September 2017

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Refining: Use of Alloy 400 for hydrofluoric acid corrosion in a refinery alkylation unit

Alkylation units can be based on sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid as a catalyst.

Alkylation units can be based on sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid as a catalyst. Hydrochloric acid-based alkylation units are considered here. Alkylation units produce high-octane components for gasoline blending, where isobutane is reacted with various olefin feeds to form alkylate (isoparaffin). Hydrofluoric (HF) acid is a catalyst used for the chemical reaction between isobutene and olefin feeds. The alkylation unit is significant within a refinery and is often subjected to corrosion-related material failure originating from HF acid. While several components in a plant can be subjected to HF corrosion, the focus here is on tubing and piping systems (FIG. 1). The various origins of corr

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