Managing Moisture with Hydrophobic Coatings in Refining Operations

July 06 2011 Process Analytical

 Many of the streams in refining and petrochemical operations are very dry but an upset in process conditions will lead to moisture in the sampling system.  A surface that is hydrophobic is critical in refining and petrochemical applications.  This moisture will adversely affect analysis because the polarity of the water in the system can retain sulfur and sulfur species as well as other active compounds.  The faster a system can “dry” of any moisture, the faster the analytical system will begin to generate reliable data. 

Figure 1, shows images of water droplets applied to 304 stainless coupons as well as coated 304 stainless surfaces.  The coatings impart a hydrophobic characteristic to the stainless steel substrate.  The hydrophobic surfaces are easier to purge free of water.  This is critical in refining and petrochemical operations when upsets occur, as moisture in analyzer systems lead to poor and unreliable data.

Blog post 7 6 11 hydrophobicity comparison resized 600

Figure 1:  Coating of 304 stainless results in ability to increase hydrophobicity

Coatings are well accepted as a means to improve analytical system accuracy and durability in demanding applications.  To select the proper coatings, properties such as acid exposure, particulate exposure and the needs for chemical inertness must be know.  When coatings are properly matched to the physical and chemical demands of an application, years of accurate and reliable results can be expected.