Evaluating the Corrosion Resistance of Inconel 625 Coatings, Processed by Compact Plasma Spray, for Applications in Concentrating Solar Power Plants
Evaluating the Corrosion Resistance of Inconel 625 Coatings, Processed by Compact Plasma Spray, for Applications in Concentrating Solar Power Plants, F. Rubino, D. Merino, C. Munez, P. Poza, Key Engineering Materials, 926, 1736-1745, 2022, Online version, https://doi.org/10.4028/p-d3uuc2
Thermal energy storage (TES) systems have paramount importance in the design of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plants. TES systems allow storing the energy collected from solar radiation as heat energy in a thermal fluid and, in that way, extending the energy duration period of the plant and making the produced electricity dispatchable, depending on the actual demand and not only on the availability of the sun. The thermal fluids, synthetic oils, or molten salts, usually operate at temperatures from 500°C up to 800°C. The harsh operative conditions bring out issues related to the compatibility with the construction materials of CSP components, i.e., carbon and stainless steel. Coating of low-alloy structural steel with high-resistant materials has been addressed as a promising solution for mitigating the corrosion in TES system components. Compact plasma spray process was used to deposit Inconel 625 alloy onto T22 carbon steel coupons. Nitrate salts mixture, 60%NaNO3-40KNO3, commonly employed in CSP systems as operative and thermal storage fluid was used as corrosion medium. The tests were conducted by immersing coated and uncoated samples in molten salts at 500°C for 1, 3 7, and 14 days to assess the corrosion behavior of the In625 coatings. After 24 hours of exposition to molten nitrate salts, the T22 surface showed a pronounced oxidized layer having a thickness of approximately 20 µm. This layer is mainly composed of oxygen, iron, and chromium, which are the main constituents of carbon steel, with a few traces of sodium and potassium derived from the reaction of salts with the steel. Inconel 625, on the other hand, showed the formation of very thin scales of corrosion products localized only on the surface of the sample. Longer exposition is expected to produce a more pronounced degradation of uncoated steel, but barely affect the Inconel 625 coating.