mpy.

BacComber corrosion control

for Chilled water Pipes
In the BacComber treated water,
the ULF input energy will promote
the formation of magnetite. However,
the depolarization effect of dissolved
oxygen will discourage its formation.
As a result, the surface layer, which
is in constant contact with water
where supply of dissolved oxygen is
readily available the iron corrosion
product, is the red rust hematite
Fe2O3. However, the layer beneath
the hematite lacks oxygen and the
magnetite formation reaction will
proceed. In the closed loop chilled Schematic

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needed due to the higher dissolved

oxygen level in chilled water.
BacComber System for Chilled current. On the other hand, the This is now easily solved using
Water consists of a BacComber Ultrazinc ions can act as Cathodic BacComber ULF Emitters which
Magnetite Generator which inhibitor. control reproduction of bacteria
generates ULF waves through a coil For pitting corrosion, the dramatically without any biocides or
wound around the steel pipe of the BacComber Ultrazinc will deposit at consumables. When the water is
common header. The typical the pit mouth and will control further clear and without slime the heat
installation for a closed loop system corrosion in the pit. transfer efficiency goes up.
is shown herein. BacComber ULF Emitters could be
The installation is carried out on Removal of Corrosion installed either in the open well or
a common header. A portion of the Products from the Chilled in-pipe using a section of non-
insulation is removed (about 1 m) Water Tank metallic pipe.
and cable is coiled on the metal It is advisable to remove the
pipe. It is connected to the corrosion products from the chilled Summary
BacComber Magnetite Generator. water system, especially in the open It is extremely important to
The insulation is put back. There is loop system. This is done very control corrosion in Chilled Water
no consumable. It is fit-and-forget. effectively using filtration system. pipelines since the rate of corrosion
The typical layout is shown below: is much higher than in condenser
BacComber Ultrazinc This filtration system has helped water. BacComber ULF System offers
Corrosion Control in making dark brownish water into a easy fit-and-forget solution which
In situation where dissimilar clear water when combined with the is extremely economical and takes
metals corrosion is involved, BacComber Corrosion Control care of various issues that arise in
BacComber Ultrazinc corrosion system. different applications. 
control system must be used.
Enhanced by the ULF system, zinc Slime Control in Chilled Water
ions are released into the water Pipes
system to control corrosion. In certain cases the water from
It can be used for the following chilled water is observed to be slimy.
corrosion control- The slime impedes heat transfer.
Dissimilar metal corrosion Even a thin layer of bio-film or slime
Pitting corrosion for steel can have a huge loss in energy. The
Dead end or stagnant water table here shows the energy loss N S Rao is Managing Director of
corrosion. compared to CaCO3 (hard scale). Ecospec India Pvt Ltd. He graduated
Cuprous oxides on the copper from IIT, Bombay and is a member of
Material Thickness Energy ISHRAE. He has been associated with
surface are electrically conductive.
(mm) Loss (%) HVAC industry for over two decades.
Therefore, under the bimetallic
Also, he is involved for 8 years in
connection condition, the cuprous CaCO3 0.03 27
BacComber Treatment of Cooling
oxide film cannot act as a Cathodic
Bio-film (slime) 0.01 30 Tower water in India.
inhibitor to stop the flow of corrosion

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