FRP Cooling Towers:
FRP stands for Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic. It is a composite material of Resin and Fiberglass strand or mat. FRP materials have many key properties which make them suitable for use in cooling tower applications. Their inherent corrosion, moisture and temperature resistance significantly increases the durability and service life of the structure. They provide better dynamic response to high wind loads. Delta Cooling Towers has its own range of FRP Cooling Towers
The modular design methods linked with FRP structures are quicker and easier. A standard range of field erected cooling towers can be made efficiently from the initial cooling tower design.
Cooling tower casing, basin and sheets are manufactured by Hand Lay-up or spray-up process. Hand Lay-up process is a simple and economic method with respect to the other procedures. It is a manual process done on the open molds.
- Firstly, any dust or dirt are removed from molds. The mold is made up of wood, fiberglass, or plaster. Soft wax or P.V.A. are applied on the molds followed by the buffing with a soft towel.
- Gel coat is applied to a smooth mold with a release agent. Gel coat is a high-quality finish designed to provide great aesthetics as well as UV protection to an FRP composite.
- Chopped fiberglass strands are spread over the gel coat layer.
- Unsaturated polyester resin mixed with pigment is applied on fiberglass by brush or roller.
- The material is then left for few hours for curing
- Lastly the finished is released from mold and left in the air at room temperature.
• High specific strength
• Good in-plane mechanical properties.
• High fatigue and environmental resistance.
• Adjustable mechanical properties
• Quick assembly/ erection.
• Low maintenance cost.
Why is FRP more desirable than wood, aluminum and concrete?
When we talk about corrosion in cooling towers, we mean gradual decay of the material due to nature’s forces from the surrounding environment. Cooling towers are always exposed to nature’s forces and extreme climates depending on the location. Choosing a robust material that can handle everything is very important. We compare the following materials to see the advantages and disadvantages and how they would perform:
Wood: Not very environmentally friendly, they can be easily destroyed by biological agents and elements such as termites and rain can make it rot and decay. Coatings can be applied to prevent these from happening but only to a certain extent. Hence, wood has quite a lot of disadvantages.
Steel and Aluminum: Since they are metals, they tend to rust easily. Life of these materials can be increased if you use anodized or galvanized steel or aluminum.
Concrete: Concrete has a long life and doesn’t decompose fast. It is porous and dust and dirt accumulation is quick in concrete which will attract heavy maintenance activity and costs so it’s not future proof.
Flexibility and Strength:
Strength and flexibility are extremely vital for cooling towers to have a longer life and work well all the time, even in the tough and extreme environments such as harsh rains or extremely hot environments where temperatures soar to more than 47 deg C. Cooling towers should not get bogged down even in cases of slight earthquakes or storms.
Wood: Wood doesn’t really have a place heere considering the strength of the other materials we are comparing here and talking about flexibility FRP is way ahead than any other material that can be used to build cooling towers.
Steel: Steel has extreme strength and is also very heavy. It is not easy to transport and requires special equipment to carry it. It can withstand high amounts of weight and is flexible enough to bend without breaking but doesn’t regain it’s shape back easily. Steel is around 80% heavier as compared to FRP.
Aluminum:Aluminum is known for its light weight but guess what? FRP is lighter than Aluminum yet stronger. Aluminum has great sheer properties but when you consider all the factors it doesn’t come anywhere near to FRP.
Concrete: Possesses extremely high yield strength but is brittle and not flexible at all. Natural occurrences such as earthquakes are enough to destroy towers made of concrete and also pose a threat to surrounding machinery and even human life.It is extremely susceptible to damage as compared to FRP.
FRP: FRP is strong and has great elastic properties. It does not deform completely and regains its shape, moreover, it is easy to transport and install. Talking about strength to weight ratio it outweighs all the other materials we have mentioned here.
FRP Cooling Towers have a myriad range of unique benefits — short production and shorter installation time, light weight as compared to wood, aluminum, steel, long-term cost savings, corrosion resistance, and superior longevity.
To conclude we can say that wood will rot, steel will rust, Aluminum will dent but FRP will last.