Stress corrosion cracking of carbon steel in ethanol

  • Sridhar N
  • Price K
  • Buckingham J
 et al. 
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This paper presents the results of a study on the effects of water, acetic acid (CH3 COOH), oxygen, corrosion inhibitor, chloride, methanol (CH3 OH), denaturant, and corrosion prod- uct on the stress corrosion cracking (SCC) of steel in ethanol (C2 H5 OH). The factor that was found to have the greatest effect on causing SCC was corrosion potential, as infl uenced by oxy- gen. The lower critical potential for SCC ranges from 25 mV vs. saturated calomel electrode (SCE) to 300 mVSCE , depending on the presence of chloride and methanol as impurities. Galvanic contact with precorroded steel appeared to exacerbate SCC by increasing the corrosion potential. Within the fuel ethanol specifi cation limits, chloride had a less signifi cant effect than oxygen. SCC was intergranular when the chloride concentra- tion in ethanol (both laboratory and fi eld samples) was low (less than 1 ppm) and it was transgranular when the chloride concentration was high (32 mg/L). A denaturant, a corrosion inhibitor, and acidity, within the specifi cation limits of fuel- grade ethanol, did not appear to have a signifi cant effect on SCC. Water content ranging from 170 ppm to 1% by weight did not have any signifi cant effect on SCC. Thermodynamic calculations of iron in ethanol with a few hundred ppm wa- ter showed that iron oxide is stable over a wide range of pH. Electrochemical measurements indicated signifi cant hyster- esis in the polarization behavior of steel in ethanol under SCC conditions. KEY

Author-supplied keywords

  • Corrosion potential
  • Ethanol
  • Oxygen
  • Steel
  • Stress corrosion cracking

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  • N. Sridhar

  • K. Price

  • J. Buckingham

  • J. Dante

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