Pitting of a Condenser Tube in a Saltwater Heat Exchanger Due to Hydrogen Sulfide Contamination
An aluminum brass seawater surface condenser failed due to pitting after less than one year of service. Large pits filled with a green deposit were evidenced under the nonuniform black scale present over the entire inside surface of the tube. The black deposit was identified as primarily copper sulfide, with zinc and aluminum sulfides while the green deposit was revealed to be copper chloride. The combination of sulfide and chloride attack on the tubes was concluded to have resulted in the failure. Injection of ferrous sulfate upstream of the condenser which could aid the formation of protective oxide films was recommended.