I'm having an issue finding reliable information on the corrosive effects of propylene glycol when in contact with various types of stainless steel. In an "intermittent spray" application in atmospheric temperatures and pressures and glycol/water concentrations of 50-90% glycol is there a reasonable danger of corrosion of 300 series and duplex stainless steels? If so, can you recommend any reference material that can be cited describing what precautions would mitigate the issue, etc.?
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Brian Dalder Forum Moderator 169 Posts
Re: What are the corrosive effects of propylene glycol?7 December 2010 at 1:29pmConditions of exposure and the presence of other chemicals and trace impurities are important when evaluating the compatibility of a material of construction. So these need to be considered when looking at a specific situation like yours. In general, the main issue with glycols is the formation of acids by glycol degradation at elevated temperatures. This is why corrosion inhibitors are added to glycols used as heat transfer fluids. Having said this, 316L stainless steel is considered compatible with propylene glycol under many conditions and is a recommended material of construction for glycol storage. Pruett's Chemical Resistance Guide for Metals and Alloys (Compass Publications) gives 316L stainless steel an "A" rating for propylene glycol at concentrations of 30% to 100% at temperatures up to 195° F. For more information, you might consider contacting a manufacturer of propylene glycol and propylene glycol heat transfer fluids (e.g., Dow Chemical).