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  • Writer's pictureBarry Michael Aldridge

Flotec Focus: Electrochemical Degradation (ECD) in Coolant Hoses.

Updated: May 18, 2021

Did you know? Electrochemical Degradation (ECD) is the NUMBER ONE cause of coolant hose failure?

There is a great deal of published research and online evidence available to prove this to be the case.

Electrochemical degradation (ECD) can result in critical asset downtime and incurred cost across a wide range of uses and applications.

ECD is caused when different metals in the cooling system generate an electrical charge which is then carried to various other components by the coolant.

Overtime, this phenomenon can weaken the coolant hose by creating internal cracks. Both Silicone and standard EPDM coolant hoses suffer from this issue.

These cracks penetrate the internal hosing wall, exposing the reinforcement fibres whereby these fibres are then attacked by the coolant, resulting in failure.

Furthermore, ECD creates hostile particles with the potential to harm system efficiency.

Unfortunately, due to the internal nature of the damage, it often goes unnoticed until failure occurs. There is, however, a way to mitigate the risk.

Electrochemical degradation usually begins towards the ends of the coolant hose where the electric charge is at its greatest due to the metal components. It is wise to check for potential degradation.

This can be done by pressing the ends of the hose and comparing their ‘feel’ to the middle sections.

If the ends are softer and ‘spongier’ than the middle, this is a good indicator and warning sign that the coolant hose is being affected and attacked by ECD.

In fact, ECD has been a commonly known fault for many years where it is has been and still often is mistakenly thought to be caused by an aging hose. The hose is then replaced on a like-for-like basis making ECD a cycle of continuing failure.

The solution is to immediately fit new hosing while being aware that the replacement coolant hosing should be capable of combatting electrochemical degradation.

The Gates Bluestripe coolant hose has been proven to be electrochemically resistant and is the best way to ensure that the issue of ECD is successfully addressed.

Flotec uses this type of hose to great effect in the rail sector.

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