Light and occasional contact with water, such as occasional wash downs, should not generally affect synchronous belts seriously. Prolonged contact such as spray or submersion, however, can have detrimental effects.Rubber synchronous belts are considerably more vulnerable than Poly Chain GT Carbon belts.
With rubber synchronous belts, water soaking reduces the tensile strength of fiberglass tensile cords in addition to breaking down adhesion systems between the cord and the rubber compound. While aramid type tensile cords are more resistant to water than fiberglass, they are dimensionally unstable in the presence of water or humidity, so can result in belt length stability problems. Soaking also causes the rubber body to swell, lesser than but similar to oil contamination. This can negatively impact belt pitch fit with pulleys and sprockets in addition to material weakening. Additives to water such as lubricants, chlorine, anti-corrosives, etc. can intensify detrimental affects of water soaking.
Poly Chain GT Carbon belts are quite resistant to water soaking, and have even been used successfully in submerged applications. While urethane can exhibit a small amount of swelling, overall belt performance and the ability to transmit power remains relatively stable.
When considering the use of synchronous belt drive systems in moist or wet environments, the resistance of the hardware to corrosion is also very important. Coatings or treatments used on standard iron based hardware may not have adequate corrosion resistance. Special corrosion resistant coatings such as zinc or nickel plating are available on a made-to-order basis.
Contact our Made-To-Order Metals Group at (800) 709-6001 for further information about hardware corrosion protection options. Contact our Product Application Engineering Group at (303) 744-5800 for further information about applying belt drive systems in adverse environments.