Viton™ Fluoroelastomer Caulk Stops Acid Damage at Municipal Pool

The Lebanon Community School system is located on the outskirts of Indianapolis, Ind., in the central part of the state. The Corporation serves approximately 3,500 students in four elementary schools, one middle school and one high school and comprises nine buildings.

Don Montgomery is director of facilities for the school system. He is responsible for all facility operations, housekeeping, grounds maintenance and any construction involving the buildings and their properties.

One of the buildings has a 200,000 gallon swimming pool and adjacent 50 x 20 foot mechanical room, which is used to store pool equipment and houses the chemicals and chlorinating equipment. Installed in the late 1980s, the pool is used by the Lebanon schools’ swim teams and is available to public groups such as the local YMCA.

In 2016, Montgomery decided to upgrade the pool’s chlorination process by purchasing an on-site chlorine generating system. This would improve safety because maintenance personnel would no longer have to handle the chlorine. And, it was more cost effective than purchasing and storing bulk chlorine on site.

To minimize additional chemical handling, Montgomery purchased a 500-gallon polypropylene feed tank, which injects the needed hydrochloric acid to control the water’s pH balance. At his specific request, the tank was sealed with gaskets made from Viton™ fluoroelastomer, which he regarded as critical to ensuring the tank’s integrity.

“The Viton™ gaskets were important,” said Montgomery. “I was very familiar with the Viton™ name and its reputation as an outstanding sealant, especially when using strong acids.”

However, within just two weeks of the tank’s installation, Montgomery and his staff noticed the smell of hydrochloric acid in the mechanical room. “You could already see corrosion on the door locks, motors, pumps, controls and electrical boxes – anything that was steel or stainless.”

Montgomery and his staff troubleshot the problem and soon discovered that an approximately 16-inch diameter access hole in the tank had been plugged and sealed by the manufacturer with a silicone sealant. “The hydrochloric acid had quickly eaten through the sealant, and the acidic vapor was seeping into the room. We wondered why the tank manufacturer hadn’t used a Viton™ caulk instead of silicone.”

Montgomery and his staff ended up having to replace a control board, motor and bearings at a cost of thousands of dollars. But, before they installed the new equipment, Montgomery wanted to solve the leakage problem. He knew he wanted a Viton™ fluoroelastomer caulk, so he started searching online. He soon discovered Pelseal® Technologies, LLC, a manufacturer of hundreds of custom, high-performance liquid fluoroelastomer caulks, coatings, sealants and adhesives. Many of the company’s products are manufactured using Viton™ fluoroelastomer. Each formulation features the unique properties of a fluoroelastomer: extreme chemical resistance, flexibility, high abrasion resistance and broad temperature range capability. Pelseal products also bond to a broad range of substrates, including metal, concrete, ceramic, Viton™ fluoroelastomer, neoprene, polyurethane, some plastics and other elastomers.

The company sent Montgomery a standard caulk tube (11-ounce (325ML) of Pelseal® 2690 Viton™ caulk. Pelseal® 2690 is a black, zero-VOC, one-part Viton™ caulk that provides flexibility and chemical resistance to a broad range of chemistry. The 2690 can be applied easily with a caulk gun and is suited for horizontal and vertical applications because of its non-sag flow characteristics. Each tube of caulk is re-sealable to prevent waste of the unused portion, and the shelf life is 12 months from the date of manufacturer’s certification.

“The caulk performed just as I expected from a product made with Viton™ fluoroelastomer,” said Montgomery. “Immediately there was no more acidic odor. And, of course, the corrosion of our equipment stopped.

“I wish I’d known about this product earlier. It could have saved us thousands of dollars in damaged equipment.”

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