Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 328–332 | Cite as

Failure Analysis of Ethanol Vaporizer Heat Exchanger Tubes

  • S. A. Sanders
  • H. C. Iwand
Technical Article---Peer-Reviewed


A series of tube failures due to corrosion occurred in shell-and-tube heat exchangers that utilized high-temperature steam within horizontal tubes to distill ethanol within the shell. On the basis of the investigation, it was determined that the tubes were made of 316L stainless steel, and the ethanol (and tube corrosion product) had elevated sulfur content. The corrosion of the tubes was predominantly located in the areas of high sulfur concentration along the surfaces with the highest temperature where sulfuric surface deposits were allowed to form. Alternative tube materials which may offer improved corrosion resistance were recommended.


Heat exchanger Corrosion Materials selection 


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    Biosan Laboratories, Inc.: Sani-Check SRB: Sulfate Reducing Bacteria Test Kit. Accessed 2 Jan 2013
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    ASM Metals Handbook, 10th Ed., Vol. 1—Properties and Selection: Irons, Steels and High-Performance Alloys, ASM International (1990)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Crum, J.R., Shoemaker, L.E.: Defining acceptable environmental ranges and welding procedures for corrosion resistant alloys, March 22–26, 2009 (Atlanta), NACE, Paper #09381Google Scholar

Copyright information

© ASM International 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Engineering Systems IncorporatedO’FallonUSA
  2. 2.Engineering Systems IncorporatedOmahaUSA

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