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The Alloy Valve Stockist: Monel alloy valves in HF Acid and Alkylation processes

Barcelona, 8 November 2012

The first nickel alloy was developed by the International Nickel Company as well as trademark registered in 1906 that eventually came to be known as the exotic alloy 400, used in monel valves. From this beginning, various nickel-copper alloys were createdone of which became the initial age-hardenable nickel alloy. Developed in the 1920s, the alloy is still known as Monel alloy K-500.

Due to its corrosion resistant properties, monel is a favorite amongst professionals who labor in the hydrofluoric acid sector, also known as HF acid. HF Acid is part of the alkylation process that manufactures fuel for cars.

Monel can probably be considered the first nickel-based, corrosion-resistant alloy that has been manufactured. Essentially a binary alloy of nickel and copper, its ratio of nickel to copper is the same as that found in the ore where it is extracted. Thus, it can also be considered a puritan alloy. Patented as early as 1906, Monel has seen use in many different applications in many different industries in the last century, from huge naval leviathans to small electronic components and from food processing to gasoline production to electric power generation. The alloy as well as its descendants are still widely used as well as it seems likely that trend will continue into the next century and beyond.

In the valve market, monel is at times referred to by its UNS code N04400 or N05500. In forged form, monel is also referred to as A494 M-35-1 is often used in HF Acid production facilities governed by UOP or ConocoPhillips. These valves and associated materials used for handling anhydrous hydrogen fluoride are often made to NACE norm 5A-171. These alkylation installations require the use of approved manufacturers in the process. These incluye Vogt, Velan, Bonney Forge, Kitz, Pacifc as well as Descote, all of who offer a line of hydrofluoric monel valves for UOP as well as ConocoPhillips licensed plants. Fugitive emissions are a critical factor in the performance of any HF Acid valve.

Most approved manufacturers offer a broad range of Phillips as well as UOP approved API 600 gate, globe, plug and check HF acid valves. The HF acid valves used in UOP plants vary from ConocoPhillips plants, and each type\category of plant has its own technical requirements.

At the dawnof the 20th century, the International Nickel Company (Inco) was formed by the merger of the Canadian Copper Company of Ontario as well as the Orford Copper Company in New Jersey. Canadian Copper Ontario had extensive holdings in the recently discovered nickel-copper ore mines near Sudbury, Ontario while Orford Copper owned a patented process referred to as "tops as well as bottoms" for processing nickel as well as copper from that ore. By 1905 the firm's extraction of nickel from the Canadian matte ores was more thanthat from the silicate ores of New Caledonia in the South Pacific and Canada became the world's leading producer of nickel, a position it arguably continues to hold today.

At that time, D.H. Browne, the metallurgical engineer at the Copper Cliff factory, postulated that oxidation of the metals in the matte ore followed by reduction of those same metal oxides with charcoal could engender a super alloy made of copper and nickel to which zinc could be added to form German silver, a popular "stainless" material used for mechanical instruments. This process was much more economical than the usual method of alloying independently refined nickel as well as copper with zinc. Browne, working with Robert Stanley, deputy manager of the works, was successful in developing the process to accomplish the production of the refined nickel-copper alloy. On January 30, 1906, U.S. patent 811,239 was issued to Ambrose Monell, then president of the three-year old Inco, for "a new as well as useful improvement in the manufacture of nickel-copper alloys." As is stated in the Monell patent, the process included smelting, "bessemerization," calcining, as well as oxide reduction.

While Browne's design to make German silver from the nickel/copper alloy was actually possible, it was determined that the resulting alloy of about 70% nickel as well as 30% copper-the natural ratio of those elements in the matte ore-had some quite eyecatching properties. The new alloy was silvery white, even brighter than nickel, with a higher tensile strength than steel, as well as more resistant to corrosion in saltwater as well as sulfuric acid than aluminium bronze. In honor of the company's president, the product was named "Monel" metal.

The nacent firm moved forward with commercialization of the alloy by outworking production in a way that in 1907 more than a quarter million kilograms of Monel metal products were sold. Just oneyear later in 1908, the company received its largest order to date, that being 119,748 kilograms of Monel sheet for the roof of the then-newly constructed Pennsylvania Railroad Station ("Penn Station") in New York City. The roof was installed in 1909. By then there were already 23 registered applications for Monel ranging from battleship propellers to golf club heads.

The properties of the new alloy surprised many. A Monel shaft in a pump in the company's plant water processing system on New York Harbor did not corrode. The alloy resisted atmospheric corrosion in New York City far better than copper. Monel resisted sulfuric acid so well that it became the standard alloy of choice for pickling equipment in the metalindustry. Clearly, the alloy proved to be worth further investigation and investment. Inco contracted Columbia University to evaluate and define the properties of the new alloy to help establish applications for it. Commercial production of Monel products was a challenge to Inco as they had no facilities for thermal or mechanical processing. This was resolved by cooperative contracts with current metal processors: the American Sheet as well as Tin Plate Company as well as West Penn Steel manufactured sheet. Central Iron and Steel rolled plate, as well as Crucible Steel Company manufactured rods.

The new alloy was not easy to cast. To solve problems in the foundry, Inco established the Bayonne Casting Company in Bayonne, New Jersey. In its first year of operation, the Bayonne Works produced 5,443 kg of Monel metal. Navies of the world became interested in the excellent resistance of Monel to saline corrosion. The U.S. Navy battleship North Dakota was fitted with three-blade Monel propellers 4 meters in diameter weighing 6,800 kg. Each blade was cast in one piece. In a short time, over 40 propellers were cast for U.S. Navy vessels. Other navies ordered Monel parts such that in four years, production at the Bayonne Works had risen to 127,000 kg. Monel alloy components proved themselves in service in the United States as well as British navies during World War I, establishing the alloy as the prime choice for severe marine and petrochemical service to present times.

Monel also contributed to the air war in World War I. The Curtis JN4-D American aircraft called the "Jenny" used a Monel metal water jacket to cool its 90 horsepower engine. And, U.S. military identification tags (later referred to as dog tags) were made of Monel to ensure that they did not rust. The alloy's ability to be sterilized made it popular for construction of medical equipment. As early as 1916, high-pressure steam sterilizers were fabricated from Monel. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, architectural hardware including rooling, gutters, flashing, as well as ornamental details for big municipal buildings was a major market for Monel. Its use continues today though maybe to a lesser extent due to its increased cost.

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Alloys: As a valve supplier, we keep duplex, super duplex , alloy 20 , monel , hastelloy , inconel , incoloy , titanium and tantalum, 904L , zirconium , uranus, 254 SMO, 6Moly (6 Mo), nickel, copper, aluminium-bronze (NAB or alibronze) valves in stock, and can also offer them on short manufactuing lead times. The range includes nickel-copper alloys and austenitic-ferritic steels.

Valve types and configurations : we supply with ANSI norms, DIN specifications, NORSOK requirements, JIS standards and GOST and certifications, in a wide range of sizes and pressure ratings, and stock premium brand gate valves, globe valves, check valves, as well as ball valves that are approved by leading oil, gas and chemical companies. We also stock and distribute butterfly valves, together with plug valves, needle valves and valves that are custom made to meet end-user requirements.

Corrosive, high/low temperature environments : These specifically include demanding services such as HF Acid (hydrofluoric service) for both Phillips as well as UOP alkylation plants, as well as oxygen service valves that are cleaned, bagged and tagged accordingly. Our valves also meet the requirements of other corrosive processes such as sulfuric acid, nitric acid and chlorine . Cryogenic service valves too are within our range, and cater to the argon , LPG, LNG and other liquified gas processes, as well as nitrogen and oxygen applications.

Markets: We distribute to end users and engineering firms, mainly chemical, plastics and polymers producers, fine chemical manufacturers, petrochemical and gas derivative generators, as well as the operators of nuclear facilities and manufacturers of naval, submarine and marine equipment. Our valves are at times also used in the civil construction and food markets.

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The Alloy Valve Stockist.   Barcelona, Spain.

The Alloy Valve Stockist

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