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Why Does the Venting Rust Out

Why Does the Venting Rust Out

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Published by Quark's Corner
What is the cause of early failure of Bixby venting
What is the cause of early failure of Bixby venting

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Published by: Quark's Corner on Oct 11, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Rusting Venting
Why does the venting “rust” out? I have always been told it is because of the condensation created whenthe flue temperature falls below the dew point.Wikipedia definition of Dew Point: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dew_point 
dew point
is the temperature to which a given parcel of  air must be cooled, at constant barometric pressure,for water vapor to condense into water. The condensed water is called dew.The dew point is a saturation point. With that said, under certain conditions; temperature, humidity and barometric pressure; condensationwill form on an object from the moisture in the air. So we must keep the temperature of the flue gasseshigh enough to stay above the dew point. But it is not quite that simple because we add one moreelement into the mix. Not quite understanding exactly what was happening, I did a little research on theweb.The following information was found in an article for a patent application titled:
BIOFUEL APPLIANCEVENTING SYSTEM. To see the entire article, go to:http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20090139510#ixzz0TTVt7xAR.I’ve pulled some of the more importantinformation for us out of the article.
“ Some biomass fuels emit an exhaust when burned that contains corrosive chemicals.” 
This is corn whenburning.
Elevated levels of potassium chloride and potassium sulfate salts in the air emissions from corn combustion along with elevated levels of acid gases (sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides) producing acidic emissions were found.
“ Analyses of bulk corn fuel confirm high levels of nitrogen, sulfur, chlorine, and potassium as compared to typical wood pellets.
 This is why the venting will last longer when burning wood pellets.
“ Tests of corroded pipe confirmed the corroded material on the pipe surfaces as being enriched in sulfur,chlorine and potassium .” 
The test showed the gunk on the pipes was of a corrosive nature.
“ Also contributing to corrosive nature of corn combustion emissions are the elevated phosphorous levels in corn producing phosphoric acid and phosphate salts upon combustion and the elevated levels of ammonium salts in the air emissions, most likely originating from the incomplete combustion of amino acids ”.
This is basically is what I was taught, especially when combined with water vapor (condensation).With the corrosive chemicals mixed in the condensation and just laying on the walls of the vent, itbecomes easier to understand part of the “why”.
Conditions that increase the potential for condensation include corn with unusually high moisture content, a long chimney allowing for emissions to cool, and a cold climate with a high relative humidity, or a combination of them 
. Although the Bixby stoves can burn corn of higher moisture content, we can see where this could contribute to the venting “rusting” out sooner than with a lower moisture content corn.
It is speculated that the higher moisture content of corn as compared to typical wood pellets may also contribute to the corrosion problem due to the increased potential of condensed water (with a low pH and corrosive salts in solution) being in prolonged and direct contact with pipe surfaces.” 
 As to which material will stand up to the corrosive environment, the article states:
“ Grade 316 is a standard molybdenum-bearing grade stainless steel. The molybdenum gives 316 better overall corrosion resistant properties than Grade 304,particularly higher resistance to pitting and crevice corrosion in chloride environments.” 

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