Improving the corrosion resistance of ferritic-martensitic steels at 600 °C in molten solar salt via diffusion coatings

T.M. Meißner, C. Oskay, A. Bonk, B. Grégoire, A. Donchev, A. Solimani, M.C. Galetz

Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells 227 (2021), 111105, DOI: 10.1016/j.solmat.2021.111105


Reprinted from Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, Copyright (2021), with permission from Elsevier

Molten salt corrosion in the receiver's piping system and storage tanks is still one of the major drawbacks of concentrated solar power (CSP) plants and is currently covered by using expensive high-alloyed steels or Ni-base alloys. The employment of cheaper structural materials combined with protective coatings is an attractive alternative to increase cost-efficiency. The present study investigates the corrosion resistance of three different coatings (a pure Ni, a Cr and a combined Ni + Cr coating) deposited on ferritic-martensitic X20CrMoV12-1 steel during isothermal immersion in molten solar salt in comparison to uncoated Ni-base alloy Haynes 230. Exposure tests were conducted at 600 °C for up to 1000 h. To identify the individual role of the main elements, exposure tests of pure Fe, Ni and Cr were undertaken as well. In addition to the cross-sectional investigations via light-optical microscopy and EPMA, X-ray diffraction measurements were conducted to identify the corrosion products. These were complemented by weight change measurements and chemical analysis of the salts after the exposure tests. The study reveals differences between the corrosion behaviour of the different coating approaches, which is discussed as a function of coating composition and degradation mechanisms. Whereas pure Cr or pure Ni coatings offer hardly any improved protection of the uncoated X20CrMoV12-1 substrate, the combined Ni + Cr coating performs very well and improves the scaling behaviour of X20CrMoV12-1 significantly. The outcome highlights the correlation between the solubility of the pure metals Fe, Ni and Cr in molten solar salt and the corrosion resistance of the investigated coatings.

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