What is SF6?

Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) is an odourless, colourless, non-flammable, inorganic, extremely potent greenhouse gas. This compound is formed when sulfur reacts with fluorinated gas that is produced by the electrolysis of anhydrous hydrofluoric acid (HF). It is a hypervalent molecule that has an octahedral geometry comprising of six fluorine atoms that are bound to a sulfur atom. SF6 is also a great dielectric gas that is used for high voltage applications. The gas remains chemically inert even at low temperatures and has many advantages due to its combined thermal, chemical, and electrical properties.

SF6 Properties

SF6 has properties that can allow equipment to become smaller, reliable and easy to handle and maintain, hence allowing the design of simplified high and medium voltage switchgear. Additionally, the compound has exceptional dielectric strength, very high electrical stability and arc-extinguishing performance under high voltages. SF6 has the ability to stabilize even if it were to be temporarily ionized or dissociated by an arc. Its low sublimation temperature and moderately high latent heat of vaporization are easy to detect even in trace amounts by halogen leak detectors. SF6 is used as an electric-devices insulating material because of its outstanding electrical properties and high chemical stability level.

SF6 has some non-electrical uses. In magnesium casting processes, SF6 based gas mixture is used to form a protective atmosphere that prevents the formation of detrimental byproducts. Some other foundry applications are those that use a mixture of N2/SF6 as purifying and degassing agents in aluminium casting.

SF6 has the following features

  • It is an inert, odourless, non-flammable, non-toxic, colourless gas with exceptional chemical and thermal stability.
  • SF6 is capable of remaining stable and will not decompose in conditions up to 1500 C. the compound will also not decompose in anhydrous conditions of up to 500¬0 C.
  • SF6 has a great dielectric strength that outdoes that of air 2 to 3 times at the same pressure, and performance at the same level as insulating oils at 3 to 4 atmospheres of pressure.
  • It has arc-extinguishing performance and will not generate conductive carbon deposits.
  • Has exceptional cooling effects and high general heat transfer coefficient that allows it to reduce energy losses from equipment and increase their output.
  • SF6 properties are significant in reducing costs as they can allow an equipment to become smaller in size and require less maintenance.

SF6 has the highest global warming potential of 22,000 times that of CO2 over a period of 100 years, making it the most potent greenhouse gas. Cooper’s Environmental offers you the best services when it comes to emptying and purging of your installation, accurate packaging and documentation and treatment of the used SF6. At Cooper’s, we are committed to ensuring that the SF6 collected at your facility does not, in any way, find its way to the environment. Our premises have enough facilities to perform a responsible disposal and is equipped enough to receive and recover every last trace of this niggling atmospheric pollutant from all SF6-insulated material.

The commitment that Cooper’s Environmental has in ensuring safe disposal of this pollutant is not to be taken lightly, and that is why we ensure that SF6 does not impact on our environment, whether it is recycled or destroyed.

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