Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Heat-conducting composites for seawater desalination

Date:
October 4, 2012
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Drinking water is a scarce commodity – a fact no longer limited to the desert regions of the world. During the hot summer months, drinking water is a valuable commodity in Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Portugal, too. As a result, industrial plants that can desalinate seawater and convert it to drinking water are on the rise.

Composite pipes for seawater desalination
Credit: Copyright Fraunhofer IFAM

Drinking water is a scarce commodity – a fact no longer limited to the desert regions of the world. During the hot summer months, drinking water is a valuable commodity in Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Portugal, too. As a result, industrial plants that can desalinate seawater and convert it to drinking water are on the rise. Here‘s how the principle of desalination works: seawater is sprayed on pipes heated by pumping hot gas or hot water through them. Pure water evaporates from the seawater, leaving a salty sludge behind.

This process subjects the material and its properties to a diverse array of demands: the material from which the pipes are made must conduct heat and be particularly robust in resisting corrosion and the formation of deposits – and these properties must be durable over a long period of time. And for the water to evaporate properly, the piping must also be easily coated with seawater. This is why manufacturers to date have used only titanium and high-alloy forms of steel. Yet these materials are very costly. The demand for titanium is also constantly on the rise – as a result of the increase in lightweight construction, the aviation industry is also competing for this material. The results are delivery delays and further increases in price.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Bremen are now developing an alternative to the titanium tubes: pipelines made of polymer composites. The special thing about this method: the polymer composites are a plastic, and yet they conduct heat. Another benefit: they can be produced in continuous lengths and are correspondingly more economical than their metal counterparts. But what did researchers do to make a polymer heat-conducting? “We introduced metal particles into the material - or more precisely, we add up to 50 percent copper microfibers by volume. This does not change the processing properties of the composite, and it can still be processed as any other polymer would,“ notes Arne Haberkorn, a scientist at IFAM.

The researchers have already developed the material itself; now they want to optimize its thermal conductivity. To accomplish this, they are installing the piping in a pilot seawater-desalination plant: here, they are testing its thermal conductivity, checking to see how much of a microorganism-based coating forms on the pipes, and how heavily the material corrodes in its salty surroundings. They then optimize the composite properties based on the results. The researchers have set the evaporation process to run at a temperature of 70 degrees Celsius – so there is hot gas heated to 70 degrees pumped through the pipelines. This offers several advantages: fewer deposits congregate on the pipes, the material doesn‘t corrode as quickly, and the pressure differential between the inside and outside of the piping is not as dramatic.

The usages for the material are not confined to seawater desalination, either. “We developed the pipes for desalination plants because they place the highest demands on the material. Designed with these constraints in mind, it will be no problem using it in the food or pharmaceuticals industries,“ Haberkorn points out. Researchers will present this heat-conducting plastic at the Composites trade fair, October 9-11, 2012, in Dόsseldorf.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Heat-conducting composites for seawater desalination." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121004093245.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2012, October 4). Heat-conducting composites for seawater desalination. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121004093245.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Heat-conducting composites for seawater desalination." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121004093245.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

AP (Apr. 23, 2014) — Speaking about the future of the United States Air Force, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh says the choice to divest the A-10 fleet was logical and least impactful. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) — The urban 4x4 is the latest must-have for Chinese drivers, whose conversion to the cult of the SUV is the talking point of this year's Beijing auto show. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins