Austenitic materials with high sensitization resistance and high temperature strength are required for furnace and reaction tower of desulfurizing plants in the petroleum refinery industry. For these requirements, a new steel (LowC-18Cr-11Ni-3Cu-Mo-Nb-B-N) has been developed. The steel shows no intergranular stress corrosion cracking in polythionic acid environment after aging in the temperature range from 565 to 700 °C for up to 10,000 hours. This excellent PTA-SCC resistance is attributed to the prevention of M23C6 carbide precipitation along grain boundary due to extra low carbon content with high ratio of niobium to carbon. The maximum allowable tensile stress of this steel is estimated to be more than 30% higher than that of ASME SA213 Type347H. This excellent strength is based on the precipitation strengthening effect due to fine precipitates of a copper rich phase which are coherent with the austenite matrix in addition to Z-phase (NbCrN). Moreover, boron addition improves creep strength and creep ductility of the steel.
From these results, it is concluded that the newly developed steel is a promising material not only for refinery processes but also for other elevated temperature usages.