Study of the effect of molten CuCl immersion test on alloys with high Ni-content with and without surface coatings
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The demand for hydrogen as a clean energy carrier has increased greatly. The Cu-Cl cycle is a promising thermochemical cycle that is currently being developed to be the large-scale method of hydrogen production. The lifetime of materials for the pipes transporting molten CuCl is an important parameter for an economic design of a commercial thermochemical Cu-Cl hydrogen plant. This research is an examination of candidate materials following an immersion test in molten CuCl at 500 °C for 100 h. Two alloys, Ni based super-alloy (Inconel 625) and super austenitic stainless steel (AL6XN) were selected as the base metal. There were two types of coating applied to improve the corrosion resistance of the base metals during molten CuCl exposure. A metallic of Diamalloy 4006 and two ceramic of yttria stabilized zirconia and alumina coatings were applied to the base metal using thermal spray methods. An immersion apparatus was designed and constructed to perform an immersion test that has a condition similar to those in a hydrogen plant. After the immersion test, the materials were evaluated using an electrochemical method in combination with ex-situ surface analysis. The surface condition including elemental composition, film structure and resistivity of the materials were examined and compared. The majority of the coatings were damaged and fell off. Cracks were found in the original coated specimens indicating the sample geometry may have affected the integrity of the sprayed coating. When the coating cracked, it provided a pathway for the molten CuCl to go under the coating and react with the surface underneath the coating. Copper deposits and iron chloride that were found on the sample surfaces suggest that there were corrosion reactions that involved the metal dissolution and reduction of copper during immersion test. The results also suggest that Inconel 625 performed better than stainless steel AL6XN. Both Diamalloy 4006 and YSZ (ZrO2 18TiO2 10Y2O3) coatings seemed to provide better protection to the underlying base metal than alumina (Al2O3 3TiO2) coating.