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Steam reformer tubes

The proprietary Uhde top-fired steam reformer

In the catalyst-filled reformer tubes, heat transfer is effected at a metal temperature of about 850°C to 1000°C. Inevitably, the service life of components such as the reformer tubes is limited due to the combined effect of creep, alternating thermal and mechanical stresses, external and internal oxidation and carburization. It is, therefore, extremely important to select an appropriate tube material, reduce the number of hot connections and manifolds and maintain uniform operating conditions.

The tubes of the Uhde reformer consist of a centrifugally cast high alloy steel with a high creep rupture strength. This allows a lower wall thickness, results in lower thermal stress and also enables a high heat flux. Consequently, it is possible to use reformer tubes with a larger diameter, thereby reducing the number of tubes and the size of the reformer itself.

Top firing and the process flow inside the tubes from top to bottom result in a very uniform temperature profile over the entire length of the reformer tubes.