Why retubing with titanium condenser tube plugs is cost effective in the long run for Power Plants

While it’s a well known fact that titanium is a more expensive material than say stainless steel or copper-nickel alloys, when given the facts about corrosion resistance, titanium comes out ahead.

The reason titanium is an overall better tubing option than some materials is due to it’s immunity to corrosion. It is impervious to corrosion in saline and brackish environments and since titanium produces a naturally occurring oxide film, it resist breakdown from chloride ions as well. It is also resistant to biofouling.

Titanium condenser tube plugs have in fact been in use in some power plants for 40 years consecutively without retubing. One example of this in the Arthur Kill Station in New York which has been operating with titanium condenser tube plugs since 1971.

Due to the corrosion resistant properties of titanium, it allows for thinner tube walls to be used which in turn increases the heat transfer efficiency. Also, due to it’s light weight, the overall weight of the condenser will be lighter as well as the support structures required for the condenser.

Typically the failure to titanium condenser tube plugs is due to outside or accidental damage.

Using a lower cost material can cost less initially however, it can be significantly more overall due to tube failure from corrosion, erosion and biofouling. Titanium’s combination of high strength plus corrosion resistance make it able to withstand the test of time in condensers and heat exchangers and therefore reduce the need to retube after a certain amount of years as with some tubing materials making it the ideal choice for Power Plants.