DEF's tendency to evaporate becomes a problem if it happens before the reduction process begins. DEF is supposed to contain 67.5 percent deionized water and 32.5 percent urea. If evaporation happens while in storage, the percentage of urea increases. This harms the process of selective catalytic reduction, which needs the proper proportion of water to work properly. It also makes DEF freeze at higher temperatures. The values are not lost when DEF is frozen. Once it is completely thawed, it is useable again. Since frozen DEF expands, causing breaking containment units and piping that result in wasted product, you should ensure DEF remains in liquid form at all costs.
How To Prevent Evaporation
The first step in preventing evaporation is to monitor the urea concentration of your DEF. With the proper equipment, you can perform regular tests on the fluid. You can test your DEF at your site with a portable Refractometer. This equipment measures the breaking index of fluid by light and the standard is defined by ISO 22241. If you find even a slight change in the urea concentration, investigate the tank immediately for any irregularities; you may be able to prevent further evaporation or contamination from occurring, and save the product before it's too late.
It is also important to make sure that the fluid is sealed off from the outside world. The better sealed your containment units are, the less likely that water vapor will be able to escape from the fluid. This method also prevents outside contaminants from getting into the stored DEF and spoiling it.
Evaporation, of course, is the result of overheating, so be sure to monitor the temperature of your DEF supplies. Many DEF storage systems come with temperature controls and thermometers; use these instruments to ensure that the temperature never drops below 32° F. The most effective way to prevent overheating is to store the DEF inside or underground. If you decide to store it outside, be sure to place your containers underground or under a shelter.
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