It’s probably happened to you at one point in your life. You purchase a vehicle – for the first year or two you take immaculate care of it. As the years go by, you become more comfortable with it going longer between washes. One day you walk to your car and out of the corner of your eye you spot a small rust spot starting to form near the wheel well – immediately a pit forms in your stomach. Now every time you walk out to your car, you see it. Almost as if it’s mocking you. You think to yourself, if only I would have washed that salt off sooner, or waxed it a few more times, maybe I could have avoided this!
Like your car or any piece of industrial equipment, steam boilers are subject to wear and tear over time. Corrosion is a common issue as boilers age, however, there are steps you can take now that will slow corrosion and lengthen the usable life of your boiler.
What are the most common types of corrosion in steam boilers?
Caustic corrosion: Caustic corrosion occurs when caustic is concentrated and dissolves the protective magnetite layer of your boiler, causing a loss of base metal and eventual failure. This type of corrosion can occur as a result of steam blanketing (which allows salt to concentrate on boiler metal surfaces) or by localized boiling beneath porous deposits on the tube surface.
Acidic corrosion: Low feed water pH can cause serious acid attack on metal surfaces in the pre-boiler and boiler system. Acidic corrosion can also be caused by chemical cleaning operations (overheating the cleaning solution, excessive exposure of metal to cleaning agent, and the existence of high cleaning agent concentration).
Oxygen attack: Without proper mechanical and chemical deaeration, oxygen in the feed water enters the boiler. Much of the oxygen is flashed off with the steam. However, whatever remains can attack boiler metal. Oxygen in water produces pitting, which is problematic because of its localized nature.
How can it be prevented?
The most effective way to prevent corrosion in your steam boiler is by having an intimate understanding of your feed water makeup. It is also critically important to establish a comprehensive water treatment program by partnering with a qualified expert.
WARE routinely partners with our customers to help them develop a water treatment program specific to impurities found in their feed water. There is no-one-size-fits-all formula to address every feed water stream; it must be tailored to meet the needs of the customer.
Contact WARE today to begin the process of developing a waste water treatment plan that will extend the life of your industrial steam boiler. Taking proactive steps now to establish a water treatment program will pay immeasurable dividends throughout the life of your industrial steam system.