May 2011

Special Report: Maintenance/Reliability

Consider new materials for ethylene furnace applications

An innovative metallurgy solves maintenance issues

Verdier, G., Carpentier, F., Manoir Industries

Ethylene furnaces, cracking liquid or gas hydrocarbon molecules in the presence of steam, operate at high temperatures. While the cracking operation induces coke formation that deposit alongside the radiant coils tube walls, the tube-skin temperatures increase up to what is the material operating limit, or until the pressure drop due to the constriction of surface is too small. Then the furnace is shut down and a mix of steam and air is sent through the coils for decoking purposes. Coil suppliers have researched on finding construction materials for ethylene furnaces that can withstand higher operating conditions. Several years ago, a family of alloys was developed that can successfully op

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