(19)
(11)EP 3 599 291 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
18.11.2020 Bulletin 2020/47

(21)Application number: 18184977.9

(22)Date of filing:  23.07.2018
(51)Int. Cl.: 
C23G 1/19  (2006.01)
C23C 22/50  (2006.01)
C11D 7/26  (2006.01)
C11D 11/00  (2006.01)
C23G 1/08  (2006.01)
C11D 7/10  (2006.01)
C11D 7/34  (2006.01)
C11D 3/00  (2006.01)

(54)

METHOD FOR REMOVING ROUGING FROM STAINLESS STEEL

VERFAHREN ZUR BESEITIGUNG VON ROUGING VON EDELSTAHL

PROCÉDÉ D'ÉLIMINATION DE DÉPÔTS DE ROUGING SUR L'ACIER INOXYDABLE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(43)Date of publication of application:
29.01.2020 Bulletin 2020/05

(73)Proprietor: Technochim SA
7822 Ghislenghien (BE)

(72)Inventors:
  • Groulard, Frederic
    7870 Cambron-Saint-Vincent (BE)
  • Tosar, François
    6041 Gosselies (BE)
  • Louche, Juliette
    7000 Mons (BE)

(74)Representative: De Clercq & Partners 
Edgard Gevaertdreef 10a
9830 Sint-Martens-Latem
9830 Sint-Martens-Latem (BE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 0 071 336
WO-A1-2009/095475
EP-A1- 3 249 076
DE-A1-102015 114 481
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD



    [0001] The present invention is in the field of chemical cleaning and surface treatments for a stainless steel substrate. In particular, the present invention provides a method, kit and use of specific solutions for removing and preferably preventing the formation of rouging (class I, II and/or III) on a stainless steel substrate, which may be used as processing station or production unit.

    BACKGROUND



    [0002] Various industries such as the pharmaceutical, food and biotechnological industries use systems and units (e.g. vats, vessels, generators, machines, etc.) for the production and processing of their products. These systems and units typically consist of stainless steel substrates produced from stainless steel alloys, such as chromium/nickel/molybdenum steels.
    Despite the use of high quality materials after a while discolorations appear on the stainless steel substrate's surface which come in contact with products and processing media (e.g. water or other solutions). These discolorations are a form of corrosion and typically the result of films or deposits on the stainless steel surfaces, such as Fe oxides particles or Cr, Ni and Mo components.
    At an early stage the discolorations show a fine reddish colour and are thus referred to as "rouging". Class I rouging typically originates from external sources such as erosion or cavitation, whereas class II rouging can be explained as a breakdown of the passive layer inducing a corrosion of the stainless steel surfaces. It could be enhance by chloride. However, in some cases a more intense form of rouging will show a dark blue to black colour instead, and may be referred to as "blacking". The latter class III rouging is typically found in high temperature steam systems. Although the exact cause of rouging is not yet entirely understood, it is believed that the colour variation is a result of the oxide/hydroxide/carbonate type and variations in the water of hydration associated with the corrosion products. Consequently, the rouging is closely linked to and dependent on the materials used and the thermodynamic conditions to which these materials are exposed. Depending on the operating intensity and conditions, these surface changes can occur as early as a few months after a unit is first started up. In other cases, it may be years until the rouging is first observed.

    [0003] For example, it is frequently observed in the pharmaceutical industry that stainless steel surfaces tend to develop a red to black thick surface layer upon contact with hot (above 50°C) water (vapour or liquid) having an electrolytic conductivity less than 1 µS/cm2. For instance, the surfaces of Water-For-Injection equipment inspected after 6 to 18 months often show the so-called rouging effects, i.e. the presence of an increased concentration of iron oxide on the surface. Apart from iron oxide, mixed metal oxides are also present such as iron-chrome-nickel mixed metal oxides.
    Rouging presents a danger in the industry since it leads to the release of heavy metal oxide particles from the stainless steel surface. This may result in undesired contamination of products (e.g. pharmaceuticals) with heavy metal particles, and thereby negatively affect the purity and quality of products and their processing. Furthermore, rouging increases the micro-roughness of affected stainless steel surfaces and reduces the efficiency of the used systems and units. As a result thereof, the rouging has to be removed periodically to ensure high quality and purity of products.
    There exist various methods and machines to remove rouging. However, mechanical cleaning processes (e.g. by wiping with a cloth) are limited to easily accessible areas and loosely adhering particles. Such processes are thus not suitable to remove more permanent discolorations at harder to reach areas, as well adhering films and deposits. For this purpose, wet-chemical cleaning processes are used almost exclusively. For example, WO 2009/095,475 and US 8,192,550 describe the use of cleaning solutions and methods for removing rouging from stainless steel surfaces. DE-A-10 2015 114481 discloses a method for removing rouging using a acid/neutral reducing solution containing sulphite and repassivating with an oxidising solution containing an organic acid.
    Additionally, treatments that delay or reduce the formation of rouging may also be applied. For example, EP 3 249 076 describes products for the preventive treatment of stainless steel and related methods.
    However, the presently available products and methods are still found lacking when aiming to completely remove rouging, or require the use of strong and highly concentrated mineral acids despite the numerous known disadvantages for the systems. In particular intense class III rouging is known to be particularly difficult to completely remove, requiring the use of extremely costly, laborious and often difficult to perform treatments.
    For instance, when handled improperly, the use of concentrated acids can lead to considerable danger, both with respect to its transport and disposal. In addition the acids do not specifically target the rouging, but also partly dissolve the heavy metals additionally present in the alloy of the stainless steel. Thus, when handled improperly, there is the danger that the surface of the process stations and production units is attacked and the surface properties are negatively affected. Moreover, their use as a component of the cleaning solution itself is also dangerous for the handlers as its vapours can cause severe respiratory irritations.
    In view of the above there is a need for novel methods and products to efficiently and completely remove rouging, in particular class III rouging. Preferably these methods and products also provide a preventative treatment to prevent or at least delay the formation of rouging.

    SUMMARY



    [0004] The invention according to the present disclosure solves the aforementioned problems. Accordingly, provided herein are a method, kit and use of specific solutions for removing and preferably also preventing the formation of any class of rouging (I, II and III) on a stainless steel substrate, which may be used as processing station or production unit. The method, kit and use may be particularly effective for removing class III rouging, which is typically the most difficult to remove rouging class.

    [0005] In a first aspect the invention generally relates to a method for removing and/or preventing rouge formation on stainless steel, the method comprising the steps of successively contacting a stainless steel substrate with the following solutions:
    1. (i) a first alkaline solution comprising a permanganate and/or bromate compound or any of the corresponding salts as oxidizing agent;
    2. (ii) a second neutral or alkaline solution comprising a reducing agent selected from dithionite, sulphite, bisulphite, disulfite or any of the corresponding salts and/or a combination thereof; and,
    3. (iii) a third acidic solution comprising at least 5.0×10-3 to at most 1.0×10-1 mol/l of complexing anions and at least 1.35×10-5 to at most 9.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+. Preferably, the method is for removing and/or preventing class III rouge formation on a stainless steel substrate.


    [0006] In a further aspect the invention generally relates to a kit for removing and/or preventing rouge formation on stainless steel, the kit comprising:
    1. (i) a first alkaline solution comprising a permanganate and/or bromate compound or any of the corresponding salts as oxidizing agent;
    2. (ii) a second neutral or alkaline solution comprising a reducing agent selected from dithionite, sulphite, bisulphite, disulfite or any of the corresponding salts and/or a combination thereof; and,
    3. (iii) a third acidic solution comprising at least 5.0×10-3 to at most 1.0×10-1 mol/l of complexing anions and at least 1.35×10-5 to at most 9.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+. Preferably, the kit is for removing and/or preventing class III rouge formation on a stainless steel substrate.


    [0007] In a further aspect the invention generally relates to a use of at least three solutions for removing and/or preventing rouge formation on stainless steel, the use comprising:
    1. (i) a first alkaline solution comprising a permanganate and/or bromate compound or any of the corresponding salts as oxidizing agent;
    2. (ii) a second neutral or alkaline solution comprising a reducing agent selected from dithionite, sulphite, bisulphite, disulfite or any of the corresponding salts and/or a combination thereof; and,
    3. (iii) a third acidic solution comprising at least 5.0×10-3 to at most 1.0×10-1 mol/l of complexing anions and at least 1.35×10-5 to at most 9.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+. Preferably, the use is for removing and/or preventing class III rouge formation on a stainless steel substrate.


    [0008] In some preferred embodiments the first solution comprises the oxidizing agent in a concentration of at least 0.1 g/l to at most 100.0 g/l, preferably 0.1 to 64.0 g/l, more preferably 1.0 to 45.0 g/l, most preferably 5.0 g/l to 20.0 g/l.
    In some preferred embodiments the oxidising agent is selected from KMnO4, NH4MnO4, Ca(MnO4)2, NaMnO4, AgMnO4, KBrO3; preferably KMnO4.
    In some preferred embodiments the first solution comprises NaOH and/or KOH as base in a concentration of at least 1.0 g/l to at most 750.0 g/l, preferably 10.0 g/l to 750.0 g/l, more preferably 25.0 g/l to 500.0 g/l, most preferably 75.0 g/l to at most 400.0 g/l.
    In some preferred embodiments the second solution comprises the reducing agent in a concentration ranging from at least 1.0 g/l to at most 100.0 g/l; preferably 5.0 to 75.0 g/l; more preferably 7.5 g/l to 60.0 g/l, most preferably 10.0 g/l to 50.0 g/l.
    In some preferred embodiments the second solution comprises NaOH and/or KOH as base in a concentration of at least 1.0 g/l to at most 750.0 g/l, preferably 10.0 g/l to 750.0 g/l, more preferably 25.0 g/l to 500.0 g/l, most preferably 75.0 g/l to at most 400.0 g/l.
    In some preferred embodiments the first solution has a pH of 7.5 to 14.0, preferably 10.0 to 14.0, more preferably 11.0 to 14.0, most preferably 12.0 to 14.0.
    In some preferred embodiments the second solution is an alkaline solution having a pH of 7.5 to 14.0, preferably 10.0 to 14.0, more preferably 11.0 to 14.0, most preferably 12.0 to 14.0.
    In some preferred embodiments the third solution has a pH from 1.0 to 5.0, preferably from 1.0 to 4.0, more preferably from 2.0 to 4.0, most preferably from 2.5 to 3.5.
    In some preferred embodiments the first and/or the second solution have a temperature of 80° to 100° C during contacting with the steel substrate, preferably from 85° to 100° C, more preferably from 90° to 100° C, and most preferably from 90° to 95° C.
    In some preferred embodiments the third solution has a temperature of 60° to 100° C during contacting with the steel substrate, preferably of 70° to 90°C, more preferably of 80° to 90°C, and most preferably from 85° to 90° C.
    In some preferred embodiments wherein the contacting time of the stainless steel substrate with the first and/or the second solution is from 0.50 hours to 5.0 hours, preferably from 1.00 hour to 4.0 hours, more preferably from 1.50 hours to 3.5 hours, even more preferably from 2.00 hours to 3.0 hours, and most preferably about 2.0 hours for the first solution and about 3.0 hours for the second solution.
    In some preferred embodiments the contacting time of the stainless steel substrate with the third solution is from 0.50 hours to 8 hours, preferably from 0.50 hour to 4 hours, more preferably from 0.50 hours to 2 hours, most preferably from 0.75 hours to 1.5 hours.
    In some preferred embodiments between each contacting step the substrate is rinsed with a rinsing fluid; preferably an aqueous rinsing fluid having a conductivity (electrolytic) of at most 1 µS/cm2.

    DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES



    [0009] The following description of the figures of specific embodiments of the invention is only given by way of example and is not intended to limit the present explanation, its application or use. In the drawings, identical reference numerals refer to the same or similar parts and features.

    [0010] FIG. 1 shows three (A, B, C) exemplary cut-out stainless steel substrates (100) before and after treatment with the present invention. The experimental details are discussed further in Example 1.

    DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



    [0011] As used below in this text, the singular forms "a", "an", "the" include both the singular and the plural, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.
    The terms "comprise", "comprises" as used below are synonymous with "including", "include" or "contain", "contains" and are inclusive or open and do not exclude additional unmentioned parts, elements or method steps. Where this description refers to a product or process which "comprises" specific features, parts or steps, this refers to the possibility that other features, parts or steps may also be present, but may also refer to embodiments which only contain the listed features, parts or steps. The enumeration of numeric values by means of ranges of figures comprises all values and fractions in these ranges, as well as the cited end points.
    The term "approximately" as used when referring to a measurable value, such as a parameter, an amount, a time period, and the like, is intended to include variations of +/-10% or less, preferably +/-5% or less, more preferably +/-1% or less, and still more preferably +/-0.1 % or less, of and from the specified value, in so far as the variations apply to the invention disclosed herein. It should be understood that the value to which the term "approximately" refers per se has also been disclosed.

    [0012] Unless defined otherwise, all terms disclosed in the invention, including technical and scientific terms, have the meaning which a person skilled in the art usually gives them. For further guidance, definitions are included to further explain terms which are used in the description of the invention.

    [0013] The present invention provides a method, kit and use of specific solutions for removing and/or preventing the formation of rouging on a stainless steel substrate which is for example used as processing station or production unit, and preferably removing and/or preventing the formation of class III rouging on said stainless steel substrate.
    The present invention is based on the surprising finding that a combined use of at least three solutions applied in a specific order may result in a complete removal of the rouging deposit, or at least a considerably improved removal of rouging deposit relative to known products and methods. Moreover, following removal any formation of rouging deposits thereafter may be prevented or at least considerably delayed. The present invention is particularly suitable for treatment of class III rouging, which is typically very difficult and cumbersome to remove. Moreover, the present invention has the advantage that the removal and/or preventative treatment can be executed in the presence of atmospheric oxygen and/or at normal operating conditions (e.g. pressure) without the need for disassembly of the stainless steel device or apparatus. The terms "rouging" or "rouge", and "rouging film", "rouging formation" or "rouging deposit" are used interchangeably herein and generally refer to a special form of deposits that occur on stainless steel surfaces, in particular on surfaces made from austenitic stainless steel substrates in hot systems or in ultrapure vapor systems, which typically comprise iron oxide- or iron hydroxide-dominated layers which typically comprise intercalated Cr, Ni and Mo or their oxides. These porous and particle-forming rouging layers rich in iron oxide, usually have a layer thickness between 0.1 µm and 10 µm and whose nature is that of a flat corrosion, replace the originally present dense and strong passive layers rich in chromium oxide. The class III rouging may also be referred to as "blacking" or "black film". Common thickness for rouging is between 200 nm and 1000 nm, although some substrates may have rouging layers of 2500 nm or greater.
    As used herein the term "substrate" referred to in the different aspects of the present invention is a stainless steel substrate. For instance, it is a CrNi or a CrNiMo steel. Examples of CrNi and CrNiMo steels are steels of grades AISI 304 (1.4301), AISI 304L (1.4307, 1.4306), AISI 316 (1.4401), AISI 316L (1.4404, 1.4435), AISI316Ti (1.4571), or AISI 904L (1.4539) [according to DIN 10027-2]. Examples of stainless steel substrates that can be treated according to aspects of the present invention are mixing vats, storage containers, fermenters, recipient vessels, dryers, filling machines, sterilization vessels, freeze dryers, autoclaves, washing machines, ultrapure water generators, ultrapure vapour generators, distribution lines for purified or ultrapure fluids, and others.
    As used herein the term "metal oxide" refers to iron (II) and/or iron (III) oxides and/or hydroxides, rouge (such as class I rouge, class II rouge, or class III rouge), and/or spinels such as iron (II-III) oxides wherein optionally part of the iron atoms are replaced by chromium, nickel, molybdenum and/or silicon atoms.
    As used herein the term "solution" refers, in the widest sense of the word, to a liquid mixture in which the component or components as listed are uniformly distributed within a solvent (e.g. water).
    As used herein the term "pH" refers a scale of acidity ranging from 0 to 14. In particular, a neutral solution may be understood to have a pH of about 7 (for example 6.9, 7.0 or 7.1), an acidic solutions has a pH below 7 (for example 6.5, 6.0, 5.0, 4.0,etc.) and an alkaline solutions has a pH above 7 (for example 7.5, 8.0, 9.0, 10.0, etc.). The indicative pH values and pH ranges listed in any one embodiment of any of the solutions (e.g. first, second and third) correspond with the pH value prior to contact with a (stainless steel) substrate. It is understood that chemical reactions with rouging deposit and/or any residues or compounds present on the substrate may result in a shifting of the pH during contacting, thereby potentially lowering or increasing the pH value of the solution.

    [0014] In a first aspect the present invention provides a method for removing and/or preventing rouge formation on stainless steel, the method comprising the steps of successively contacting a stainless steel substrate with the following solutions:
    1. (i) a first alkaline solution comprising a permanganate and/or bromate compound or any of the corresponding salts as oxidizing agent;
    2. (ii) a second neutral or alkaline solution comprising a reducing agent selected from dithionite, sulphite, bisulphite, disulfite or any of the corresponding salts and/or a combination thereof; and,
    3. (iii) a third acidic solution comprising at least 5.0×10-3 to at most 1.0×10-1 mol/l of complexing anions and at least 1.35×10-5 to at most 9.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+.
    Generally speaking, the method provides for a treatment of a stainless steel substrate affected by rouging, which is typically deposited on the surface of said stainless steel substrate. By successively applying the three listed solutions in the order as indicated above it was observed that rouging could be removed with an efficiency that goes beyond the application of any one or two of the three solutions separately. Accordingly, a synergistic effect could be observed, which achieves a unique function going beyond the expected effects for each of the listed solutions. Indeed, the present method may provide for a complete removal or at the very least for significantly improved removal of rouging when compared to state of art methods and products. Moreover, the treatment may provide for a re-passivation of the selectively destroyed passive layer, thereby preventing or at least significantly delaying the formation of rouging after the treatment. Additionally, the method can be performed at relatively low cost, labour, and time, which may in turn increase the operational lifetime and reduce the required downtimes of the systems and devices affected by rouging, and may in turn also improve the quality of products produced using said system and devices.
    In some preferred embodiments the method is for removing and/or preventing class III rouge formation on a stainless steel substrate. Although the present method may be considered suitable for removing class I and class II rouging with very high efficiency, i.e. removing any traces of rouging, it was observed that the present method may be particularly effective at removing class III rouging as well, which is typically a very difficult and costly process. Elimination of class III rouging is more delicate due to its different structure and chemical composition. Using state of art methods there is a high risk of damaging the surface state during cleaning or delivering suboptimal results by only reducing the class III rouging thickness and still leaving behind traces of rouging. However, application of the method as described herein may result in complete removal of class III rouging without damaging the steel substrate.
    Additionally, sometimes steel substrates are simultaneously affected by different rouging types, for example class I and class III or class II and class II. Such cases may require supplementary treatments, for instance by combining or sequencing state of art methods. However, application of the method as described may result in complete removal of the different rouging types without the need for separate devices, products or methods for each rouging type.
    The solutions are brought into contact with the rouging deposit on the steel substrate. In some embodiments the contacting is performed by dipping, flushing, or spraying. Preferably the stain steel substrate is completely covered by the solution. This may allow for complete removal of rouging in difficult to reach areas, such as in the vicinity of corners or apertures. The dipping, flushing, or spraying may be performed with additional tools, such a spray can or similar tools.
    In some embodiments the solutions are drained between each contacting step; this may prevent mixing of the subsequent solutions. In some embodiments the stainless steel substrate is rinsed with a rinsing fluid between each contacting step. Preferably the rinsing fluid is an aqueous rinsing fluid having an electrolytic conductivity of at most 1 µS/cm2. Preferably, the rinsing fluid is drained prior to the next contacting step. Optionally the steel substrate may be rinsed prior to performing the method, for instance to remove any remaining dirt, dust or various chemical products present on said substrate.

    [0015] In a further aspect the present invention provides a kit for removing and/or preventing rouge formation on stainless steel, the kit comprising:
    1. (i) a first alkaline solution comprising a permanganate and/or bromate compound or any of the corresponding salts as oxidizing agent;
    2. (ii) a second neutral or alkaline solution comprising a reducing agent selected from dithionite, sulphite, bisulphite, disulfite or any of the corresponding salts and/or a combination thereof; and,
    3. (iii) a third acidic solution comprising at least 5.0×10-3 to at most 1.0×10-1 mol/l of complexing anions and at least 1.35×10-5 to at most 9.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+.
    In some preferred embodiments the kit is for removing and/or preventing class III rouge formation on a stainless steel substrate. Optionally, the kit comprises instructions for performing the method according to any embodiments as described herein. Optionally, the kit comprises tools to improve the performing the method; for instance, gloves, sprays, vials, and so on. In some embodiments the kit comprises a rinsing fluid; preferably an aqueous rinsing fluid having an electrolytic conductivity of at most 1 µS/cm2.

    [0016] In a further aspect the present invention provides a use of at least three solutions for removing and/or preventing rouge formation on stainless steel, the use comprising:
    1. (i) a first alkaline solution comprising a permanganate and/or bromate compound or any of the corresponding salts as oxidizing agent;
    2. (ii) a second neutral or alkaline solution comprising a reducing agent selected from dithionite, sulphite, bisulphite, disulfite or any of the corresponding salts and/or a combination thereof; and,
    3. (iii) a third acidic solution comprising at least 5.0×10-3 to at most 1.0×10-1 mol/l of complexing anions and at least 1.35×10-5 to at most 9.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+.
    In some preferred embodiments the use is for removing and/or preventing class III rouge formation on a stainless steel substrate. The use may be for systems and units (e.g. vats, vessels, generators, machines, etc.) for the production and processing of products, such as in the pharmaceutical, food and biotechnological industries.

    [0017] The first solution is an alkaline solution comprising a permanganate and/or bromate compound or any of the corresponding salts as oxidizing agent. According to the method as described herein, the first solution is to be applied prior to the second and the third solution. The first solution may provide the following effects: (i) a cleaning effect, for instance by removing any oil, media, dry solution, and the like present on the substrate; (ii) an oxidizing effect, by putting metallic compounds in a oxidized state; and/or (iii) a weakening effect, by weakening the oxide layer. Optionally, other solutions may be applied prior to contacting the substrate with the first solution, such as a rinsing fluid to remove any particles or chemical compounds that may be present on the steel substrate and could cause undesired chemical reactions.
    The first solution may be of any alkaline pH value above 7.5. Alkaline pH may allow for stabilizing the oxidizing agent and preventing issues of oxidizing agent deposition. In some preferred embodiments the second solution has a pH of 8.0 to 14.0, preferably 10.0 to 14.0, more preferably 11.0 to 14.0, most preferably 12.0 to 14.0; for example 12.5; for example 13.0; for example 13.5. In a most preferred embodiment, the very high alkaline pH values may, for instance, more efficiently stabilise KMnO4 and prevent MnO2 deposition.
    The first solution comprises at least a strong oxidizing agent; an oxidizing agent is defined herein as a substance having the ability to oxidize other substances. Strong oxidising agents typically have a high (+) oxidation state, such as +5 or +7, allowing for greater absorption of electrons. Preferably the oxidizing agent is a permanganate and/or bromate compound or any of the corresponding salts. Preferably the oxidising agent is selected from KMnO4 (potassium permanganate), NH4MnO4 (Ammonium permanganate), Ca(MnO4)2 (Calcium permanganate), NaMnO4 (Sodium permanganate), AgMnO4 (Silver permanganate); KBrO3 (Potassium Bromate) and/or a combination thereof; most preferably the oxidizing agent is KMnO4. These listed oxidising agents were observed to provide for a particularly efficient embodiment of the first solution. In some embodiments the first solution comprises the oxidizing agent, preferably KMnO4, in a concentration of at least 0.1 g/l to at most 100.0 g/l, preferably 0.1 to 64.0 g/l (max solubility of KMnO4 in water at 20°C), more preferably 1.0 to 45.0 g/l, most preferably 5.0 g/l to 20.0 g/l. It was observed that the presence of the oxidizing agent, such as KMnO4, in the preferred ranges may further improve the efficiency of the first contacting step.
    The first solution may comprise a (strong) base with a pKa-value of at least 13; a strong base is defined herein as having a pKa-value of at least 13. Preferably the base is NaOH (Sodium hydroxide), which has a pKa value of 13.8, and/or KOH (Potassium hydroxide), which has a pKa value of 15.7. The listed bases were observed to provide for particularly efficient embodiments of the first solution. In some embodiments the first solution comprises the base, preferably NaOH and/or KOH, in a concentration of at least 1.0 g/l to at most 750.0 g/l, preferably 10.0 g/l to 750.0 g/l, more preferably 25.0 g/l to 500.0 g/l, most preferably 75.0 g/l to at most 400.0 g/l.for example: 50 g/l; for example 100 g/l; for example 150 g/l; for example 250 g/l; for example 300 g/l; for example 350 g/l. It was observed that the presence of NaOH and/or KOH in the preferred ranges may further improve the efficiency of the first contacting step.
    In some embodiments the base and the oxidising agent are present in a concentration ratio of (1000:1) to (1:1); preferably (750:1) to (2:1); more preferably (500:1) to (5:1); most preferably (250:1) to (10:1). The listed concentration ranges were observed to provide for a particularly efficient embodiment of the first solution. In some embodiments the first solution comprises NaOH and a permanganate compound, preferably KMnO4, NH4MnO4, Ca(MnO4)2, NaMnO4, AgMnO4. In some embodiments the first solution comprises KOH and a permanganate compound, preferably KMnO4, NH4MnO4, Ca(MnO4)2, NaMnO4, AgMnO4. In some embodiments the first solution comprises NaOH and a bromate compound, preferably KBrO3. In some embodiments the first solution comprises KOH and a bromate compound, preferably KBrO3. In some preferred embodiments the first solution comprises NaOH and KMnO4. In some preferred embodiments the first solution comprises KOH and KMnO4.
    In some embodiments the first solution has a temperature of 70° to 100° C during contacting with the steel substrate, preferably from 80° to 100° C, more preferably from 90° to 100° C, and most preferably from 90° to 95° C; for example 91° C, 92° C, 93° C or 94° C. The contacting temperature may be adjusted depending on the degree of rouging. Contacting the substrate in the preferred temperature ranges may result in improved efficiency of the first solution, potentially reducing the time and the amount of first solution necessary for performing the method. In some embodiments the contacting time of the stainless steel substrate with the first solution is from 0.50 hours to 5.0 hours, preferably from 1.00 hour to 4.0 hours, more preferably from 1.50 hours to 3.5 hours, even more preferably from 2.00 hours to 3.0 hours, and most preferably about 2.0 hours. The contacting time may be adjusted depending on the degree of rouging. However, applying the first solution in the preferred time ranges may result in an optimal balance between efficient rouging removal and time costs (e.g. downtime of apparatus or system). In a most preferred embodiment the first solution contacts the steel substrate from 2.0 hours to 3.0 hours at a temperature ranging from 90° to 95° C.

    [0018] The second solution is a solution comprising a reducing agent selected from dithionite (Na2S2O4), sulphite (or sulfite), bisulphite (or bisulfite), disulfite (or disulphite) and/or any of its corresponding salts. According to the method as described herein, the second solution is to be applied after the first solution, but prior to the third solution. The second solution may reduce the metals present in the oxide layer of the substrate, such as chromium and iron, which may in turn improve the effectiveness of the third solution. Optionally the second solution may comprise one or more surfactants.
    The second solution may be of any neutral or alkaline pH value ranging from about 7.0 up to 14.0. Alkaline solutions may provide a more stable media for the reducing agent, thereby improving the effectiveness of the second solution, but neutral solutions were observed to work as well. In some preferred embodiments the second solution is an alkaline solution having a pH of 7.5 to 14.0, preferably 10.0 to 14.0, more preferably 11.0 to 14.0, most preferably 12.0 to 14.0; for example 12.5; for example 13.0; for example 13.5. In a most preferred embodiment, the very high alkaline pH values may, for instance, more efficiently stabilise dithionite.
    In some embodiments the second solution comprises any one or a combination of the listed reducing agents in a concentration ranging from at least 1.0 g/l to at most 100.0 g/l; preferably 5.0 to 75.0 g/l; more preferably 7.5 g/l to 60.0 g/l, most preferably 10.0 g/l to 50.0 g/l; for example 10 g/l; for example 20 g/l; for example 30 g/l; for example 40 g/l. Preferably, the second solution comprises dithionite in a concentration ranging from at least 1.0 g/l to at most 100.0 g/l; preferably 5.0 to 75.0 g/l; more preferably 7.5 g/l to 60.0 g/l, most preferably 10.0 g/l to 50.0 g/l. It was observed that the presence of dithionite in the preferred ranges may further improve the efficiency of the second contacting step.
    In some embodiments the second solution comprises a strong base (i.e. a base having a pKa-value of at least 12); preferably the base is NaOH and/or KOH. Preferably the second solution comprises NaOH and/or KOH in a concentration ranging from at least 1 g/l to at most 750 g/l, preferably 5 g/l to 600 g/l, more preferably 5 g/l to 500 g/l, most preferably 10 g/l to at most 400 g/l; for example: 50 g/l; for example 75 g/l; for example 100 g/l; for example 150 g/l; for example 250 g/l; for example 300 g/l; for example 350 g/l. It was observed that the presence of NaOH and/or KOH in the preferred ranges may further improve the efficiency of the second contacting step. In some preferred embodiments wherein the oxidising agent is dithionite and wherein the base is NaOH, the dithionite concentration is at least 5 g/l and the NaOH concentration is at least 75 g/l.
    In some embodiments the base and the reducing agent are present in a concentration ratio of (1000:1) to (1:1); preferably (750:1) to (2:1); more preferably (500:1) to (5:1); most preferably (250:1) to (10:1). The listed concentration ranges were observed to provide for a particularly efficient embodiment of the second solution.
    In some embodiments the second solution has a temperature of 80° to 100° C during contacting with the steel substrate, preferably from 85° to 100° C, more preferably from 90° to 100° C, and most preferably from 90° to 95° C; for example 91° C, 92° C, 93° C or 94° C. The contacting temperature may be adjusted depending on the degree of rouging. Contacting the substrate in the preferred temperature ranges may result in improved efficiency of the second solution, potentially reducing the time and the amount of second solution necessary for performing the method. In some embodiments the contacting time of the stainless steel substrate with the second solution is from 0.50 hours to 5.0 hours, preferably from 1.00 hour to 4.0 hours, more preferably from 1.50 hours to 3.5 hours, even more preferably from 2.00 hours to 3.0 hours, and most preferably about 3.0 hours. In a most preferred embodiment the second solution contacts the steel substrate from 2.0 hours to 3.0 hours at a temperature ranging from 90° to 95° C.

    [0019] The third acidic solution is a solution comprising complexing anions and ferrous iron (Fe2+). According to the method as described herein, the third solution is to be applied after the second solution, which was applied after the first solution. The third solution may reduce iron into a good oxidation state and also complex the iron for efficient removal; additionally it may passivate the surface layer. The complexing anions may be anions corresponding to the conjugate bases of organic poly-carboxilic acids. Preferably, the organic poly-carboxilic acids are selected from dicarboxylic acids and tricarboxylic acids; preferably the poly-carboxilic acids are one or more of the following: oxalic acid, citric acid, tartaric acid, maleic acid, fumaric acid, adipic acid, succinic acid, and mixtures thereof. Additionally, the one or more complexing anions may comprise oxalate.
    The third solution may be of any acidic pH value below 6.5. Acidic pH may allow for optimal effectiveness of the complexing anions present in the third solution. In some embodiments the third solution has a pH from 0 to 6.0, preferably from 1.0 to 5.0, more preferably from 1.0 to 4.0, even more preferably from 2.0 to 4.0, most preferably from 2.5 to 3.5, even more preferably 2.8 to 3.2, even more preferably from 2.8 to 3.0; for example 2.9. Optionally, the third solution may comprise one or more pH modifiers. Preferably said one or more pH modifiers are one or more acids, preferably the one or more acids are NH3 and/or NH4OH. A more acidic pH may further improve the effectiveness of the third contacting step and the preferred pH ranges were observed to provide the most optimal results.
    In some embodiments the third solution comprises 1.0×10-2 to 5×10-2 mol/l of one or more complexing anions, preferably about 2.0×10-2 mol/l. It was observed that the presence of one or more complexing anions in the preferred ranges may further improve the efficiency of the method. In some embodiments the third solution comprises from 1.35×10-5 to 9.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+, preferably about 5.0×10-5 mol/l. It was observed that the presence of dithionite in the preferred ranges may further improve the efficiency of the method.
    In some embodiments the third solution has a temperature of 50° to 100° C during contacting with the steel substrate, preferably of 60 to 90°C, more preferably of 70 to 90°C, and most preferably from 80 to 90° C; for example 83° C; for example 85° C; for example 87° C. The contacting temperature may be adjusted depending on the degree of rouging. Contacting the substrate in the preferred temperature ranges may result in improved efficiency of the third solution, potentially reducing the time and the amount of third solution necessary for performing the method. In some embodiments the contacting time of the stainless steel substrate with the third solution is from 0.50 hours to 8 hours, preferably from 0.50 hour to 4 hours, more preferably from 0.50 hours to 2 hours, most preferably from 0.75 hours to 1.5 hours. In a most preferred embodiment the third solution contacts the steel substrate from 0.75 hours to 1.5 hours at a temperature ranging from 80° to 90° C. The contacting time may be adjusted depending on the degree of rouging. However, applying the third solution in the preferred time ranges may result in an optimal balance between efficient rouging removal and time costs (e.g. downtime of apparatus or system).

    [0020] In a preferred embodiment, the method, kit and/or use comprise the following solutions: (i) a first solution comprising a base with a pKa-value of at least 13 and a permanganate and/or a bromate compound as oxidizing agent; (ii) a second alkaline solution comprising a base with a pKa-value of at least 13, and a reducing agent selected from dithionite, sulphite, bisulphite, disulfite or any of the corresponding salts and/or a combination thereof; and, (iii) a third acidic solution comprising at least 5.0×10-3 to at most 1.0×10-1 mol/l of complexing anions and at least 1.35×10-5 to at most 9.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+.
    In a preferred embodiment, the method, kit and/or use comprise the following solutions: (i) a first solution comprising NaOH and/or KOH, and a permanganate and/or a bromate compound as oxidizing agent; (ii) a second alkaline solution comprising NaOH and/or KOH, and a reducing agent selected from dithionite, sulphite, bisulphite, disulfite or any of the corresponding salts and/or a combination thereof; and, (iii) a third acidic solution comprising at least 5.0×10-3 to at most 1.0×10-1 mol/l of complexing anions and at least 1.35×10-5 to at most 9.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+. In an exemplary embodiment, the method, kit and/or use comprise the following solutions: (i) a first solution comprising NaOH and KMnO4; (ii) a second alkaline solution comprising NaOH and dithionite; and, (iii) a third acidic solution comprising at least 5.0×10-3 to at most 1.0×10-1 mol/l of complexing anions and at least 1.35×10-5 to at most 9.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+. In another exemplary embodiment, the method, kit and/or use comprise the following solutions: (i) a first solution comprising NaOH and NH4MnO4; (ii) a second alkaline solution comprising NaOH and sulphite; and, (iii) a third acidic solution comprising at least 5.0×10-3 to at most 1.0×10-1 mol/l of complexing anions and at least 1.35×10-5 to at most 9.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+.

    EXAMPLES


    Example 1



    [0021] Reference is made to FIG. 1. The figure shows three cut-out stainless steel substrates (100). The first stainless steel substrate (A) shows a thick class III rouging deposit, the second stainless steel substrate (B) shows a slightly reduced class III rouging deposit resulting from a suboptimal treatment, whereas the third stainless steel substrate (C) shows a complete removal of class III rouging resulting from a treatment performed according to the method as described herein using a kit as described herein.

    Example 2



    [0022] In a second example, various concentrations and thermodynamic conditions (e.g. contacting temperature and times) were tested across a total of seven experiments to determine the rouging removal efficiency on samples prepared from steel substrates showing a significant class III rouging deposit (thickness between 200 nm and 1000 nm). Each sample was successively contacted with the first, the second and the third solution. Between every contacting step, the leftover solution was drained from the substrate and the substrate surface was rinsed with an aqueous rinsing fluid having an electrolytic conductivity below 1 µS/cm2. For the sake of simplicity the draining and rinsing steps are only recited in the first test, but they may be assumed to have been performed for the other six tests as well.
    • In a first test a steel substrate is covered with a first solution comprising 100 g/l NaOH and 5 g/l KMnO4 for 2 hours at a temperature between 90 to 95° C. The first solution is drained and the steel substrate is rinsed with a rinsing fluid. Then the substrate is contacted with a second solution comprising 10 g/l NaOH and 5 g/l dithionite for 3 hours at a temperature between 90 to 95° C. After draining of the second solution and rinsing of the substrate, the steel substrate is treated with a third solution comprising 2.0×10-2 mol/l of complexing anions and 5.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+. After treatment the steel substrate of the first test appears to still show some rouging.
    • In a second test a steel substrate is covered with a first solution comprising 100 g/l NaOH and 5 g/l KMnO4 for 2 hours at a temperature between 90 to 95° C. Next, the steel substrate is contacted with a second solution comprising 30 g/l NaOH and 5 g/l dithionite for 3 hours at a temperature between 90 to 95° C. Finally, the steel substrate is treated with a third solution comprising 2.0×10-2 mol/l of complexing anions and 5.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+. After treatment the steel substrate of the second test appears to still show some rouging.
    • In a third test a steel substrate is covered with a first solution comprising 10 g/l NaOH and 1 g/l KMnO4 for 2 hours at a temperature between 90 to 95° C. Next, the steel substrate is contacted with a second solution comprising 10 g/l NaOH and 5 g/l dithionite for 3 hours at a temperature between 90 to 95° C. Afterwards the steel substrate is treated with a third solution comprising 2.0×10-2 mol/l of complexing anions and 5.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+. After treatment the steel substrate of the third test appears to still show some rouging.
    • In a fourth test a steel substrate is covered with a first solution comprising 100 g/l NaOH and 5 g/l KMnO4 for 2 hours at a temperature between 90 to 95° C. Next, the steel substrate is contacted with a second solution comprising 75 g/l NaOH and 50 g/l dithionite for 3 hours at a temperature between 90 to 95° C. Afterwards the steel substrate is treated with a third solution comprising 2.0×10-2 mol/l of complexing anions and 5.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+. As a result of the treatment all traces of rouging have completely disappeared from the steel substrate of the fifth test.
    • In a fifth test a steel substrate is covered with a first solution comprising 100 g/l NaOH and 5 g/l KMnO4 for 2 hours at a temperature between 90 to 95° C. Next, the steel substrate is contacted with a second solution comprising 75 g/l NaOH and 5 g/l dithionite for 3 hours at a temperature between 90 to 95° C. Afterwards the steel substrate is treated with a third solution comprising 2.0×10-2 mol/l of complexing anions and 5.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+. As a result of the treatment all traces of rouging have completely disappeared from the steel substrate of the sixth test.
    • In a sixth test a steel substrate is covered with a first solution comprising 10 g/l NaOH and 1 g/l KMnO4 for 2 hours at a temperature between 90 to 95° C. Next, the steel substrate is contacted with a second solution comprising 75 g/l NaOH and 5 g/l dithionite for 3 hours at a temperature between 90 to 95° C. Afterwards the steel substrate is treated with a third solution comprising 2.0×10-2 mol/l of complexing anions and 5.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+. As a result of the treatment all traces of rouging have completely disappeared from the steel substrate of the seventh test.
    • In an seventh test a steel substrate is covered with a first solution comprising 10 g/l NaOH and 1 g/l KMnO4 for 2 hours at a temperature between 85 to 90° C. Next, the steel substrate is contacted with a second solution comprising 75 g/l NaOH and 5 g/l dithionite for 3 hours at a temperature between 90 to 95° C. Afterwards the steel substrate is treated with a third solution comprising 2.0×10-2 mol/l of complexing anions and 5.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+. As a result of the treatment all traces of rouging have completely disappeared from the steel substrate of the eighth test.
    To conclude, it was surprisingly found that a treatment of successively applying at least three solutions, each solution comprising the above listed concentrations and applied according to the herein listed thermodynamic conditions (e.g. time and temperature) results in a complete removal of any rouging deposits from the stainless steel substrate; see in particular tests four to seven. However, treatments that deviate from the listed concentrations, timings and temperatures show suboptimal removal of rouging deposits from the stainless steel substrate.


    Claims

    1. A method for removing and/or preventing rouge formation on stainless steel, the method comprising the steps of successively contacting a stainless steel substrate with the following solutions:

    (i) a first alkaline solution comprising a permanganate and/or bromate compound or any of the corresponding salts as oxidizing agent;

    (ii) a second neutral or alkaline solution comprising a reducing agent selected from dithionite, sulphite, bisulphite, disulfite or any of the corresponding salts and/or a combination thereof; and,

    (iii) a third acidic solution comprising at least 5.0×10-3 to at most 1.0×10-1 mol/l of complexing anions and at least 1.35×10-5 to at most 9.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+.


     
    2. A kit for removing and/or preventing rouge formation on stainless steel, the kit comprising:

    (i) a first alkaline solution comprising a permanganate and/or bromate compound or any of the corresponding salts as oxidizing agent;

    (ii) a second neutral or alkaline solution comprising a reducing agent selected from dithionite, sulphite, bisulphite, disulfite or any of the corresponding salts and/or a combination thereof; and,

    (iii) a third acidic solution comprising at least 5.0×10-3 to at most 1.0×10-1 mol/l of complexing anions and at least 1.35×10-5 to at most 9.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+.


     
    3. Use of at least three solutions for removing and/or preventing rouge formation on stainless steel, the use comprising:

    (i) a first alkaline solution comprising a permanganate and/or bromate compound or any of the corresponding salts as oxidizing agent;

    (ii) a second neutral or alkaline solution comprising a reducing agent selected from dithionite, sulphite, bisulphite, disulfite or any of the corresponding salts and/or a combination thereof; and,

    (iii) a third acidic solution comprising at least 5.0×10-3 to at most 1.0×10-1 mol/l of complexing anions and at least 1.35×10-5 to at most 9.0×10-5 mol/l of Fe2+.


     
    4. The method according to claim 1, the kit according to claim 2, or the use according to claim 3, wherein the first solution comprises the oxidizing agent in a concentration of at least 0.1 g/l to at most 100.0 g/l, preferably 0.1 to 64.0 g/l, more preferably 1.0 to 45.0 g/l, most preferably 5.0 g/l to 20.0 g/l.
     
    5. The method, kit or use according to any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the oxidising agent is selected from KMnO4, NH4MnO4, Ca(MnO4)2, NaMnO4, AgMnO4, KBrO3; preferably KMnO4.
     
    6. The method, kit or use according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the first solution comprises NaOH and/or KOH as base in a concentration of at least 1.0 g/l to at most 750.0 g/l, preferably 10.0 g/l to 750.0 g/l, more preferably 25.0 g/l to 500.0 g/l, most preferably 75.0 g/l to at most 400.0 g/l.
     
    7. The method, kit or use according to any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the second solution comprises the reducing agent in a concentration ranging from at least 1.0 g/l to at most 100.0 g/l; preferably 5.0 to 75.0 g/l; more preferably 7.5 g/l to 60.0 g/l, most preferably 10.0 g/l to 50.0 g/l.
     
    8. The method, kit or use according to any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein the second solution comprises NaOH and/or KOH as base in a concentration of at least 1.0 g/l to at most 750.0 g/l, preferably 10.0 g/l to 750.0 g/l, more preferably 25.0 g/l to 500.0 g/l, most preferably 75.0 g/l to at most 400.0 g/l.
     
    9. The method, kit or use according to any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the first solution has a pH of 7.5 to 14.0, preferably 10.0 to 14.0, more preferably 11.0 to 14.0, most preferably 12.0 to 14.0.
     
    10. The method, kit or use according to any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the second solution is an alkaline solution having a pH of 7.5 to 14.0, preferably 10.0 to 14.0, more preferably 11.0 to 14.0, most preferably 12.0 to 14.0.
     
    11. The method, kit or use according to any one of claims 1 to 10, wherein the third solution has a pH from 1.0 to 5.0, preferably from 1.0 to 4.0, more preferably from 2.0 to 4.0, most preferably from 2.5 to 3.5.
     
    12. The method or use according to any one of claims 1 to 11, wherein the first and/or the second solution have a temperature of 80° to 120° C during contacting with the steel substrate, preferably from 85° to 110° C, more preferably from 90° to 100° C, and most preferably from 90° to 95° C.
     
    13. The method or use according to any one of claims 1 to 12, wherein the contacting time of the stainless steel substrate with the first and/or the second solution is from 0.50 hours to 5.0 hours, preferably from 1.00 hour to 4.0 hours, more preferably from 1.50 hours to 3.5 hours, even more preferably from 2.00 hours to 3.0 hours, and most preferably about 2.0 hours for the first solution and about 3.0 hours for the second solution.
     
    14. The method or use according to any one of claims 1 to 13, wherein between each contacting step the substrate is rinsed with a rinsing fluid; preferably an aqueous rinsing fluid having a conductivity of at most 1 µS/cm2.
     
    15. The method, kit or use according to any one of claims 1 to 14, for removing and/or preventing class III rouge formation on a stainless steel substrate.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Verfahren zur Entfernung und/oder Prävention von Rouge-Bildung auf einem rostfreiem Stahl, wobei das Verfahren die Schritte des aufeinanderfolgenden Inkontaktbringens eines Substrats aus rostfreiem Stahl mit den folgenden Lösungen umfasst:

    (i) einer ersten alkalischen Lösung, die eine Permanganat- und/oder Bromat-Verbindung oder eines der entsprechenden Salze als Oxidationsmittel umfasst;

    (ii) einer zweiten neutralen oder alkalischen Lösung, die ein Reduktionsmittel, das aus Dithionit, Sulfit, Bisulfit, Disulfit oder einem der entsprechenden Salze und/oder einer Kombination davon ausgewählt ist; und

    (iii) einer dritten sauren Lösung, die mindestens 5,0 × 10-3 bis höchstens 1,0 × 10-1 mol/l komplexierende Anionen und mindestens 1,35 × 10-5 bis höchstens 9,0 × 10-5 mol/l Fe2+ umfasst.


     
    2. Kit zur Entfernung und/oder Prävention von Rouge-Bildung auf einem Stahl, wobei das Kit Folgendes umfasst:

    (i) eine erste alkalische Lösung, die eine Permanganat- und/oder Bromat-Verbindung oder eines der entsprechenden Salze als Oxidationsmittel umfasst;

    (ii) eine zweite neutrale oder alkalische Lösung, die ein Reduktionsmittel, das aus Dithionit, Sulfit, Bisulfit, Disulfit oder einem der entsprechenden Salze und/oder einer Kombination davon ausgewählt ist; und

    (iii) eine dritte saure Lösung, die mindestens 5,0 × 10-3 bis höchstens 1,0 × 10-1 mol/l komplexierende Anionen und mindestens 1,35 × 10-5 bis höchstens 9,0 × 10-5 mol/l Fe2+ umfasst.


     
    3. Verwendung von mindestens drei Lösungen zur Entfernung und/oder Prävention von Rouge-Bildung auf einem rostfreiem Stahl, wobei die Verwendung Folgendes umfasst:

    (i) eine erste alkalische Lösung, die eine Permanganat- und/oder Bromat-Verbindung oder eines der entsprechenden Salze als Oxidationsmittel umfasst;

    (ii) eine zweite neutrale oder alkalische Lösung, die ein Reduktionsmittel, das aus Dithionit, Sulfit, Bisulfit, Disulfit oder einem der entsprechenden Salze und/oder einer Kombination davon ausgewählt ist; und

    (iii) eine dritte saure Lösung, die mindestens 5,0 × 10-3 bis höchstens 1,0 × 10-1 mol/l komplexierende Anionen und mindestens 1,35 × 10-5 bis höchstens 9,0 × 10-5 mol/l Fe2+ umfasst.


     
    4. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, Kit nach Anspruch 2 oder Verwendung nach Anspruch 3, wobei die erste Lösung das Oxidationsmittel in einer Konzentration von mindestens 0,1 g/l bis höchstens 100,0 g/l, vorzugsweise 0,1 bis 64,0 g/l, weiter bevorzugt 1,0 bis 45,0 g/l, am meisten bevorzugt bevorzugt 5,0 g/l bis 20,0 g/l, umfasst.
     
    5. Verfahren, Kit oder Verwendung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, wobei das Oxidationsmittel aus KMnO4, NH4MnO4, Ca(MnO4)2, NaMnO4, AgMnO4, KBrO3, vorzugsweise KMnO4, ausgewählt ist.
     
    6. Verfahren, Kit oder Verwendung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, wobei die erste Lösung NaOH und/oder KOH als Base in einer Konzentration von mindestens 1,0 g/l bis höchstens 750,0 g/l, vorzugsweise 10,0 g/l bis 750,0 g/l, weiter bevorzugt 25,0 g/l bis 500,0 g/l, am meisten bevorzugt bevorzugt 75,0 g/l bis höchstens 400,0 g/l, umfasst.
     
    7. Verfahren, Kit oder Verwendung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6, wobei die zweite Lösung das Reduktionsmittel in einer Konzentration im Bereich von mindestens 1,0 g/l bis höchstens 100,0 g/l, vorzugsweise 5,0 bis 75,0 g/l, weiter bevorzugt 7,5 g/l bis 60,0 g/l, am meisten bevorzugt bevorzugt 10,0 g/l bis 50,0 g/l, umfasst.
     
    8. Verfahren, Kit oder Verwendung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7, wobei die zweite Lösung NaOH und/oder KOH als Base in einer Konzentration von mindestens 1,0 g/l bis höchstens 750,0 g/l, vorzugsweise 10,0 g/l bis 750,0 g/l, weiter bevorzugt 25,0 g/l bis 500,0 g/l, am meisten bevorzugt bevorzugt 75,0 g/l bis höchstens 400,0 g/l, umfasst.
     
    9. Verfahren, Kit oder Verwendung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8, wobei die erste Lösung einen pH-Wert von 7,5 bis 14,0, vorzugsweise 10,0 bis 14,0, weiter bevorzugt 11,0 bis 14,0, am meisten bevorzugt bevorzugt 12,0 bis 14,0, aufweist.
     
    10. Verfahren, Kit oder Verwendung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 9, wobei es sich bei der zweiten Lösung um eine alkalische Lösung mit einem pH-Wert von 7,5 bis 14,0, vorzugsweise 10,0 bis 14,0, weiter bevorzugt 11,0 bis 14,0, am meisten bevorzugt bevorzugt 12,0 bis 14,0, handelt.
     
    11. Verfahren, Kit oder Verwendung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 10, wobei die dritte Lösung einen pH-Wert von 1,0 bis 5,0, vorzugsweise von 1,0 bis 4,0, weiter bevorzugt von 2,0 bis 4,0, am meisten bevorzugt bevorzugt von 2,5 bis 3,5, aufweist.
     
    12. Verfahren oder Verwendung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 11, wobei die erste und/oder die zweite Lösung während des Inkontaktbringens mit dem Stahlsubstrat eine Temperatur von 80 bis 120 °C, Vorzugsweise von 85 bis 110 °C, weiter bevorzugt von 90 bis 100 °C, und am meisten bevorzugt bevorzugt von 90 bis 95 °C aufweisen/aufweist.
     
    13. Verfahren oder Verwendung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 12, wobei die Kontaktierungszeit des Substrats aus rostfreiem Stahl mit der ersten und/oder der zweiten Lösung 0,50 Stunden bis 5,0 Stunden, vorzugsweise 1,00 Stunde bis 4,0 Stunden, weiter bevorzugt 1,50 Stunden bis 3,5 Stunden, noch weiter bevorzugt 2,00 Stunden bis 3,0 Stunden und am meisten bevorzugt bevorzugt etwa 2,0 Stunden für die erste Lösung und etwa 3,0 Stunden für die zweite Lösung beträgt.
     
    14. Verfahren oder Verwendung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 13, wobei das Substrat zwischen jedem Kontaktierungsschritt mit einem Spülfluid, vorzugsweise einem Spülfluid mit einer Leitfähigkeit von höchstens 1 µS/cm2, gespült wird.
     
    15. Verfahren, Kit oder Verwendung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 14 zur Entfernung und/oder Prävention von Klasse III-Rouge-Bildung auf einem Substrat aus rostfreiem Stahl.
     


    Revendications

    1. Procédé d'élimination et/ou de prévention de la formation de rouging sur de l'acier inoxydable, le procédé comprenant les étapes de mise en contact d'un substrat en acier inoxydable successivement avec les solutions suivantes :

    (i) une première solution alcaline comprenant un composé de permanganate et/ou de bromate ou l'un quelconque des sels correspondants comme agent oxydant ;

    (ii) une deuxième solution neutre ou alcaline comprenant un agent réducteur sélectionné parmi un dithionite, un sulfite, un bisulfite, un disulfite ou l'un quelconque des sels correspondants et/ou une combinaison de ceux-ci ; et

    (iii) une troisième solution acide comprenant au moins 5,0 x 10-3 à au maximum 1,0 x 10-1 mol/l d'anions complexants et au moins 1,35 x 10-5 à au maximum 9,0 x 10-5 mol/l de Fe2+.


     
    2. Kit pour l'élimination et/ou la prévention de la formation de rouging sur de l'acier inoxydable, le kit comprenant :

    (i) une première solution alcaline comprenant un composé de permanganate et/ou de bromate ou l'un quelconque des sels correspondants comme agent oxydant ;

    (ii) une deuxième solution neutre ou alcaline comprenant un agent réducteur sélectionné parmi un dithionite, un sulfite, un bisulfite, un disulfite ou l'un quelconque des sels correspondants et/ou une combinaison de ceux-ci ; et

    (iii) une troisième solution acide comprenant au moins 5,0 x 10-3 à au maximum 1,0 x 10-1 mol/l d'anions complexants et au moins 1,35 x 10-5 à au maximum 9,0 x 10-5 mol/l de Fe2+.


     
    3. Utilisation d'au moins trois solutions pour éliminer et/ou prévenir la formation de rouging sur de l'acier inoxydable, l'utilisation comprenant :

    (i) une première solution alcaline comprenant un composé de permanganate et/ou de bromate ou l'un quelconque des sels correspondants comme agent oxydant ;

    (ii) une deuxième solution neutre ou alcaline comprenant un agent réducteur sélectionné parmi un dithionite, un sulfite, un bisulfite, un disulfite ou l'un quelconque des sels correspondants et/ou une combinaison de ceux-ci ; et

    (iii) une troisième solution acide comprenant au moins 5,0 x 10-3 à au maximum 1,0 x 10-1 mol/l d'anions complexants et au moins 1,35 x 10-5 à au maximum 9,0 x 10-5 mol/l de Fe2+.


     
    4. Procédé selon la revendication 1, kit selon la revendication 2, ou utilisation selon la revendication 3, la première solution comprenant l'agent oxydant dans une concentration d'au moins 0,1 g/l à au maximum 100,0 g/l, préférablement de 0,1 à 64,0 g/l, plus préférablement de 1,0 à 45,0 g/l, idéalement de 5,0 g/l à 20,0 g/l.
     
    5. Procédé, kit ou utilisation selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4, l'agent oxydant étant sélectionné parmi KMnO4, NH4MnO4, Ca(MnO4)2, NaMnO4, AgMnO4, KBrO3, préférablement KMnO4.
     
    6. Procédé, kit ou utilisation selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, la première solution comprenant du NaOH et/ou du KOH comme base dans une concentration d'au moins 1,0 g/l à au maximum 750,0 g/l, préférablement de 10,0 g/l à 750,0 g/l, plus préférablement de 25,0 g/l à 500,0 g/l, idéalement de 75,0 g/l à au maximum 400,0 g/l.
     
    7. Procédé, kit ou utilisation selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6, la deuxième solution comprenant l'agent réducteur dans une concentration d'au moins 1,0 g/l à au maximum 100,0 g/l; préférablement de 5,0 à 75,0 g/l ; plus préférablement de 7,5 g/l à 60,0 g/l, idéalement de 10,0 g/l à 50,0 g/l.
     
    8. Procédé, kit ou utilisation selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7, la deuxième solution comprenant du NaOH et/ou du KOH comme base dans une concentration d'au moins 1,0 g/l à au maximum 750,0 g/l, préférablement de 10,0 g/l à 750,0 g/l, plus préférablement de 25,0 g/l à 500,0 g/l, idéalement de 75,0 g/l à au maximum 400,0 g/l.
     
    9. Procédé, kit ou utilisation selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8, la première solution ayant un pH de 7,5 à 14,0, préférablement de 10,0 à 14,0, plus préférablement de 11,0 à 14,0, idéalement de 12,0 à 14,0.
     
    10. Procédé, kit ou utilisation selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 9, la deuxième solution étant une solution alcaline ayant un pH de 7,5 à 14,0, préférablement de 10,0 à 14,0, plus préférablement de 11,0 à 14,0, idéalement de 12,0 à 14,0.
     
    11. Procédé, kit ou utilisation selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 10, la troisième solution ayant un pH de 1,0 à 5,0, préférablement de 1,0 à 4,0, plus préférablement de 2,0 à 4,0, idéalement de 2,5 à 3,5.
     
    12. Procédé ou utilisation selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 11, la première et/ou la deuxième solution ayant une température de 80 °C à 120 °C durant la mise en contact avec le substrat en acier, préférablement de 85 °C à 110 °C, plus préférablement de 90 °C à 100 °C, et idéalement de 90 °C à 95 °C.
     
    13. Procédé ou utilisation selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 12, le temps de contact du substrat en acier inoxydable avec la première et/ou la deuxième solution étant de 0,50 heure à 5,0 heures, préférablement de 1,00 heure à 4,0 heures, plus préférablement de 1,50 heures à 3,5 heures, encore plus préférablement de 2,00 heures à 3,0 heures, et idéalement d'environ 2,0 heures pour la première solution et d'environ 3,0 heures pour la deuxième solution.
     
    14. Procédé ou utilisation selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 13, le substrat étant rincé avec un fluide de rinçage entre chaque étape de mise en contact, préférablement avec un fluide de rinçage aqueux ayant une conductivité d'au maximum 1 µS/cm2.
     
    15. Procédé, kit ou utilisation selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 14, pour l'élimination et/ou la prévention de la formation de rouging de classe III sur un substrat en acier inoxydable.
     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description