The best way to get rid of light ends

Paul Boughton

Thermal fluid specialist Global Heat Transfer (GHT) has conducted extensive research, analysing the effectiveness of batch venting and the GHT light ends removal kits (LERKs) to ensure flashpoint management in heat transfer systems. Results showed the GHT LERKs were able to increase and maintain the closed flash point temperature of a system far more effectively than batch venting.

Over time, all heat transfer fluids used in industry degrade due to operating at extremely high temperatures. This is likely to lead to losses in efficiency, potential pump failure, and increased flammability risk - all of which may cause system downtime and increased costs.

The formation of short-chained hydrocarbons, or light ends, is a by-product of thermal degradation. Light ends are denoted by a decrease in flash temperature, which represents a potential fire risk.

Global Heat Transfer's research concluded that both batch venting and the installation of a LERK removed light ends and increased the closed flash temperature. However, batch venting was only effective over a two month period, whereas a permanently fitted LERK was effective at maintaining closed flash point temperature over a six month period.

"Light ends in a heat transfer system pose a serious hazard, not just to system infrastructure and property, but also to human life," explained Clive Jones, managing director of Global Heat Transfer. "Unfortunately, we see time and again cases whereby fluids have been left to degrade to a dangerous level.

"By using a permanently fitted or even temporary LERK, companies can achieve greater control of flash point temperatures and lower the fire risks caused by light ends."

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