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Ask the Experts Metals

Can I determine if the oxidation in the cooling section of my continuous furnace is caused by air ingress or a water leak?

Tom Philips
Sr. Principal Applications Engineer

A simple copper/ steel test can differentiate oxidation by air (O2) or water (H2O). The test is performed by sending a piece of clean bright copper strip alongside a piece of clean carbon steel strip through the continuous furnace and observing the oxidation on each test coupon. Take care to keep the furnace temperature below 1981˚F, the melting point of copper. The steel strip will discolor or oxidize if the atmosphere has an air or water leak; however, the copper strip will only oxidize if an air leak is present. You can use this test for nitrogen-based or generated type atmospheres like endothermic or dissociated ammonia. And it can be done without oxygen or dew point analyzers.

For more details on this and other atmosphere troubleshooting tips, give us a call at 800-654-4567.
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