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News

Sandvik Stainless tubes replace graphite in acid production

Sandvik Coromant UK : 16 June, 2006  (New Product)
Following extensive material trials and technical cooperation with a major phosphoric acid producer, Sandvik Materials Technology has been rewarded with an order for Sandvik Sanicro 28 grade, seamless stainless steel tubes. They will be used in a new heat exchanger and will replace a graphite tube unit.
Following extensive material trials and technical cooperation with a major phosphoric acid producer, Sandvik Materials Technology has been rewarded with an order for Sandvik Sanicro 28 grade, seamless stainless steel tubes. They will be used in a new heat exchanger and will replace a graphite tube unit.

Traditionally graphite has been the material of choice for heat exchangers in phosphoric acid production but their brittleness and tendency to break easily, particularly after some time in operation, means that downtime for repair and loss of productivity is on ongoing problem. A heat exchanger made with graphite tubes will typically be replaced after 3 to 8 years in operation.

The steel grade Sandvik Sanicro 28 is a multi-purpose, austenitic stainless steel for service in highly corrosive conditions. It is characterized by very high corrosion resistance in strong acids, particularly against pitting and crevice corrosion, very good resistance to stress and intergranular corrosion in a range of environments, and good weldability.

Part of the evidence for the customer's engineers to convert to the Sandvik Sanicro 28 grade lay in the earlier supply and introduction of pump shafts and seals in the Sandvik material, which extended the normal graphite service life by up to four times. Technical cooperation between Sandvik Materials Technology and the customer involved key process discussions about the evaporation characteristics of phosphoric acid, the corrosion and heat transfer properties of Sandvik Sanicro 28 and the overall heat exchanger design.

Sandvik Materials Technology has several references for Sandvik Sanicro 28 in corrosive, heat exchanger, environments with service lives in excess of 16 years in some cases. The grade is now the most widely used metallic material for evaporator tubes in the manufacture of phosphoric acid by the 'wet' method.

Experience has shown that, once converted, most operators will tend to change all their heat exchangers to the grade after the operation of the first successful unit. In the case of this latest order, so convinced was the customer on the benefits of Sandvik Sanicro 28 that an order was placed for a second heat exchanger before the material for the first was delivered.

Seamless tube and pipe is available in dimensions up to 260mm and the grade is available in a range of product forms, including bar, sheet, plate, forged and cast products and fittings. Full technical information is available on the Sandvik Materials Technology website www.smt.sandvik.com
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