Understanding Corrosion in Water Pipelines: A Guide for Pipeline Designers



Last updated: May 31, 2020

What Does Condensate Mean?

Condensate is condensed water resulting from the removal of latent heat from steam or any other gas. Condensate may also refer to:

  • Product of a chemical condensation reaction (other than water)
  • Natural-gas condensate

Condensate systems experience corrosion from two major impurities — carbon dioxide and oxygen. The combination of carbon dioxide and water provides the conditions that are necessary for uniform metal loss in the form of grooving, particularly in horizontal runs, and thinning at pipe threads, whereas oxygen corrosion manifests itself as deep pits.


Corrosionpedia Explains Condensate

Condensate is the liquid formed when steam passes from the vapor to the liquid state. In a heating process, condensate is the result of steam transferring a portion of its heat energy, known as latent heat, to the product, line or equipment being heated.

Some air conditioners use condensate to help cool the hot condenser coils of the air conditioner itself. Gas condensate can be used to make both fuel and plastic. However, it must be stabilized by removing unnecessary admixtures. Gas condensate is sometimes called white oil, and can be used as fuel.

Condensate recovery is very useful, environmentally friendly and cost effective. If condensate is not recovered, its energy (sensible heat), chemical treatment and water are wasted, leading to greater fuel and water-related costs. Condensate can be reused as:

  • Heated feedwater, by sending hot condensate back to the boiler's deaerator
  • Pre-heat, for any applicable heating system
  • Steam, by reusing flash steam
  • Hot water, for cleaning equipment or other applications

The most common cause of corrosion in the condensate system is due to carbon dioxide. The two basic approaches for the prevention of corrosion in condensate systems are:

  • Minimizing carbon dioxide & oxygen contamination
  • Using chemical inhibitors to counteract corrosive conditions

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