What happens to the Urea? - Diesel Truck Forum - TheDieselGarage.com
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-15-2009, 05:54 AM Thread Starter
 
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Question What happens to the Urea?

So, from the reading ive been doing, i've gotten the basics of the urea, and how it starts to freeze at about 11F and at about 98 or so it starts to break down due to heat.

what i haven't been able to find more info on is:

what happens to the Urea when it gets hot and starts to break down? what happens of the % concentration of the urea solution? considering that theres supposed to be the sensors to detect the precise urea solution composition...

what happens to the (amonia?) that is release as Urea breaks down? released? escapes tank? pollutes urea solution?

with the breakdown of the Urea just mean you'll need to fill the urea tank more?

can the tank be drained easy?

just some bits i've been chewing on ahd haven't heard or found much info on...

thanks for any insight...
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-30-2009, 12:05 AM
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-30-2009, 01:16 PM
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Good questions, maybe Ralph has some answers for us, I'll drop him a PM.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-30-2009, 05:16 PM
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A personal friend of mine works for a marketing company that Frod hires to do all the training at the dealers on all models.
He is getting a 2011 Superduty on January the 11th, then he has to go and learn all about the truck so he can teach it on the dealer level. It will be interesting to see what he has to say about all this. I will ask him when he gets back in town. I hope I can drive it or at least rid ein the truck when he gets it.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-31-2009, 02:10 PM
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Urea is pretty inert stuff. Even at 122F, after 35 days, a DEF solution remains within spec (less than 0.2% ammonia). That means that for most applications, the urea concentration will remain rock solid. See this link for the data behind my claim:

http://media.factsaboutscr.com/news.php?include=138279

The website has tons of stuff in it. For example, I found this presentation:

http://www.factsaboutscr.com/documen....Haugh_000.pdf

Check out slide 9. Pretty informative as well. Here is another one:

http://www.factsaboutscr.com/documen...-DavePolak.pdf

See slide 7. All in all, there are some variations in the data shown regarding stability, but generally, unless you keep it over 100F constantly, it will be fine. A hot day here or there won't matter. Also, keep in mind that the shelf life is the time until any part of the spec is not met. That 0.2% ammonia spec is not that important. So what if it is 0.4%. The stuff would work fine, just might smell a little more if you opened the cap.

There is a video and a fact sheet at the end of this page:

http://www.factsaboutscr.com/def/default.aspx

More good reading. On the freezing issue, it is not a concern. Yes, it freezes, but the systems (from the fact sheet) are intended to be heated by the engine (not sure if there is some kind of heating probe in it or what), but they indicate there is no issue with it freezing and then thawing. The logic systems would know when it is too cold to use and will wait for it to liquify before calling for DEF.

Anyway, dig into that site and let me know what you think.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 07:52 PM
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Freezing is not a big problem as Ralph pointed out, at least once it's melted and liquid again it will be the same as before it froze. The big issue is how to prevent freezing. South of the M-D line, not any real problem, but in MN, ND and Canada it will be a BIG HUGE problem unless you let the main engine run 24x7 during the cold months and no one that I know of allows that any more, it simply burns too much fuel.

In the Summer, we've got a much larger problem. At 88*F the DEF begins to break down, the longer and hotter it gets, the worse the degradation will be. In Tx is't in the 80s from March to October, place that DEF tank over hot pavement or in direct sun and it will be to 150*F in a heartbeat. God forbid you are parked in Phoenix or Las Vegas in August! In those cases, unless your truck is using the A/C system to keep the DEF cool, you are losing afficacy quickly.

The EPA has also voilated it's own rules by essentially declaring DEF is "safe", even in the EU where it has been in use much longer they don't consider it "safe" like the EPA means "safe". Special handeling and packaging requirements must be met in most other modern countries where it is used. At the MINIMUM, one should wear eye protection and protective golves when handeling DEF, as you would with any other "chemical compound".

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-04-2010, 06:58 PM
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DEF is not that dangerous. Did you know that 50% creams are made to put on your skin? It also is (the urea) a natural by-product of cell metabolism THROUGHOUT your body. That is, while technically, urea is a chemical (so is water for that matter), it is endigenous to your body and is extremely unlikely to harm you unless you bathe in it, drink a large amount or put it in your eyes (which would be ok after some flushing with water). The point is that you really would have to try to hurt yourself with this "chemical."

I am guessing the EPA and engine manufacturers have agreed that in cold cmlimates, if the temperature gets low enough to freeze the DEF, that the emissions requirements go away until the tank has been melted back to a fluid state. With a coil heater and thermostat, that should be a simple task. I can't see how they will meet the emisions requirements unless they relax them in these situations.

On the hot side, the distributors in very hot areas will have to manage their supply properly. This may include adding cooling, which I would expect would lead to higher costs to the consumer. For the trucks using it, I do not know whether the tank contents would actually reach 150F, and if so, how long it would last. I guess the urea sensor will alarm the driver to let him know the urea assay is trending downward. I understand these systems will stop working (possibly stopping the engine as well) if the urea assay falls below a certain level. In those cazses, you would be forced to dump your DEF and replace it.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-09-2010, 10:53 PM
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Ralph,

Bra-Kleen, W/S was fluid etc are all fluids used routinely in vehicles, along with fuels of course, NONE are listed as "safe" by anyone.

The EPA violated it's own procedures and processes by making that declaration, with no scientific evidence to support it.

Allowing SCR equipped engines to operate in the abscense of a viable DEF supply is handing them a licencse to pollute and that really isn't the idea of the new standards.

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