Acidic Pitting in Waterwall Tubing
Severe pitting was found on the internal surfaces of SA-210 Grade C waterwall tubing of a coal-fired boiler at a cogeneration facility. Metallographic examination showed the pits to be elliptical, having an undercut morphology with supersurface extensions,. a type of pitting characteristic of acidic attack. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscope revealed the presence of chlorine in the pit deposits, indicating that the pitting was promoted by underdeposit chloride attack. The presence of copper in deposits on the internal surface of the tubing may have acted as a secondary factor. Acidic conditions may have formed during a low-pH excursion that reportedly occurred several years prior. To prevent future failures, severely damaged tubing must be replaced. Internal deposit buildup must be removed by chemical cleaning to prevent further pitting. Water quality needs continued monitoring and maintenance to ensure that another low-pH excursion does not occur.