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Monitoring Valve Health via the Internet

Monitoring Valve Health via the Internet

Most valve end users are already using s...

Valves in Oxygen Service

Valves in Oxygen Service

In his presentation at VMA’s 2017 ...

Thermal Spray Coating

Thermal Spray Coating

Q: What are the pros and cons of us...

Ball Valve Repair 101

Ball Valve Repair 101

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Industry Headlines

LyondellBasell to Build the World's Largest PO/TBA Plant

Friday, 21 July 2017  |  Chris Guy

LyondellBasell has made the final investment decision to build the world's largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant in the ...

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How to Choose the Best Rapid Prototyping Method

How to Choose the Best Rapid Prototyping Method

Tuesday, 18 July 2017  |  Kate Kunkel

As new products are designed, including valve bodies and the parts that comprise the finished valve, prototypes must be created. How that is achieved ...

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Industry Headlines

Badger Alloys Joins VMA as Associate Member

3 DAYS AGO

This week the Valve Manufacturers Association (VMA) welcomes Badger Alloys as an official associate supplier member. This is VMA’s fourth new member in 2017.

Located in the heart of Milwaukee and founded in 1966, Badger Alloys offers single source capabilities for custom castings. The company pou...

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Thermodyn Joins VMA as Associate Member

3 DAYS AGO

This week the Valve Manufacturers Association (VMA) welcomes Thermodyn Corporation as an official associate supplier member. This is VMA's third new member in 2017.

In 1979, Thermodyn began business with the dual purpose of selling A.W. Chesterton products and manufacturing high-temperature elastomers ...

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LyondellBasell to Build the World's Largest PO/TBA Plant

13 HOURS AGO

LyondellBasell has made the final investment decision to build the world's largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant in the Houston area. The project is estimated to cost approximately $2.4 billion, representing the single-largest capital investment in the company's history...

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EPA Selects Projects for Water Infrastructure Loans

1 DAY AGO

The EPA is inviting 12 projects in nine states to apply for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans. These potential applicants were selected from a group of projects that represent large and small communities from across the U.S. that submitted letters of interest to EPA in Ap...

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Leading Economic Indicators Increased in June

13 HOURS AGO

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.6% in June to 127.8 (2010 = 100), following a 0.2% increase in May, and a 0.2% increase in April.

“The U.S. LEI rose sharply in June, pointing to continued growth in the U.S. economy and perhaps even a moderate improvement...

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U.S. Jobless Claims Fall to Near Five-Month Low

1 DAY AGO

In the week ending July 15, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 233,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 247,000 to 248,000. The 4-week moving average was 243,750, a decrease of 2,250 from t...

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Specifying Valves for Hydrogen Service

materials_q_and_a_graphicQ: When specifying valves for hydrogen service, what are some of the material considerations I should keep in mind?

A: Hydrogen can cause a number of different adverse effects in metallic materials. The specific problems that can occur, and the methods for avoiding them, depend upon the service conditions. Although the subject is much too vast to cover completely in this column, following are descriptions of the predominant hydrogen damage mechanisms, along with some suggestions for avoiding problems.

Hydrogen Embrittlement
Hydrogen embrittlement, also called hydrogen stress cracking or hydrogen induced cracking, is a condition of low ductility in metals resulting from the absorption of hydrogen. Hydrogen embrittlement is mainly a problem in steels with ultimate tensile strength greater than 90 ksi, although a number of additional alloys are susceptible. Most hydrogen embrittlement failures occur as a result of absorption of hydrogen that is generated during plating, pickling, or cleaning operations. However, hydrogen charging may also occur in-service. This usually occurs in cases where hydrogen is generated due to corrosion, although it can also occur in high-temperature hydrogen applications. Hydrogen embrittlement failures are most often characterized as delayed, catastrophic failures occurring at temperatures near ambient, at stresses below the yield strength, and exhibiting single, non-branching cracks. However, failures deviating from these characteristics can and do occur.

The hydrogen embrittlement phenomenon requires a source of hydrogen ions (H+) or monatomic hydrogen (H). Diatomic (molecular) hydrogen (H2) will not cause hydrogen embrittlement, because the H2 molecules are too large to diffuse into the metallic crystal structure.

Hydrogen ions are created during any electrolytic or aqueous corrosion process, including general corrosion, galvanic corrosion, pitting corrosion, electrocleaning, electropolishing, pickling, and electroplating processes.

Monatomic hydrogen (H) is formed by dissociation of diatomic hydrogen (H2) at high temperatures. Reportedly, this dissociation begins to occur at around 350°F(175°C), with the proportion of H/H2 increasing as temperature increases.

It should be mentioned that although hydrogen embrittlement is most likely to occur at ambient temperatures, ambient-temperature failure may occur in a material that was "charged" with hydrogen during exposure at elevated temperature.

Since sulfide stress cracking is essentially hydrogen embrittlement catalyzed by the presence of sulfide ions, NACE MR0175/ISO 15156, Petroleum and Natural Gas Industries - Materials for Use in H2S-containing Environments in Oil and Gas Production, and/or NACE MR0103, Materials Resistant to Sulfide Stress Cracking in Corrosive Petroleum Refining Environments, can be used as guidelines for general materials selection to avoid hydrogen embrittlement. However, the requirements in these standards are somewhat conservative for avoidance of conventional hydrogen embrittlement. In general, steels below approximately 35 HRC are generally acceptable for applications where conventional hydrogen embrittlement is a concern, whereas the NACE standards would require steels to meet a 22 HRC maximum hardness requirement. Austenitic stainless steels, most nickel and copper alloys, and aluminum alloys are generally resistant to hydrogen embrittlement, although certain precipitation-hardened and/or strain-hardened grades in these material families can suffer hydrogen embrittlement.

Hydrogen Attack
When carbon and low-alloy steels are exposed to high-pressure, high-temperature hydrogen, the monatomic hydrogen can diffuse into the steel and combine with the carbon in the steel to form methane gas, which becomes trapped at grain boundaries and other discontinuities in the material. The resulting internal decarburization and grain boundary fissuring degrades the mechanical properties of the material. Resistance to hydrogen attack increases with increasing chromium and molybdenum levels, since these elements form more stable carbides than iron, and do not release the carbon to the hydrogen as readily. API-recommended Practice 941, Steels for Hydrogen Service at Elevated Temperatures and Pressure in Petroleum Refineries and Petrochemical Plants, includes a diagram (commonly called a Nelson curve), which shows zones where the carbon and alloy steel materials are acceptable as a function of hydrogen partial pressure and temperature.

Hydrogen Blistering
Hydrogen blistering is the formation of blisters containing hydrogen gas in steels. This occurs when monatomic hydrogen (H) diffuses through the steel and recombines into molecular hydrogen (H2) at internal defects such as voids, laminations, and non-metallic inclusions. Molecular hydrogen cannot diffuse back out through steel, so the gradual buildup of molecular hydrogen results in increased pressure inside the defect cavities, eventually causing blistering of the material. Killed steels often are specified for elevated-temperature hydrogen applications or for applications where it is known that ionic hydrogen is generated. Killed steels are steels treated with a strong deoxidizing agent such as silicon or aluminum in order to reduce the oxygen content in the molten ingot, which in turn reduces the level of gas porosity in the finished steel. Killed steels are more resistant to hydrogen blistering than non-killed steels due to their relative lack of internal voids. The term "killed" actually only pertains to wrought products; however, cast steels are also deoxidized with elements such as silicon or aluminum to prevent the formation of gas porosity.

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