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Aluminum Foil Wrapping

Aluminum foil wrapping of austenitic stainless steel has been used
successfully for more than 30 years by chemical companies in Europe to
prevent ESCC. (This technique has not been widely accepted in the United
States.) The aluminum foil provides a moisture barrier and electrochemical
protection by preferentially undergoing corrosion and maintaining a safe
potential for stainless steel. The system relies on good weatherproofing and
the prevention of immersion conditions. It can be applied by the insulation
contractor, takes less time to apply than a coating, and requires minimal
substrate preparation.
Wrapping pipe with 46 SWG (wire gauge) 0.1-millimeter (mm) aluminum foil
can prevent CISCC of stainless steel pipe operating continuously between
60°C and 175°C. The pipe should be wrapped with 50-mm overlap, formed to
shed water on the vertical line, and held with aluminum or stainless wire. The
foil should be molded around flanges and fittings. Steam-traced lines should
be double wrapped, with the first layer applied directly onto the pipe,
followed by the steam tracing, and then more foil over the top. On vessels,
the aluminum foil is applied in bands held by insulation clips and insulation
support rings.5
The comparison between aluminum foil and conventional painting of
austenitic stainless steel piping and vessels is illustrated in Table 1.