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Hex Steel Pickling

Tantalum Heat Exchangers for Hydrochloric and Sulfuric Acid Pickling Applications

For more than two decades Tantalum has proven itself to be a superior material when used in hydrochloric and sulfuric acid steel pickling applications. 

Tantalum, being a refractory metal, gets its corrosion resistance from a continuously regenerating oxide layer that occurs during the use in chemical service. The oxide layer is both corrosion resistant and erosion resistant proving itself a superior choice for corrosion resistance and reliability in hydrochloric acid steel pickling applications.  Tantalum is totally up inert in the concentrations and temperatures of hydrochloric acid used in steel pickling. 

Tantalum heat exchangers utilize it fully welded metal design that has proven to meet the mechanical challenges associated with steel mill operations.   Tantalum heat exchangers are smaller than other heat exchangers used in this service and are easily accessible for inspection and cleaning. 

The erosion resistance of the tantalum tubes allows for acid velocities through the heat exchanger that improves heat transfer as well as reduce fouling associated with the reprocessing of pickled steel.

Benefits of tantalum heat exchangers in steel pickling applications are:
  • Tantalum heat exchangers can be designed to utilize up to 150 psig steam with standard gauge tantalum tubing. The use of higher-pressure steam reduces the heat transfer surface area required at a given heat load, reducing the cost of tantalum equipment over other materials. 
  • Tantalum heat exchangers are a fully welded metal that are dye penetrant tested, helium leak tested and then hydrostatically tested to ensure a 100% leak free heat exchanger at time installation.   Tantalum heat exchangers are considered more rugged than heat exchangers of other materials used in this application I have been known to be damaged in handling, installation, and transportation.


  • Tantalum utilizes standard off the shelf, gaskets and hardware that are available from your parts inventory or from local pipe and valve distributors. 

  • Tantalum heat exchangers can be designed to fit into the mounting and acid piping footprint of carbon block or other heat exchangers.

Tantalum For Corrosion Resistant Applications in the Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Petrochemical Industries

Tantalum is a highly corrosion-resistant metal that finds extensive use in corrosive applications across various industries. Here’s a brief description of the benefits of using tantalum in your application:

Broad Chemical Compatibility:

Tantalum exhibits exceptional resistance to a wide range of corrosive media, including high concentration and high temperature acids (such as sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, bromine, phosgene), salt solutions, and organic compounds. It can withstand aggressive environments where other materials might corrode or degrade.

Passive Oxide Layer:

Tantalum forms a thin, protective oxide layer on its surface when exposed to corrosive substances. This oxide layer acts as a barrier, preventing direct contact between the metal and the corrosive media. It provides excellent resistance to both uniform and localized corrosion.

Stability in Extreme Conditions:

Tantalum maintains its corrosion resistance properties even in extreme conditions, such as high temperatures, elevated pressures, and highly concentrated solutions. It remains stable and does not undergo significant degradation or deterioration in harsh environments.

Non-Reactive and Inert:

Tantalum is non-reactive and chemically inert in many corrosive media. It does not readily participate in chemical reactions, ensuring the integrity and purity of the media being handled. This property is crucial in applications where contamination or product purity is a concern.

Mechanical Durability:

Tantalum possesses high mechanical strength and toughness, allowing it to withstand physical stresses and mechanical wear in corrosive environments. It can resist erosion, abrasion, and impact, making it suitable for applications involving turbulent flow or high-velocity fluids.

Long Service Life:

Tantalum’s exceptional corrosion resistance contributes to a longer service life for equipment and components used in corrosive applications. This leads to reduced maintenance costs, extended operational uptime, and improved overall efficiency.

Equipment can be designed and fabricated in solid, loose lined and explosion clad constructions to meet the design requirements of your applications.

Common Chemical Applications for Tantalum
  • Hydrochloric Acid
  • Sulfuric Acid
  • Nitric Acid
  • Bromine
  • Phosgene
  • Multi Purpose Operations (Acids, Solvents, Etc.)
Equipment Commonly Fabricated With Tantalum
  • Tantalum Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers
  • Tantalum Bayonet Heat Exchangers
  • Tantalum Lined Pipe
  • Tantalum Lined Dip Pipes / Spargers
  • Tantalum Lined Columns
  • Tantalum Explosion Clad Reactors / Pressure Vessels
Chemical Applications That Commonly Use Tantalum Equipment
  • MDI / TDI
  • Ethylene Dichloride
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients Manufacturing
  • Steel Pickling
  • Fine Chemical
  • Specialty Chemicals
  • Herbicides
  • Pesticides

For More Information Please Contact:

Larry Haubner
Director of Sales

Tricor Metals
Email: lhaubner@tricormetals.com
Phone: 1-800-421-5141 Ext. 9860

Technical White Papers Applicable to Tantalum Chemical Process Equipment