Volume 6, Issue 10 (November 2009)
Keynote—Materials Selection for Oxidizer Service—Successes and Challenges
Improper selection of materials of construction for oxygen and other strong oxidizer applications can result in sudden catastrophic failure. Many available materials are flammable and will burn in oxidizer systems if sufficient ignition energy is provided. Because these combustion events occur suddenly, they cannot be monitored by periodic inspection. Also, a definitive cause after such an event is often difficult to determine because much of the evidence is destroyed. Materials selection and system design must be correct from the beginning. The key is to ensure the ignition energies imposed on the materials during operation of the system do not challenge the materials. Or, to state it differently, a designer must ensure that the materials selected have adequate compatibility to withstand the operating conditions (including transient conditions such as startups) without igniting. This paper will provide an overview of the science of oxygen compatibility and how Committee G04 efforts have helped improve safety. It will also comment on the technical issues the Committee may address in the future and a concern, shared with many similar organizations, of declining industry participation.