Corrosivity Evaluation of Copper-Nickel Alloy (90/10) in Pumps Used in Offshore Platforms for Seawater Pumping

  • F. B. Mainier Escola de Engenharia, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brazil
  • A. M. Coelho Escola de Engenharia, Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • E. F. Barros Escola de Engenharia, Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Keywords: localized corrosion, copper-nickel alloy, sodium hypochlorite, seawater


This work discusses the case of corrosion in a copper-nickel alloy used in seawater, where chlorination is necessary to control micro- and macro-organism growth that can render inoperable the seawater supply system used in an offshore platform. Studies developed in the last 30 years have shown copper-nickel’s adequateness in seawater, with a corrosion rate of about 0.001mm/year. However, annual equipment inspection showed localized corrosion in an internal chamber in a stand-by pump. Such corrosion occurred due to high-concentration of sodium hypochlorite (NaClO) injection into the operational system, even for pumps that were out of operation. To evaluate this corrosive process, gravimetric (mass loss) and electrochemical tests were developed in synthetic seawater with NaClO at concentrations of 100, 500, 1000 and 5000mg/L. The results indicated that the corrosiveness varied from low to moderate. The presence of pitting and crevices observed in the laboratory tests derails or compromises material use in seawater. It was concluded that there is a need for continuous monitoring of the NaClO injection in seawater pumps, and a method was proposed in order to minimize or avoid a high concentration of chlorine in standby pumps.


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