News & Views, Volume 43 | Metallurgical Lab: Dissimilar Metal Welds (DMW) in Boiler Tubing
By: Tony Studer
The need for confirmation: A Case Study
As plants age, the need for inspection for service related damage to ensure unit reliability increases. There are several approaches that plants can take to reduce the risk of premature failures and proactively manage their DMWs. First is metallurgical sampling. Based on temperature profiles across the boiler, operating conditions, and operating history, DMWs can be selected for laboratory analysis. This will provide some insight into possible damage accumulation; however, the better approach, if damage is suspected, is to perform an ultrasonic inspection of the DMWs. This allows inspection of all the DMWs, and only requires access and surface preparation. If indications are detected, then tube sampling should be performed. It is critical to perform a metallurgical analysis of several of the DMWs suspected of containing service damage to confirm that the indications are service related and to help establish the extent of the damage compared to ultrasonic testing results. Typical DMW damage is described in the Featured Damage Mechanism article. The importance of the metallurgical analysis is demonstrated in the three following case studies.