FOR SOME years past, considerable research work has been carried out with a view to determining the most suitable materials for house construction and equipment. As is usual in most things worth while, the horizons involved in this research work are far-reaching.
Today, as in the case of other industries, materials for building construction are rolling on the mass-production line— windows, doors, furnaces, oil equipment, switches, and so on ad infinitum. This development requires research to a degree far greater than the building industry has been engaged in hitherto.
The development of noncorrosive metals for use in residential construction is an outstanding example of what is being done. Take, for instance, the nonrusting material now used for hot-water tanks—a copper silicon-manganese alloy, containing no zinc. Next to oxygen, silicon is the chief constituent in the solid crust of the earth, where it occurs as oxide in various forms such as sand, quartz, flint, opal, or in the form of silicate. Aluminum silicate is the most commonly produced in Canada.
This alloy of copper silicon-manganese was developed to meet the demand for a metal having strength approaching that of steel, and the nonrusting and corrosiveresisting qualities of copper.
One of its values lies in the use of this alloy for domestic hot-water tanks. One advantage is that in obtaining the required water temperatures, fuel consumption is less than is required to heat water in an iron tank. Another advantage is lessened internal deposits. When the water is heated, the carbon dioxide is driven off.
which causes the carbonate to precipitate in a very fine form. This precipitation cannot be prevented by using copper, but copper with its smooth inside surfaces, which are not affected appreciably over a period of time, does not allow the carbonate to attach itself so easily, and most of it, therefore, is carried along with the water and comes out through the tap.
Many home owners, in different parts of the Dominion, have experienced trouble because of lime forming in water service pipes made of iron. Actual experience has shown that where iron and copper pipe have been in identically the same service, the iron pipe is generally blocked with rust and lime, while the copper pipe has practically no precipitate on its inside surface.
Quite a few cases have come before my notice, during the last year or two, of galvanized-iron water tanks being discarded on account of rust causing leaks. These have been replaced with tanks made of copper silicon-manganese alloy, with excellent results.
This alloy is also being used for range boilers, and different types of independent heating units, which have been hitherto made principally of steel.
“Modems” are not content with rusty hot water, or costly maintenance of plumbing services, as evidenced by the increased demand for copper siliconmanganese alloy water-storage tanks.
In spite of such advantages, it is absolutely essential to remember that under no circumstances should any domestic hotwater tank, regardless of the metal with which it is made, be operated without a suitable pressure relief valve.
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