Study of Alternative Materials to Minimize Erosion in Heat Exchanger Tubes Used in Thermoelectric Generators
The machinery used in coal thermoelectrical plants usually is submitted to erosive wear. The erosive wear occurs mainly in the metallic pipe set of heat exchangers due the flow of hot gases carrying erosive particles. Jorge Lacerda’s thermoelectrical complex at Capivari de Baixo city holds seven power units, where two units use approximately 20 000 ASTM A178 heat pipes. The set is submitted to a semester maintenance schedule (preventive and corrective) where the damaged pipes are changed. So, in this work a set of erosive wear accelerated tests according ASTM G76 were performed in order to develop and specify materials and methods to diminish the erosive action caused by the combustion gases over the heat pipes. Specimens were coated with WC12Co and Cr3C2-25NiCr alloys using the HVOF technique and the coated specimens were tested at 450°C, the heat pipes working temperature. Silica was used as abrasive material at 30° and 45° impact angles, simulating a harder erosive condition than the real condition. The best performance coating at laboratory scale was later used in field condition. The results showed the coated specimen performance is better than the ASTM A178 alloy. The erosion resistance of the Cr3C2-25NiCr and WC12Co coatings is eight times higher than the uncoated alloy, and the coatings also presented a better corrosion resistance. This feature is important, because despite the erosive action the circulating gases also present a large amount of sulfur in their composition. Sulfur at lower temperatures forms H2SO4, causing intense corrosion of the pipes located at the heat exchangers colder parts. Based on the results and considering the coating costs the Cr3C2-25NiCr alloy was selected to coat a set of pipes mounted at the region of the heat exchanger with the most intense erosive wear. At the moment these coated tubes are in field operation and under observation regarding their performance in comparison with the uncoated pipes located at the same heat exchanger. The real operation conditions of the coated pipes will be estimated from the field life cycle analysis, and after all the cost-benefit of the studied coating.
Lucio Salgado and Francisco Ambrozio Filho
A.B.C. Arnt et al., "Study of Alternative Materials to Minimize Erosion in Heat Exchanger Tubes Used in Thermoelectric Generators ", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 591-593, pp. 49-54, 2008