Effects of Mercury on an Aluminium Heat Exchanger in a Natural Gas Plant
At 02:43 on 1 January 2004, an explosion and fire were caused by the failure of a cold box manifold. This destroyed one gas processing train and interrupted natural gas production for approximately six weeks.
hrl: Technology was commissioned to determine the root cause of this major failure. The fire resulted from the failure of an inlet nozzle to a cold box, which is part of the refrigeration process in the liquid recovery plants (LRP).
The findings from the hrl: study, based on analysis of samples taken from the affected area, found that the failure of the inlet nozzle was due to liquid metal embrittlement (LME) of the aluminium cold box by elemental mercury.
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