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Fired Heater tube corrosion

Fired Heater tube corrosion

Fired Heater tube corrosion

A Fired Heater with a hydrocarbon process gas containing 1 mol% H2S and tubes of ASTM 106 Gr B suffered rapid internal corrosion at the tube outlets ie 4mm in 1.5 years. Process gas outlet conditions are 295 degC at 65 barg and the gas is dry. The scale is a mixture of iron oxides and sulfides.

Is this an expected result with this material selection and conditions, or is there another factor at work?

RE: Fired Heater tube corrosion

That would be an expected damage mechanism, known as Sulphidation.

Sulfidation occurs at elevated temperatures (> 260oC)in the presence of sulphur compounds. Compounds such as H2S, mercaptans, and poly sulphides react with carbon steel surfaces forming metal sulphides. Protection is mostly dependent on the formation of tenacious protective sulphide scales.

Attack can progress in the form of localized attack, uniform thinning, and erosion - corrosion. Sulphur plant equipment and piping operating above 260oC can be susceptible to this attack.

Allonizing the tubes or upgrading metallurgy should mitigate the problem.

RE: Fired Heater tube corrosion

Thanks to rustbuster. I expect this is the main mechanism, but I do not yet understand the source of the oxide in the scale, when there should not be any water present. Any insights would be of interest.

RE: Fired Heater tube corrosion

Cannot give you an exact reason, my assumption is that the FeS scale convert to oxide s when exposed to the atmosphere. Beyond the assumptions, you would have to research deeper.


RE: Fired Heater tube corrosion

I understand that dry FeS (pyrophoric) could be ignited when exposed to the atmosphere. You may need precautions to minimize the risk of fires in the exposed equipment.


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