Real-Time Corrosion Monitoring for Hydrogen Fluoride Processes

by , | Sep 28, 2020 | Digital Transformation

Glen Goi

Glen Goi

Business Development Manager

Alkylation units allow for the production of premium gasoline grades, adding significant economic value to the refinery operation. These units are extremely susceptible to aggressive corrosion. Corrosion can lead to an HF (Hydrogen Fluoride) release, which can cause significant production loss and place the health and safety personnel and local community at risk.

Most equipment in the refining facility is constructed from carbon steel. A stable iron fluoride layer is formed inside the equipment upon contact with highly concentrated acid, forming a layer that provides adequate protection for the carbon steel against further corrosion by HF acid. However, if the layer contacts with an acid/water mix, an unstable and non-protective hydrate scale is formed, which swells and can become detached from the equipment.

Likewise for chemical and pharmaceutical industries, HF acid is used as catalyst in their manufacturing process which is similar to the refinery’s alkylation process as well. An example in chemical industry is detergent manufacturing which HF catalyst is used to produce alkylbenzene sulfonate or soft detergent through the process of sulfonation. For pharmaceutical applications, HF is used as a catalyst and solvent in the production of acetaminophen or paracetamol. All these processes will have the risk of corrosion with the presence of HF acid in the environment. Besides the refining, chemical & pharmaceutical industries, HF is also commonly used in chlorofluorocarbon manufacturing industry, the semiconductor industry, and the aluminum production industry.

Rosemount Permasense corrosion & erosion wireless sensorsEngineered with a unique new signal processing module, the Emerson’s non-intrusive Rosemount Wireless Permasense Corrosion & Erosion Monitoring Solution delivers data directly to the engineer’s desk with wireless, non-intrusive sensors that communicate with an Emerson Wireless Gateway, reducing the frequency of manual inspections. These sensors are designed to withstand harsh, potentially high-temperature pipework operation conditions. The Rosemount Wireless Permasense proprietary algorithms that accurately and reliably calculate wall thickness enable the engineers to monitor their assets status in real time at their desk.

Emerson’s global corrosion product director Jake Davies explained that today’s:

…process plants require monitoring technology that can safeguard their people and their business. Reducing the risks from HF acid attacks and minimizing the potential for leaks allows facilities to better forecast equipment lifespan while also securing the health and safety of their employees.

From Jim Cahill: Visit the Rosemount Wireless Corrosion & Erosion Monitoring section on for more on how these non-intrusive systems use unique sensor technology and wireless data delivery to continuously monitor for pipework metal loss from corrosion or erosion in the most difficult environments. You can also connect and interact with other wireless and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) sensor experts in the IIoT & Digital Transformation group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.alkylation

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.

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