Scaling of Resistance Heating Elements in a Through-Type Annealing Furnace
Heating elements, consisting of strips, 40 mm x 2 mm, of the widely used 80Ni-20Cr resistance heating alloy, and designed to withstand a temperature of 1175 deg C, were rendered unusable by scaling after a few months service in a through-type annealing furnace, Although the temperature supposedly did not exceed 1050 deg C. Structural observations indicated a special case of internal oxidation. The required conditions for this were apparently provided by the moist hydrogen atmosphere of the annealing furnace, in which the chromium was oxidized, while the oxides of iron and nickel were reduced. Even the carbon suffered incomplete combustion and was enriched in the core. Thus, no protective layer could form or be maintained. The intergranular advancement of the oxidation may have been favored by the precipitation of chromium-rich carbides on the austenite grain boundaries. This form of internal oxidation is, in the case of Ni-Cr alloys, known as green rot. Alloys containing iron should be more resistant. As a preventive measure it was recommended to reduce the operating temperature of the strip sufficiently to allow the use of Fe-Ni-Cr alloys.
Friedrich Karl Naumann, Ferdinand Spies, Scaling of Resistance Heating Elements in a Through-Type Annealing Furnace, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Steelmaking and Thermal Processing Equipment, ASM International, 2019, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.fach.steel.c9001238
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