Why are FRP Fan Blades Better?
In the world of industrial cooling towers, great pains have been taken to make sure that efficiency is increased as much as possible. While the average person may not think about cooling towers too often, without these amalgamations of metal, plastic, and concrete, most of the industries that we have come to rely on to make the goods that we use would cease to exist. Here at Industrial Cooling Solutions, Inc., we have been in the business of constructing, maintaining, and repairing cooling towers for decades. In this time, we have seen the industry change quite a bit through the introduction of new technology, better processes, and better building materials. Of all these advancements, however, FRP composite materials have been the one thing that we feel has the greatest impact on cooling towers as a whole. In today’s post, so that all of our readers understand just how important FRP has been to this industry, we are going to go over some of the benefits that this amazing material has had on the design and function of the fan blades that are used in a large amount of towers scattered across the world. Continue reading below to learn more.
FRP, or fibre-reinforced plastic as it is also referred to, has been a blessing to multiple industries. Developed in the early 1900s and used mostly for military applications in the early stages, this material was quickly adapted to industrial processes that required a material that not only had a great strength to weight ratio, but one that was also resistant to many of the corrosive elements that are present in the production and transportation of chemicals and other corrosive materials. While industrial cooling towers are not exactly known for a huge presence of caustic chemicals, there is still enough of a presence to necessitate a substance that could resist these elements and continue to function in harsh conditions. The component that has benefited the most from FRP materials, without a doubt, has been the fan that is present in many of the cooling towers that are used today. Below, we have listed a few reasons that FRP fan blades have become an industry standard and why more and more cooling tower manufacturers are recommending these fan blades over their aluminum counterparts.
- Shape: When designing a cooling tower to meet a specific industrial need, two things must be taken into account. First, the designers must make sure that enough water is pumped into the system to effectively mitigate the heat that is produced by the specific industrial process. Second, they must make sure that an appropriate amount of airflow is forced through the tower in order to make sure that the water is properly cooled along the fill material. FRP fan blades are ideal for this application because they allow designers a greater degree of control over the shape of the fan blades and mold them into the best shape possible to achieve the airflow that must be achieved. Traditional aluminum blades could only be shaped to a certain degree before the structure of the blades themselves was compromised. Additionally, metal fan blades must be attached to an axis at multiple points, greatly increasing the chances that a connector will fail or the balance of the fan will be thrown off. Because FRP fan blades are molded into a single piece, there are far fewer points on the entire fan assembly that can fail. Even better, these fan blades can be shaped to the most optimal angle possible, meaning that they are able to circulate air more efficiently than an aluminum fan blade could ever hope to accomplish.
- Resistance to Corrosion: As we stated previously, most cooling towers are not exactly teeming with caustic chemicals, however, this does not mean that corrosive elements are not present within the system. Given enough time, water is one of the most corrosive elements in the known universe. This seemingly innocent substance has shaped the surface of our planet, digging canyons and valleys out of solid rock. While aluminum is excellent at resisting the corrosive properties of water, it is still only a metal and, as we all know, metal and water don’t exactly get along. Over time, an aluminum fan blade will always succumb to the effects of water, requiring a replacement lest the fan blade break and cause damage to the internal components of the tower. FRP fan blades, on the other hand, do not suffer from this same defect. These fan blades are highly resistant to any and all corrosive elements and are able to stand the test of time in a way that is vastly superior to any other substance used in the construction of fan blades.
- Weight: Because cooling tower fans tend to run at thousands of RPMs, it is necessary to construct fan blades out of a material that is not only strong enough to stand up to the rotational forces that are placed on it but a material that is also light enough to place unneeded stress on the motor of the fan assembly. Before the introduction of FRP materials, aluminum was the best option for fan blade design because of its excellent strength to weight ratio. FRP fan blades, however, are even better than aluminum at providing a fan blade that is both strong and light.
Thank you for taking the time to read our short blog post about the benefits that FRP fan blades offer over fan blades made from other materials. At Industrial Cooling Solutions, Inc., we are dedicated to providing the best cooling tower services possible and we believe, quite strongly, the FRP fan blades are the best option for nearly every application that our customers may have. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of FRP fan blades, or you would like to learn more about the types of FRP fan blades that we offer, please contact us and a member of our team will reach out to you.