Hot Corrosion of Stainless Steel Grate Bars in Taconite Indurators
Grate bars in the traveling grate indurators in several taconite processing units suffered excessive corrosion following a conversion from acid to fluxed pellet production procedures. The campaign life of the HH grade cast stainless steel bars was reduced from more than 7 years to approximately 9 months. Several corroded grate bars were examined metallographically and by electron microscopy to determine the causes of the accelerated corrosion. Chemical and X-ray diffraction analyses were also conducted, along with simulation tests to assess the role of alkali chlorides in the corrosion process. The basic cause of degradation was found to be hot corrosion caused by the deposition of alkali sulfates and chlorides. However this degradation may have been aggravated by thermal cycling and abrasion. The source of the salt was impurities in the flux. Two potential solutions were proposed: modification of the processing parameters to reduce the salt deposition and / or change of bar materials to a more resistant alloy.