Which Fan Blades are Best for Your Industrial Cooling Tower?

Anyone who spent time around an industrial cooling tower knows that there a lot of parts that allow these machines to function. One component in particular, the fan responsible for circulating air during the cooling process, is one of the most important cooling tower parts in regard to performance and efficiency. In today’s post, we here at Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc. wanted to take a closer look at different types of cooling tower fan blades and which fan blade material is the right choice for your particular cooling tower application. Continue reading below to learn more!

Aluminum or FRP?

Aluminum fan blades have, for quite a while, been the standard choice amongst cooling tower contractors to circulate air within cooling towers. This preference was largely due to the fact that aluminum is lightweight, relatively durable, and easy to work with. However, with advancements in FRP materials and construction methods, FRP fan blades are becoming an increasingly viable option in the design of industrial cooling towers. Why are aluminum blades an inferior option?  Below, we have listed the two most common types of aluminum fan blades used in industrial cooling towers and the ways in which they fall short.

  • Aluminum Airfoil: These aluminum fan blades utilize internal stiffeners and are either riveted or bolted to the blade neck. Airfoil skin blades have different strength and yield characteristics that feature unequal movement. This purposeful unequal movement allows these fan blades to have their own built-in failure mode. Airfoil blades, while more reliable than cast iron designs, are still prone to failure.
  • Cast Aluminum: Cast aluminum fan blades are a less successful form of aluminum fan blades. Because these fan blades have a variable chord width and neck design, the casting process must provide a constant thickness throughout the blade so that it does not contain any stress risers. If this is not achieved during the casting process, the blade is prone to breaking while in use.

As you can see, aluminum, although common, is not exactly the best material to make fan blades from. Industrial cooling tower fans rotate at such a high speed that often aluminum fan blades will fail after a few months of continuous use and, in a worse case scenario, the fan blade will detach itself from the fan motor and cause additional damage to the walls of the cooling tower.
FRP fan blades, however, typically outperform their aluminum cousins because the very nature of FRP material allows them to be produced in any shape that the cooling tower may call for. Join us again next time as we further explore the advantages that FRP fan blades offer in regard to industrial cooling tower design and, as always, if you have any additional questions about cooling towers or their parts, please visit our website today. At Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc., we are dedicated to constructing and maintaining state-of-the-art industrial cooling towers and we will work with your industry to design and construct the perfect cooling tower to fit your application needs.

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