2. Stainless Steel
This material is often used for structures that do not carry water inside. For example a stairs structure that allows access to a water slide. Steel is usually used as a supporting structure rather than a water feature. Because of the existence of chemicals like chlorine and acid in the water and low chemical resistance of steel to these chemicals, steel can’t be used as a water feature material. When it’s used as a supporting structure it should be properly painted to protect from corrosion.
This is a very favorable material for water play equipment; stainless steel has good chemical resistance to chlorine and acid which runs through your water play equipment. There are two grades of stainless steel type 304 and 316. When we say stainless steel in this article we mean 304 Stainless Steel. There are certain circumstances where type 316 is more suitable for your water play equipment; we will discuss this in another article. Stainless steel can also be used with polished surface or could be powder coated. If powder coating is going to be performed, you have to make sure that the surface is stand blasted, because smooth stainless steel surface does not have good powder coating adhesion. Make sure your manufacturer provides this as a standard process.
PVC is not a very strong material therefore it is not an ideal choice for the structure of water play equipment, whereas it is ideal for the plumbing of your water play equipment. PVC has very good chemical resistance to swimming pool water, it is that standard material of choice for water connections and fittings for example valves.
Fiberglass could be a very strong material and has been widely used in themed water play equipment. One weakness of fiberglass is its crack resistance. Where vandalism is an issue for example municipal water play parks, you should use stainless steel. Fiberglass could easily crack if hit with hard materials for example at rock. Whereas stainless steel might deform slightly but this would not cause any leak or diminish its strength. Fiberglas is not as forgiving as stainless steel where vandalism is an issue. For municipal parks where access to water play equipment is not limited or controlled vandalism will be an issue. If fiberglass is used in the parks it should be in parts where kids cannot access.
If you have any questions contact the author.
Salih Sokmen, P.Eng.
Nirbo Aquatic Inc.