Making the grade

News and developments in the world of corrosion resistant alloys through the eyes of Corrotherm International

5 applications of INCONEL alloys

29 January 2019

5 applications of INCONEL alloys
INCONEL alloys are incredibly versatile, used across a number of key industries thanks to the superior properties and high performance the materials offer

When it comes to technically superior and reliable materials for industrial applications, design engineers and manufacturers turn to the INCONEL range of alloys to meet their needs.

Based on nickel and chromium, these superalloys offer exceptional high-temperature and corrosion resistance, which makes them particularly appealing. Here we look at five industrial applications that use INCONEL alloys.

Aerospace and jet engines

Nickel alloys are a natural choice within the aerospace industry. Engine parts, in particular, are exposed to high temperatures and high pressure. Materials need to be able to withstand this environment and retain their strength and integrity. Nickel alloys exhibit low expansion at these high temperatures, offer creep resistance under high-stress conditions, and are corrosion resistant.

INCONEL alloy 600, for example, is used for jet engine and airframe components, such as lockwire, exhaust liners and turbine seals. While INCONEL alloy 601 has such high mechanical strength and is so easy to work with, making it useful across a broad range of aerospace applications.

Oil and gas extraction

One of the key industrial applications for INCONEL alloys is in oil and gas extraction. There are many factors to consider in this sector for design engineers when it comes to material selection. Temperatures can be very high and the raw substances being processed or stored are volatile and corrosive.

Superalloys such as INCONEL alloy 625 are utilised for the separation of extracted fluids in the processing systems for liquefied natural gas production. This material offers outstanding fatigue and thermal-fatigue strength, as well as good oxidation resistance, high tensile, creep and rupture strength, and excellent weldability. It’s often employed to line steel transfer piping in sour gas and gas extraction equipment.

Pollution control and waste processing

Pollution control and waste processing are difficult environments where materials need to work hard. There are naturally hazardous and corrosive substances that need to be stored, moved and processed. The alloys used in waste-processing systems must therefore have excellent resistance to both oxidising and reducing acid solutions, as well as resistance to the high temperatures involved in operations without losing structural integrity or strength.

One useful alloy in this area is INCONEL C-276, which has excellent corrosion resistance in these kinds of environments. It has a high amount of molybdenum present (15-17%), which gives this alloy particular resistance to pitting and crevice corrosion. It also maintains a low carbon content, which minimises carbide precipitation during welding to ensure it keeps its corrosion resistance in as-welded structures.

Automotive

Car engines are delicate beasts. They generate a lot of heat, but need to be reliable and lightweight. As the car industry evolves, engineers are continually sourcing materials that can keep up with the technological advancements and drive to deliver the ‘next big thing’ in cars. As well as more power and greater thrust, car engines also need to be fuel-efficient and control pollution levels – it’s no mean feat to balance all these requirements.

The right materials, therefore, are essential. This is another area where INCONEL alloy 625 comes in useful, such a versatile material that it is. High-performance cars and supercars often use this nickel alloy for exhaust couplings, for example. INCONEL alloys are also used in the ignition systems, sensors, safety devices and electrical switch gear.

Marine industry

There are a number of seawater applications of INCONEL alloys. On offshore platforms, for example, or in the power and processing plants that use seawater as a coolant. Seawater systems are highly corrosive environments and yet it is essential to use materials that will not degrade under these conditions.

INCONEL alloys perform well in such extreme situations. For example, the old favourite INCONEL alloy 625 is used in wire rope, propeller blades, propulsion motors and sheathing for undersea communication cables. Other uses for the INCONEL alloy range include down-hole equipment, platform risers, hangers and high-strength fasteners.

Find out more about the applications of the INCONEL alloy range by speaking to a member of our Sales team today.

Published in Corrotherm News