In the southeastern part of the Las Vegas Valley lies the Black Mountain Industrial (BMI) complex. In 1941, this site was used to produce magnesium for World War II. After the war ended the need for magnesium decreased and the site is now used for the production of chemicals and titanium. The sites harsh sunlight, poor air and poor water quality make it an ideal setting to test the corrosion resistance of a cooling tower.
The harsh outdoor environment lead to a buildup of dirt and pollutants on the outside of the tower. The untreated hard Lake Mead water lead to scale buildup and biological growth. But even after 25 years of this abuse the Delta Cooling Tower shells showed no signs of corrosion or degradation. Harsh Sunlight From sun up to sunset, the sun shines 85% of the time. Making it one of the sunniest locations in the United States. Poor Air Quality The titanium facility on the BMI Complex emits large amounts of sulfur dioxide into the air. This sulfur dioxide reacts with oxygen in the air to form sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid accelerates the typical rate of atmospheric corrosion by several orders of magnitude. Poor Water Quality The BMI complex receives its water directly from Lake Mead without filtration from the Southern Nevada Water Authority. The water entering the cooling tower is very hard and untreated. In 1984, eight HDPE Pioneer forced draft units were installed two years later four HDPE Paragon induced draft towers were installed. This gives an average life of over 25 years per tower.
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