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Department Editor: Rita L.

D'Aquino
Materials of
Construction
LOW-TEMPERATURE
APPLICATIONS [1]
One key engineering consideration is the
choice of materials of construction for frigid
applications. Nickel-chromium (Ni-Cr) type
stainless steels are notably versatile at low or
cryogenic temperatures. They offer a combi-
nation of high impact strength (IS) and corro-
sion resistance. In the austenitic phase, with
face-centered-cubic crystals, the combination
of Cr and Ni in the material improves IS and
toughness down to temperatures as low as
250C. For good IS at temperatures down
to 45C, C-Mn-Si steels are recommended.
The most preferred grades are fine-grained
steels of pressure-vessel quality, such as ASTM
A 516 and ASTM A 537 (in all grades). For
temperatures between 45 and 100C (for
example, for liquid-ethylene storage), steels
containing 2.59% Ni are useful. Between
150 and 250C, the Ni-Cr austenitic steels
(300 series, of 18/8 varieties), are highly
recommended. In the nonferrous category,
Al has excellent properties for temperatures
as low as 250C. Also attractive are Cu and
some of its alloys, which can withstand tem-
peratures down to 195C.
CHEMICAL RESISTANCE
CPVC [2]. Many nonmetals do not have the
tensile strength to meet the pressure require-
ments of various process applications, espe-
cially at elevated temperatures. But years of
testing and actual field performance prove
that chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC)
systems can be pressure rated for operation
as high as 200F. CPVCs high heat-distor-
tion temperature and resistance to corrosion
make it suitable for applications such as
metal processing, pulp and paper, and in-
dustrial wastewater treatment, where harsh
and corrosive chemicals are commonly used
(see Figure 1). Another advantage of CPVC
is that it is lighter than metal, and therefore
less expensive to install, from both a mate-
rial cost and labor perspective. CPVC is not
recommended where aromatic solvents and
esters are present in high concentrations.
FRP pipe [3]. Composite fiberglass-rein-
forced plastic (FRP) pipe has been replac-
ing conventional pipe material, such as
steel and concrete, in numerous applica-
tions because of its corrosion resistance,
low design weight (25% of concrete pipe
and 10% of steel pipe), high fatigue en-
durance, and adaptability to numerous
composite blends (Table 5, Ref. 3) and
manufacturing methods. FRP pipe may
be divided into two broad categories:
gravity pipe (dia. from 8 to 144 in.) and
pressure pipe (dia. from 1 to 16 in.). It is
not unusual to see FRP pressure pipe han-
dling pressures as high as 2,0005,000
psi during chemical processing, with the
higher-pressure pipe at the lower end of
the diameter scale.
HEAT TRANSFER
PROPERTIES [4]
Metals, including specialty materials, are
the best choice in terms of good heat trans-
fer. In the lined category, glass is used ex-
tensively for process equipment where good
heat transfer is required. Lined materials,
however, often have the problem of uneven
thermal expansion, which may weaken the
bonding of the lining in due course. While
fluoropolymers have excellent compatibility
with various chemicals and special surface
and physical chemistries, they are gener-
ally not used for reaction vessels because
of their poor heat-transfer properties. Ther-
mal conductivities for various materials are
listed in the Table, and typical applications
are shown in Figure 2.
THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY OF VARIOUS
MATERIALS OF CONSTRUCTION [4]
Material Thermal conduc-
tivity, W/(m)(K)
Carbon Steel (CS) 60.59
SS 304 40.71
SS 316 14.23
SS 316 L 14.23
Hastelloy B
2
9.12
Hastelloy C
2
10.21
Tantalum
2
57.5
Titanium
2
21.67
Zirconium
2
20.77
Graphite 121.15
Hexoloy 125.65
Glass
1
1.00
Lead 35.30
Inconel
2
12.00
CPVC 0.14
PTFE (Polytetra-
fluoroethylene)
1
0.25
PFA (Perfluoro-
alkoxy resin)
1
0.19
ETFE (Ethylene
tetrafluoroethylene)
1
0.24
PVDF (Polyvinylidene
fluoride)
1
0.23
ECTFE (Ethylene chlo-
rotrifluoroethylene)
1
0.16
1. Common choice for lining material
2. Exotic metals
Excellent
Good
Fair
Poor
Weak acids
Weak bases
Salts
Strong acids
Aliphatics
Strong bases
Strong oxidants
Halogens
Aromatic solvents
Esters and ketones
FIGURE 1. CPVC offers resistance to a
variety of harsh chemicals
Exotic 300
250
200
150
100
50
0
-50
-100
T
e
m
p
e
r
a
t
u
r
e
,

C
Exotic Exotic
Exotic
Fluoropolymer,
glass lined,
exotic
Fluoropolymer,
glass lined,
exotic
Glass lined,*
exotic
Glass lined,*
exotic
Exotic
Exotic Exotic
Exotic
Exotic
Exotic
Application:
Typical
equipment:
Tanks,
vessels
Pipelines,
valves,
fowmeters
Mixers
Reactors
Storage Transport Agitation (Agitation +
heat transfer)
Exotic Exotic Exotic
FIGURE 2. When looking beyond steel for materials of construction, it is impor-
tant to consider the intended application and temperature range. Exotic (specialty)
metals (see Table) are shown here to serve well in all applications. Another mate-
rial, equally suited to a specific requirement, however, may be chosen as the more
cost-effective option
References
1. Nalli, K., Materials of Construction For Low-Tem-
perature and Cryogenic Processes, Chem. Eng.
July 2006, pp. 4447.
2. Newby, R. and Knight, M., Specifying CPVC In
Chemical Process Environments, Chem. Eng., Oc-
tober 2006, pp. 3438.
3. Beckwith, S., and Greenwood, M., Dont Over-
look Composite FRP Pipe, Chem. Eng., May
2006, pp. 42-48.
4. Robert, J., Selecting Materials of Construction,
Chem. Eng., September 2005, pp. 6062.