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Silver kill coil causing corrosion?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hey OCN.

Im having a discussion with a member on Overclockers AU who thinks that silver kill coils will "enhance" corrosion, His exact words.
Does he have any fact there?

I know alot of this got started because of EKs cheap plating, but does silver actually "enhance" or start corrosion?
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post #2 of 8
It's not the silver but the nickel that causes the issue. There was an issue a while back with EK doing something wrong with their plating or something of their blocks.

Silver is non-reactive, it's not doing anything to his block.
post #3 of 8
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post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakusonfire View Post


That there is only to cover their asses
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post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by trust-no-1 View Post

Hey OCN.

Im having a discussion with a member on Overclockers AU who thinks that silver kill coils will "enhance" corrosion, His exact words.
Does he have any fact there?

I know alot of this got started because of EKs cheap plating, but does silver actually "enhance" or start corrosion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by compuman145 View Post

It's not the silver but the nickel that causes the issue. There was an issue a while back with EK doing something wrong with their plating or something of their blocks.

Silver is non-reactive, it's not doing anything to his block.

To say that silver is non-reactive and nickel is the problem is a gross oversimplification that misrepresents how and why corrosion happens (the two metals, whichever they may be, are equally "to blame").

There is always the potential for corrosion any time you have different metals involved, period. The relevant question is, how great is that potential, and is it small enough that for most people it is not a significant factor over the length of time between changing coolant or components in your loop, and can effectively be disregarded. For the most commonly used metals in watercooling loops (copper, nickel, brass), the galvanic potentials are small but they are not zero. The potential between these and silver is slightly higher but still within a reasonable limit if you flush your loop a few times a year and don't operate under unusually high coolant temps (which would accelerate the reactions).

In brief, corrosion happens when you have two dissimilar metals in physical contact, in the presence of an electrolyte. Since most people's use of silver in watercooling is as an isolated killcoil that is not in direct contact with other metals, its role in facilitating corrosion is that it slowly leaches free ions into the coolant. Ironically, this is precisely why silver is effective as a germicide (microbes can't grow as effectively in the presence of free silver ions), but this also by definition turns the coolant into a mild electrolyte. Once again though, the extent to which this happens in most people's loops is very, very low and can effectively be disregarded provided the loop is properly maintained.

So yes, putting a silver killcoil in your loop does introduce an increased potential for corrosion but for most people it is still small enough that it won't cause problems.

As far as the plating problems are concerned, this point has to do with the other half of corrosion, having two metals in direct contact. Corrosion in a loop will tend to happen at the metal-to-metal interfaces eg. where you have a brass fitting in contact with a copper block or rad, or where there is a pore or other fault in a plated component. The latter was what caused all the problems with EK's plating a few years ago. It was believed to be due to improper cleaning of the copper before plating, which left tiny specks of impurities on the surface that caused tiny holes to occur in the plating. Those pores exposed the copper-nickel interface to the coolant and became corrosion points that undermined the surrounding plating. They (and other manufacturers) have since moved to a more robust plating procedure so problems of that nature aren't as common.
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post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by threephi View Post


To say that silver is non-reactive and nickel is the problem is a gross oversimplification that misrepresents how and why corrosion happens (the two metals, whichever they may be, are equally "to blame").

There is always the potential for corrosion any time you have different metals involved, period. The relevant question is, how great is that potential, and is it small enough that for most people it is not a significant factor over the length of time between changing coolant or components in your loop, and can effectively be disregarded. For the most commonly used metals in watercooling loops (copper, nickel, brass), the galvanic potentials are small but they are not zero. The potential between these and silver is slightly higher but still within a reasonable limit if you flush your loop a few times a year and don't operate under unusually high coolant temps (which would accelerate the reactions).

In brief, corrosion happens when you have two dissimilar metals in physical contact, in the presence of an electrolyte. Since most people's use of silver in watercooling is as an isolated killcoil that is not in direct contact with other metals, its role in facilitating corrosion is that it slowly leaches free ions into the coolant. Ironically, this is precisely why silver is effective as a germicide (microbes can't grow as effectively in the presence of free silver ions), but this also by definition turns the coolant into a mild electrolyte. Once again though, the extent to which this happens in most people's loops is very, very low and can effectively be disregarded provided the loop is properly maintained.

So yes, putting a silver killcoil in your loop does introduce an increased potential for corrosion but for most people it is still small enough that it won't cause problems.

As far as the plating problems are concerned, this point has to do with the other half of corrosion, having two metals in direct contact. Corrosion in a loop will tend to happen at the metal-to-metal interfaces eg. where you have a brass fitting in contact with a copper block or rad, or where there is a pore or other fault in a plated component. The latter was what caused all the problems with EK's plating a few years ago. It was believed to be due to improper cleaning of the copper before plating, which left tiny specks of impurities on the surface that caused tiny holes to occur in the plating. Those pores exposed the copper-nickel interface to the coolant and became corrosion points that undermined the surrounding plating. They (and other manufacturers) have since moved to a more robust plating procedure so problems of that nature aren't as common.

Thanks for the amazing explanation. +rep
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post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by trust-no-1 View Post

That there is only to cover their asses

So are they just covering their asses where they say "Do not use aluminium and bare copper together" too?

Its not, "this is not recommended", its "do not mix silver and Nickel" full stop.
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Kusanagi
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post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by trust-no-1 View Post

Thanks for the amazing explanation. +rep
smile.gif Glad you found it useful
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