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Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 6:58 AM

Hi, a time ago one of our laborers misadjusted the lid of a large borosilicate shell - coil type cooler and broke it.

The shell of the cooler measures about 1000 millimeter in length (40´´) x 300 millimeter (15´´) diameter. Glass is about 30 mm (1 ¼¨) thick.

The cracked area is the entire circumference of one end of the cooler (looks as if it had been beheaded).

First idea was to replace the cooler, but 15,000 U$ a piece were an argument important enough to search for a “B” Plan first.

Second alternative was to hire some “expert” to repair it. Some guys came and after a couple of Hmm´s and Oh´s did not show up again.

The coil (where the fluid to be cooled passes trough) is intact. The coolant (water) circulates between the spirals of the coil and the inner wall of the shell at a pressure that can be regulated, but lesser than 14 PSI (1 Kg/cm2)

My idea is to have it thoroughly cleaned and degreased, to glue all the small chips together using some aneroid adhesive like those used to attach mirrors to windshields, and finally to perform a bandage using some epoxy composite like a woven material (fiberglass, Kevlar or carbon fiber) soaked in resin.

Any other ideas?

The nature of the liquid to be cooled (Acrylic Acid) makes it impossible to use cheaper materials like stainless steel because it gets rapidly corroded by the acid, which also gets contaminated, inhibiting a sought chemical reaction.

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#1

Re: Glass cooler repair

09/12/2017 7:57 AM

How much does downtime cost?

Why is there no strategic spare in the Stores?

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Glass cooler repair

09/12/2017 8:21 AM

This is a product we consume in very small quantities and therefore manufacture a 200 liters batch once a year.

Currently we have a provision of 300 liters. For the next 18 months downtime cost will be close to 0.

This is not the main core of our business and -given the case- a product we can discontinue if it gets troublesome. Under no circumstance it deserves having a strategic spare (15K U$) sleeping on a shelf for years.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Glass cooler repair

09/12/2017 8:27 AM

So, why does this material need cooling at all?

Why can't it air cool instead of passing through an exchanger?

What are the other ways of letting it cool?

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Glass cooler repair

09/12/2017 8:37 AM

The cooler is installed at a port of a glass lined reactor that operates at 100ºC at atmospheric pressure. Corrosive fumes / vapors are very effectively condensed in this glass cooler so they drip back into the reactor.

It cannot be air cooled because it is very corrosive to most materials except glass.

There are no other ways to cool it down.

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#8
In reply to #4

Re: Glass cooler repair

09/12/2017 9:01 AM

So where is the separation taking place, if the cooled material is returned to the reactor? The need for the cooling operation is still not clear, as the reactor could, in principle, be sealed closed if there is no separation taking place.

Is it time to consult a Process Engineer locally?

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#16
In reply to #8

Re: Glass cooler repair

09/12/2017 10:29 AM

Hi, the OP is referred to the repair of a gadget made of glass, not about the process it is used for. The process has been professionally designed and the resulting product exceeds specific ISO standards.

Should you be interested in further explanations about the manufacturing process of Polycarboxylate, please PM me and I will gladly share this info with you

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#5

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 8:51 AM
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#7
In reply to #5

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 9:01 AM

Hi Tony, ten years ago there were several hundreds subscribers connected to CR4 24/7. Because of smart guys like you (who suppose the rest of us are fools) nowadays there is only a handful.

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#30
In reply to #7

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 10:24 PM

The numbers posting has probably dropped due to inane questions being asked by people who can’t be bothered to look for answers.

Bespoke laboratory glass wear is available if you care to look for it.

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#31
In reply to #30

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/13/2017 1:45 AM

Some models might look really good in glass wear.

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#6

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 9:00 AM

Good luck gluing it together. My experience with broken glass is that there are always tiny shards missing when I try to reassemble. You might want to investigate any reactions between Acrylic Acid and the glue you are planning to use.

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#9
In reply to #6

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 9:03 AM

There will be only water in contact with the glue.

I called Henkel. They suggested me to use an adhesive based on modified silane.

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#10

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 9:28 AM

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#14
In reply to #10

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 9:56 AM

One of the "features" of super glue is that it is water soluble.

This "especially for glass" version may be different, but, I doubt it.

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#11

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 9:39 AM

Any epoxy which is recommended for glass will glue and fill any gaps if there are bits missing.

Sounds as though the broken part is not critical so any reasonable fix should work OK.

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#20
In reply to #11

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 10:58 AM

I have been doing some research during the last days and (against my previous knowledge) Epoxys seem to have more cons than pro´s in the repair of glass.

Henkel recommended the use of modified silanes for gluing the bits together and also wrapping it in a bandage wit silicone for reinforcing the tube

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#25
In reply to #20

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 1:14 PM

I certainly won't argue with the experts, and silicone will be more forgiving to thermal expansion differentials than epoxies.

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#12

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 9:47 AM

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#18
In reply to #12

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 10:40 AM

Well, certain industrial processes are as depicted in this drawing.

Pancake manufacturing is WAY more complex than brewing our juice in the reactor!

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#13

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 9:51 AM

Call the folks at Norland. Their business is making hard curing adhesives for bonding glass together.

Dentists use UV curing cements for lots of dental work, and those cements last for years under a variety of stresses (biting can create a surprisingly large pressure in terms of pounds per square inch) and with a lot of moisture around.

A lot of UV curable adhesives are used in military programs that have to withstand a tremendous variety of environmental conditions.

http://www.norlandprod.com/UVdefault.html

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#15

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 10:11 AM

Calling Henkel was a right first step. Asking them,or Norland, is always better than asking the forum, because we all think the goop we used to repair our broken widget is the best.

There's probably no way to etch, or roughen the glass surface with acid, but even sanding with 180-220 grit paper would help with adhesion. Kevlar may be overkill and is difficult to cut besides.

Again, the advice of an adhesives manufacturer is always best.

Good Luck.

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#17
In reply to #15

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 10:37 AM

Hy Lyn, thanks for your input! I agree with you about asking these companies, but I also consider important to share the experience of other people, and mainly what NOT to do in a given case.

On the other hand, CR4 would die shortly after no one had questions to make or ideas to share.... but I may be wrong.....

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#19

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 10:43 AM

I agree, it's worth a shot. If it works, you're way ahead.

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#21

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 11:59 AM

I like your idea, it's the direction I'd take as well. Finding the right adhesive will probably be the biggest challenge.

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#22

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 12:01 PM

Is this the shape?

A glass worker can remelt the glass together...

http://www.adamschittenden.com/Repairs.php

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 12:17 PM

Yes, it is more or less the shape, the difference is that ours is massive: it weights about 30 kilos (60 pounds) and is (at least 3 times longer than the condenser in the picture)

I called a company specialized in glass repairs, but they said borosilicate glass (Pyrex type) cannot be repaired.

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#24
In reply to #23

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 12:54 PM

I think they must have meant by them....it most definitely can be repaired...

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#28
In reply to #24

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 2:03 PM

know what you mean, but the "expert" declined to do the job: perhaps because what he can charge for the repair does not cover the troubles he may get into if (as very possible) something goes wrong....

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#26

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 1:52 PM

I know for a fact that Loctite 349 (UV curable) will work on borosilicate glass. I used it to repair my 3D printer plate several years ago.

Whether it will stand up to the chemicals?

Good Luck!

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 1:57 PM

Well, that is exactly the adhesive Henkel did recommend. The adhesive will never be in contact with the chemicals, as the shell (containing water) is the broken part.

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#29
In reply to #27

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/12/2017 2:55 PM

Cyanoacrylates have come a very long since the old days of "superglue" and the UV curing adhesives used by my dentist seem to stand up very well inside my mouth and that's one hostile environment for sure.

I think you are on the correct path.

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#32

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/13/2017 1:52 AM

One must wonder about the 30mm shell thickness, which seems way excessive. I haven't researched the strength values, but a few layers of duct tape might be enough to fix this. For that matter, what would keep this from being an open-top vessel with the water at atmospheric pressure plus a bit to maintain flow?

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#33

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/13/2017 2:07 AM

How bout J B water weld , they claim it sticks to glass

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#34

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/13/2017 7:10 AM

You might like to contact a local university that specialises in either medical or chemical engineering.

There is often some boffin hidden away in a basement the specialises in making laboratory glassware who would just love this challenge.

Worst case they could make a glass sleeve and shrink/fuse that over the failed section. I understand that this only contains the coolant and so the minor eddies around the fracture would not be an issue.

Alternately, contact the distilleries. I've heard that alternate designs are now available (cousin does a little home brew) that provide better efficiency than previous.

Alternately, find the other customer who bought the same/similar unit and subcontract to them for the day or so that you need to make each year's usage.

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#35

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/13/2017 9:45 AM

Have you looked into Teflon lined steel? Glass-lined steel? Surely there exists a better answer than what you have on hand now. I agree the methoxy silanes are probably better glass bonding agents that anything else being considered.

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#36

Re: Glass Cooler Repair

09/13/2017 11:57 AM

years ago I had some broken lab glassware.

The glass blower at the local university did absolute magic with it.

I always found the universities had amazing resources - but you have to chat them up.

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