Last updated: November 11, 2016

What Does Carbonaceous Mean?

Carbonaceous refers to any organic material that contains a large amount of carbon content.


Corrosionpedia Explains Carbonaceous

Examples of carbonaceous materials include coal, hydrocarbon petroleum products (e.g., crude oil, natural gas), carbonaceous gases and some metals such as carbon steel and carbon alloys. The chemical structure of hydrocarbons contains only carbon and hydrogen molecules.

The perfect example of a carbonaceous product is petroleum – a fossil fuel that was made over millions of years when dead organisms such as algae, sea plants and zooplankton were buried below the sedimentary rock layer on the earth’s surface and exposed to extreme pressure and temperature.

In the context of corrosion, the prolonged exposure of a metal to carbonaceous gases can lead to:

  • Carburization, in which internal carbide forms on the metal’s surface, which causes metal embrittlement in high temperature working conditions, internal cracks and failure of the metal’s surface.
  • Metal dusting, in which the metal disintegrates to a metal dust (a mix of carbon and fine metal particles), thereby causing the metal to weaken.
  • Coking, in which carbon deposition occurs at the rough edges or joints in the metal and subsequently causes the metal to disintegrate.

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