Non-ferrous materials are a small part of the total piping materials, and they are used in a very aggressive environment. Non-ferrous material contains no iron or in a very insignificant amount.

These materials are more expensive than ferrous metals. Some of the non-ferrous materials used in Process Industries are listed below. The non-ferrous materials are also known as exotic materials.

  • Copper and Copper Alloys
  • Nickel and Nickel Alloys
  • Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys
  • Titanium and Titanium Alloys
  • And Zirconium and Zirconium Alloys

 Copper and Copper Alloys

  • Good thermal conductivity and good corrosion resistance
  • Brasses, Bronzes (Cu-Sn) and Cupronickels (Cu-Ni) are some examples of the copper alloy
  • Cupronickels have the highest corrosion resistance among Cu alloys
  • Cupronickels are used for heat exchanger tubing and seawater application
  • It can be used as a cladding material with carbon steel in heat exchanger tube sheets.

 Nickel and Nickel Alloys

  • Good resistance to oxidation and corrosion
  • Monel 400 and Hastelloy are well-known examples of nickel alloys
  • These alloys are used in piping systems, pressure vessels, turbine blades, valves, and power plant accessories that handle steam at very high pressure and temperature
  • Nickel alloys are frequently used as a cladding material with carbon steel

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 Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys

  • Good thermal conductivity
  • It is the most workable metal
  • Highly resistant to atmospheric conditions
  • But When coupled with more noble materials, it is subject to galvanic attack.
  • And Loses strength rapidly above 175°C
  • Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys are rarely used in process piping
  • However, it is used as an external cladding material to protect the insulation from water ingress.

Image – Geo Thermal

 Titanium and Titanium Alloys

  • High strength to weight ratio
  • Like SS, Titanium Oxide is formed on the surface, preventing corrosion.
  • Titanium and Titanium alloy are resistant to nitric acid, which is very corrosive. Hence, it is used in this kind of process environment.
  • However, an inert atmosphere is required for welding Titanium and Titanium Alloys.
  • It starts losing its strength above 400°C
  • Titanium is also used as a clade material with carbon steel to reduce the cost of equipment.

Zirconium and Zirconium Alloys

  • Zirconium and Zirconium Alloys are used, where strong acids and alkalis are present, where other materials cannot be used due to the very aggressive environment.

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Varun Patel - HardHat Engineer

About Author: Varun Patel is a Mechanical Engineer and an Oil & Gas Professional. He is a Certified Project Management Professional – PMP® from PMI® USA. With over nineteen years of experience, he has worked with Fortune 500 Oil & Gas Companies. Know more.