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Facts at your Fingertips: Corrosion complications

By Scott Jenkins, Chemical Engineering magazine |

Corrosion is an obvious factor to consider when selecting materials of construction for process equipment. However, the chemical environment of the process is only the starting point in selecting an acceptable material. A set of other factors can complicate corrosion-resistance strategies. This one-page reference summarizes several of these areas. Impurities The corrosive properties of a process fluid’s major constituents are usually known to process engineers. Less obvious, however, may be how the presence of impurities can cause corrosion. Here several examples: Chloride ions. An example of a harmful impurity is the chloride ion, which, under certain conditions, is known to cause stress-corrosion-cracking (SCC) and pitting of stainless steels. This insidious form of corrosion can occur at concentrations as low as a few parts per million. The negative influence of contaminating chloride and fluoride ions on steel’s corrosion resistance is amplified at higher temperatures. Increases of 10°C can almost double the corrosion rate. Corrosive gases and airborne contaminants. Airborne contaminants can include the following: airborne liquid droplets, including small levels of condensation and sea salt mist; solids, including grit,…
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