-------Fundamentals of Oil and Gas Processing Book
Basics of Gas Field Processing Book
Prediction and Inhibition of Gas Hydrates Book
Basics of Corrosion in Oil and Gas Industry Book
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Chapter 1 11
Corrosion Definition and cost 11
1.1 Definition of Corrosion 11
1.1.1 Corrosion Science and Corrosion Engineering 11
1.1.2 Corrosive Environment 12
1.2 Importance of Corrosion 12
Corrosion Definition and cost
1.1 Definition of Corrosion
Several definitions of corrosion have been given such as:
(A) Corrosion is the surface wastage that occurs when metals are exposed to reactive environments.
(B) Corrosion is the result of interaction between a metal and environments, which results in its gradual destruction.
(C) Corrosion is an aspect of the decay of materials by chemical or biological agents.
(D) Corrosion is an extractive metallurgy in reverse. For instance, iron is made from hematite by heating with carbon. Iron corrodes and reverts to rust, thus completing its life cycle. The hematite and rust have the same composition (Fig. 1.1).
(E) Corrosion is the deterioration of materials because of reaction with its environment
(Fontana - NACE).
(F) Corrosion is the destructive attack of a metal by chemical or electrochemical reaction with the environment (Uhlig).
Deterioration of a metal by physical causes is not called corrosion, but is described as erosion, galling, or wear. In some instances, chemical attack accompanies physical deterioration, as described by the following terms: corrosion – erosion, corrosive wear, or fretting corrosion. Nonmetals are not included in this definition of corrosion. Plastics may swell or crack, wood may split or decay, granite may erode, and Portland cement may leach away, but the term corrosion, in this book, is restricted to chemical attack of metals.“ Rusting” applies to the corrosion of iron or iron - base alloys with formation of corrosion products consisting largely of hydrous ferric oxides. Nonferrous metals, therefore, corrode, but do not rust.
1.1.1 Corrosion Science and Corrosion Engineering
Since corrosion involves chemical change, the student must be familiar with principles of chemistry in order to understand corrosion reactions. Because corrosion processes are mostly electrochemical, an understanding of electrochemistry is also important. Furthermore, since structure and composition of a metal often determine corrosion behavior, the student should be familiar with the fundamentals of physical metallurgy as well.
The corrosion scientist studies corrosion mechanisms to improve (a) the understanding of the causes of corrosion and (b) the ways to prevent or at least minimize damage caused by corrosion. The corrosion engineer, on the other hand, applies scientific knowledge to control corrosion. For example, the corrosion engineer uses cathodic protection on a large scale to prevent corrosion of buried pipelines, tests and develops new and better paints, prescribes proper dosage of corrosion inhibitors, or recommends the correct coating. The corrosion scientist, in turn, develops better criteria of cathodic protection, outlines the molecular structure of chemical compounds that behave best as inhibitors, synthesizes corrosion - resistant alloys, and recommends heat treatment and compositional variations of alloys that will improve their performance. Both the scientific and engineering viewpoints supplement each other in the diagnosis of corrosion damage and in the prescription of remedies.
Fig.1-1. Corrosion cycle of Iron
1.1.2 Corrosive Environment
Corrosion cannot be defined without a reference to environment. All environments are corrosive to some degree. Following is the list of typical corrosive environments:
(1) Air and humidity.
(2) Fresh, distilled, salt and marine water.
(3) Natural, urban, marine and industrial atmospheres.
(4) Steam and gases, like chlorine.
(6) Hydrogen sulfide.
(7) Sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen.
(8) Fuel gases.
Therefore, it may be observed that corrosion is a potent force, which destroys economy, depletes resources and causes costly and untimely failures of plants, equipment and components.
1.2 Importance of Corrosion
The three main reasons for the importance of corrosion are economics, safety, and conservation. To reduce the economic impact of corrosion, corrosion engineers, with the support of corrosion scientists, aim to reduce material losses, as well as the accompanying economic losses, that result from the corrosion of piping, tanks, metal components of machines, ships, bridges, marine structures, and so on. Corrosion can compromise the safety of operating equipment by causing failure (with catastrophic consequences) of, for example, pressure vessels, boilers, metallic containers for toxic chemicals, turbine blades and rotors, bridges, airplane components, and automotive steering mechanisms. Safety is a critical consideration in the design of equipment for nuclear power plants and for disposal of nuclear wastes. Loss of metal by corrosion is a waste not only of the metal, but also of the energy, the water, and the human effort that was used to produce and fabricate the metal structures in the first place. In addition, rebuilding corroded equipment requires further investment of all these resources — metal, energy, water, and human.
Economic losses are divided into (1) direct losses and (2) indirect losses.
Direct losses include the costs of replacing corroded structures and machinery or their components, such as condenser tubes, mufflers, pipelines, and metal roofing, including necessary labor. Other examples are (a) repainting structures where prevention of rusting is the prime objective and (b) the capital costs plus maintenance of cathodic protection systems for underground pipelines. Sizable direct losses are illustrated by the necessity to replace several million domestic hot - water tanks each year because of failure by corrosion and the need for replacement of millions of corroded automobile mufflers. Direct losses include the extra cost of using corrosion - resistant metals and alloys instead of carbon steel where the latter has adequate mechanical properties but not sufficient corrosion resistance; there are also the costs of galvanizing or nickel- plating of steel, of adding corrosion inhibitors to water, and of dehumidifying storage rooms for metal equipment.
The economic factor is a very important motivation for much of the current research in corrosion. Losses sustained by industry and by governments’ amount to many billions of dollars annually, approximately $ 276 billion in the United States, or 3.1% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to a study in 2002. It has been estimated that about 25 – 30% of this total could be avoided if currently available corrosion technology were effectively applied.
Studies of the cost of corrosion to Australia, Great Britain, Japan, and other countries have also been carried out. In each country studied, the cost of corrosion is approximately 3 – 4 % of the Gross National Product according to a study in 2006.
Indirect losses are more difficult to assess, but a brief survey of typical losses of this kind compels the conclusion that they add several billion dollars to the direct losses already outlined. Examples of indirect losses are as follows:
1. Shutdown. The replacement of a corroded tube in an oil refinery may cost a few hundred dollars, but shutdown of the unit while repairs are underway may cost $ 50,000 or more per hour in lost production. Similarly, replacement of corroded boiler or condenser tubes in a large power plant may require $ 1,000,000 or more per day for power purchased from interconnected electric systems to supply customers while the boiler is down. Losses of this kind cost the electrical utilities in the United States tens of millions of dollars annually.
2. Loss of Product. Losses of oil, gas, or water occur through a corroded -pipe system until repairs are made. Antifreeze may be lost through a corroded auto radiator; or gas leaking from a corroded pipe may enter the basement of a building, causing an explosion.
3. Loss of Efficiency. Loss of efficiency may occur because of diminished heat transfer through accumulated corrosion products, or because of the clogging of pipes with rust necessitating increased pumping capacity. It has been estimated that, in the United States, increased pumping capacity, made necessary by partial clogging of water mains with rust, costs many millions of dollars per year. A further example is provided by internal - combustion engines of automobiles where piston rings and cylinder walls are continuously corroded by combustion gases and condensates. Loss of critical dimensions leading to excess gasoline and oil consumption can be caused by corrosion to an extent equal to or greater than that caused by wear. Corrosion processes can impose limits on the efficiencies of energy conversion systems, representing losses that may amount to billions of dollars.
4. Contamination of Product. A small amount of copper picked up by slight corrosion of copper piping or of brass equipment may damage an entire batch of soap. Copper salts accelerate rancidity of soaps and shorten the time that they can be stored before use. Traces of metals may similarly alter the color of dyes. Lead equipment, otherwise durable, is not permitted in the preparation of foods and beverages because of the toxic properties imparted by very small quantities of lead salts. The U.S. Bureau of Food and Drugs, for example, permits not more than 1 ppb of lead in bottled drinking water. Similarly, soft waters that pass through lead piping are not safe for drinking purposes. The poisonous effects of small amounts of lead have been known for a long time. Another form of contamination is spoilage of food in corroded metal containers. A cannery of fruits and vegetables once lost more than $ 1 million in one year before the metallurgical factors causing localized corrosion were analyzed and remedied. Another company, using metal caps on glass food jars, lost $ 0.5 million in one year because the caps perforated by a pitting type of corrosion, thereby allowing bacterial contamination of the contents.
5. Overdesign. Overdesign is common in the design of reaction vessels, boilers, condenser tubes, oil - well sucker rods, pipelines transporting oil and gas at high pressure, water tanks, and marine structures. Equipment is often designed many times heavier than normal operating pressures or applied stresses would require in order to ensure reasonable life. With adequate knowledge of corrosion, more reliable estimates of equipment life can be made, and design can be simplified in terms of materials and labor. For example, oil - well sucker rods are normally overdesigned to increase service life before failure occurs by corrosion fatigue. If the corrosion factor were eliminated, losses would be cut at least in half. There would be further savings because less power would be required to operate a lightweight rod, and the expense of recovering a lightweight rod after breakage would be lower.
Indirect losses are a substantial part of the economic tax imposed by corrosion, although it is difficult to arrive at a reasonable estimate of total losses.
In the event of loss of health or life through explosion, unpredictable failure of chemical equipment, or wreckage of airplanes, trains, or automobiles through sudden failure by corrosion of critical parts, the indirect losses are still more difficult to assess and are beyond interpretation in terms of dollars.