Posts

News & Views, Volume 49 | Hydroelectric Penstock Inspection - Field NDE Services

News & Views, Volume 49 | Hydroelectric Penstock Inspection: Field NDE Services

News & Views, Volume 49 | Hydroelectric Penstock Inspection - Field NDE ServicesBy:  Jason Van Velsor and Jeff Milligan

Our talented experts, using the latest technology and methods, deliver unmatched value, actionable information, and engineering knowledge for the management of your most critical assets.

Many of the penstocks used in the hydroelectric power industry have been in service for over 50 years.  Often with older components, historical documents like, as-built drawings and proof of material composition no longer exist.  This information is critical for inspection, repair and replacement decisions.  SI has the expertise to assist hydro clients with everything from material verification, inspection, and fitness-for-service analysis to keep penstock assets in-service for many more years to come.

READ MORE

News & View, Volume 47 | Surface Preparation – A Pivotal Step in the Inspection Process

News & View, Volume 47 | Surface Preparation – A Pivotal Step in the Inspection Process

By:  Ben Ruchte, Steve Gressler, and Clark McDonaldNews & View, Volume 47 | Surface Preparation – A Pivotal Step in the Inspection Process

Properly inspecting plant piping and components for service damage is an integral part of proper asset management.  High energy systems constructed in accordance with ASME codes require appropriate inspections that are based on established industry practices, such as implementation of complimentary and non-destructive examination (NDE) methods that are best suited for detecting the types of damage expected within the system.  In any instance where NDE is used to target service damage, it is desirable to perform high quality inspections while at the same time optimizing inspection efficiency in light of the need to return the unit to service.  This concept is universally applicable to high energy piping, tubing, headers, valves, turbines, and various other power and industrial systems and components.

READ MORE

News & View, Volume 47 | Metallurgical Lab Case Study- Corrosion Fatigue in WaterWall Tubes Increasingly A Safety Concern as Coal Plants Cycle

News & Views, Volume 47 | Metallurgical Lab Case Study: Corrosion Fatigue in WaterWall Tubes Increasingly A Safety Concern as Coal Plants Cycle

By:  Ben RuchteNews & View, Volume 47 | Metallurgical Lab Case Study- Corrosion Fatigue in WaterWall Tubes Increasingly A Safety Concern as Coal Plants Cycle

It is well known that conventional coal-fired utility boilers are cycling more today than they ever have.  As these units have shifted to more of an ‘on-call’ demand they experience many more cycles (start-ups and shutdowns, and/or significant load swings) making other damage mechanisms such as fatigue or other related mechanisms a concern. 

The most recent short-term energy outlook provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) indicates the share of electricity generation from coal will average 25% in 2019 and 23% in 2020, down from 27% in 2018.  While the industry shifts towards new construction of flexible operating units, some of the safety issues that have been prevalent in the past are fading from memory.  The inherent risks  of aging seam-welded failures and waterwall tube cold-side corrosion fatigue failures are a case in point.   It is well known that conventional coal-fired utility boilers are cycling more today than they ever have.  As these units have shifted to more of an ‘on-call’ demand they experience many more cycles (start-ups and shutdowns, and/or significant load swings) making other damage mechanisms such as fatigue or other related mechanisms a concern.  The following case study highlights this point by investigating a cold-side waterwall failure that experienced Corrosion Fatigue.  While this failure did not lead to any injuries, it must be stressed that the potential for injuries is significant if the failure occurs on the cold-side of the tubes (towards the furnace wall).

READ MORE

News & View, Volume 47 | Materials Lab Featured Damage Mechanism- SH:RH Fireside Corrosion in Conventional Coal Fired Boilers

News & Views, Volume 47 | Materials Lab Featured Damage Mechanism: SH/RH Fireside Corrosion in Conventional Coal Fired Boilers

By:  Wendy Weiss

Superheater/reheater fireside corrosion is also known as coal ash corrosion in coal fired units.

News & View, Volume 47 | Materials Lab Featured Damage Mechanism- SH:RH Fireside Corrosion in Conventional Coal Fired Boilers

MECHANISM
Coal ash corrosion generally occurs as the result of the formation of low melting point, liquid phase, alkali-iron trisulfates. During coal combustion, minerals in the coal are exposed to high temperatures, causing release of volatile alkali compounds and sulfur oxides. Coal-ash corrosion occurs when flyash deposits on metal surfaces in the temperature range of 1025 to 1200oF. With time, the volatile alkali compounds and sulfur compounds condense on the flyash and react with it to form complex alkali sulfates such as K3Fe(SO4)3 and Na3Fe(SO4)3 at the metal/deposit interface, which are low melting point compounds. The molten slag fluxes the protective iron oxide covering the tube, exposing the metal beneath to accelerated oxidation.

READ MORE

News & View, Volume 46 | Cross-Weld Creep-Rupture Testing for Seam Weld Life Management

News & Views, Volume 46 | Cross-Weld Creep-Rupture Testing for Seam Weld Life Management

By:  Jonnathan Warwick, Terry Totemeier, and Brian Chambers, Duke Energy

News & View, Volume 46 | Cross-Weld Creep-Rupture Testing for Seam Weld Life ManagementLongitudinal seam-welded hot-reheat steam piping operating in the creep regime is a continuing life-management challenge for many older fossil-fired power plants.  In response to catastrophic seam-welded piping failures in the 1980’s, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) developed a comprehensive inspection protocol to insure continued safe operation of these piping systems [1]. The protocol requires full inspection of seam-welded hot-reheat pipe once a threshold of service exposure (calculated creep life consumption) has been reached, and re-inspection at intervals after the initial inspection depending on the inspection results.  Inspection for sub-surface cracking using ultrasonic testing (conventional or advanced) is strongly recommended, in combination with checking for surface cracking using wet fluorescent magnetic particle testing (WFMT).  Initial inspection and re-inspection of these piping systems represents a large maintenance cost for utilities, especially as older plants remain in service due to the changing economics of power generation.

READ MORE

News & View, Volume 46 | Turnkey Rapid-Response Plant Support Disposition of Wall Thinning in Standby Service Water Piping

News & Views, Volume 46 | Turnkey Rapid-Response Plant Support Disposition of Wall Thinning in Standby Service Water Piping

By:  Jason Van Velsor, Roger Royer, and Eric Houston

News & View, Volume 46 | Turnkey Rapid-Response Plant Support Disposition of Wall Thinning in Standby Service Water PipingStructural Integrity recently had the opportunity to support a client’s emergent needs when their Standby Service Water (SSW) piping system experienced a pinhole leak just downstream of a valve. Concerned about other locations in the piping system with similar configurations, the site asked SI to assist with the expedited development of assessment and disposition plans for these other components. In response, SI was able to lean on our core competencies in failure analysis, advanced NDE inspection, and flaw evaluation to develop and deploy a comprehensive solution that met our client’s expedited timeline and helped them to mitigate the threat of future unplanned outages. The following sections outline how SI utilized our in-depth knowledge, cutting-edge technology, and world-class engineering to meet our client’s needs.

READ MORE

News & View, Volume 46 | Metallurgical Lab Case Study- Cracking of Grade 23 Steel Furnace Wall Tubes

News & Views, Volume 46 | Metallurgical Lab Case Study: Cracking of Grade 23 Steel Furnace Wall Tubes

By: Terry Totemeier

News & View, Volume 46 | Metallurgical Lab Case Study- Cracking of Grade 23 Steel Furnace Wall TubesGrade 23 is a creep strength enhanced ferritic (CSEF) steel that was designed to offer similar creep strength to Grade 91 but with lower Cr content and, in the original concept, fabrication without pre- and post-weld heat treatment making the material attractive for the furnace wall tubes of ultra-supercritical coal plants where T12 has insufficient strength and T91 would be too complex to fabricate. Experience gained with T23 has shown that pre-heat is necessary and that post-weld heat treatment should also be performed when the material is employed in “high restraint” applications such as furnace wall tubes. Like other CSEF steels, T23 is very sensitive to heat treatment, and care must be taken to ensure that hard, brittle microstructures do not enter service – particularly in high restraint applications such as furnace wall tubes.

READ MORE

News & View, Volume 45 | Metallurgical Lab Featured Damage Mechanism Acid Dewpoint Corrosion in Conventional Fossil Boilers and Combined Cycle HRSGs

News & Views, Volume 45 | Metallurgical Lab Featured Damage Mechanism – Acid Dewpoint Corrosion in Conventional Fossil Boilers and Combined Cycle HRSGs

By:  Wendy Weiss

Acid dewpoint corrosion can occur in conventional and HRSG units in locations where temperatures fall below the sulfuric acid dewpoint temperature. This can occur when either the tube metal temperatures are below the acid dewpoint so that condensate forms on the metal surface, or when flue gas temperatures are below the acid dewpoint, so that the condensate will form on fly ash particles.

Mechanism
This type of fire-side damage occurs when sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the flue gas oxidizes to sulfur trioxide (SO3) and the SO3 combines with moisture to form sulfuric acid. If the temperatures are at or below the acid dewpoint, so that the sulfuric acid condenses, then tube metal corrosion occurs. The temperature at which condensate first forms depends on a number of factors, including the partial pressures of SO3 and water vapor in the flue gas, but is usually around 250 to 300°F.

READ MORE

Portfolio Items