Insights from industry

Heat Transfer Fluids and Their Use in the Chemical Industry

banner insights from industryEdward CassTechnology Manager - Paratherm Heat Transfer FluidsParatherm

In this interview, AZoM talks to Edward Cass, Technology Manager at Paratherm Heat Transfer Fluids, about their work in the chemical industry and the heat transfer fluid field in particular.

Chemicals are a big part of our everyday life. Chemistry is found around us in the foods we eat, the shampoo we wash our hair with and the paints we use in our houses.

These are considered specialty chemicals and are mostly organic in composition. They are made by careful development and researched extensively, which is the main variable between them and commodity chemicals. 

These specialty chemicals provide a wide variety of effects and their materials are used based on the performance or purpose. Some examples of specialty chemicals are adhesives, cleaning materials, colors, cosmetic additives, construction chemicals, elastomers, flavors, food additives, fragrances, industrial gases, lubricants, paints and textiles. 

Equipment such as distillation towers, extractors, chillers, tank heating and waste recovery units are used for applications using specialty chemicals. Heat transfer fluids are also used in many specialty chemical applications.

Paratherm works with major industries to supply heat transfer fluid for this diverse market. Our variety of heat transfer fluids can be used for maintaining high temperatures or for extreme process cooling or exothermic heat removal. 

We provide technical support for all different applications and promote the importance of maintaining the life of your system with proper maintenance and fluid analysis.

Please ​​​​​Could You Provide a Brief Overview of Paratherm and the Work They Do?

Paratherm – Heat Transfer Fluids, a Division of The Lubrizol Corporation, has been in business for over 30 years.

The premier provider of engineered heat transfer fluids in the industry, Paratherm offers a range of products and services, including a wide range of heat transfer fluids (currently eight fluids and three cleaners) covering temperatures from ‐137°F to +650°F.

The company’s vast network of distributors and warehousing locations throughout North America and globally enables us to offer regional service and quick delivery. 

We proudly offer an extensive fluid analysis program. Paratherm performs real-time testing in our in-house, state-of-the-art ISO 9001 certified laboratory. Each report gives an in-depth analysis of the current condition of your fluid. 

Our technical specialists perform a combination of laboratory testing to provide an effective analysis, which includes our recommendations for continued maintenance and how to extend the life of your fluid.

Paratherm is also a resource for all your training, troubleshooting and technical questions, housing an extensive resource library on our website full of safety, maintenance and technical information.

Paratherm is available to help and provide 24/7 emergency response, providing superior service for all your fluid-related needs.

Specialty Chemicals: How are They Produced, and Why Do They Require such Careful Development?

The term ‘specialty chemicals’ encompasses thousands of unique chemical structures and/or formulations whose composition influences the performance and processing of the end product.

Unlike commodity chemicals, specialty chemicals are usually batch processed and have only a few core applications. Because they have only a few targeted end-uses, they require carefully controlled processes to meet and maintain finished product integrity and quality standards.

Why Do Particular Processes and Materials Require such Specific Chemicals?

There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to chemistry. Specialized chemicals are used to produce the medicines we need, the food we eat, the self-care products we require etc.

Different chemistries have different properties, so the appropriate chemistry must be chosen for best performance in a given application. For example, many synthetic motor oils contain specialty esters, which improve the performance of the oil.

Similarly, cooking oils contain natural esters that are safe to eat and help to produce delicious food. Even though both oils contain esters, you would not want to cook with motor oil, and you would not want to add olive oil to the car engine. The chemistries are specific for the intended purpose.  

What are Heat Transfer Fluids, and Why are They Important?

Heat transfer fluids can collectively be defined as any fluid explicitly used to transfer heat (to or from) a process. The world’s most used heat transfer fluid is water, but water has temperature and pressure limitations that restrict its use for certain applications.

When water will not work, there are several other classes of fluids available to the practitioner, such as organic, hydrocarbon-based heat transfer fluids, glycols, silicone fluids and others.

The importance of heat transfer fluids is their specific physical and chemical properties that enable performance in niche applications and demanding conditions. Heat transfer fluids are the lifeblood of numerous manufacturing technologies in a wide range of applications.

Where are Heat Transfer Fluids Used, and What are Their Key Properties?

Heat transfer fluids are a unique category of specialized fluids used in all sorts of industrial applications requiring uniform heating or cooling capabilities, often at temperature extremes.

Some applications include tank heating, chemical processing, gas processing, adhesive manufacturing, plastics manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, food processing and much more.

As far as key properties, heat transfer fluids typically have low viscosity, moderate density, excellent thermal stability, good low temperature fluidity and robust compatibility with a wide range of materials (elastomers, piping etc.).

Other properties such as thermal conductivity, heat capacity and vapor pressure are also key for system engineers.

What Kind of Challenges Does Paratherm Face in Producing Heat Transfer Fluids?

Heat transfer fluids often require specialized raw materials to produce, so production challenges include raw material procurement and supply chain. In addition, finished product specifications tend to have tight tolerances. Therefore, sophisticated processing and tight quality control may be necessary.

What Do You See as the Future of the Specialty Chemical and the Heat Transfer Field?

Paratherm | Heat Transfer Fluids | Hot-Oil Technology Made Easy

Performance requirements of heat transfer fluids are likely to be quite important as the specialty chemicals industry grows. Unique products with extreme capabilities will likely see growth. This may include very high or very low temperature products, nanofluids, functional fluids etc.

I expect to see growth with new and improved technologies utilizing heat transfer fluids as well as emerging application areas in the renewable energy sector. While fluid technology is unlikely to see significant changes, global consumption of specialized heat transfer fluids is expected to increase in the next ten years.

Where Can Readers Find More Information?

Paratherm offers an abundance of resources on its website at Visitors may find information regarding system operation, troubleshooting, product information & selection and much more.

About the Researcher

Edward Cass is the Technology Manager at Paratherm Heat Transfer Fluids. He has extensive experience in the chemical processing industry and formulation of specialty fluids.

Edward is a member of the NFPA 87 Technical Committee and is currently chairman of the Philadelphia Section of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE).


This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Paratherm.

For more information on this source, please visit Paratherm.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.


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