"304/316 SCC in boiler operation"

Question:

"I wonder if anyone has an exapmle of stress corrosion cracking of 304/316 type stainless steels in boiler water applications. I can find no warnings on their use in the literature but I can see possible problems. It is probable that chlorides would build up with inadequate blowdown procedures and this would give a high temperature - high chloride environment. There should be no oxygen and the literature suggests, but is far from dogmatic, that oxygen is necessary. Normal boiler design also places a compressive stress on the inside of the boiler shell that would oppose SCC - but NOT on the outside of boiler tubes!"

Answer:

We know of no applications where 304/316 material is used for boiler water wall tubes, as carbon or low alloy steel is usually sufficient given proper boiler water treatment. Regarding chloride SCC in boiler water, the level of dissolved solids in most boiler waters would preclude this failure mechanism. Caustic SCC could conceivably occur if upset conditions existed.

 

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