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Last updateTue, 17 Oct 2017 3pm

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Is it Time to Toss Those Commissions?

Is it Time to Toss Those Commissions?

It’s tough to pinpoint exactly wha...

Cybersecurity for Process Control

Cybersecurity for Process Control

Security for any process plant has alway...

Young Valve Professionals: Megan Johnston

Young Valve Professionals: Megan Johnston

In 2014, VMA's leadership created the Val...

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Industry Headlines

Shale Gas Leading to Billions in Chemical Investments

Tuesday, 17 October 2017  |  Chris Guy

After years of high and volatile natural gas prices, new domestic supplies of more affordable natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) have created ...

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Industry Headlines

ValvTechnologies Receives ISO 15848 Certification

16 HOURS AGO

ValvTechnologies’ EcoPack technology has received ISO 15848-1:2015 certification from Odin Heavy Industries. To earn ISO 15848 certification, ValvTechnologies underwent a stringent evaluation process that included a series of 17 helium leak tests and eight thermal cycles on a fully assembled v...

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Emerson Acquires GeoFields, Inc.

5 DAYS AGO

Emerson has acquired GeoFields, Inc., a global supplier of software and implementation services for pipeline integrity data collection, management and risk analysis for the oil and gas industry. GeoFields software enables pipeline operators to collect critical integrity data, perform risk modeling a...

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Shale Gas Leading to Billions in Chemical Investments

16 HOURS AGO

After years of high and volatile natural gas prices, new domestic supplies of more affordable natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) have created a competitive advantage for U.S. chemical manufacturers, leading to greater investment, industry growth and new jobs. Companies from around the world ...

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Oil Demand May Peak in the Near Future

1 DAY AGO

Demand for oil in developed countries will revert to structural decline by 2020, wiping out about four million barrels per day by 2035. In contrast, developing economies will increase their demand for oil by nearly 16 million barrels per day by 2035.

While transport demand will flat-line around 2030,...

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Empire State Index at Highest Level Since 2014

18 HOURS AGO

Business activity grew at a robust pace in New York State, according to firms responding to the October 2017 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index climbed six points to 30.2, its highest level in three years. The new orders index came in at 18.0 and the ship...

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Consumer Confidence Rises in October

1 DAY AGO

The University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment surged in early October, reaching its highest level since the start of 2004. The data indicate a robust outlook for consumer spending that extends the current expansion to at least mid-2018, which would mark the second longest expansion since the ...

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Cobalt-based Alloy 6 Materials and Boiler Feedwater Service

materials_q_and_a_graphicQ: I’ve heard that cobalt-base Alloy 6 materials should not be used in boiler feedwater service. Is this true?

A: Cobalt-chromium Alloy 6 is a very popular material for hard valve trim in applications requiring resistance to sliding wear, erosion and/or cavitation. It’s even successfully used in applications that are somewhat corrosive. However, in some areas of boiler feedwater applications where it would seem Alloy 6 should perform well, problems have been encountered. Here are some theories and facts about the problems:

Alloy 6 is available in cast, wrought and weld overlay forms. The cast material designation is UNS R30006; wrought material is designated UNS R30016, but is commonly called Alloy 6B; the generic AWS designation for hardsurfacing material is CoCr-A (specific designations are ECoCr-A for SMAW electrodes and ERCoCr-A for bare electrodes).

Alloy 6 is a cobalt-chromium-tungsten alloy with approximately 1% carbon. The material consists of a soft, solid solution matrix of cobalt-chromium tungsten surrounding a small percentage of hard, brittle chromium carbides.

Although the carbide phase provides the high hardness (approximately 40 HRC), research has shown that the cobalt-chromium-tungsten matrix is responsible for the alloy’s excellent wear and cavitation resistance. Alloy 6 undergoes a phase transformation (i.e., a change in crystal structure) when highly stressed, such as in a wear or cavitation situation. This phase transformation absorbs some energy that would otherwise cause damage, in effect, reducing the overall level of damage compared with a material that does not exhibit this “shock absorption” property.

Like most corrosion-resistant alloys containing chromium as an alloying element, Alloy 6 achieves corrosion resistance from the formation of a stable chromium oxide passive layer. This passive layer protects the underlying material from reacting with the environment. Certain chemicals can weaken the passive layer, reducing its ability to protect the material from corrosion.

Performance problems with Alloy 6 have been experienced in boiler feedwater applications where the water is treated with hydrazine or some other amine derivative. The problems occur exclusively in regions where the flow velocity is high, indicating that the failure mode is actually erosion-corrosion. Two possible explanations for this phenomenon are that:

1) The amine compounds weaken the oxide passive layer so that it erodes easily. The passive layer is repeatedly eroded away and rebuilt, resulting in accelerated corrosion.

2) The amines prevent the oxide passive layer from reforming after it has eroded initially, thus leaving the alloy unprotected from corrosion. Further erosion-corrosion then occurs at accelerated rates.

Other possible mechanisms for this type of failure may also exist, but the point remains that the alloy is attacked at higher rates than would be expected in an equivalent water application without the presence of the amine compounds.

Studies of returned parts have demonstrated that these attacks definitely correlate to the presence of Alloy 6. The photographs in Figures 1 through 4 were obtained during evaluation of a valve plug with Alloy 6 seat and guide surfaces that suffered erosion- corrosion damage in boiler feedwater. It’s very clear that the damage occurred exclusively in the CoCr-A material, and that the adjacent S31600 material is relatively unaffected, even though it is much softer.

Many failures have occurred in feedwater regulating valves, too. Failures have been reported in special- and standard-trim valves operating at temperatures as low as 300° F (149° C) and pressure drops as low as 100 psi (7 bar). Similar failures have been experienced in tungsten carbide trim in amine-treated feedwater and in ammonia applications when a cobalt binder phase is used.

No amine content, temperature or velocity limits have been established for safe use of Alloy 6 materials in feedwater. Common practice is to avoid the use of cobalt-containing alloys in feedwater service unless the feedwater is known to be compatible with cobalt alloys.

Common alternatives to Alloy 6 include hardened stainless steels such as S41600 (Type 416 SST), S41000 (Type 410 SST), S42000 (Type 420 SST), S44004 (Type 440C SST), or S17400 (17-4 PH SST). In some severely erosive applications, nickel base or iron-base hard-surfacing materials have been used.

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