Why are radiators made of cast iron

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some radiators are very good looking and have rather refined patterns in the casting. Steam and cast iron, IMO, is the best way to heat. Hot water is better for the lower temperature, but steam allows heat to be transported longer distances from the boiler without the use of pumps.
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Steam radiators don't have to be very hot.
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I don't know that ALL radiators are made of cast iron, mostly old radiators made around the time of WWII and earlier were cast iron. These days many are fined tubes, or other materials. The ones used in Europe seem to be made from pressed sheet steel.
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Radiators made in Europe are indeed made of pressed steel. Cast iron radiators went out in the 1950's. They rely on the water inside being chemically treated to prevent corrosion. (The pipes are often copper). Hower we are moving away from this technology towards plastic pipes buried in the floor (usually though not always concrete). Water temperatures are then much lower so increasing boiler efficiency. Boiler efficiencies of over 100% are possible.
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Untrue. In a closed system, once all of the dissolved oxygen reacts with the iron, no further oxidation will take place (unless additional oxygen is introduced later).
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wrote:

The cast iron radiators are most likely used on a single pipe system, along with an open sump. Air is introduced at the sump and if the water isn't treated, it can cause excessive rusting. Yes, closed systems are different, though.
--
Nonny


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On Mar 11, 9:56pm, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

Unfortunately not true. Due to the dissimilar metals in the system, electrolytic corrosion takes place without oxygen, the results are black iron oxide and hydrogen gas. Due to the development of condensing boilers made of aluminium/ stainless steel the problem is worse than ever. Chemicals to prevent this are vital in such a system.
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Sam Takoy wrote:

Because straw isn't very durable?
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wrote:

Longevity and durability. Penitentiaries built in the 30s had cast iron radiators. This was before Jimmy Hoffa ever walked the line.
Originally a coal fired plant that was later up dated, but the radiators never changed.
In '92 radiators were still used after 60 years? (service/maintenance).
Al Capone walked the same corridors, before his transfer to Alcatraz.
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Sam Takoy wrote:

Because at the time they were invented, cast iron was cheap, and there were already foundries in place that new how to make stuff out of it. And properly brewed and cast, they also last close enough to forever, that looking for other materials didn't seem cost effective. If it ain't broke, etc.
When the era of enclosed radiators started, and people wanted smaller radiators that didn't suck up so much wall space, they did bring out copper with fins inside a sheet metal box.
Weight and convenience didn't matter that much, other than to the poor SOB pipe-fitter installing them. Not like most of them ever moved once installed. And cast iron, unlike finned copper, has a lot of mass, and stays warm longer after the steam or water cycles off. That buffers the temp swings in the room, a little. Anybody know what year they started attaching fans to room radiators?
-- aem sends...
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Wood would really suck.
Jimmie
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The only benifit of cast iron is it doesn't rust much. There are lots of disadvantages. As they are made in sections they often leak if taken out and the joints are stressed. They are very expensive and labour intensive to make. They heat up and cool slowly due to their mass.
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As compared to copper or aluminum, which ... don't rust at all, actually.

Yeah, that's a pretty frequent occurrence, too, taking them out and stressing the joints.

What planet did you grow up on?

That is one of the biggest advantages.
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Doug Miller wrote:

huh? rust is the metal changing into an oxide. both copper and aluminium rust, forming copper oxide (green) and aluminim oxide (white). they just don't rust orange like iron does.
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Wrong. Rust is, by definition, hydrated iron oxide. Copper and aluminum *oxidize*, but only iron can rust.
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On Thu, 11 Mar 2010 23:27:52 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

Oxides of copper and aluminum are not porous, either (oxidation stops quickly). Rust is.
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Oxidation of iron stops pretty quickly, too, as long as it stays dry.
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On Fri, 12 Mar 2010 03:34:44 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

We are talking about hydronic and steam heat systems.
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Yes, and there -- in closed systems, at least -- oxidation stops pretty quickly, too, as soon as the oxygen is used up.
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On Fri, 12 Mar 2010 11:03:15 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

Except that the systems aren't sealed. The oxygen is never "used up".
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