Composite materials

Heat transfer fluid for composite materials

Engineers in the automotive and aerospace manufacturing industries regularly use composite materials to produce efficient vehicles and aircraft. By blending materials   with different properties, engineers can produce strong and lightweight composites that will be aerodynamic at high speeds.

Manufacturing composite materials

Composite materials allow manufacturers to create a unique material for a specific application. Changing the material properties gives engineers new possibilities in manufacturing. They can build large, strong structures that are lightweight or create a product from one flexible sheet of material instead of multiple components, improving efficiency.

These materials are produced by blending two or more distinct materials that produce a unique set of enhanced properties, such as tensile strength, torsion or compressive strength.

Manufacturing composite materials, particularly thermoset plastics, requires a large temperature range as some materials such as polyesters, epoxies, phenolics form at drastically different temperatures. The large temperature variance means that engineers must select a thermal oil that will efficiently produce different composite materials.

Water and steam can be used as a heater or coolant in manufacturing, but it is not the safest nor most efficient method. When water is heated at high temperatures for extended periods of time to generate steam power the system can become unstable. Steam can also cause corrosion in the pipes and entire system that can lead to expensive break downs and downtime.

In comparison, thermal fluids are the predominant choice for manufacturing composite materials because they can operate at a high temperature for long periods of time and also operate at different temperatures depending on the application. The fluid can maintain thermal efficiency at these temperatures and, if monitored regularly, will be a safer and more productive method than steam.

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) and the ATEX Directive must be adhered to by anyone that uses heat transfer fluids. These regulations instruct employers to carry out regular assessments on the fire and explosion risk of any work activities involving dangerous substances, including thermal fluid and synthetics.

Manufacturers should ensure that risk is managed, their site is always safe, and staff are knowledgeable on operating heat transfer systems in order to comply with DSEAR and provide a safe working environment for all employees.

A heat transfer system must operate at high temperatures for long periods of time to blend multiple materials together. A thermal fluid in this application should also have a large temperature range because different materials will blend at different temperatures.

To select the best fluid for the application, manufacturers should consider factors such as temperature range, thermal stability and resistance to fouling.

Over time, the molecules in a thermal fluid will break down by a process called thermal cracking and oxidation, creating volatile light ends, and heavy ends and organic acids. As well as causing the thermal fluid to degrade, thermal cracking and oxidation also produces carbon molecules that stick to the pipes and system, which reduces efficiency.

Carbon is a natural insulator, so a build-up of this material in the system can lead to a lack of flow or hotspots. When undetected this build up leads to uneven heat transfer that impacts production efficiency and increases energy costs.

If left unattended, a drop in efficiency will start to impact production and the materials will not form properly. At this point manufacturers must stop production, drain the system and replace the fluid, which can be a costly and time-consuming process.

The best way to slow fluid degradation is to understand what is happening inside the system. If engineers regularly test and analyse the fluid condition, they can plan maintenance in advance to ensure the system always operates at maximum efficiency and does not impact production.

Maintenance engineers should regularly sample the fluid to check the quality of the fluid and ensure it can still operate safely and efficiently at the high temperatures required. Engineers should take the sample when the system is closed, hot and circulating to obtain an accurate representation of what is happening inside the system.

Global Heat transfer provides a sampling and analysis service to help collect representative samples and ensure the system meets with relevant regulations.

As a part of the service, the heat transfer fluid sample will be analysed in a fully accredited laboratory that carries out eleven approved thermal fluid tests. Engineers will receive a report detailing findings and recommendations based on a variety of factors.

Maintenance engineers should also implement a preventative maintenance programme to keep on top of fluid and system maintenance. Our Thermocare fluid condition monitoring and Maintenance programme offers three levels of service so that engineers can find the best one for their system and facility. The service includes regular sampling, site checks and engineering support to ensure the system always meets with regulations.

More industries are beginning to explore the potential of composite materials. For example, as the implementation of wind turbines increases around the world, the renewable energy sector is investing in composites to improve turbine efficiency. Manufacturers produce wind turbine blades using composite glass fibre materials to make them strong, aerodynamic and lightweight.

As composites become a more widely used material, engineers should consider how maximising thermal efficiency in production can improve productivity and meet growing demand.

Where can I get help with heat transfer system maintenance?

Global Heat Transfer can help to choose the right fluid for composites manufacturing and help monitor the fluid once it enters the system.

Speak to one of our engineers for more advice by calling +44 (0)1785 760 555 or visit our contact page.

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Application

Globaltherm® NF is a non-fouling, non-toxic, high performance semi synthetic heat transfer fluid specially developed for use in food processing plants and industrial heat transfer.

About Globaltherm® NF

Made from severely hydro treated synthesised hydrocarbon base stocks, Globaltherm® Non-Fouling has outstanding thermal and oxidation stability allowing operation at high temperatures for extended periods. It is non-hazardous, non-toxic, water white and odourless.

This heat transfer fluid has high flash/fire points and provides extra resistance to sludging.

Globaltherm® NF properties

Contact us for more information on high temperature thermal oils

We provide advice on how to choose the most appropriate oil for your heat transfer applications and provide our customers with continued technical support.

Call us on +44 (0)1785 760555 for more information

Application

Globaltherm® S is a high performance heat transfer fluid for use in closed loop, non-pressurised heat transfer systems. Primary uses are chemical industries and plastic processing applications.

About Globaltherm® S

Globaltherm® S is recommended for use in an upper temperature range from 250°C (482°F) to 350°C (662°F), but can be used intermittently at film temperatures as high as 380°C (716° F).

  • Globaltherm® S heat transfer fluid is non-corrosive and can be used in non-pressurised heat transfer systems
  • This heat transfer fluid can be used in systems requiring start-up temperatures as low as -5°C (23°F) without the need for heat tracing
  • Globaltherm® S thermal fluid is thermally stable up to 300°C (572°F) and can be used for several years below this temperature with no adverse impact on performance
  • Low viscosity 17cSt @ 40°C (104°F) with a pumping limit at -5°C (23°F)
  • This thermal fluid has a high ASTM D93 flash point at 200°C – the highest in class
  • Globaltherm® S has high thermal stress resistance in the bulk temperature range  from 60°C-350°C (140°F - 662°F)
  • Globaltherm® S has a highly aromatic structure with a boiling point range of 385°C -395°C (725°F -743°F) - the highest in class
ProductOperating Temperature1000 Litre IBC208 Litre barrelBulk
Globaltherm® S (-5°C – 350°C)-5°C to 350°C

Contact us for more information on high temperature thermal oils

We provide advice on how to choose the most appropriate oil for your heat transfer applications and provide our customers with continued technical support.

Call us on +44 (0)1785 760555 for more information

Application

The most popular high temperature, heat transfer fluid. Suitable for operation up to 345°C (653°F) and can pumped to -3°C (27°F) and delivers exceptional performance. Primary applications are chemical industries, plastics processing and biodiesel.

About Globaltherm® Syntec

  • Globaltherm® Syntec uses the hydrogenated terphenyls chemistry of the most popular high temperature liquid phase heat transfer fluid. No other heat transfer fluid delivers a higher degree of customer satisfaction.
  • Globaltherm® Syntec HTF is used in a wide variety of applications in systems all over the world and delivers ultimate performance to ensure your system is running at maximum capacity and optimum efficiency.

Find out more about the properties of Globaltherm Syntec

Contact us for more information on high temperature thermal oils

We provide advice on how to choose the most appropriate oil for your heat transfer applications and provide our customers with continued technical support.

Call us on +44 (0)1785 760555 for more information