Cool News You Can Use: Benefits of Heavy Duty Nitrite Free Coolants
Sunday, February 21, 2021
Benefits of Heavy Duty Nitrite Free Coolants
Heavy-duty engine technology has come a long way in the past20 years, and coolant technology has had to keep up to protect modern HD engines. However, some operators are still using outdated technology. You didn’t stick with dial-up internet instead of switching to high-speed: so, stop buying out of date technology for your heavy-duty equipment! There are numerous benefits to switching to a heavy-duty nitrite-free (HDNF) OAT coolant like DefendAL HD NF ELC – let’s examine them in more detail.
Modern HD Engines Need More Advanced Technology
Modern HD engines are different than pre-2000 HD engines.
Increased aluminum usage means that the inhibitors that we
are using the protect the cooling system should change:
organic acid inhibitors protect aluminum better than the
borated and phosphated inhibitors in conventional technology
coolant. In addition, HD engines have been designed to
produce fewer emissions by introducing measures such as
exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and diesel particulate filters.
These innovations put additional stress on the coolant. The
EGR system alone adds an extra 25-30% more heat
rejection to the coolant! Modern diesel engines need a more
robust coolant to withstand the additional heat: since nitrite
breaks down in higher-heat applications, nitrite-free coolant is
designed to meet these needs though the use of molybdate, a
more temperature-stable inhibitor.
Better Technology Comes with Numerous Benefits
Now that you know the technical reason for using nitrite-free
coolant, let’s talk about the range of other benefits that this
1. Reduced Maintenance
Avoid costly mistakes such as the over-addition of SCA or poor
maintenance practices: HD NF coolant can typically be maintained through top-off alone! Say goodbye to lab samples, test
strips, and the addition of SCA – simply top-off and go. Just check
the coolant’s appearance/pH every 300,000 miles and top off as
needed with DefendAL HD NF ELC 50/50.
2. Cost Savings
While HD NF coolant is more expensive initially, the reduced
maintenance leads to significant cost savings over the coolant’s
life. Compared to a conventional technology heavy-duty coolant,
nitrite-free coolant saves approximately 70%!
*Compared to conventional technology coolant with 15 gal cooling system,
typical coolant prices, and recommended maintenance intervals.
3. Use Across the Fleet
Most fleets have multiple coolants on their shelves to service
various types of vehicles and engines. However, HD nitrite-free
coolant can, in many cases, satisfy all coolant needs with just
one coolant technology.
The lack of nitrites in this heavy-duty coolant means that it is not
harsh on primarily aluminum automotive cooling systems. In
addition, most HD OEMs have approved this technology for use in
their equipment: use it in Detroit Diesel, Cummins, CAT, MAN, John
Deere, Komatsu, Mack, Navistar, and others. Finally, HD NF coolant
technology is backward – compatible: safe for old and new
equipment. That makes HD NF coolant the most versatile coolant
that can be bought!
Importance of Glycol Concentration
A common question regarding heat transfer fluids is: “Can I
use a 20% glycol fluid in my heat transfer system”? The
short answer is: “Yes” if you want to incur decreased
system performance year after year, expensive
maintenance overhauls, and extended downtime due to
equipment failure. Or, the long answer: NO.
The properties of a heat transfer fluid are strongly correlated to
the amount of glycol in the system, including corrosion
protection and biofouling. Let’s review both:
Heat transfer fluids (HTF) typically contain inhibitors as a ratio
to the percent glycol. With HTFs, each “cut” is from
concentrate. Therefore, increasing the water content
decreases the inhibitor content. ASTM D8039 sets the
specification for ASTM D8040, which test fluids at a 30% glycol
to ensure products can adequately protect systems against
corrosion. All KOSTChill fluids meet or exceed ASTM D8039
corrosion protection requirements. Fluids below 30% glycol do
not meet ASTM D8039 and may not provide adequate corrosion
An example of this
between a 30%
fluid that meets
ASTM D8039 specification, and the same fluid decreased to
20%. Data shows that with decreased inhibitors, lead solder
becomes highly susceptible to corrosion ranging from 2
milligrams of corrosion to 10 mg of corrosion. ASTM D8040 is
the corrosion test method used in the heat transfer fluid
specification to measure corrosion; higher values equals
higher corrosion rates and metal loss.
Biofouling results from microbial growth in a heat transfer system that
leads to decreased thermal transfer, fluid degradation, and clogged filters.
Biofouling is the result of microbes forming biofilms, which are layers of
microbes and extracellular protective material that attach to the heat
transfer system’s walls. The impact is that biofilms create resistance to
fluid flow and reduces heat transfer efficiency; once created, they are
difficult to eradicate (meaning biofouling is more likely to reoccur).
Not only do microbes form performance reducing biofilms, under the right
the conditions the glycol and inhibitors become an excellent food source.
Microbes will consume or “eat” the glycol and inhibitors in the fluid and
produce metabolic by-products that reduce pH and accelerates further
fluid degradation and deceases corrosion protection.
Lastly, microbial growth can lead to HTF filters becoming clogged quickly,
which leads to unnecessary system downtime and maintenance to
resolve the issue and get the system up and running. leads to
unnecessary system downtime to perform maintenance to resolve the
issue and get the system up and running. KOST has helped diagnose
systems that have suffered severe performance losses or have clogged
due to biofouling. The one common contributing factor is that the
percentage of glycol in the fluid for these systems were below the
recommended minimum of a 30% glycol concentration.
Glycol concentration greater than 25% creates an environment
inhospitable to microbes by limiting their ability to reproduce and helps
maintain fluid pH above their preferred growth range. To ensure that HTF’s
meet ASTM D8039 specification for corrosion protection and maintaining
an environment inhospitable to microbes, KOST recommends using Heat
Transfer Fluids with at least 30% or greater glycol content.
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