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Tube failures occurred in quick succession in two boiler units from a bank of six boilers in a refinery. The failures were confined to the SAE 192 carbon steel horizontal support tubes of the superheater pack. In both cases, the failure was by perforation adjacent to the welded fin on the crown of the top tubes and located in an area near the upward bend of the tube. The inside of all the tubes were covered with a loosely adherent, black, alkaline, powdery deposit comprised mainly of magnetite. The corroded areas, however, had relatively less deposit. The morphology of the corrosion damage was typical of alkaline corrosion and confirmed that the boiler tubes failed as a result of steam blanketing that concentrated phosphate salts. The severe alkaline conditions developed most probably because of the decomposition of trisodium phosphate, which was used as a water treatment chemical for the boiler feed water.

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Moavinul Islam, Alkaline-Type Boiler Tube Failures Induced by Phosphate Water Treatment, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 2, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1993, p 141–144,

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