Freon Reaction to Metal
Most of the commonly used construction metals, such as steel, cast iron, brass, copper, tin, lead, and aluminum, can be used satisfactorily with the Freon compounds under normal conditions of use. At high temperatures some of the metals may act as catalysts for the breakdown of the compound. The tendency of metals to promote thermal decomposition of the Freon compounds is in the following general order. Those metals that least promote thermal decomposition are listed first.
■ Stainless steel
■ 1340 steel
The above order is only approximate. Exceptions may be found for individual Freon compounds or for special conditions of use.
Magnesium alloys and aluminum containing more than 2 percent magnesium are not recommended for use in systems containing Freon compounds where water may be present. Zinc is not recommended for use with Freon 113. Experience with zinc and other Freon compounds has been limited and no unusual reactivity has been observed. However, it is more chemically reactive than other common construction metals. Thus, it would seem wise to avoid its use with the Freon compounds unless adequate testing is carried out.
Some metals may be questionable for use in applications requiring contact with Freon compounds for long periods of time or unusual conditions of exposure. These metals, however, can be cleaned safely with Freon solvents. Cleaning applications are usually for short exposures at moderate temperatures.
Most halocarbons may react violently with highly reactive materials, such as sodium, potassium, and barium in their free metallic form. Materials become more reactive when finely grinded or powdered. In this state, magnesium and aluminum may react with fluorocarbons, especially at higher temperatures. Highly reactive materials should not be brought into contact with fluorocarbons until a careful study is made and appropriate safety precautions are taken.