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UDEL Polysulfone selected by APCOM for new dip tubes for self-cleaning commercial water heaters

Solvay Advanced Polymers Llc : 19 November, 2003  (New Product)
Solvay Advanced Polymers, L.L.C. announced today that APCOM, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of A.O. Smith Water Products Company, has chosen UDEL polysulfone for dip tubes used in the new Hydro Cannon and Eliminator self-cleaning systems used in many of their commercial water heaters.
UDEL polysulfone’s ability to withstand long-term exposure to hot chlorinated water along with its ability to be easily molded into a complex design were key reasons the polymer was chosen for this application. Sediment build-up can be a water heater’s worst enemy, especially in commercial applications requiring higher water temperatures. When lime and other sediments accumulate in the tank, they form a barrier between the burner and the water. This can reduce the energy efficiency of the water heater and increase operating costs. Because sediment tends to build up at critical weld points, excessive heat can be concentrated in those areas, making the tank more likely to leak prematurely at those points.

The Hydro Cannon and Eliminator self-cleaning systems help reduce sediment build-up from settling in the tank by creating a rotating turbulence that keeps sediment particles moving. Pressurized incoming cold water is directed in such a way that it sweeps the bottom of the tank and all critical weld points. Then, the sediment particles are carried out with the next hot water draw instead of settling on the bottom of the tank.

Commercial water heaters are used in non-residential settings such as hospitals,
schools, hotels and office buildings. They typically operate at 140-180°F (60-82°C),
which is significantly higher than the 120-140°F (49-60°C) range for residential water heaters. The higher temperature can accelerate the oxidative effects caused by the presence of residual chlorine and chlorine-based products used to treat potable water.

UDEL polysulfone is highly resistant to the oxidative effects of chlorine at elevated temperatures, making it a viable material for this aggressive environment. “When we designed the Hydro Cannon and The Eliminator self-cleaning dip tubes, we looked for a high-performance plastic that could handle the hotter operating environment of a commercial water heater,” said Matt Schulz, standard commercial product manager of A.O. Smith Water Products Company. “Because the design is rather complicated to injection mold, we also needed a material that processed easily and consistently. We found those characteristics in UDEL polysulfone,” he added.

UDEL polysulfone is a tough, rigid, high-strength thermoplastic that excels in many fluid-handling applications. It has a heat deflection temperature of 345°F (174°C) and maintains its properties over a wide temperature range. It meets major global health and toxicology requirements, such as NSF Standard 61, WRc and KTW for drinking water applications, and is FDA compliant.
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