Ferric Chloride, also known as Iron (III) Chloride, or Iron Trichloride among other names, is a chemical compound with the formula FeCl3. When dissolved in water, Ferric Chloride undergoes hydrolysis and produces heat in an exothermic reaction. The result is a brown, corrosive, and acidic solution. In 2010, about 2 million metric tons of Ferric Chloride were produced worldwide, with a yearly growth forecast of almost 3 percent. Wastewater applications and potable water treatment are the single largest consumers of Ferric Chloride worldwide, representing about 80% of the market, followed by use as an etching medium in producing printed circuit boards.
What Industry Applications Handle Ferric Chloride?
The following list represents some of the most common and largest applications of Ferric Chloride:
- As a purifying agent in water supply and as a coagulant in municipal and industrial wastewater treatment. In this application, Ferric chloride’s rapid hydrolysis in water makes it an ideal flocculating and precipitating agent. The ferric hydroxide (Fe[OH]3) produced forms flocs (small clumps or tufts) that adsorb suspended particles of various materials (e.g., colloids, clays and bacteria). The clumps, with the adsorbed matter, are then allowed to settle for easy removal. Ferric chloride forms precipitates with hydrogen sulfide (H2S), phosphate (PO4), arsenic as arsenate (AsO4) and hydroxide alkalinity (OH).
- As an oxidant in indigo blue dyestuff production.
- As an etching medium in producing printed circuit boards (PCBs).
- As a catalyst for the reaction of ethylene with chlorine, forming ethylene dichloride (1,2-dichloroethane), an important commodity chemical, which is mainly used for the industrial production of vinyl chloride, the monomer for making PVC.
Figure 1: Ferric Chloride Concentration and Pump Materials
A single or collection of material/s may be rated for a higher temperature/s then the pump as a whole is capable of. It is important to contact a March representative to determine if the pump as a complete unit is suitable for the concentration and temperature of any chemical.
How Does the Temperature and Viscosity of Ferric Chloride Affect Your Pump Choice?
To handle Ferric Chloride at room temperature, it is recommended to use a centrifugal sealless magnetic drive pump made of Kynar Plastic or Polypropylene and Encapsulated Impeller. Magnetic drive pumps are particularly effective in handling this corrosive and toxic acid, which can easily contaminate the surrounding area or endanger workers with the slightest leak.
When using Ferric Chloride with a magnetic drive pump, the design eliminates the need for traditional mechanical seals, which would be quickly suffer from wear related to heavy contact with the mating seal faces. The magnetic drive coupling concept is free of these seals and makes a fully sealed pump unit possible.
March Pump Can Help You Select the Correct Ferric Chloride Chemical Pump
March Pump manufactures chemical pumps specifically designed to handle Ferric Chloride in ranges of 5 GPM to 200 GPM. For assistance with selecting the correct Ferric Chloride pump for your specific concentration, temperature, gravity and application, get in touch with the March Pump team of engineers and experts today.