Tag Archive for: HRSG

News & Views, Volume 49 | Materials Lab Featured Damage Mechanism - Soot Blower Erosion

News & Views, Volume 49 | Materials Lab Featured Damage Mechanism: Soot Blower Erosion

News & Views, Volume 49 | Materials Lab Featured Damage Mechanism - Soot Blower ErosionBy:  Wendy Weiss

Soot blower erosion (SBE) is caused by mechanical removal of tube material due to the impingement on the tube wall of particles entrained in the “wet” blower steam. As the erosion becomes more severe, the tube wall thickness is reduced and eventually internal pressure causes the tube rupture.


SBE is due to the loss of tube material caused by the impingement of ash particles entrained in the blowing steam on the tube OD surface.  In addition to the direct loss of material by the mechanical erosion, SBE also removes the protective fireside oxide. (Where the erosion only affects the protective oxide layer on the fireside surface, the damage is more properly characterized as erosion-corrosion.) Due to the parabolic nature of the oxidation process, the fireside oxidation rate of the freshly exposed metal is increased. The rate of damage caused by the steam is related to the velocity and physical properties of the ash, the velocity of the particles and the approach or impact angle. While the damage sustained by the tube is a function of its resistance to erosion, its composition, and its operating temperature, the properties of the impinging particles are more influential in determining the rate of wall loss.


News & View, Volume 49 | Piping Fabricated Branch Connections

News & Views, Volume 49 | Piping Fabricated Branch Connections

By:  Ben Ruchte

Fabricated branch connections represent a common industry issue in combined cycle plants. Many are vulnerable to early damage development and have experienced failures.  Despite these challenges, a well-engineered approach exists to ensure that the baseline condition is fully documented and a life management plan is put in place to help reduce the overall risk to personnel and to help improve plant reliability.

Fabricated branch connections between large bore pipes (including headers and manifolds) are often fabricated with a reinforced branch commonly in the form of a “catalogue” (standard size) fitting, such as an ‘o-let’. These are more prevalent in today’s combined cycle environment as compared to conventional units that used forged blocks or nozzles rather than welded-on, integrally reinforced pipe fittings. The fittings are typically thicker than the pipes in which they are installed to provide compensating reinforcement for the piping run penetration. Full reinforcement is often not achieved as the current Code requirements place all of the reinforcement on the branch side of the weld joint.  As a result,  higher sustained stresses are generated and, particularly in the case of creep strength enhanced ferritic (CSEF) steels, early formation creep cracking in the weld heat-affected zone (HAZ) can occur (known as Type IV damage – see Figure 1). The well documented challenges of incorrect heat treatment of the o-let weld can also add to the likelihood of damage in CSEF components.  Damage is therefore most likely to occur in fabricated branches that operate with temperatures in the creep range.


News & View, Volume 45 | Life Management for High Energy Piping (HEP)

News & Views, Volume 45 | Life Management for High Energy Piping (HEP)

By:  Matt Freeman

News & View, Volume 45 | Life Management for High Energy Piping (HEP)High Energy Piping systems, including main steam and hot reheat piping, are typically very reliable and can often operate trouble-free for decades.  However, due to the combination of pressure and temperature at which such systems operate, a failure can have catastrophic consequences from a safety perspective and in terms of equipment loss.  Because of this and the requirements of the ASME B31.1 Power Piping code, HEP programs – or as defined by Code, Covered Piping Systems (CPS) – are established to ensure that the integrity of the system is maintained throughout their lifecycle.  This article discusses the steps required to implement an HEP / CPS life management program.

A Life Management Program is not synonymous with an inspection program.  Inspections are an important part of an overall program but should be complimentary to the use of analytical tools, real-time monitoring, and laboratory examinations


News & View, Volume 45 | Metallurgical Lab- Case Study – Thermowell Failure Analysis

News & Views, Volume 45 | Metallurgical Lab: Case Study – Thermowell Failure Analysis

By:  Wendy Weiss

News & View, Volume 45 | Metallurgical Lab- Case Study – Thermowell Failure AnalysisStructural Integrity (SI) was recently asked to examine a fractured thermowell and determine the damage mechanism.  The thermowell had been removed from bypass line piping in a heat-recovery steam generator (HRSG) that ran from the High Pressure (HP) bypass valve to the cold reheat section, and sent to the SI Materials Science Center. As reported by plant personnel, the fracture was located within the pipe wall. The pipe material was specified as ASME SA-335, Grade P22, and the thermowell was specified to be ASME SA-182, Grade F22.

Examination Procedure and Results

The fractured thermowell sections were visually examined and photographed in the as-received condition, as shown in Figure 1. The thermowell was comprised of two pieces: the thermowell housing itself which protruded into the steam stream, and a fitting connection to the pipe into which the thermowell housing was inserted.