March 2013

Special Report: Corrosion Control

Mitigate reactor failures due to graphitization

Graphitization occurs in carbon steel (CS) reactors in high-temperature service (> 455°C). As discussed in this case history, the shell of a methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) reactor became s..

Al-Enazi, S., Al-Meshari, A., Abdelgalil, A., SABIC Technology Centre

Graphitization occurs in carbon steel (CS) reactors in high-temperature service (> 455°C). As discussed in this case history, the shell of a methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) reactor became susceptible to elevated-temperature oxidation that initiated corrosion conditions. In addition, high-temperature fluctuations fostered stresses that promoted fatigue of the MTBE reactor shell and, ultimately, caused an emergency shutdown of the unit. Background Cracking in the reactor shell of an MTBE unit was detected by hot-air leaks through the reactor. This failure resulted in the emergency shutdown. Several investigation techniques were used to identify the root cause for the failure, in

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