Final Technical Report - High-Performance, Oxide-Dispersion-Strengthened Tubes for Production of Ethylene adn Other Industrial Chemicals

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This project was undertaken by Michigan Technological University and Special Metals Corporation to develop creep-resistant, coking-resistant oxide-dispersion-strengthened (ODS) tubes for use in industrial-scale ethylene pyrolysis and steam methane reforming operations. Ethylene pyrolysis tubes are exposed to some of the most severe service conditions for metallic materials found anywhere in the chemical process industries, including elevated temperatures, oxidizing atmospheres and high carbon potentials. During service, hard deposits of carbon (coke) build up on the inner wall of the tube, reducing heat transfer and restricting the flow of the hydrocarbon feedstocks. About every 20 to 60 days, the reactor must be taken ... continued below

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McKimpson, Marvin G. April 6, 2006.

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This project was undertaken by Michigan Technological University and Special Metals Corporation to develop creep-resistant, coking-resistant oxide-dispersion-strengthened (ODS) tubes for use in industrial-scale ethylene pyrolysis and steam methane reforming operations. Ethylene pyrolysis tubes are exposed to some of the most severe service conditions for metallic materials found anywhere in the chemical process industries, including elevated temperatures, oxidizing atmospheres and high carbon potentials. During service, hard deposits of carbon (coke) build up on the inner wall of the tube, reducing heat transfer and restricting the flow of the hydrocarbon feedstocks. About every 20 to 60 days, the reactor must be taken off-line and decoked by burning out the accumulated carbon. This decoking costs on the order of $9 million per year per ethylene plant, accelerates tube degradation, and requires that tubes be replaced about every 5 years. The technology developed under this program seeks to reduce the energy and economic cost of coking by creating novel bimetallic tubes offering a combination of improved coking resistance, creep resistance and fabricability not available in current single-alloy tubes. The inner core of this tube consists of Incoloy(R) MA956, a commercial ferritic Fe-Cr-Al alloy offering a 50% reduction in coke buildup combined with improved carburization resistance. The outer sheath consists of a new material - oxide dispersion strengthened (ODS) Alloy 803(R) developed under the program. This new alloy retains the good fireside environmental resistance of Alloy 803, a commercial wrought alloy currently used for ethylene production, and provides an austenitic casing to alleviate the inherently-limited fabricability of the ferritic Incoloy(R) MA956 core. To provide mechanical compatibility between the two alloys and maximize creep resistance of the bimetallic tube, both the inner Incoloy(R) MA956 and the outer ODS Alloy 803 are oxide dispersion strengthened materials produced using mechanical alloying technology. To minimize cost, the bimetallic tube is produced by direct powder co-extrusion. This technology has potential for domestic energy savings of up to 4.1 trillion BTU/year (4.3 x 1015J/year) and a reduction of 370,000 tons (340,000 tonnes) of CO2 emissions in short-residence-time ethylene furnaces. This represents an energy savings and CO2 emissions reduction of about 3.3%. If the technology is also applied to other types of ethylene pyrolysis furnaces, total energy savings and CO2 emissions reductions could increase by up to five times. The work involved: Developing powder and consolidation processing protocols to produce an oxide-dispersion strengthened variant of Alloy 803 exhibiting creep strength comparable to Incoloy? Alloy MA956, Developing a direct powder co-extrusion protocol for fabricating co-extruded bimetallic Incoloy? Alloy MA956 / ODS Alloy 803 tubes, Characterizing the properties of the ODS Alloy 803 material, the welding characteristics of the bimetallic tubes, and the coking characteristics of the Incoloy? MA956 alloy, and Documenting the potential energy savings and user requirements for these bimetallic pyrolysis furnace tubes. The project demonstrated that oxide dispersion strengthened Alloy 803 can be produced successfully using conventional mechanical alloying technology. The oxide dispersion strengthened bimetallic radiant coil technology explored under this program has significant potential for energy savings and productivity improvements for domestic ethylene producers. In today's competitive market, however, domestic furnace manufacturers and ethylene producers appear reluctant to pay any cost premium for higher-performance coil materials offering either higher temperature capabilities or longer service life. Interest in oxide dispersion strengthened radiant coils is likely to increase if furnace and ethylene producers begin to focus more on increasing tube wall temperatures to improve productivity.

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  • Report No.: ID14255
  • Grant Number: FC36-01ID14255
  • DOI: 10.2172/878650 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 878650
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc873753

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  • April 6, 2006

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  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Jan. 9, 2017, 10:45 a.m.

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McKimpson, Marvin G. Final Technical Report - High-Performance, Oxide-Dispersion-Strengthened Tubes for Production of Ethylene adn Other Industrial Chemicals, report, April 6, 2006; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc873753/: accessed September 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.