During the design stage of process equipment fabrication, applications that are highly corrosive are specified to be built with reactive alloys. Some designs recognize the superior corrosion resistance potential of Zirconium, allowing for an increase in process temperature and pressure to within the metal’s capabilities. This facilitates tremendous improvement in plant process reaction inefficiencies, plant throughput and profitability.

For this reason, chemical applications often consider Zirconium Pipe as a cost-effective method of protecting process systems from damaging corrosive leaks. The following information is provided as background on Zirconium, the alloy characteristics, strengths and how Zirconium Piping Systems could benefit your process line.

Life Cycle Benefits of a Zirconium Piping System

With extremely high resistance to corrosion, Zirconium Piping can withstand exposure of the harshest fluids. This translates to reduced maintenance expense as downtime is kept to a minimum, making it a very economical choice over other reactive metals. TITAN’s Zirconium Piping can solve many of the problems inherent in other materials. Properly maintained, our Zirconium Pipe can operate for decades.

Zirconium Pipe can:

  • Be cost competitive
  • Provide many years of economical service life
  • Eliminate expensive downtime due to equipment failure
  • Accommodate high steam pressure
  • Remove possibilities of process fluid leaks

 Zirconium the Metal

Zirconium is one of the metal alloys characterized as Reactive or Corrosion Resistant Alloys.

Zirconium is compatible with high temperatures up to 1200ºF, in reducing or oxidizing applications. In addition to high resistance to uniform corrosion attack, Zirconium can be extremely protective against pitting, stress and crevice corrosion.

It is often specified as a material of construction for Piping Systems for applications in chemical, petrochemical, oil & gas process industries. In these harsh manufacturing environments, processes utilize aggressive fluids often at very high temperature.  When these fluids come into contact with equipment surfaces, the strength and corrosion resistance of the material of construction are severely tested.

Zirconium Pipe offers excellent corrosion resistance in the majority of organic and inorganic environments, including salt solutions, acids, strong alkalis as well as some molten salts.

Please see TITAN’s Applications of Zirconium for additional information on Zirconium uses, typical mils of corrosion of various materials in hostile environments, and comparative corrosion resistance data including media, concentrations and temperatures.

Zirconium Piping Designs

Zirconium Piping is a regular part of TITAN’s most popular product portfolio. We fabricate many different types of Zirconium Piping Systems. TITAN’s Zirconium Pipe is a fully-welded design and will not leak.

Designs and accessories to Zirconium Piping include:

  • Solid wall
  • Large diameter
  • Explosive clad
  • Individual straight
  • Elbows or Tee fittings
  • Flanges and gaskets
  • Spooled sections
  • ID polishing
  • Jacketed for heat transfer
  • Dual containment designs

Weld end connections with final field welding can also be supplied.

Manufacturing capacities include widths up to 120″ diameter, 300’ in length and weights up to 200 tons.

Piping larger than 8″ diameter is normally supplied as rolled and welded cylinders meeting the requirements of ASME Code, Section 8, Division I.

TITAN manufactures pressure equipment in accordance with all major international design standards and pressure vessel codes.

Using both HTRI and AspenTech thermal design software, we design and custom build many different styles of Zirconium Pipe.

Zirconium Corrosion Resistance

Zirconium Piping is very often specified for highly-corrosive industrial applications and frequently used in processes in which chlorides are a component.  These and other very corrosive chemicals are damaging to lesser materials. This corrosion can rapidly lead to repair and/or replacement of the equipment in short time frame, causing expensive and highly disruptive process stoppage.

Some of the common service applications of Zirconium Piping include:

  • Acetic Acid
  • Citric Acid
  • Formic Acid
  • Hydrochloric Acid
  • Lactic Acid
  • Nitric Acid
  • Phosphoric Acid
  • Sulfuric Acid

TITAN Zirconium Piping is used in a wide variety of oxidizing and reducing environments. To view a list of materials where Zirconium is commonly used, please visit Applications of Zirconium.

For a general guide on corrosion resistance, temperatures and concentrations please see TITAN’s publication, “Corrosion Resistance of Metals in Various Chemical Media” for additional information.*

*Please Note: Final selection of material must be based on actual evaluation of the metal in the corrosive medium under study.


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