How Drift Can Affect Your Process & Components

When referencing the detrimental effects of cooling tower drift, we often discuss emissions levels, lost water, and the cost of treating the water that’s escaping the tower. Another item worth considering is the effect that drift has on the performance of other tower components and equipment.

As a refresher, drift droplets are the larger droplets in the exhaust air stream of a cooling tower. These droplets carry the tower’s water chemistry with them. As they pass through a drift eliminator, they encounter the mechanical equipment on most towers, which can cause costly maintenance issues and premature failures of fans, sheaves, gears, motors, bearings, shafts, and structural components.

Fans, in particular, can quickly be destroyed due to the impact of the high-speed blades and the droplets over a prolonged period of time (take a look at the image to the left, for example). The leading edges of the blades, even with added protection, can wear down and fail. The salts carried within the drift droplets can also corrode metals components, causing pitting and premature maintenance or failure.

The best way to prevent these issues from occurring is to install high-performance drift eliminators and ensure they are in good working order. This not only prevents ongoing maintenance concerns and tower issues but also provides water savings to make sure your tower is performing efficiently.

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