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Info: What Is Galvanic Corrosion?

post #1 of 11
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What Is Galvanic Corrosion?

-Galvanic Corrosion is an electrochemical process in which two dissimilar metals, combined in an electrolyte, will proceed to corrode each other. The process tends to prefer an electric current; this can be seen if you've ever done the "corrode a penny" science experiment. Contrary to popular belief, using 100% distilled water in your water-cooling loop will not decrease the rate of corrosion; this is because water is, by chemical nature, an electrolyte and will continue to be as such even when all its impurities have been removed. Distilled water can actually be counter-intuitive, but we'll take a look at this in a second.


How does galvanic corrosion occur in my water-cooling loop?
Galvanic corrosion occurs by definition; you have two dissimilar metals in your water cooling loop (most likely a combination of aluminum and copper, but it can be different). When these two metals corrode, the particles stay circulated in your loop and thus the corrosion gets worse and worse, to the point where the individual particles will corrode the opposite metal.

Why shouldn't I use 100% distilled water in my cooling loop?
True, distilled water is better than regular tap-water for a number of reasons that any experienced water-cooler will tell you. Algae and microbial growth is less of a problem, the salts in impure water can increase the rate of corrosion and decrease performance, etc. However, using 100% distilled water can end up being counter-productive to what you are aiming for, and it can even damage your water block(s).
Why? To find this answer, I had to do a bit of research on the chemical properties of water... this is the basic lay of it.

Distilled water is almost completely pure H20 , and therefore the water has an extremely low concentration of ions in the solution. Chemically, the solution will attempt to restore equilibrium to it's own solution, and it will remove ions from the nearest possible source of ions... that happens to be the metal in your water block. Therefore, 100% distilled water is not recommended, as it can slowly but surely eat away the metallic surface on your water block. Coupled with the effects of galvanic corrosion, You're likely to have a short investment on that brand new Apogee you paid an arm and leg for.

What can I do to avoid all this?
Research everything you're buying! All water block/water-cooling companies will give you info on what materials their products are machined out of, especially something as chemically and thermally crucial as the metal of a heat dissipater. Make sure the substances aren't mixing; only buy a completely copper or a completely aluminum setup.

Hope this clears some stuff up.

Got another question? I'll answer
Edited by SentryOptic - 5/27/08 at 11:18pm
    
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post #2 of 11
Nice write up SentryOptic!
    
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post #3 of 11
IT"S ABOUT TIME SOMONE WROTE THIS

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post #4 of 11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedRaider View Post
IT"S ABOUT TIME SOMONE WROTE THIS

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lol

danke
    
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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
bumpz for teh info
    
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post #6 of 11
good stuff, however...

Quote:
Why shouldn't I use 100% distilled water in my cooling loop?
True, distilled water is better than regular tap-water for a number of reasons that any experienced water-cooler will tell you. Algae and microbial growth is less of a problem, the salts in impure water can increase the rate of corrosion and decrease performance, etc. However, using 100% distilled water can end up being counter-productive to what you are aiming for, and it can even damage your water block(s).
Why? To find this answer, I had to do a bit of research on the chemical properties of water... this is the basic lay of it.

Distilled water is almost completely pure H20 , and therefore the water has an extremely low concentration of ions in the solution. Chemically, the solution will attempt to restore equilibrium to it's own solution, and it will remove ions from the nearest possible source of ions... that happens to be the metal in your water block. Therefore, 100% distilled water is not recommended, as it can slowly but surely eat away the metallic surface on your water block. Coupled with the effects of galvanic corrosion, You're likely to have a short investment on that brand new Apogee you paid an arm and leg for.
... i believe ur refering 2 "deionized" water, not distilled water. distilled is just the steam from boiled water and only loses particles and organic growths. deionized water actually has the ions stripped off the particles n the water, but doesn't remove the particles. this allows 4 the water 2 pull the ions off other materials 2 even itself out.
    
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post #7 of 11
Maybe if possible some recommendations on liquids to use or whatever ? I know Zero about the topic but after i read it i was left thinking, what the heck do you use if not regular water not distilled so was expecting some formula or something. Left me hanging in a way. Other than that if i ever go extreme to WC ill be sure to buy similiar metals so Thanks
    
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post #8 of 11
simple 100% distilled water mixed with a suitable "coolant", likely an ethyl glycol base, plus some biocide will prove 2 b the best results, if i'm not mistaken.

just stick with copper/brass/nickel metals and any plastic u want and u'll b fine.
    
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post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by smokinbonz View Post
Maybe if possible some recommendations on liquids to use or whatever ? I know Zero about the topic but after i read it i was left thinking, what the heck do you use if not regular water not distilled so was expecting some formula or something. Left me hanging in a way. Other than that if i ever go extreme to WC ill be sure to buy similiar metals so Thanks
Distlled water with your choice of coolants. I prefer the VW auto coolant, it's a pretty blue, in a 10 or 11 to one ratio with some petra biocide.
    
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post #10 of 11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eRazorzEDGE View Post
good stuff, however...



... i believe ur refering 2 "deionized" water, not distilled water. distilled is just the steam from boiled water and only loses particles and organic growths. deionized water actually has the ions stripped off the particles n the water, but doesn't remove the particles. this allows 4 the water 2 pull the ions off other materials 2 even itself out.
Distilled water by nature has a low concentration of ions in it . Deionized water is completely drained of ions, which I would assume isn't a very smart idea in the first place either

However, simply boiling water and recooling it doesn't completely distill water. You are still left with some minerals such as calcium and iron.

Quote:
Distilled water should ideally be nothing but hydrogen and oxygen molecules, with a PH level of 7 and no additional gases, minerals or contaminants.


Quote:
Originally Posted by smokinbonz View Post
Maybe if possible some recommendations on liquids to use or whatever ? I know Zero about the topic but after i read it i was left thinking, what the heck do you use if not regular water not distilled so was expecting some formula or something. Left me hanging in a way. Other than that if i ever go extreme to WC ill be sure to buy similiar metals so Thanks
The idea is that the water speeds up the rate of galvanic corrosion. If you don't have two dissimilar metals in the loop in the first place, than you shouldn't have much of a problem

Thank you both for the info, I will read it when rewriting the initial article.
    
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