Corrosion, the deterioration of metals and alloys through a physical and/or chemical reaction with the environment, is expensive. Heat exchangers used in HVAC equipment, specifically condenser and cooling/heating coils are exposed in the environment, and this can lead to corrosion, failures, and performance degradation of the equipment in the cases of improper heat exchanger protection in corrosive locations.
Single-phase heat exchangers are widely used today for a variety of cooling and heating applications and in different types of equipment. These include free cooling systems, dry coolers, air conditioners, and more, where the most common media is water or glycol mixtures. Microchannel coils in practice became the norm in condenser applications, and, more recently, microchannel heat exchangers became an alternative to finned tube coils that used traditionally for water applications.
For over three decades now, air-to-refrigerant microchannel heat exchangers have been successfully used in a number of industries, including automotive and chemical processing. More than a decade ago, microchannel heat exchangers were introduced in the HVAC industry; but it must be noted that requirements concerning heat exchangers and their operating conditions in refrigeration and air conditioning systems are different from those applicable in the automotive and other industries. Because of this, the first adaptations of microchannel heat exchangers to HVAC applications, principally as condensers, were not entirely successful.
In recent times, microchannel heat exchangers (MCHE) have started to attract attention from the HVAC industry as an alternative to fin/tube evaporators. The enhancement of heat transfer and compactness are major advantages of microchannel heat exchangers, as well as reduced refrigerant charge, lower airside pressure drop, and a reduction in materials used for manufacturing. Under current tight regulations of energy efficiency, microchannel heat exchangers are appreciated by many leading manufacturers.
Corrosion is the deterioration of metals arising from the chemical reactions between a metal and the surrounding environment. In HVAC equipment, such as air-cooled chillers, condensers, and dry coolers, corrosion of the heat exchangers may lead to performance and efficiency losses, as well as to equipment failures.
In order to avoid unwanted corrosion, microchannel heat exchangers and chilled water system, in general, must be properly protected based on environmental conditions.
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