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topic 32035

Will deionized water harm copper tubing in a heat exchanger


At our manufacturing facility we have heat exchangers that cool our induction annealing coils. It has been recommended from the manufacturer of the coils to use distilled water. We have DI water readily available on plant, but a question has come up as to whether the DI water will cause any substantial damage to the copper tubing of the exchanger. Has anyone come across any problems of this nature?

Thanks for any info.

Kyle Maxeiner
Manufacturing - Independence, Missouri, USA

First of two simultaneous responses -- 2004

DI water is corrosive and will slowly corrode the copper piping in your system unless you also control the pH and add a corrosion inhibitor. On the plus side, distilled or DI water will not scale up the heat exchange surface. You should probably contact a chemical company that supplies boiler and cooling tower chemicals for their advice.

Lyle Kirman
consultant - Cleveland, Ohio

Second of two simultaneous responses -- 2004

Depending on the quality of the water you have in your DI loop, it could be "clean" enough to be highly corrosive. The same can be said for softened water too.

As these types of water have been chemically stripped of certain ions that would otherwise make them less aggressive, they can attack exposed copper surfaces and etch or corrode them until you get to a failure point. Distilled water is not as corrosive, as it is simply condensed water, and essentially more balanced chemically than DI.

tom baker
Tom Baker
   wastewater treatment specialist
Warminster, Pennsylvania

2006 -- this inquiry appended to existing thread by editor

Can you run D.I. water through copper piping?

Grant Krakowski
Optical - Dallas, Texas

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