Pitting Corrosion of a Carbon Steel Superheater Tube Caused by Oxygenated Water Trapped in a Bend
A resistance-welded carbon steel superheater tube made to ASME SA-276 specifications failed by pitting corrosion and subsequent perforation, which caused the tube to leak. The perforation was found to have occurred at a low point in a bend near the superheater outlet header. It was found that the low points of the superheater tubes could not be completely drained during idle periods. Water-level marks were noticed on the inside surface above the area of pitting. It was revealed by microscopic examination that localized pitting had resulted from oxidation. It was concluded that water contained in the tube during shutdowns had accumulated and cumulative damage due to oxygen pitting resulted in perforation of one of the tubes. Filling the system with condensate or with treated boiler water was suggested as a corrective action. Alkalinity was suggested to be maintained at a pH of 9.0 and 200 ppm of sodium sulfite should be added to the water.