Black powder formation by dewing and hygroscopic corrosion processes

Martin Colahan, David Young, Marc Singer, Ricardo P. Nogueira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The presence of black powder in natural gas pipelines can lead to equipment erosion, valve failure, instrumentation malfunction, and increased pressure drop. However, despite its impact on downstream and midstream operations, black powder production is poorly understood. In the present work, black powder formation as a result of corrosion was investigated by simulating sales gas conditions in a glass cell. Steel specimens were systematically exposed to a range of CO2, H2S, and O2 partial pressures at differing water condensation rates. The potential for hygroscopic material assisting black powder formation was also investigated. Friable corrosion products found in dewing conditions consisted of siderite (FeCO3), mackinawite (FeS), and hematite (Fe2O3). The expected mass of corrosion products, as determined from experimental corrosion rates, are in line with the high levels of black powder that can be experienced. The presence of hygroscopic NaCl crystals facilitated corrosion at relative humidities as low as 33%.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)358-367
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Black powder
  • Deliquescence
  • Dewing
  • Hygroscopic
  • Internal corrosion
  • Sales gas


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