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An Alternative Basics Education: Valve Ed Comes to You!

An Alternative Basics Education: Valve Ed Comes to You!

For the first time in the seven-year his...

Give Your Flow Meter a Happy Home

Give Your Flow Meter a Happy Home

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What’s in Store for the Construction Market?

What’s in Store for the Construction Market?

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Pentair Valves & Controls Hosts Customer Appreciation Training Event

2 DAYS AGO
Pentair Valves & Controls Hosts Customer Appreciation Training Event

More than 200 representatives from Houston’s refinery, chemical and petrochemical industries joined Pentair Valves & Controls on Sept. 15 at its Pasadena, TX facility for a customer appreciation BBQ and training event . The presented seminars are a part of Valves & Controls’ Pentai...

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Mueller Water Products Recognized for Best Smart Water Solution

4 DAYS AGO

Mueller Water Products, Inc. received the 2016 Best Smart Water Solution award at the third annual Smart Water Summit in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Mueller Water Products, who won this award for the second time, was recognized for smart technology solutions offered through its Mueller Co., Mueller System...

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Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Water Resources Development Act

2 DAYS AGO

The U.S. Senate recently passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016 with a broad bipartisan vote of 95 to 3. This legislation not only authorizes critical U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects that drive investment in navigation, flood management, and ecosystem restoration, it provides ...

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Alaska Railroad Prepares First U.S. Shipments of LNG

3 DAYS AGO

The Alaska Railroad (ARRC) will demonstrate its ability to safely transport liquefied natural gas (LNG) in intermodal LNG ISO containers from southcentral to interior Alaska during a month-long operational performance project in early fall 2016.

ARRC is the first railroad in the country to obtain permi...

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Manufacturing Growth Eases Again in September

2 DAYS AGO

At 51.4 in September, the seasonally adjusted Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was down from 52.0 in August and pointed to the weakest improvement in overall business conditions since June. The latest PMI reading marked seven years of continuous growth across the ...

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Leading Economic Indicators Down Slightly in August

2 DAYS AGO

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. declined 0.2% in August to 124.1, following a 0.5% increase in July, and a 0.2% increase in June.

“While the U.S. LEI declined in August, its trend still points to moderate economic growth in the months ahead,” said Ataman Ozy...

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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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