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Technical Information

1. What is the main difference between Ethylene Glycol and Propylene Glycol?

Ethylene Glycol : Many of the current uses for ethylene glycol are due to its properties as a freezing point depressant. However, this compound is also valuable in numerous applications which depend upon one or more additional properties. Its solvent, lubricant, plasticizing, and hygroscopic properties, as well as the ease with which it reacts with other chemical intermediates, is the reason for its popularity as an industrial raw material.

Propylene Glycol : The low toxicity of propylene glycol, which is unique among the glycols, means that ingestion of the product need not cause severe illness or death. Because of this, there are different grades intended for different levels of contact with the human body. In common with the other glycols, propylene glycol is colourless and odorless, and has a wide range of solvency for organic materials, as well as being completely water soluble.

In Summery : Ethylene Glycol is the more toxic of the two glycols, thus Propylene Glycol should be used in any application or solution which COULD be ingested by humans.

2. Can I use automotive glycol / car antifreeze in my chiller?

NO. Nearly all automotive antifreeze contains silicate-based inhibitors which gel and foul, coating heat exchanger surfaces and reducing energy efficiency. These silicates have also been shown to significantly reduce the lifespan of pump seals.

3. Which coolant should I use in my system, CoolFlow IG or CoolFlow FG?

If your system is such that the coolant may come into contact with food or drinking water then CoolFlow FG (Propylene based food grade coolant) should be used. Otherwise, CoolFlow IG (Ethylene based industrial grade coolant) can be used. See question 1. for further details about the difference between propylene and ethylene glycol.

4. You offer colour, ultra violet (UV) and taste tracers for CoolFlow products, why would we need these?

These tracers are offered to make leak detection easier. If your system is used for a food or drink application then the colour and taste additives would certainly be recommended for two reasons;
1. The taste tracer, which contains bitrex (the bitterest substance known to man), will make any edible product contaminated by the coolant so vile as to cause the consumer to spit it out immediately, avoiding the sickness and other side effects likely from consuming glycol.
2. The colour tracers (e.g. red, blue, green, yellow) and UV tracer dyes provide a clear visual indicator that a leak has occured - which is useful in both food and industrial systems.

5. What should I do with my used antifreeze?

Used antifreeze is considered hazardous waste, and if the Environment Agency trace improper disposal of the product back to yourself you will be liable for very heavy fines and possible prosecution. It is VERY IMPORTANT you do not just pour the used antifreeze down drains or sewers, as it can cause illness and death to organisms which consume it (including marine life, pets and humans). If you require help or advice regarding antifreeze disposal please contact us.

6. What is the difference between freeze protection and burst protection?

Freeze protection is imperitive when a system requires pumping. It is achieved when the glycol concentration in a system is sufficient to prevent ice crystals from forming when the fluid experiences its' lowest temperature.

Burst protection is achieved when the concentration of glycol in a system is high enough to prevent the fluid from freezing solid, thus causing bursting and other mechanical damage. The glycol concentration will be lower than that of a freeze protected system, and the fluid will not necessarily remain pumpable as the glycol concentration will be low enough to allow the fluid to form ice crystals (becoming a slush). When ice crystals begin to form the solution will begin to expand, but it will remain fluid enough to allow excess volumes to flow into expansion tanks without causing damage to the system.

In Summery : Freeze protection completely avoids freezing of fluid in a system, burst protection avoids a fluid from freezing so much so as to cause bursting / mechanical damage to a system.