Custom Structural Components for Cooling Towers
Industrial cooling towers are designed to eject heat into the atmosphere through evaporative or draft methods. Typical designs siphon process heat from machinery through a cool water stream, which partially evaporates and discharges into the atmosphere. This methodology is routinely used to reject waste heat from energy generating processes and chemical plants.
The underlying process of these structures is inherently problematic for established materials such as wood, steel, and concrete as the thermal and chemical conditions of evaporative cooling can cause heavy corrosion to structural components. Interior panelling and integral mechanical parts such as the fan deck can succumb to gradual degradation from humidity and process chemicals. This can drastically increase the associated maintenance costs for cooling towers due to mechanical down-time for repairs and maintenance.
Alternative Materials for Cooling Towers
Since the mid-1980s, pultruded fiberglass has been the primary material for manufacturing the structural components of cooling towers. The virtually impervious mechanical structure of pultruded fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP) provides outstanding levels of corrosion and rot resistance under severe environmental conditions. These qualities, combined with the improved strength to weight properties of the material and its high formability made fiberglass the ideal alternative for custom structural components in cooling tower applications.
EXTREN® structural shapes have been broadly used in the fabrication of stick built cooling towers to pre-established designs based on existing engineering concepts. It comprises a reinforced fiberglass structure thermoset in a polyester or a vinyl ester resin for enhanced corrosion resistant properties. This product is available in over 100 different standard shapes including angles, square and round tubes, and channels, with custom structural components available for complex engineering designs.
These high-strength FRP structural components are typically combined with proprietary decking and shielding systems to form the overall superstructure of a cooling tower. SAFPLANK®, for example, is a system of interlocking fiberglass planks designed to form a continuous surface. It is routinely used to fabricate walkways and to replace aluminium and steel structural components in a range of industrial applications, including the hot water basins of cooling towers. This provides enhanced resistance to humidity and chemical corrosion for improved component longevity.
DURASHIELD HC® building panels are used to replace concrete and steel cladding in cooling tower constructions. This product provides suitable resistance to fluctuating thermodynamic conditions and represents significant cost savings due to the material’s high strength and lightweight properties.
These materials have been used in the fabrication of stick built and modular cooling tower projects, and for renovating existing structures.
Custom Structural Components from Strongwell
Strongwell is a leading manufacturer of pultruded fiberglass products for an extensive range of applications. We have developed numerous FRP structural components for demanding industrial sectors including the chemical and energy industries, offering leading material solutions for extreme process conditions.