News & Views, Volume 45 | Metallurgical Lab Featured Damage Mechanism – Acid Dewpoint Corrosion in Conventional Fossil Boilers and Combined Cycle HRSGs

By:  Wendy Weiss

Acid dewpoint corrosion can occur in conventional and HRSG units in locations where temperatures fall below the sulfuric acid dewpoint temperature. This can occur when either the tube metal temperatures are below the acid dewpoint so that condensate forms on the metal surface, or when flue gas temperatures are below the acid dewpoint, so that the condensate will form on fly ash particles.

This type of fire-side damage occurs when sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the flue gas oxidizes to sulfur trioxide (SO3) and the SO3 combines with moisture to form sulfuric acid. If the temperatures are at or below the acid dewpoint, so that the sulfuric acid condenses, then tube metal corrosion occurs. The temperature at which condensate first forms depends on a number of factors, including the partial pressures of SO3 and water vapor in the flue gas, but is usually around 250 to 300°F.