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Boiler Tube Failure


Indonesia Customer Seminar

June 13 & 14 2012


Jakarta Indonesia

Purpose, Process & Pay Off

Purpose:
To share proper identification of tube failure mechanisms & root cause of
Boiler Tube Failure

Process
Presentation & discussion

Pay Off
Higher plant reliability & availability

Topics

Tube Failure - EPRI Survey

Road Map for Analyzing Tube Failure

Tube Failure Mechanisms & Root Causes

Determine extend of damage


Feature
Mechanisms
Location
Root cause and action to confirm
Case history

Recent boiler tube failure in the region

Tube Failure

Mechanisms, Root Causes & Solution

Mechanisms

Root Causes

Solution

The Guide Line

EPRI: Road Map for Analyzing HRSG Tube Failure

Boiler Tube Failure Mechanisms

Fatigue
Corrosion Fatigue
Mechanical/Thermal Fatigue

Flow Accelerated Corrosion

Under Deposit Corrosion


Acid Phosphate Corrosion
Caustic Corrosion
Hydrogen Damage

Overheating
Short term overheating
Long term overheating

Confirm the Mechanisms

Location

Fracture

Deposit Analysis

Mechanical, Operation &


Chemical related factors

Metallurgical analysis

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Fatigue

Fatigue damage occurs when tubing is subjected to


repeated cyclic loading that produces nominal stress level

Boiler tubes may be subjected to cyclic stresses resulting


from:
Pressure fluctuations
Temperature transients and restriction of expansion
Fluctuating mechanical loads
Forces induced vibration

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#1 Corrosion Fatigue

Result of a combination of both repeated cyclic stress and a


corrosive environment

Characteristic or rate is influenced by corrosive


environment

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#1 Corrosion Fatigue: Features

Cracks
Initiation from inside surfaces
Multiple, parallel cracks
- Tube-to-header: circumferential
- Bends: axial
- Attachment: multidirectional

Often associated with pits

Not specifically related to the


presence of weld discontinuities

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#1 Corrosion Fatigue Mechanisms

Break down of magnetite film

Pitting

Crack-like-pits

Crack growth through repeated


mechanical disruption or chemical
dissolution and reforming of the
oxide

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#1 Corrosion Fatigue - Location

Water touched tubes but may occur in all other sections


of tubing including steam-touched tubing that, during
operational transients, contains condensate.

Most likely locations:


Welded connections
Bends
Attachment

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#1 Corrosion Fatigue Location

May also occur in steam touched tubes that during


operational transients, contain condensate
Superheater/Reheater, frequently off-line
Not implementing proper lay up

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#1 Corrosion Fatigue: Location & Crack Type

Source: EPRI, Heat Recovery Steam Generator Tube Failure Manual, 2002

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#1 Corrosion Fatigue
Root Causes & Action to Confirm

Influence of Excessive Stresses/Strain

Visual examination
Field test with thermocouple
Infinite element stress
NDE, selective tube sampling

Influence of Environmental Factors


Low pH situation
High dissolved oxygen (operation-startup)
Pitting corrosion (tube sampling)

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#1 Corrosion Fatigue
Root Causes & Action to Confirm
Improper chemical cleaning
Selective tube sampling

Improper shutdown/start up and lay up procedure


Follow the EPRI/VGB guide line
Excessive DO not happened during start up

Influence of Unit Operation


Operating hours and starts
Service hours
No of start/stop and characteristic

#1 Corrosion Fatigue: Case History


Case History
Industry: Pulp & Paper Cogeneration
Location: Superheater near outlet header
Orientation: Vertical
Tube metallurgy: Low alloy steel
Drum pressure: 86 bar
Treatment Program: Coordinated Phosphate
First superheater failure in the plant.
Microstructural examinations of the tube wall
confirmed the presence of families of un-branched
transgranular crack near the fracture indicating
corrosion fatigue mechanisms.
The circumferential orientation of the cracks
reveals that the stresses responsible were cyclic
bending stress, possibly caused by thermal
expansion and contraction of the tube.
In-proper start/stop operation and lay up could
initiate the corrosion fatigue mechanisms.
Source: R.Port, The Nalco Guide to Boiler Failure Analysis, Mc Graw Hill, Inc.,
1991

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#2 Thermal-Mechanical Fatigue

Occur when the thermal expansion or contraction of


tubing or parts are sufficiently restricted

The magnitude of thermal expansion (& corresponding


strains) in tubes and pipes at connection to headers is
influenced by the rate of heating and cooling

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#2 Thermal-Mechanical Fatigue: Features

Cracks
Initiation from gas side (outsides)
Single cracks are most common
- Tube-to-header: circumferential
- Bend: circumferential/axial:
- Oriented to tensile stress

Often associated with surface


discontinuities as weld undercut

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#2 Thermal-Mechanical Fatigue: Mechanisms

Thermal expansion or contraction is


restrained sufficiently to produce
localized yielding of the material

When these cycles are repeated,


crack initiation and growth will occur

The magnitude of the local stress


range is the dominant attribute that
determine if and when thermalmechanical fatigue cracks will occur

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#2 Thermal-Mechanical Fatigue - Location

All sections of Boiler (water &steam touched)

Most likely failure locations:


Welded connection
Attachment
Bends

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#2 Thermal-Mechanical Fatigue
High Thermal Transient in Horizontal HRSG

Temperature difference of HP SH/RH leading row tubes


compared with the trailing rows attached to the same
header

Failure to remove all the condensate from lower sections of


SH/RH prior the start up

Air or steam vapor builds in the upper return bends of


economizer (wit upper return bends)

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#2 Thermal-Mechanical Fatigue
Tube to Tube Temperature Difference in RH

Source: EPRI, Heat Recovery Steam Generator Tube Failure Manual, 2002

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#2 Thermal-Mechanical Fatigue
Failed to Remove All Condensate
Firing boiler too fast resulting in uneven boiling out of SH
tubes during start-up. Especially after performing a hydro

Uneven boiling out of condensate from RH tubes.


Source : F.Starr, HRSG System and Implication for CCGT Plant Cycling, OMMI (Vol 2, Isue 1), April 2003

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#2 Thermal-Mechanical Fatigue

Root Causes & Action to Confirm

Excessive stresses/strain factors

Visual examination
Field test with thermocouple
Infinite element stress
NDE, selective tube sampling

Influence of Unit Operation


Operating hours and starts
Operating procedures high stress
- Start up/shut down procedure
- Particularly cold start

#3 Flow Accelerated Corrosion (FAC)

Mechanisms that has caused metal losses and failures in


piping due to dissolving of protective magnetite layer
(Fe3O4)

Occur under specific conditions of:

Flow
Water chemistry
Geometry
Material
Relatively narrow temperature range

FAC is not a significant concern in mixed


Metal system. Copper is considered a factor in
Reducing the FAC potential

#3 Flow Accelerated Corrosion


Location : Temperature Dependent

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#2 Flow Accelerated Corrosion: Features

Thin-edged

Single Phase FAC


Orange-peel appearance
Chevron or horse shoe toward the flow

Two Phase FAC


Scalloped and wavy
Often black & shiny

Source: EPRI, Guidelines for Controlling Flow Accelerated Corrosion


in Fossil and Combined Cycle Plants

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#2 FAC Single Phase Features

Source: EPRI, Guidelines for Controlling Flow Accelerated Corrosion


in Fossil and Combined Cycle Plants

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#3 FAC Two Phase Features


Condenser wall & Tubes

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#3 FAC Two Phase Features


Deaerator

Source: EPRI, Guidelines for Controlling Flow Accelerated Corrosion in Fossil and
Combined Cycle Plants

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#3 Flow Accelerated Corrosion Mechanisms

Source: EPRI, Guidelines for Controlling Flow Accelerated Corrosion in Fossil and
Combined Cycle Plants

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#3 Flow Accelerated Corrosion Mechanisms

Source: H.G. Seipp, Damage in Water/Steam Cycle-Often Matter of Solubility, PP Chem 2005 (7)

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#3 Flow Accelerated Corrosion: Mechanisms

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#3 Flow Accelerated Corrosion


Root Causes & Action to Confirm

High reducing condition


ORP < -300 mV
DO < 1 ppb
Iron is high in LP Evaporator

Entrained water droplets (2 phase FAC)


After 1 phase FAC is eliminated & high iron persist

#3 Flow Accelerated Corrosion: Case History


Case History
Industry: Power plant-HRSG
Location: LP Evaporator, riser
Orientation: Vertical
Tube metallurgy: Carbon steel
Treatment Program: All Volatile (ammonia +
hydrazine)
The failure developed in the bend of the riser tube
near the upper collector of the drum.
The failure was caused by stress rupture of the
obviously thinned wall in the outer bend of the
tube. The orange peel or scalloped, appearance
typical of single phase FAC is evident.
Water chemistry:
Dissolved oxygen <1 ppb as O2
LP Evaporator water pH: 9,2 9,6
BFW N2H4 10-30 ppb as N2H4
High iron in LP evaporator (>50 ppb)
Source: EPRI, Heat Recovery Steam Generator Tube Failure Manual, 2002

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Deposit

Deposits are needed before many tube failure mechanisms


become active

Deposit characteristic may influence the rate of corrosion &


extend of damage

Tube failure mechanisms which involve water side deposits


are:

Acid Phosphate Corrosion


Caustic Gouging
Hydrogen Damage
Short Term Overheating
Long Term Overheating

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#4 Acid Phosphate Corrosion

Occur when tube deposits formed from feed water


corrosion products allow a concentration of phosphate
salts of low sodium-to-phosphate ratio

This leads to under deposit corrosion & eventually to


tube failure

Very much a potential problem


Phosphate hide out problems

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#4 Acid Phosphate Corrosion: Features

Thin edged fracture

Ductile rather than brittle

Thick layer of deposits


Distinctive layer of maricite
(NaFePO4) deposits

No microstructural
decarburization

Unit using mono and/or disodium phosphate chemical

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Acid Phosphate Corrosion Features

Source: EPRI, Heat Recovery Steam Generator Tube Failure Manual, 2002

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#4 Acid Phosphate Corrosion-Mechanisms


Phosphate Hide Out

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#4 Acid Phosphate Corrosion- Mechanisms

Source: EPRI, Heat Recovery Steam Generator Tube Failure Manual, 2002

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#4 Acid Phosphate Corrosion - Location

Water flow is disrupted


Welded join
Internal deposition
Thermal hydraulic flow disruption
- Local steam blanketing

Overheating of the tube

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#4 Acid Phosphate Corrosion


Root Causes & Action to Confirm

Excessive deposits
High iron in BFW and evaporator dirty boiler systems
Selective tube sampling

Flow disruption
Selective tube sampling

Gas side
Tube temperature measurement

Improper cycle chemistry


Phosphate hide-out
Disodium/Monosodium PO4 addition

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#5 Caustic Gouging

Occur when caustic concentrate within tube deposits from


feed water corrosion product resulting very high pH

Under such conditions, protective magnetite layer is


dissolved and rapid corrosion of the tube is occurs

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#5 Caustic Gouging

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#5 Caustic Gouging: Features

Tube wall thinning


Thin edged fracture
Pinhole

Thick, layered deposits


Distinctive crystals of sodium
ferroate (NaFeO2) and/or sodium
ferroite (Na2FeO2)

No microstructural
decarburization

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#5 Caustic Gouging:Features

Source: B. Dooley, PPChem101-Boiler and HRSG Tube Failure: Caustic Gouging, PP Chem 2010 , 12(2)

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#5 Caustic Gouging: Mechanisms

Source: EPRI, Heat Recovery Steam Generator Tube Failure Manual, 2002

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#5 Caustic Gouging : Mechanisms

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#5 Caustic Gouging
Root Causes & Action to Confirm

Excessive deposits
High iron in BFW and evaporator excessive porous iron deposits
Selective tube sampling

Flow disruption
Selective tube sampling

Gas side issue


Tube heat flux & temperature measurement

Excessive caustic concentration


Pretreatment up set/contamination
Improper PO4 or AVT or Caustic treatment

#5 Caustic Gouging: Case History


Case History
Industry: Power plant
Location: Back wall
Orientation: Vertical
Pressure:103 bar
Tube metallurgy: Carbon steel
Treatment Program: Coordinated Phosphate
Time in Service: 6 years
Numerous caustic attack on the ball wall of a
cyclone-fired boiler were all observed within a
month.
42% reduction in tube wall thickness.
Microstructural examination disclosed moderate
overheating in the gouged region. Evidence
revealed that DNB, rather than deposits, was
responsible for caustic corrosion in this case. Over
firing during start-up and low flow rate of the feed
water were suspected.