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ost assets depreciate, losing


value over time as a result
of wear and tear, age, or ob-
solescence. Corrosion, like
depreciation, results in the often hid-
den cost of a non-cash expense mea-
surable in terms of reduced operating
life that reduces the value of as-
sets. Many engineers in the chemical
process industries (CPI) see corrosion
on a straight-line basis in terms of
repair, maintenance and replacement
during fixed-interval turnaround in-
spections. New technology, however,
can assess corrosion deterioration in
realtime, using the plant control-and-
automation system.
The latest technology links corro-
sion to process conditions more di-
rectly and immediately. It also allows
corrosion depreciation to be assessed
in much-shorter time intervals with
the ability to control and mitigate the
rate of damage, and more accurately
factor-in its true economic impact on
plant operations.
Illustrating the importance of cor-
rosion depreciation is the fact that
corrosive attack leads to plant break-
downs with some very considerable
costs. Consider these figures based on
recent studies:
The annual cost of corrosion in the
U.S. is estimated to be about $300
billion (about 4% of the gross domes-
tic product)
For the petrochemical and pharma-
ceutical sectors, the annual cost is
about $2.5 billion
The annual corrosion cost in the CPI
is over 10% of the annual plant capi-
tal expenditures across these indus-
trial sectors
Globally, the cost of corrosion in the
CPI appears to be about $50 billion
per year and is projected to climb
still higher over the next five years
Indeed, corrosion gives a whole new
meaning to the term depreciation,
particularly when both immediate-
and longer-term effects of corrosion
are considered.
Still, to many CPI engineers, corro-
sion is simply a routine part of plant
operations and a cost of doing busi-
ness. A corrosion specialist is called
when a problem arises. Once the prob-
lem is solved, the plant operates more
or less as before, until the next upset
occurs. The major impact of corrosion
to the business lies in costs associated
with lost production, health, safety
and environmental issues, and legal
liabilities.
New technology allows corrosion
monitoring via the plant distributed
control system (DCS), whereby corro-
sion measurement is coupled to a suite
of key, realtime process variables. This
process can lead to gains in many parts
of the corporate balance sheet.
Process optimization often brings
an immediate reduction in direct costs
and also helps increase plant produc-
tivity and revenues while minimizing
corrosion damage. Ultimately, it can
provide major gains through reduced
corrosion depreciation allowance and
increased plant asset life.
Staying ahead of the damage
In many regards, the corrosion engi-
neers job is viewed as that of a histori-
cal record keeper. This is because tradi-
tionally, the tasks to measure corrosion
damage have been documented over
relatively long time intervals typi-
Feature Report
34 ChemiCal engineering www.Che.Com June 2007
Cover Story
A New Approach to
Corrosion Monitoring
Russell D. Kane
Honeywell Process Solutions
The impact of corrosion on assets and processes
is great. Advances in technology allow engineers
to assess corrosion in a whole new way,
with realtime monitoring and the ability
to link deterioration with process conditions
150
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10/16/03 10/26/03 11/5/03 11/15/03
Date
11/25/03 12/6/03 12/15/03
1
0.1
0.01
0.001
Corrosion rate
Pitting factor (PF)
Water fraction
Figure 1. These data, which depict realtime corrosion data on a hydrocarbon/
water stream, show that the rate of corrosion is not steady over time. Peak corrosion
episodes occur
34-41 CHE 6-07.indd 34 5/25/07 4:28:18 PM
cally months to years using corro-
sion coupons and periodic inspections.
This historical information is then
used to confirm or predict the effective-
ness of corrosion control measures, the
risk of future failures, and the need for
maintenance. This approach, however,
has a major limitation.
Modern plant operations are likely
to encounter changes in feed, process
conditions and control limits that are
based on current market conditions. In
one recent case, a plant feed changed
every two-to-three days based on de-
liveries of particular constituents,
which were being purchased on a
global basis and influenced by market
prices. Unfortunately, these constitu-
ents also had widely varying impurity
levels that led to corrosivity changes,
which made historical corrosion mea-
surement worthless.
Now, however, emergence of online,
realtime corrosion monitoring can im-
prove the relevance of corrosion mea-
surements. This approach reduces the
manual effort and the high expenses
required to obtain this information.
Most importantly, corrosion informa-
tion can be obtained quickly some-
times in a matter of minutes and
in a manner consistent with that used
for collecting other key process data.
This new approach utilizes exist-
ing data acquisition and automation
systems found in production facilities.
For example, the plant DCS is used to
monitor and control processes, trend
key process information, and manage
and optimize system productivity. Cor-
rosion monitoring can be integrated
into this system, and the data can
be automated and viewed with other
process variables (PVs). Advantages
of this approach over stand-alone sys-
tems include the following:
more cost effectiveness
less manual labor to accomplish
key tasks
a greater degree of integration with
in-place systems to record, control
and optimize
efficient distribution of important
information (corrosion and process
data, related work instructions and
follow-up reports) among different
groups required for increased work
efficiency and ease of documentation
The rate of corrosion
The perception of constant-rate
corrosion. In field and plant opera-
tions, corrosion is typically viewed
as the difference between two mea-
surements performed over a rather
long interval of time. These corrosion
measurements commonly come from
measured changes in metal thickness
(such as from ultrasonic inspection
readings made on components and
electrical-resistance measurements
taken by probe elements) or mass-
loss readings (such as weight-loss
of coupons). The measurements are
taken on the order of weeks, months
or sometimes years.
There are two major shortcomings
to this approach: data indicate cor-
rosion only after the damage has ac-
cumulated, and they provide only an
average rate-of-metal loss during the
measurement interval. Peak corro-
sion rates are not documented and,
most importantly, the specific time pe-
riods of peak corrosion rates and the
corresponding process conditions are
not identified.
This scenario has led to the gener-
ally held misconception that corrosion
in chemical processes occurs at a rela-
tively constant rate over time. In real-
ity, a majority of corrosion experiences
in these processes actually occurs dur-
ing short periods when specific process
conditions develop.
Actual monitoring shows peak
corrosion rates. An example of this
effect is shown in Figures 1 and 2.
The data was obtained from a study
conducted by the U.S. Dept. of Energy
to identify best practice corrosion-
measurement techniques for corro-
sion monitoring [1,2]. In this case,
the environments were primarily oil
(with varying water fraction, as may
ChemiCal engineering www.Che.Com June 2007 35
Figure 2. Realtime corrosion data in a dehydrated hydrocarbon-gas stream
shows six episodes of corrosion over two months (upper graph). The bottom plot
highlights a shorter interval to reveal the detail of a single upset that is likely related
to upsets in dehydration
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Corrosion rate (CR)
Pitting factor
Gas humidity
10/16/03 10/26/03 11/5/03 11/15/03
Date
Date
11/25/03 12/6/03 12/15/03
10/16/03 10/17/03 10/18/03 10/19/03 10/20/03 10/21/03
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Corrosion rate (CR)
Pitting factor
34-41 CHE 6-07.indd 35 5/25/07 4:29:58 PM
occur during normal production con-
ditions) and dehydrated hydrocar-
bon gas.
The system was monitored with re-
altime corrosion measurements using
electrochemical techniques and probes
that were specifically selected for their
compatibility with these low-water
environments. The data were obtained
with a totally remote and automated
corrosion-measurement system that
involves multiple electrochemical tech-
niques, solar power and wireless data
telemetry back to a control center.
The data in Figure 1 shows that the
corrosion rate was mostly minimal
over an approximately two-month pe-
riod. However, there were about 20 ep-
isodes of high corrosion rate (corrosion
upsets that were one to two orders of
magnitude above baseline levels) dur-
ing this period. Generally, the trend in
corrosion rates increased with water
content, but it is clear that water con-
tent was not the only factor another
variable was likely in play. In oil/water
systems, periodically stratified flow
conditions can develop at low flow-
rates where the water separates from
the oil. This can lead to an increase in
corrosion activity, particularly at the
six oclock position in piping. In this
case, the realtime corrosion measure-
ment was more reflective of corrosion
upsets than the infrequent process
monitoring being performed.
A similar situation was found for a
reportedly dehydrated gas stream
that was susceptible to periodic dew-
point conditions due to plant upsets.
Figure 2 shows electrochemical moni-
toring data from a dehydrated hy-
drocarbon gas stream. During a two-
month period, six episodes of higher
corrosion rate were observed. Whereas
the magnitude of the corrosion excur-
sions was not as great as in the oil/
brine system, the excursions do consti-
tute periodic and significant increases
in corrosivity, particularly since cor-
rosion allowances are typically much
smaller in these dry systems.
These cases highlight situations
that could be remedied by better pro-
cess control (separation, dehydration
and/or flow control), or more effec-
tive dosing of inhibitors at intervals
defined by the realtime corrosion
measurement, rather than based on
historical, average corrosion rates. A
related condition in many gas streams
is the need to maintain inlet gas qual-
ity to reduce out-of-specification con-
ditions from moisture, CO
2
or H
2
S.
Understanding the techniques
Offline measurement. Corrosion
coupons have been the backbone of
industrial corrosion monitoring for
more than 50 years. Coupons must be
pre-weighed, distributed to remote lo-
cations, installed, retrieved, examined,
cleaned and re-weighed before data are
processed. Therefore, a good deal of cor-
rosion engineering and related techni-
cal-staff time is consumed with manual
and often routine tasks, as well as with
manipulating and viewing historically
averaged, offline data. Coupon mea-
surements are offline, labor intensive
and not easily configured for automa-
tion and control systems.
Approaching corrosion assess-
ment from an automation and con-
trol point of view frees up staff time.
Rather than spending time manually
retrieving corrosion data, personnel
can, for example, use their time to
examine, interpret and understand
critical underlying system attributes
and relationships.
Online measurement. In some cases,
corrosion probes used to monitor indus-
trial plants and pipelines are connected
to field dataloggers that take corro-
sion-rate measurements over a period
of weeks or months. This approach is
often referred to by corrosion engineers
as online monitoring despite the fact
the data cannot be accessed, viewed or
acted upon in an online, realtime man-
ner. These techniques can retrospec-
tively identify peak corrosion rates and
time periods.
Corrosion probe data using conven-
tional methods are, however, typically
considered qualitative, at best, due to
limitations in the 1960s measurement
techniques used in most field instru-
ments. This information is viewed in
isolation, without the PVs that allow
its interpretation (PVs that relate
to periods of corrosion upsets). It is
therefore up to the corrosion engineer
to locate and piece together relevant
process information and manually
build correlations to understand the
causes of corrosion upsets.
With these remote online measure-
ments, technical staff often travel to
the remote locations in order to re-
trieve corrosion data files. Then, they
manually analyze the logged data.
Under these conditions, the corrosion
engineer is viewed as a bearer of bad
news, because the information is usu-
ally available only after the damage
has occurred or, even worse, after criti-
cal failures have taken place.
The current perception is that there
is a high per-point cost associated
with conventional corrosion monitor-
ing approaches, largely due to the high
cost of a separate infrastructure and
large commitment of time and labor.
Additionally, there is a low perceived
value because the data is historical
and is viewed weeks and months past
due. Given this perception, there is a
tendency to limit resources for corro-
sion monitoring because the approach
is expensive with only a limited chance
of success. In many cases, problems
are viewed after the fact, and there is
no way to directly link cause and effect
in a time frame that allows the dam-
age to be cost effectively prevented
or minimized. Accordingly, corrosion
measurement is relegated to mainly
a confirmational reading of second-
ary importance rather than a primary
variable that can be controlled and op-
timized with the process.
This perception is somewhat sur-
prising. Many plant operators are
trying to squeeze out a 12% improve-
ment in efficiency and productivity.
Corrosion costs are, however, one of
the few areas where double-digit cost-
reduction improvements could be ob-
tained, particularly if lost production
opportunity is included.
Estimates indicate that between 25
and 40% of the approximately $300
billion lost to corrosion in the U.S. each
year could be saved with better control
efforts. In several petrochemical cases
(such as fractionator overhead and
hydroprocessing), the cost of a single
corrosion failure can be in the range of
$35 million to $60 million [3]. Even a
few days of lost production can involve
over $500,000 in losses.
Online, realtime measurement.
Feedback from realtime corrosion-
rate data and adjusted chemical dos-
age can offer additional gains in ef-
Cover Story
36 ChemiCal engineering www.Che.Com June 2007
34-41 CHE 6-07.indd 36 5/25/07 4:30:50 PM
ficiency and reduced operating costs,
as well as extended run time. Fur-
ther confirmation of the potential
cost savings reaped through better
and faster corrosion information and
implementation of improved process
controls are apparent in the recent
U.S. Cost of Corrosion Study [4] and
referenced in recent NACE technical
committee reports [5].
Corrosion monitoring has developed
from a manual, offline process to an on-
line, realtime measurement (Figure 3).
The initial driving force for this migra-
tion is the benefit of automation; that
is, reduced time and effort to obtain
corrosion data with high data reliabil-
ity. Corrosion monitoring takes on new
meaning when it can be viewed at a
higher frequency (within minutes) that
is consistent with the way process vari-
ables are measured. More data bring
increased statistical relevance, quicker
response time, and a greater ability to
understand corrosion in the context of
the process being monitored.
The second driver for this migration
is the ability to integrate the corrosion
data immediately with process data.
This is done in an automated man-
ner, within the plant DCS, rather than
by the manual methods traditionally
available to the corrosion engineer.
Some of the usual PVs that are used
and measured in CPI control systems
include the following: temperature;
pressure; flowrate; chemical injection
rate; moisture content; valve actua-
tion (opening/closing); level measure-
ment; and analytical data, such as
pH, dissolved oxygen and others.
One historical barrier to integrat-
ing corrosion measurements within
the plant DCS is that online corrosion
measurements have been qualitative
rather than quantitative due to limi-
tations of single technique transmit-
ters with limited on-board processing
capacity. For use as a process vari-
able, corrosion measurements need to
be quantitative, since the system will
utilize the data to make automated
assessments, generate alarms, and
determine the economic consequences
of process changes and/or upsets.
With this requirement also comes the
concomitant need to accurately assess
corrosion modality (such as general
corrosion, pitting, local area attack).
It is generally accepted that there
is no perfect method for assessing all
corrosion mechanisms. In most cases,
however, corrosion involves electron
transfer in an electrically conductive
local or bulk environment. It has been
shown that electrochemical methods
can be used to monitor corrosion for
dew point conditions, many multi-
phase (oil/water) conditions with as
little as 12% water, and even some
fireside high-temperature corrosion
situations in fossil-fueled boilers and
waste incineration [611]. Therefore, if
properly used, accurate corrosion mea-
surements can be made in a matter of
minutes in most chemical processes.
One recently released multivari-
able corrosion transmitter employs a
Figure 3. Corrosion monitoring has evolved from offline to online, and online,
realtime measurements
Time frame - months
MostIy manuaI
techniques:
Time frame too Iong
for process correIation;
Good for cumuIative
damage
Time frame - days/weeks
Time frame stiII too Iong
for process correIation;
Good for cumuIative
damage
Time frame - minutes
OnIy technoIogy
consistent
with direct-to-DCS
for process
correIation & optimization
See onIy
cumuIative damage
See onIy
Iong term changes
See periods
of max. corrosion
Weight Ioss
Coupon
Off-Iine eIectricaI
resistance
VisuaI inspection
UItrasonic testing
inspection
Periodic uItra-
sonic testing
OnIine
eIectricaI
resistance
Super
eIectricaI
resistance
ConventionaI
Iinear
poIarization
resistance
Super Iinear poIarization
resistance technoIogy
muItipIe technique
eIectrochemicaI monitoring
(New data every 7 minutes)
Off-Iine OnIine OnIine, reaItime

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34-41 CHE 6-07.indd 37 5/25/07 4:31:30 PM
suite of automated elec-
trochemical techniques
that run in the on-board
memory of a single trans-
mitter and are used to
complement one another.
This transmitter gener-
ates general corrosion-
rate data by combining
Linear Polarization Re-
sistance (LPR) and Har-
monic Distortion Analy-
sis (HDA) for greater
corrosion-rate accuracy.
The transmitter also
provides completely new
information obtained on
the localized nature of
corrosion from Electro-
chemical Noise (ECN)
measurements. When
joined in an automated
cycle, these techniques
can provide two critical, operator-level
corrosion PVs at a similar frequency
of measurement as expected for cur-
rent process variables. These opera-
tor-level corrosion PVs are:
Corrosion rate: LPR corrosion rate
adjusted for a measured B value
(see below) determined by HDA
Pitting factor: Derived from ECN
and LPR measurements, providing a
three-decade logarithmic scale rang-
ing from general corrosion, through
a cautionary zone, to localized pit-
ting corrosion
Two additional PVs can also be pro-
vided through the process control sys-
tem for specialist observation, diag-
nostics and intervention:
B value: Also called the Stern Geary
constant, the B value is derived from
HDA involving the realtime mea-
surement of the anodic and cathodic
Tafel slopes. This value is used to
adjust the LPR corrosion rates with
the electrochemical processes in
the system
Corrosion Mechanism Indica-
tor (CMI): Indicating conditions
and trends of passivity in stain-
less alloys, corrosion inhibition or
scale formation
In addition to these types of realtime
measurements, there may be a need to
include other online-compatible mea-
surements into the process-control
and automation system, when they
can bring additional value or longer-
term corroboration for uses in asset
assessment and integrity evaluation.
These corrosion assessment tech-
niques are even more attractive if
they can be easily automated and cou-
pled with the modern communication
methods such as wireless technologies.
Techniques include electrical-resis-
tance-corrosion measurements, ultra-
sonic thickness, pulsed-eddy current
and fiber-optic strain measurement,
as well as other ancillary techniques
that may become available as these
complementary technologies develop.
Implementation
In a modern chemical operation, the
entire facility is controlled by automa-
tion and control systems. The arrange-
ments of process equipment, vessels
and piping are far too complex for
operators to personally control every
aspect of their operations. Therefore,
they rely on a system of data acquisi-
tion and associated computer routines
and applications to analyze the data
and apply rule-based methodologies
for assessing variations in process
conditions and prioritizing responses.
In modern industrial environments,
these systems also provide manage-
ment of safety and security. This infra-
structure has vastly improved chemi-
cal plant productivity.
In the 1970s, when process automa-
tion-and-control technologies were first
employed, chemical plants operated at
about 70% of daily productivity levels.
With newer technologies, productivity
has progressed to over 90%. With cur-
rent technology and initiatives such as
abnormal situation management, the
goals are to increase the number of
operating days per year and increase
productivity levels to over 95%.
A 2004 survey indicates that corro-
sion is by far the major factor account-
ing for chemical plant failures (Figure
4). Comparing the 2004 survey results
with data from a similar 1984 sur-
vey shows the situation appears un-
changed over the past 20 years. There-
fore, it is a foregone conclusion that a
more proactive (realtime) approach to
corrosion mitigation is needed. This
approach must integrate into automa-
tion and control strategies if the above-
mentioned productivity goals are to be
achieved while keeping a critical eye
on plant reliability and safety [12].
Examples of integrating corrosion
into the process-control environment,
where data is displayed in the sys-
tem historian together with other key
performance indicators (KPIs), are
shown in Figures 5 and 6. In Figure 5,
the screen shows the major parame-
ters that are normally used to monitor
the health of a cooling-water system.
The electrochemical corrosion mea-
surement captures a corrosion event
Cover Story
38 ChemiCal engineering www.Che.Com June 2007
Hydrogen
attack/SCC
8.3%
Erosion/
corrosion
3.5%
Others
9.1%
SCC
20.5%
Pitting
6.7%
GeneraI
corrosion
18.1%
IG
cracking
3.9%
Carburization
3.5%
Fatigue
2.4%
Corrosion
fatigue
2.8%
Other
corrosion
15.0%
Crevice
corrosion
3.9%
MIC
2.4%
Cu aIIoy
2.8%
PIastics/
rubber
2.8%
Other
metaIs
2.8%
Carbon steeIs
20.9%
Low-aIIoy
steeI
5.7%
High aIIoy
steeI
1.2%
High-
strength
steeI
2%
Cast steeI
0.4%
Cast
stainIess
steeI
4.9%
StainIess
steeI
42.1%
AI aIIoy
1.6% Ni aIIoy
4%
Ti aIIoy
7.7%
Failures
245 events
Failures
197 events
IG = intergranuIar
MIC = microbioIogicaIIy infIuenced corrosion
SCC = stress corrosion cracking
Figure 4. A 2004 survey of causes for failure in refining and petrochemical plants in Japan
shows that a majority of the failures were due to corrosion (left chart). The right side shows failures
by type of material of construction
34-41 CHE 6-07.indd 38 5/25/07 4:32:28 PM
where the LPR/HDA corrosion rates
jump when the blowdown occurs. It
is also demonstrated that a large in-
jection of corrosion inhibitor (as an
automated process) decreases the
corrosion rates until they returned to
normal levels. Figure 6 shows a simi-
lar configuration for a lean, amine
system reboiler circuit.
Corrosion monitoring in action
An important aspect of integration
with the automation and control sys-
tem is the seamless connectivity be-
tween varying job functions. An ex-
ample of this integration in a chemical
plant is illustrated by Rohm and Haas,
Deer Park plant near Houston, Tex. In
2006, Rohm and Haas became one of
the early adopters of online corrosion
monitoring technology.
At the Deer Park site, the company
planned an alloy upgrade of more than
$500,000 after failing to determine
why two similar chemical units were
showing widely different signs of cor-
rosion damage. While one of the plants
had low corrosion rates, the other cor-
roded at very high rates, causing rapid
failure of stainless-steel piping.
After traditional monitoring meth-
ods proved ineffective, the company
installed corrosion transmitters. By
communicating via the HART proto-
col, the transmitters fed corrosion data
directly in the process control system,
allowing it to be alarmed, histor-
ized, trended and assigned to process
groups. With this information, the cor-
rosion data was then seamlessly cor-
related with other process variables,
providing a broader and realtime view
of plant operating conditions.
The results benefited both operators
and the corrosion experts. Plant oper-
ators could access current, actionable
process-variable information, includ-
ing a time-trended general (uniform)
corrosion rate. Additionally, the solu-
tion indicated the mode of corrosion
(localized or pitting) detection called
a pitting factor. Corrosion staff could
access the same information with the
added capability to review data for di-
agnostic purposes.
Using this new system, Rohm and
Haas identified two process scenarios
that contributed to the difference in
corrosion rates. First, one units cor-
rosion rate was higher immediately
after a shutdown. The company then
discovered and replaced a leaky valve
that was allowing water into the sys-
tem. Secondly, process corrosion was
more severe when a particular recir-
culation condition occurred. Engineers
modified the process, and the plant
avoided this condition on the second,
more corrosive unit.
The solution saved Rohm and Haas
more than $500,000 in capital expen-
diture, and the company devised an
operating strategy that avoids corro-
sion. Additionally, operators utilized
realtime corrosion data in combina-
tion with process information to im-
prove equipment reliability, stability,
integrity and uptime.
Whereas corrosion is a known
quantity to corrosion engineers, it
eludes most operators and process
engineers. The above-mentioned
example shows how coupling corro-
sion data with process data creates a
tighter working relationship between
corrosion, process engineers and
plant operators. Including corrosion
as an online process variable makes
plant personnel aware of the process
ChemiCal engineering www.Che.Com June 2007 39
Figure 5. This display shows corrosion with other KPIs for a heat exchanger in
the plant data historian
Figure 6. In this example, corrosion monitoring is displayed together with other
process variables for a lean, amine reboiler line
34-41 CHE 6-07.indd 39 5/25/07 4:33:11 PM
conditions that can initiate corrosion.
Examples of such conditions include
unintentional aeration by venting of
equipment to atmosphere, additions
of oxidizing agents and aggressive
catalysts, lack of dew-point control in
normally dehydrated systems, and ex-
cessively high velocities in attempts
to increase unit productivity.
Online corrosion detection in a pro-
cess-control environment will give
plant operators immediate feedback
on the state of corrosion relative to
what they are doing so that they can
actively participate in managing ex-
cessively high corrosion costs.
New values and insights
Integration of corrosion with modern,
industrial process-control technolo-
gies offers substantial operational and
cost-saving opportunities for plant
operators. Consider the following ex-
amples of value propositions obtained
from discussions with refinery opera-
tions and corrosion personnel:
Increased ability to process crudes
with higher margins big savings
and increased profits
Reduced cost of unscheduled shut-
downs as an example, a 400,000-bbl/
d unit could shut down for three days
to repair a corrosion leak. The cost
at a $5 margin on feed is $6,000,000.
With better integration of corrosion
monitoring and plant economics, the
cost of unscheduled shutdowns (due
to accelerated corrosion depreciation)
can be properly evaluated and consid-
ered by plant management. Typically,
a plant will have to run at a higher
throughput to make up the unplanned
short fall
Improved asset reliability resulting
in improved run length 10% re-
duction in maintenance costs
Improved unit operation as a re-
sult of better corrosion monitoring
that may result in a 2% increase
in throughput, or potentially the
ability to process more of a lower-
quality feed
Reduced health, safety and envi-
ronmental exposure resulting from
fewer unscheduled emissions to the
environment 3% savings
Improved safety record as a result
of fewer shutdowns 5% reduction
in cost
Savings due to optimized chemical
cost resulting from better monitor-
ing 10% reduction
Increased operator effectiveness by
bringing the corrosion data online
and in the control room. This leads
to improved decision making with
new insights and improved issue
resolution time
The benefits from the final bullet item
can be seen in a recent implementa-
tion of online, realtime corrosion mon-
itoring in a hydrocarbon oxidation
processing plant [11]. This example
involves monitoring performed at a
plant where much of the equipment
was constructed of carbon steel and
304L and 316L stainless steels.
Decades of debottlenecking and
other process modifications led to cor-
rosion problems. After a year of unsuc-
cessful efforts to untangle material-
related problems offline, an online,
realtime, electrochemical corrosion-
monitoring system was installed. Ma-
terials engineers, process engineers,
and plant operators saw immediate
changes in corrosion behavior caused
by specific variations in the process,
enabling them to work together to
identify process modifications and re-
medial actions to substantially reduce
damage to equipment.
Based on the results of the initial
process evaluation that required only
a few weeks, five predominant fac-
tors were confidently identified that
related to the chemical aggression of
the plant environment, which varied
substantially with process and opera-
tional variables. These included:
An upstream vessel was on an auto-
matic pump-down schedule so that
it pumped its contents into a reac-
tor approximately once per hour.
Every time the vessel pumped down,
Feature Report
40 ChemiCal engineering www.Che.Com June 2007
New froNtiers: wireless
O
ne potential barrier to rapid acceptance of corrosion as an
online PV stems from past practices. Since corrosion mea-
surement has traditionally been offline, corrosion-monitor-
ing points that accepted corrosion coupons or probes to be read
by data loggers have not been connected to the DCS. There is,
therefore, no existing wiring to these points in the plant. In many
cases, the cost of the wiring is many times higher than the trans-
mitter cost.
Wireless technology, however, is making its way into the plant
automation-and-control environment. One approach to this tech-
nology is to establish a wireless mesh of monitoring points around
the chemical plant. This wireless net is particularly valuable for
bringing many new types of information into the plant control-
and-automation system. Initially, this new information will be
mainly used for diagnostics, documenting work flow, staff safety,
and many other non-control functions. This is also likely to be the
case for corrosion in its new realtime form.
In this regard, wireless technology is the enabler for setting up a
much wider-ranging network of realtime corrosion data points in
the process plant than would be possible using conventional wired
transmitters. Locations can be dictated by critical need rather than
the convenience of wire placement. This expanded network also
brings more complete coverage and redundancy. Since corrosion
can be a localized phenomenon, the ability to monitor more lo-
cations provides greater assurance that key locations have been
included. Data from different probes can also be used to corrobo-
rate each other, making the approach to corrosion control more
robust than possible with conventional approaches.
After integrating corrosion data with other PVs, existing pro-
grams (such as the advanced process-control applications avail-
able around the plant DCS) can provide further assessment to
identify key relationships between corrosion and other variables.
Examples of functions handled in these applications are linear
and non-linear modeling capabilities and data-validation tools.
These programs provide a means to positively identify single and
multi-variant relationships between corrosion and other PVs.
Early event detection is another functionality of the automation
and control system, whereby correlations can be made between
corrosion and other variables so that the sequence of process
events leading to corrosion upsets can be identified. Finally, an
important milestone for corrosion as a critical PV is its use in
closed-loop, process-control functions. These functions can include
multi-variant process control to optimize production while control-
ling corrosion within specific operational boundaries, and dosing
corrosion inhibitors and other anti-corrosion chemicals, so that the
application is based on need rather than historical trends.
34-41 CHE 6-07.indd 40 5/25/07 4:33:57 PM
the corrosiveness of the stream
increased
Operators had varied the concentra-
tion of a neutralizing chemical in the
process. However, contrary to expec-
tations, it was found that increasing
feedrate of a neutralizer increased
corrosion rates rather than reducing
them. This new information helped
to both reduce corrosion rates and
provide chemical engineers with
new insight into the chemistry of
the process
Following an initial evaluation of
the corrosion data, a plant techni-
cian pointed out that an increase in
corrosion rate of the 304L occurred
right after; they mixed a new batch
of catalyst and it varied with fee-
drate, which was controlled to mini-
mize corrosive attack
The corrosion rate also varied quite
significantly with process and oper-
ational events. These included not-
ing that the corrosion rate of carbon
steel correlated with the quantity
of a key gaseous chemicals used in
the process
Short-term spikes to very high cor-
rosion rates were observed week
after week. The corrosion-rate
spikes coincided with the pumping
of a laboratory waste stream into
the process. Operators changed their
procedure to dispose of lab samples
another way, thus stopping the cor-
rosion spikes
Conclusion
Corrosion behavior in process envi-
ronments has a number of influenc-
ing factors that can vary with time
and cause dynamic corrosion events.
The long intervals associated with
inspections and offline measure-
ments do not afford the operator the
opportunity to correlate corrosion ex-
cursions with operating and process
parameters, making control a diffi-
cult proposition. By implementing an
appropriate and correspondingly dy-
namic means of corrosion appraisal,
chemical manufacturers can better
manage industrial processes and
related corrosion prevention treat-
ments, minimize corrosion upsets
and failures, and maximize the avail-
ability of the plant assets.
EditedbyDorothyLozowski
References
1. Bullard, S. J., others. Laboratory Evalua-
tion of an Electrochemical Noise System for
Detection of Localized and General Corro-
sion of Natural Gas Transmission Pipelines,
Corrosion/2003, Paper No. 03371 (San Diego,
Calif., March 1720, 2003), NACE Interna-
tional, Houston, Tex.
2. Covino, Jr., B. S., others. Evaluation of
the Use of Electrochemical Noise Corro-
sion Sensors for Natural Gas Transmission
Pipelines, Paper No. 04157, Corrosion/2004
(New Orleans, La., March 28-April 1, 2004),
NACE International, Houston Tex., 2004.
3. Kane, R. D., others. Major Improvement in
Reactor Effluent Air Cooler Efficiency, Hy-
drocarbon Processing, Sept. 2006, pp. 99
111.
4. Corrosion Costs and Preventive Strategies
in the United States, Supplement to Materi-
als Performance, NACE International, Hous-
ton, Tex., July 2002, p. 3.
5. Alawalia, H., Corrosion Technology Gaps
Analysis, Report Prepared for the NACE
Technical and Research Committee (TRAC)
and Technical Coordinating Committee
(TCC), Presentation at CTW/06, NACE In-
ternational, Houston, Tex., 2006.
6. Kane, R. D., others. Online, Real-Time Cor-
rosion Monitoring for Improving Pipeline
Integrity Technology and Experience,
Corrosion/2003, Paper No. 03175, NACE In-
ternational, March 2003.
7. Kane, R. D. and Trillo, E., Evaluation of
Multiphase Environments for General and
Localized Corrosion, Corrosion/2004, Paper
No. 04656, NACE International, March
2003.
8. Eden D. A. and Srinivasan, S., Real-time,
On-line and On-board: The Use of Computers,
Enabling Corrosion Monitoring to Optimize
Process Control, Corrosion/2004, Paper No.
04059, NACE International, March 2004.
9. Kane, R. D. and Campbell, S., Real-Time
Corrosion Monitoring of Steel Influenced by
Microbial Activity (SRB) in Simulated Seawa-
ter Injection Environments, Corrosion/2004,
Paper No. 04579, NACE International, March
2004.
10. Covino, Jr., B. S., others. Fireside Corrosion
Probes for Fossil Fuel Combustion, Corro-
sion/2006, Paper No. 06472, NACE Interna-
tional, March 2006.
11. Eden, D. C. and Kintz, J. D., Real-time Cor-
rosion Monitoring for Improved Process
Control: A Real and Timely Alternative to
Upgrading of Materials of Construction,
Paper No. 04238, Corrosion/2004, NACE In-
ternational, Houston Tex., 2004.
12. Yamamoto, K., Technical Proposals to
Prevent Material Failures And Accidents
in Chemical Process Industries, Corro-
sion/2006, Paper No. 06211, NACE Interna
Author
Dr. Russell Kane, an inter-
nationally recognized expert
in corrosion evaluation and
modeling, is the director of
corrosion services at Honey-
well Process Solutions (14503
Bammel N. Houston Road,
Suite 300 Houston, Tex.;
Email: russ.kane@honewell.
com; Phone: 281-444-2282
X32). Kane received NACEs
A.B. Campbell and Techni-
cal Achievement Awards and ASTMs Sam Tour
Award for distinguished contributions to corro-
sion research, development, and evaluation. His
doctorate is in metallurgy and materials science
from Case Western Reserve University.
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