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Alloys for Ethylene Cracker

Traditionally, ethylene furnace tubes were fabricated from cast or wrought, high alloy stainless steels. Coke layers formed on the inside surface of these tubes during ethylene production, causing reduced mass flow through the tube and heat transfer across the wall of the tube. In addition carburization, or the formation of metal carbides along the tube wall, would further limit the furnace tube's structural life. Oak Ridge National Laboratory along with industry partners are developing intermetallic and metallic materials that allow for the production of ethylene furnace tubes resistant to coking and carburization. The focus of the research is on iron and nickel aluminide intermetallics and on advanced metallic alloys for application into the separate layer of the tube. Novel tube fabrication and welding techniques will also be implemented during the production process. Currently, this active project has identified and laboratory tested an alloy that provides an order of magnitude improvement. ORNL is currently trying to develop welding techniques for the alloy and tubing to insert into a furnace.
Dickson Ozokwelu
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., S
Washington, DC  20585

phone: 202-586-8501
fax: (202) 586-6507

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