Crevice Corrosion of Tubing in a Hydraulic-Oil Cooler
The horizontal heat-exchanger tubes made of copper alloy C70600, in one of two hydraulic-oil coolers in an electric power plant, leaked after 18 months of service. River water was used as the coolant in the heat-exchanger tubes. Several nodules on the inner surface and holes through the tube wall, which appeared to have formed by pitting under the nodules, were revealed by visual examination. Steep sidewalls, which indicated a high rate of attack, were revealed by microscopic examination of a section through the pit which had penetrated the tube wall. The major constituent of reddish deposit on the inner surfaces of the tubes was revealed to be iron oxide and slight manganese dioxide. Effluent from steel mills upstream was indicated by the presence of these and other constituents to be the source of most of the solids found in the tubes. It was concluded that the tubing failed by crevice corrosion. The tubing in the cooler was replaced, and cooling-water supply was changed from river to city water, which contained no dirt to deposit on the tube surfaces. An alternate solution of installing replacement tubes in the vertical position to make deposition of solids from river water less likely was suggested.