Clifford Springs: Springs for valves and actuators in hydrogen environments

The hydrogen industry is evolving rapidly with the diversification of global energy sources.  And as the reliance on hydrogen grows, the technology to support its growth also has to evolve. 

Valves and actuators are vital to the smooth operating of so much of the technology in the hydrogen industry.  And, in turn, springs are crucial components within these pieces of equipment.  

At Clifford Springs, we are well aware of the unique challenges presented by hydrogen environments, and are involved in a number of working groups looking at the potential challenges and solutions. 

So what are some of the challenges, and how can we overcome them? 

Hydrogen Embrittlement

This is the biggest challenge that we face when introducing metals into a hydrogen environment.  Hydrogen molecules can actually permeate metals, changing their microstructure, and leading to cracking and component failure.  At Clifford Springs we recommend and manufacture springs from materials that are known to be resistant to hydrogen embrittlement. 

Corrosion

Hydrogen environments can be corrosive.  Add in impurities like oxygen, carbon dioxide or water vapour, whether they occur as a by product of the hydrogen production, or find their way in from external sources, and the likelihood of corrosion increases significantly.  Corroded springs have lower life expectancy.  Ask us about the materials we’d recommend for your springs. 

Mechanical Stress

Dynamic stress placed on springs is amplified in a hydrogen environment.  Ultimately this stress can lead to fatigue and cracking.  Our technical experts will work with you to design the longest lifespan into your springs based on the environment and stress limits they will have to face. 

Temperature

Hydrogen applications are often cryogenic which, along with other temperature fluctuations, can alter the mechanical properties of metals, reducing their strength and elasticity.  Issues such as condensation can also occur, leading to corrosion.  Again, problems can be mitigated by choosing spring materials that will retain their functional properties across a broad range of temperatures. 

Why does it matter?

Hydrogen systems need to be safe.  From having to shut down equipment for expensive repairs, to the risk of fire or explosion, the consequences of a failed valve or actuator could be costly. 

At Clifford Springs we work closely with our valve and actuator clients to ensure that the springs that we supply are making the greatest contribution possible to the efficiency and longevity of the equipment working in hydrogen environments, ensuring reliability and safety in critical applications. 

Tel No:

01527 62876

Email:

sales@cliffordsprings.co.uk 

Website:

https://www.cliffordsprings.com/


Published: 3rd June 2024

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