Have You Selected Wrong Materials for Chemicals?

this article i found it pretty interesting because Chemicals are very much a part of our lifestyles. Every household detergent, solvent, and bleach that you use in your homes is a result of some production efforts from manufacturing plants somewhere in the world around you. Fertilizer, automobile radiator coolant, shampoo, soap, insecticide, paint solvent, lubricants, fuel oil are just a few that I can name right now. I’m sure you can find more around you, but you get the point. We use chemicals everywhere. One of the main jobs for Plant Engineers is to maintain the numerous pumps installed at their plant. These pumps can count into the hundreds or even thousands, depending on the size of the plant. So you should realize that to do a proper preventive maintenance, it is no mean task. There must be regular schedules, proper tracking of jobs done, available manpower and skills, suitable tools, replacement parts, materials and a proper system of administration of all these.

Sometimes, even with all the maintenance activities being carried out, pumps do fail. And when they do, plant engineers will have to find out what causes them to fail. Especially with new pumps where there is very little record trend of breakdown, engineers will be hard pressed into finding solutions for this. This is when experience helps in pinpointing the causes of the failure. Engineers in such chemical processing plants need to know what materials are suitable to be used for their process. It is much more complex than just selecting materials for water pumps. Much detailed and careful selection choices based on the chemicals, the temperatures (because some of the plastic materials can weaken at temperatures that are considered normal for metals), chemical reactions, safety, spills and many others have to be taken.

With so many chemicals in use today, how do we know what materials can be used for what chemicals? Sometimes liquids to be pumped contain chemicals that are both corrosive and abrasive. Should we choose a plastic or a metal housing? Sometimes chemicals may become hot either through the process or through mis-operation of the system - perhaps, somebody forgot to open a valve. Plastic parts can weaken at high temperatures.

Rodrigo Monsalve

1 comment:

chemistry 1045 said...


Thanks for sharing this valuable information with us!!!

It could really prevent us from mixing dangerous liquids.. since you never know what could happen!!!

Nohora =P