CHEMICAL engineering is constantly beset by corrosion problems, but these difficulties arose in an unusually acute form for the chemical engineers and chemists who helped to construct the three great factories of the British Atomic Energy Production organisation. Although it is only a general account of the projects, the new book ‘Britain's Atomic Energy Factories’ contains several references to corrosion problems. Unprecedented demands for stainless steel were created owing to the highly corrosive nature of the process materials. In the crude oxide plant of the Springfields uranium factory, for instance, crushed ore is dissolved in 1,000‐gal. stainless‐steel tanks agitated by 3‐ft. stainless‐steel paddles. Large stainless‐steel vessels are used for stirring the uranyl nitrate solution from which uranium is precipitated as the solid compound, ammonium diuranate. A stage in obtaining metallic uranium from ammonium diuranate is the conversion of the latter to uranium tetrafluoride. Severe corrosion of the furnace linings and pipes of the plant used for this process was experienced at first and a special and very expensive alloy had to be provided for the furnace linings.
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