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RESEARCH PAPERS

Fuel-Composition Effects on High-Temperature Corrosion in Industrial/Commercial Boilers and Furnaces: A Review

[+] Author and Article Information
J. Bellan

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109

S. Elghobashi

University of California, Irvine, CA 92717

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 107(3), 744-757 (Jul 01, 1985) (14 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3239797 History: Received August 01, 1984; Online October 15, 2009

Abstract

In this review, literature relevant to the problems of deposits and corrosion in industrial/commercial furnaces and boilers is analyzed, and the facts are synthesized into a picture that addresses corrosion problems expected with the use of unconventional fuels. Corrosion is found to depend greatly on the phenomena occurring during the combustion of fuel-oil sprays introduced into the furnace. In a first step, the drops that form the spray heat up and evaporate in a way that closely resembles a batch distillation process. Eventually, ignition and combustion occur with the subsequent change of the liquid fuel drops into carbonaceous, porous, sphere-like particles called cenospheres. In a second step, these cenospheres burn and the products of this combustion step determine the majority of the deposits on metal surfaces. This observation is very important since nonvolatile, non-combustible, corrosive trace compounds existing in the initial fuel-oil drop will have a much higher concentration in the cenosphere than in the original fuel. Accordingly, it is recommended that the theoretical and experimental study of oil spray combustion, cenosphere formation, and cenosphere combustion in a cloud of cenospheres receive a very high priority. Corrosion by gases is found to be unimportant. Deposits are found to be much more corrosive when in liquid form, although corrosion by solid deposits is by no means negligible. As a result, it is suggested in the study that corrosion on highly polished metal surfaces should be studied in order to evaluate the potential of this method of inhibiting deposition and thus hindering corrosion. Recent advances in the theory of deposition from combustion gases are also outlined in this study. The literature survey shows that the main corrosion-causing fuel constituents present in unconventional fuels are sulfur, alkali, vanadium, carbon and carbon monoxide, iron, and chloride. It is found that sometimes one of these compounds might act as a catalyst in corrosive reactions initiated by another compound, and therefore great care must be taken to identify the corrosion-causing compound in the deposits on metal surfaces. It is also found that in some cases a corrosive compound will inhibit the corrosive action of another corrosive compound. It is recommended that such situations be studied further so as to investigate the possibility of an optimum concentration of two such corrosive compounds that would minimize metal wastage. The problem of performing meaningful corrosion experiments is also addressed in this report and specific recommendations are made to achieve this goal. Finally, the effects of additives and the furnace operating conditions are discussed, and potential problems with both additives and new operating conditions are mentioned. The recommendations at the end of this study present a comprehensive set of areas to be investigated in order to better understand and be able to mitigate corrosion problems associated with unconventional fuels. High-priority experimental and theoretical studies are also outlined.

Copyright © 1985 by ASME
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