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51316-7034-Seawater Cooler Tubes: Corrosion And Leaks Due To Microbiologically Induced Corrosion

Refining industry cooling systems are prone to many different corrosion deterioration mechanisms one of which is microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC).  The study resulted in the development of a comprehensive control and monitoring plan to safeguard the integrity of the system.

Product Number: 51316-7034-SG
ISBN: 7034 2016 CP
Author: Khalid Alnabulsi
Publication Date: 2016
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Refining industry cooling systems are prone to many different corrosion deterioration mechanisms one of which is microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC). Bacteria are ubiquitous; they have been implicated in a number of major failures and their control measures have a high economic impact on the refining industry. This work investigates the unexpected failures and leaks observed in several seawater heat exchanger tubes which resulted in plant shutdowns and significant production losses. Both metallurgical and molecular microbiological methods were deployed to comprehend the root cause of these failures. Metallurgical analysis in all examined tubes (70-30 Cu-Ni and Al-brass) revealed localized pitting with circular and cup-like morphology typical of those formed by MIC attack. The subsequent DNA analysis revealed the coexistence of various strains of acid producing bacteria (APB) and iron oxidizing bacteria (IOB) in the collected corrosion products with a noticeable absence of sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB). Lack of adequate chlorination and presence of hydrocarbons and other organic matters that naturally end up in the open transport channel as a nutritional source led to flourishing microbial population including corrosion-causing species and subsequent rapid MIC attacks. Cost effective short- and long-term action plans including criticality assessment timed replacements selective cleaning chlorination dosage adjustments and carbon source identification monitoring were considered. The study resulted in the development of a comprehensive control and monitoring plan to safeguard the integrity of the system.

 

Key words: downloadable, Refinery, MIC, bacteria, cooling system, IOB, APB, heat exchanger

Refining industry cooling systems are prone to many different corrosion deterioration mechanisms one of which is microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC). Bacteria are ubiquitous; they have been implicated in a number of major failures and their control measures have a high economic impact on the refining industry. This work investigates the unexpected failures and leaks observed in several seawater heat exchanger tubes which resulted in plant shutdowns and significant production losses. Both metallurgical and molecular microbiological methods were deployed to comprehend the root cause of these failures. Metallurgical analysis in all examined tubes (70-30 Cu-Ni and Al-brass) revealed localized pitting with circular and cup-like morphology typical of those formed by MIC attack. The subsequent DNA analysis revealed the coexistence of various strains of acid producing bacteria (APB) and iron oxidizing bacteria (IOB) in the collected corrosion products with a noticeable absence of sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB). Lack of adequate chlorination and presence of hydrocarbons and other organic matters that naturally end up in the open transport channel as a nutritional source led to flourishing microbial population including corrosion-causing species and subsequent rapid MIC attacks. Cost effective short- and long-term action plans including criticality assessment timed replacements selective cleaning chlorination dosage adjustments and carbon source identification monitoring were considered. The study resulted in the development of a comprehensive control and monitoring plan to safeguard the integrity of the system.

 

Key words: downloadable, Refinery, MIC, bacteria, cooling system, IOB, APB, heat exchanger

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