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Market Outlook 2018: A Sunnier Mood with a Few Caveats

Market Outlook 2018: A Sunnier Mood with a Few Caveats

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Industry Headlines

Crude Oil, Petroleum Product Exports Reach Record Levels

Thursday, 19 October 2017  |  Chris Guy

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration ( EIA ), crude oil exports in the first half of 2017 increased by more than 300,000 barrels per ...

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Industry Headlines

Emerson Agrees to Acquire Paradigm

3 DAYS AGO

Emerson has agreed to acquire Paradigm for a purchase price of $510 million, reflecting a multiple of 13 times expected 2017 EBITDA. Paradigm will be joined with Emerson’s existing Roxar automation software. The acquisition is expected to close within the next 60 days, subject to various regulat...

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ValvTechnologies Receives ISO 15848 Certification

4 DAYS AGO

ValvTechnologies’ EcoPack technology has received ISO 15848-1:2015 certification from Odin Heavy Industries. To earn ISO 15848 certification, ValvTechnologies underwent a stringent evaluation process that included a series of 17 helium leak tests and eight thermal cycles on a fully assembled v...

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Crude Oil, Petroleum Product Exports Reach Record Levels

2 DAYS AGO

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration ( EIA ), crude oil exports in the first half of 2017 increased by more than 300,000 barrels per day (b/d) from the first half of 2016, reaching a record high of 0.9 million b/d. Petroleum product exports also grew over the same period with propan...

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Energy Intensity in U.S. Manufacturing Decreased

2 DAYS AGO

Energy intensity in manufacturing in the U.S. decreased from 2010 to 2014. U.S. manufacturing overall fuel intensity decreased by 4.4% from 3.016 thousand British thermal units (Btu) per dollar of output in 2010 to 2.882 thousand Btu in 2014. According to the Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey (M...

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Fed Reports Economy Growth in September, Early October

2 DAYS AGO

Reports from all 12 Federal Reserve Districts indicated that economic activity increased in September through early October, with the pace of growth split between modest and moderate. The Richmond, Atlanta, and Dallas Districts reported major disruptions from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in some areas a...

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Industrial Production Up 0.3% in September

3 DAYS AGO

Industrial production rose 0.3% in September. The rates of change for July and August were notably revised; the current estimate for July, a decrease of 0.1%, was 0.5% lower than previously reported, while the estimate for August, a decrease of 0.7%, was 0.2% higher than before. Manufacturing output...

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Which Valve for Nitric Acid Service?

materials_q_and_a_graphicQ: I requested CF8 valves but the supplier is offering CF8M valves at less cost. However, I am not sure this alternative is a good choice for my nitric acid service. Are my concerns warranted?

 

A: Suppliers of cast valves may offer certain higher alloys at the same or less cost for a couple of reasons. Before getting into your concern about nitric acid, let’s address the issue about the cost of certain cast alloys. First, we’ll look at the cast versions of 304 and 316 stainless steel, known as CF8 and CF8M respectively. The compositional makeup of these two alloys are similar: chromium and nickel contents. However, CF8M contains 2% to 3% molybdenum that CF8 does not have, so we might expect CF8M to cost more. That is not usually the case. This is because alloy content is only one variable in the cost of an alloy; an equally important one is volume. While wrought producers make a significant quantity of 304 SS at less cost than 316 SS, foundries traditionally have standardized cast 316 (CF8M). The reason is that CF8M has much broader applications than CF8, so foundries produce a much greater volume of CF8M valves and benefit from the economies of scale. Thus, CF8M valves are usually less expensive than CF8 valves.


OTHER PRICING ISSUES

There are a few other reasons some cast alloys are priced at levels that seem contradictory, including whether an alloy is “foundry friendly.” In other words, can the alloy be produced without any consistent problems as a casting? For example, CA15 (410 SS) should be expected to cost less than its newer version, CA6NM. However, when you take into account castability and weldability issues, most foundries would prefer to make CA6NM rather than CA15. Because of this, these foundries will either price CA6NM less or the same as CA15, and the customer benefits by getting an alloy that has better ductility, impact toughness and corrosion resistance than CA15.

A foundry unfriendly alloy is grade 12 titanium. Grade 12 contains a small amount of nickel and molybdenum and was developed as a less expensive alternative to the palladium-stabilized titanium grades while having almost the same corrosion resistance. While this may not be a difficult alloy for wrought producers to make, the alloy is more difficult to cast than the palladium grades. In addition, weld repairs on grade 12 must be stress relieved, which adds cost to the foundry. As a result, some reactive alloy foundries will price grade 12 titanium the same as the more corrosion-resistant palladium grades. In this case, there may be no cost benefit in specifying grade 12 cast titanium valves.

NITRIC ACID APPLICATION

Let’s return to the concern about using CF8M in nitric acid services. 304 SS is certainly a good choice for most nitric acid applications, and it is used extensively as wrought piping, vessels, tanks, etc., that are handling nitric acid. As a result, when it comes to valves, it is only natural to select CF8 thinking it will be less expensive than CF8M. For reasons discussed previously, this may not be true. Therefore, the remaining question is whether CF8M is suitable for nitric acid service. In my experience, it is. I have reviewed considerable corrosion data and conducted numerous corrosion tests for CF8 and CF8M and found little difference in corrosion rates between the two alloys in nitric acid applications. The difference usually is only a couple of mils per year, sometimes in favor of CF8, but other times in favor of CF8M (Figure 1).

vmsum11_materials_fig1Figure 1.
THE GRADE LEVEL

Another issue people struggle with concerning nitric acid is whether they should use the low-carbon grades: 304L, 316L or the cast equivalents CF3 and CF3M. The concern is that nitric acid is a strong oxidizing acid that can cause intergranular corrosion—one way to minimize the susceptibility to intergranular corrosion is to use the low-carbon grades. The use of these grades makes sense for wrought components such as piping, vessels and tanks that are welded in the field and cannot easily be post-weld heat treated. However, it is practical and sometimes required by ASTM specifications such as A744 to post-weld heat treated castings. Therefore, if the higher carbon CF8 and CF8M alloys are post-weld, heat treated, they can be used and will not experience intergranular corrosion in a nitric acid service.

Because of all of this, the choice between these CF8 and CF8M for nitric acid service should be based on price and availability.


THOMAS SPENCE is director of materials engineering for Flowserve Corp. (www.flowserve.com), Dayton, OH. Reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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