Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 215

ELECTRIC POWER

RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Field Guide: Boiler Tube Failure


1017471

Field Guide: Boiler Tube Failure


1017471
Final Report, December 2009

EPRI Project Managers


B. Carson
K. Coleman
ELECTRIC POWER RESEARCH INSTITUTE
3420 Hillview Avenue, Palo Alto, California 94304-1338 PO Box 10412, Palo Alto, California 94303-0813 USA
800.313.3774 650.855.2121 askepri@epri.com www.epri.com

Product Description
In conventional and combined-cycle plants, boiler tube failures (BTFs) have
been the main availability problem for as long as reliable statistics have
been kept for each generating source. The three volumes of the Electric
Power Research Institute (EPRI) report Boiler and Heat Recovery Steam
Generator Tube Failures: Theory and Practice (1012757) present an indepth discussion of the various BTF and degradation mechanisms, providing
plant owners and operators with the technical basis to address tube failures
and create permanent solutions. This field guide is based on the content
of Boiler and Heat Recovery Steam Generator Tube Failures: Theory and
Practice.

Results and Findings

Tube failures emanate from poor initial design, poor operation and maintenance,
harsh fireside and cycle chemistry environments, and lack of management
support for comprehensive reduction programs. A total of 35 tube failure
mechanisms affecting conventional fossil plants are described in this field guide.

Challenges and Objectives

Most BTFs have been repeat failures, indicating that the return to service of a
unit has historically been more important than understanding the failure. This
field guide provides guidance on identifying and addressing the mechanism
and contributing causes of each tube failure to help eliminate repeat failures.

Applications, Value, and Use

Tube failures occur in new and old units; in units that cycle and those that
operate under baseload conditions; in supercritical, once-through, and
drum units; and in units burning every sort of combustible material. The
information and comprehensive approach presented will help organizations
to approach and achieve world-class performance.

EPRI Perspective

Worldwide, EPRIs comprehensive BTF reduction program, integrated with the


cycle chemistry improvement program, has been applied to more than 70
organizations since 1977. A similar program was initiated in 2002 to reduce
heat recovery steam generator tube failures. This field guide makes the most
essential practical information learned from these two programs available to
plant owners and operators in the form of a convenient pocket reference.

Approach

This field guide was developed from the content of Boiler and Heat
Recovery Steam Generator Tube Failures: Theory and Practice (1012757).

Keywords

Contributing causes
Failures
Fossil plants
Tubes
vii

Acknowledgments
The technical content of this field guide was obtained in its entirety from
Boiler and Heat Recovery Steam Generator Tube Failures: Theory and
Practice, Volume 1, Fundamentals, Volume 2, Water Touched Tubes, and
Volume 3, Steam Touched Tubes (EPRI report 1012757). The technical staff
at Altran Solutions worked to reorganize the data in these three volumes
and present it in a compact and practical format that would be convenient
for field use.
Most important, this field guide would not be possible without the authors,
editors, and technical contributors of EPRI report 1012757. Their names
are listed as presented in the original document.

viii

Individual
R. Anderson
D. Aspden
W. Bakker
M. Ball
D. Blood
K. Coleman
J. Drennen
D. Gandy
A. Howell
D. Hubbard
P. James
R. Lynch
D. OConnor
J. Parker
S. Paterson
K. Shields
J. Stallings
R. Tilley
S. Walker
I. Wright

Organization
Country
Competitive Power
U.S.A.
Consultant
South Africa
Consultant
U.S.A.
Consultant
U.K.
E-ON UK
U.K.
EPRI
U.S.A.
Drennen Engineering
U.S.A.
EPRI
U.S.A.
Xcel Energy
U.S.A.
AEP
U.S.A.
E-ON UK
U.K.
Detroit Edison
U.S.A.
EPRI
U.S.A.
Structural Integrity
Canada
Aptech Engineering Services U.S.A.
EPRI
U.S.A.
EPRI
U.S.A.
EPRI
U.S.A.
EPRI
U.S.A.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory U.S.A.

Contents
1. Introduction....................................................................... 1
Background............................................................................ 2
Purpose................................................................................. 2
Scope.................................................................................... 2
2. Fundamentals of Field Inspection.......................................... 3
Safety.................................................................................... 4
Tools...................................................................................... 4
Foreign Material Exclusion....................................................... 5
Where to Look........................................................................ 5
What to Look for..................................................................... 5
Documentation........................................................................ 6
Trending................................................................................ 6
Just Look Around..................................................................... 6
3. Tube Failure Mechanisms..................................................... 7

4. Water-Touched Tubes........................................................... 9
Screening Table for Water-Touched Boiler Tube
Failures (Chapter 2).......................................................... 10
Corrosion Fatigue (Chapter 19).............................................. 17
Fly Ash Erosion (Chapter 21).................................................. 26
Hydrogen Damage (Chapter 22)............................................ 35
Acid Phosphate Corrosion (Chapter 23)................................... 45
Caustic Gouging (Chapter 24)............................................... 54
Waterwall Fireside Corrosion (Chapter 25).............................. 64
Thermal Fatigue in Waterwalls (Chapter 26)............................ 77
Thermal Fatigue of Economizer Header Tubes (Chapter 27)....... 87
Thermal-Mechanical and Vibration-Induced Fatigue in
Water-Touched Tubes (Chapter 28)..................................... 90
Thermal Fatigue Caused by Water Blowing (Chapter 29)........... 93
Flow-Accelerated Corrosion in Economizer Inlet Header
Tubing (Chapter 32)......................................................... 96
Sootblower Erosion in Water-Touched Tubes (Chapter 33)........ 103
Short-Term Overheating in Waterwall Or Evaporator
Tubing (Chapter 34)....................................................... 105
ix

Low Temperature Creep Cracking (Chapter 35)...................... 109


Chemical Cleaning Damage: Waterwalls (Chapter 36)........... 112
Pitting in Water-Touched Tubes (Chapter 37)........................... 116
Coal Particulate Erosion (Chapter 38).................................... 119
Falling Slag (Chapter 40)..................................................... 121
Acid Dewpoint Corrosion (Chapter 41).................................. 124

5. Steam-Touched Tubes.............................................. 127


Screening Table for Steam-Touched Boiler Failures
(Chapter 2)................................................................... 128
Longterm Overheating/Creep in SH/RH Tubes (Chapter 44).... 134
Fireside Corrosion in SH/RH Tubes (Chapter 45).................... 144
SH/RH Fireside Corrosion (Chapter 46)................................. 153
Dissimilar Metal Weld Failures (Chapter 47)........................... 159
Short-Term Overheating in SH/RH Tubing (Chapter 48)........... 165
Stress Corrosion Cracking in Steam-Touched Tubes
(Chapter 49)................................................................. 171
Sootblower Erosion in SH/RH Tubes (Chapter 50)................... 176
Explosive Cleaning Damage in SH/RH (Chapter 51)............... 178
x

Thermal-Mechanical and Vibration-Induced Fatigue in


Steam-Touched Tubes (Chapter 52)................................... 180
Rubbing/Fretting (Chapter 57)............................................. 184
Pitting in Steam-Touched Tubes (Chapter 58)........................... 186
Graphitization (Chapter 59)................................................. 188
Chemical Cleaning Damage in SH/RH Tubes (Chapter 60)...... 191
Maintenance Damage (Chapter 61)...................................... 193
Material and Manufacturing Flaws (Chapter 62)..................... 194
Welding Defects (Chapter 63).............................................. 196
BTF Issues in Bubbling Bed FBCs (Chapter 64)........................ 199
BTF Issues in Circulating Bed FBCs (Chapter 65)..................... 203
BTF Issues in Waste-To-Energy Units (Chapter 66).................... 206

1. Introduction

1. INTRODUCTION

Introduction

Background
Relatively simple materials are designed and constructed to function
effectively as boiler tubes under high temperature and high pressure
conditions. The tubes are subject to potential degradation by a variety or
mechanical and thermal stresses and potential environmental attack on both
the fluid- and fire-/gas-side of the tube.
If there are no breakdowns from the original design conditions, watertouched tubes such as waterwall and economizer tubes are designed for
and should have essentially infinite life. The case for steam-touched tubes
such as superheater (SH)and reheater (RH) tubes is somewhat different.
These tubes are affected by the inevitability of creep-limited lifetime,
although lifetimes in excess of 200,000 operating hours are achievable.
Unfortunately, boiler tube failures (BTFs) and cycle chemistry corrosion and
deposition problems in fossil steam plants remain significant and pervasive,
leading causes of availability and performance losses worldwide.
This field guide provides a description of the mechanism producing the
failure, identifies the contributing causes of the degradation, presents
immediate actions that can be taken to remove or reduce the effect of
the contributing causes, and addresses the potential ramifications or
implications to other parts of the boiler unit.
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

In no case should the information presented in this field guide be used to the
exclusion of established and applicable codes, standards, plant procedures,
and criteria. This includes the notification of responsible personnel at your
plant for investigation of degradation that may be noted.

Purpose
The purpose of this field guide is to provide a practical and convenient
presentation of information on the degradation mechanisms producing
BTFs, contributing causes of the degradation, appropriate mitigating actions
to remove or reduce the effect of the contributing causes, and possible
ramifications and implications of the degradation or failure on other parts
of the unit.

Scope
This field guide addresses water-touched and steam-touched tubes in
conventional boilers. It presents information that can be used to implement
the following three-step approach to reducing tube failures:
Understand the failure.
Identify the contributing causes.
Develop long-term mitigating actions or solutions.

2. Fundamentals of Field Inspection

2. FUNDAMENTALS OF
FIELD INSPECTION

Fundamentals of Field Inspection

Boiler tubes are normally inspected on a routine basis during scheduled


maintenance outages and overhauls. Less frequently, they are scrutinized
when the plant is forced to shut down due to suspected component
failure or degraded performance (catastrophic failures result in a level of
examination beyond the scope of this field guide).
In some cases, inspections may be constrained by schedule. You may
be given a limited time window in which to complete your inspection. To
make the most effective use of your time, review equipment drawings and
documents, previous inspection reports, work orders, and other boiler
history data prior to the inspection. In addition, there may be potential
hazards to deal with, especially when working in a confined space. Pre-job
briefings are useful in ensuring effective and safe inspections.

Safety
Typically, tube inspections are conducted when the boiler is shutdown and
cooled. However, safety is still a paramount consideration. Obey your
respective plant safety rules and procedures. Remember that in the field,
so much of your safety depends on awareness of your environment and
common sense. Use both. Comply with the following safety rules:
Wear proper personal protective equipment (PPEs)clothing, hard hats, gloves,
safety boots, eye protection, and filtration masks or breathing equipment.
Hearing protection may be necessary even though the plant is down.
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Make others aware of your intents and whereabouts. Check in with the
control room as required.
Work in teamshave a work buddy or assistant.
Follow confined space protocols for required attendants, ventilation, air
quality, and egress.
Reconnoiter the area in which you will be working for physical hazards
(e.g., energized equipment and shock hazards, hot equipment or
structures, projecting equipment or structures that you might bump into,
operating equipment, potential fall or trip locations).
Use proper climbing equipment (ladders and scaffolds) and safety harnesses.

Tools
Effective and timely inspections require proper tools. Make sure you have
everything you need before starting your walkdown. The following is a list
of tools and equipment to be considered:
Bright flashlight or other light source. Some inspectors combine their use
with helmet-mounted lights.
Camera. LCD cameras with telephoto capabilities are ideal for this use.
Note that most of your photos will require the use of a flashmake sure
your batteries are charged and bring extra batteries if necessary.
Inspection mirrortelescoping handles and pivots are preferred.

Material sampling toolsscraper, pocket knife, screwdriver, putty knife,


along with bags or containers.
Tape measure and magnetic ruler for photo scales.
Magnets for distinguishing between carbon steel and stainless steel.
Hammer.
Marking pen (e.g., Sharpies, paint pensfollow plant rules for their use on
equipment). Marking pens can also be used to label sample bags or containers.
Small level and plumb bob.
Small clipboard or field bookdont forget your pen.
Audio recording device (e.g., digital voice recorder or microcassette recorder) optional.
Video recorder.

Where to Look

Foreign Material Exclusion

Plugging
Pitting
Leaks
Wastage
Cracks
Blisters and bulges
Corrosion
Overheating
Misalignment or displacement (out of position)

Foreign materials left in the boilers by careless inspectors have the potential
to cause more damage faster than degradation itself. Be careful not to lose
equipment that could plug or otherwise damage components. Also remember
that finding and extracting dropped items can be costly and time-consuming.
Bring only the tools that are necessary into the immediate inspection area.
Secure loose items. Use lanyards when necessary.
Make sure equipment caps (e.g., lens caps, battery covers) are secured.
Conduct pre- and post-inspection inventories of equipment.

2. FUNDAMENTALS OF
FIELD INSPECTION

During operation, inspections are typically limited to external areas and review
of operational data including temperatures, flows, and water levels. External
inspections should include, among others, piping arrangements and drains,
supports, boiler walls, access ports, and instrumentation lines. Inspections
during a shutdown should include all areas of the boiler or HRSG including,
among others, crawl spaces, penthouses, access lanes, fire boxes, drums,
headers, tubes, piping, supports, hangers, expansion joints, and ducting.

What to Look for


In inspecting boiler or HRSG interiors for tube degradation, you should look
for indicators of the following:

Fundamentals of Field Inspection

Documentation
All noteworthy degradation or indications of degradation should be quantified
and mapped. Where photographic or videotape documentation is used, care
should be taken to include a location reference. A tape measure or magnetic ruler
should be included in the visual record for comparison to illustrate relative size.
Locations of cracks and crack tips may be noted with a marking pen in
order to be more visible in the photograph.
Where small samples have been obtained for metallurgical or chemical
analysis, record the locations from where the samples were obtained
and make sure there is a unique corresponding identifier on the sample
container. Photograph the location from which the sample was obtained.
Failed headers or tube sections that have been replaced should be treated
as documentation. Do not throw them away summarily! They provide the
best evidence of the cause of failure or mechanism of degradation.
Records should include the following:
Measurements such as size, location, and population of cracks, pits,
blisters, or other indications of material degradation
Color photographs or videotape of the general condition, observed
degradation indications, and specific degradation

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Sketches that map the location of degradation and degradation indications


Written notes that describe the general condition, observed degradation
indications, and specific degradation

Trending
Trending of quantitative and qualitative data is a powerful tool in predicting
degradation rates and component service life. It is also very important in
planning repairs, maintenance, and mitigation. Ensure that your inspection
and resulting documentation revisits previously inspected areas in order to
ascertain degradation rates.

Just Look Around


While the emphasis of the inspections is on boiler or HRSG tube degradation, it always
helps to look around for indications of other problems with the boiler. For example:
Damaged or missing baffles
Areas of flame impingement
Damaged piping penetration seals
Degraded condition of access door
Damaged or bent pipe supports and hangers
Cracked or spalling concrete support
Missing bolts, nuts, washers
Excess debris accumulation

3. Tube Failure Mechanisms

3. TUBE FAILURE MECHANISMS

Tube Failure Mechanisms

Tube failures are produced by a number of degradation mechanisms. The occurrence of one mechanism rather than another is dependent upon a variety
of factors ranging from tube material to operating conditions to time in service. Understanding the degradation mechanism producing a tube failure,
recognizing the contributing causes of the degradation, and implementing appropriate mitigating actions are key steps to developing an effective failure
reduction program.
The information provided in the following sections of the field guide is grouped by water-touched and steam-touched tubes and then organized by the
degradation mechanism within each group. Each degradation mechanism section is organized as follows:
Description of the degradation mechanism supplemented with photographs and/or sketches to illustrate the mechanism
Identification of the contributing causes of the degradation
Discussion of mitigating actions that can be taken to remove or reduce the effect of the contributing causes
Identification of potential ramifications and implications on other unit components
When appropriate, tables and charts are used to present the information.
Chapter numbers provided at the beginning of the description of each degradation mechanism refer to the corresponding chapter in EPRI report 1012757.
The user of this guide is encouraged to review the referenced chapter for additional detailed information.
Various citations are made in this field guide, typically in figure captions, to a reference source. Please refer to the References section in the corresponding
chapter of EPRI report 1012757 for the specifc source reference indicated in the respective citation.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

4. Water-Touched Tubes

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

Water-Touched Tubes

Screening Table for Water-Touched Boiler Tube Failures (Chapter 2)


The following table provides information that can be used to perfrom an initial screening of a boiler tube failure to identify a likely degradation mechanism
that may have contributed to the failure. The table also includes a reference to the applicable chapter in EPRI report 1012757 for more information on the
respective degradation mechanism.
Table 2-1
Screening Table for Water-Touched Boiler Tube Failures
Typical Fracture
Surface Appearance

Other Likely Macroscopic and


Metallographic Features

Typical Locations

Possible
Mechanism

Chapter in
Volume 2

Thick-Edged Fracture
Surface
Thick-edged or large window
blowout (pinhole leak or
circular cracking is also
possible)

Multi-array, multiple, transgranular cracks that


initiate on the inside of the tube; cracks often
associated with corrosion pits or other surface
discontinuities.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

10

Near attachments, particularly where high restraint Corrosion Fatigue


stresses can develop.
Near or associated with bends,particularly neutral
axis.
Generally initiates on cold side of the tube, but can
be fireside.

19

Table 2-1 (continued)


Screening Table for Water-Touched Boiler Tube Failures
Typical Fracture
Surface Appearance

Other Likely Macroscopic and


Metallographic Features

Thick-edged, leak or window Internal damage: gouging, wall thinning; tube


blowout
deposits.

Typical Locations
High heat flux areas; hot side of tube; horizontal or
inclined tubing; pad welds; locations with local flow
disruptions such as upstream of weld, backing ring, or
other discontinuities.

Possible
Mechanism

Chapter in
Volume 2

Hydrogen Damage

22

Thick-edged

Multiple, parallel cracks on the outside tube


Maximum heat flux locations; fireside of waterwall
surface or on membrane; sharp, V-shaped
tubing or membranes between tubes
oxide coated cracks; wall thinning from external
surface when found with fireside corrosion. Can
occur on weld overlays.

Waterwall Thermal Fatigue


Cracking

26

Thick-edged, leak or crack

First sign as pinhole leak at toe of stub weld;


multiple, longitudinal, transgranular cracks;
borehole cracking.

Thermal Fatigue in
Economizer Inlet Headers

27

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

Economizer inlet header stub tubes nearest the


feedwater inlet.

11

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 2-1 (continued)


Screening Table for Water-Touched Boiler Tube Failures
Typical Fracture
Surface Appearance

Other Likely Macroscopic and


Metallographic Features

Typical Locations

Possible
Mechanism

Chapter in
Volume 2

Thick-edged

Outside surface initiated, intergranular crack


growth with significant microfissuring aligned
parallel with the main crack and significant
secondary cracking; evidence of grain
boundary creep cavitation and creep voids.

Predominant in tube bends, particularly at intrados on


outside surface, and other locations subject to high
residual, forming, or service stresses.

Low Temperature Creep


Cracking

35

Thick-edged

Transgranular cracking, OD-initiated and


associated with tubing (at tube bends longitudinal or attachments - transverse) or
headers (particularly at the ends).

Near attachments, particularly solid or jammed sliding


attachments; at bends in tubing.

Thermal-Mechanical Fatigue

28

Thick-edged

Damage to outside tube surface - multiple,


closely spaced circumferential cracks, although
longitudinal cracks may also form; crazing
pattern; no wastage.

Waterwalls cleaned with water blowers (lances or


cannons).

Water Blower
Thermal Fatigue

29

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

12

Table 2-1 (continued)


Screening Table for Water-Touched Boiler Tube Failures
Typical Fracture
Surface Appearance

Other Likely Macroscopic and


Metallographic Features

Typical Locations

Possible
Mechanism

Chapter in
Volume 2

Thin-Edged
Fracture Surface
Thin-edged, longitudinal,
cod-or fish-mouth

Polishing of tube outside surface; very localized Near side and rear walls; near economizer banks; near Fly Ash Erosion
damage, wastage flats.
plugged or fouled passages; where previous baffles have
been installed; driven by high local velocities.

21

Thin-edged, leak or split

Internal damage: gouging, wall thinning; tube


deposits.

As for hydrogen damage.

Acid Phosphate Corrosion

23

Thin-edged, leak or split

Internal damage: gouging, wall thinning; tube


deposits.

As for hydrogen damage.

Caustic Gouging

24

Thin-edged, long fish-mouth

External wastage; probably affecting a number


of tubes; maximum wastage at crown facing
flame (maybe flame impingement); damage
extending in 120 arc around tube; hard
deposits on tube outside surface.

Areas with locally substoichiometric environment; side


and rear walls near burners; highest heat flux areas.

Fireside Corrosion (coal-fired


units)

25

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

On units with low NOX burners and SOFAs, the


corrosion is usually maximum just above the burners.

13

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 2-1 (continued)


Screening Table for Water-Touched Boiler Tube Failures
Typical Fracture
Surface Appearance

Other Likely Macroscopic and


Metallographic Features

Typical Locations

Chapter in
Volume 2

Thin-edged rupture

Erosion, wall thinning from inside; continuous


scallop or orange peel appearance.

Thin-edged, fish-mouth

Wastage flats on tube external surface at 45


Circular pattern around wall blowers.
around tube from sootblower direction, little or no ash
on tube surface.

Generally thin-edged

Often shows signs of tube bulging or fish-mouth


appearance; real keys will be transformation
products in microstructure. May also be thickedged under certain circumstances.

Highest heat flux locations above locations such as the Short-Term Overheating
site of a tube or orifice blockage or in horizontal tubing
where a downcomer steam slug can occur.

34

Thin-edged

External wall thinning and wastage, little or no


surface ash; location should be key.

Tubes near replaceable wear liners in cyclone burners;


throat or quarl region of burners.

38

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

14

Economizer inlet header stub tubes nearest to point of


feedwater inlet.

Possible
Mechanism
Flow-Accelerated Corrosion

32

Sootblower Erosion

33

Coal Particle Erosion

Table 2-1 (continued)


Screening Table for Water-Touched Boiler Tube Failures
Typical Fracture
Surface Appearance

Other Likely Macroscopic and


Metallographic Features

Typical Locations

Possible
Mechanism

Chapter in
Volume 2

Thin-edged

External erosion or mechanical impact damage Sloping wall tubes and/or ash hopper near bottom.
features.

Falling Slag Damage

40

Thin-edged

External, thinned or missing external oxide;


final failure typically thin-edged, transgranular
and ductile; presence of sulfur in ash deposits
remaining on tube.

Acid Dewpoint Corrosion

41

Chemical Cleaning Damage


or Pitting

36 or 37

Low temperature areas of economizer.

Pinhole Damage
Pitting

Internal tube surface damage; distinctive aspect Locations where boiler water can stagnate during unit
ratio of damage - deep relative to area; partial shutdown (pitting).
or total (through-wall) dissolution of the tube
wall metal may be observed.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

15

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 2-1 (continued)


Screening Table for Water-Touched Boiler Tube Failures
Typical Fracture
Surface Appearance

Other Likely Macroscopic and


Metallographic Features

Typical Locations

Possible
Mechanism

Chapter in
Volume 2

Miscellaneous
Damage Types
Depends on underlying cause Usually obvious from type of damage and
correspondence to past maintenance activity.

Maintenance Damage

Chap. 61,
Volume 3

Depends on defect

Materials Flaws

Chap. 62,
Volume 3

Welding Flaws

Chap. 63,
Volume 3

Usually thick-edged

Care required to separate weld defects from


another problem located at a weld.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

16

Corrosion Fatigue (Chapter 19)


Description
Macro Features
Initiation from the inside (water side) of the tube
Typical development is on the cold side of the tube, but it can develop on
the fire-side of the tube.
Cracks can be oriented longitudinally with respect to the tube axis, that
is, normal to the predominant stress field, which in the typical case are
tensile hoop stresses.
Cracks also can be circumferential or any direction that is normal to the
major applied stress.
Cracks can occur along or near the neutral axis of tube bends,
particularly tight hairpin bends.
Cracks are multi-array, that is, there usually will be a number of parallel
cracks rather than a single crack found where there is corrosion fatigue
damage.
Can be initiated from pits or other surface discontinuities such as tube
extrusion marks.
Not specifically related to presence of weld defects

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

Figure 19-4
Thick-edged failure by corrosion fatigue (Type iii).
Source: TR-100455 V4, 1993
Micro Features
Multiple, transgranular cracks
Cracks usually wide
Cracks usually oxide filled and blunt tipped
Crack profiles usually irregular
Signs of discontinuous growth, re-initiations (beach marking)
17

Water-Touched Tubes

Figure 19-9
Schematic showing the general features of corrosion fatigue cracks.
Source: Moles, 1980

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

18

Figure 19-31
Radiograph clearly showing the presence of corrosion fatigue cracks at a
tube/lower windbox connection.
Source: EPRI TC/Set-Aside Project on Corrosion Fatigue Report

Figure 19-10a, Figure 19-10b


Cross-sections of corrosion fatigue cracks showing typical features: oxide
coating of the fracture surface, corrosion within the crack, wide crack mouths
and tip, a transgranular fracture path, and oxide bulges down the crack length.
Source: TR-102433, 1993

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

19

Water-Touched Tubes

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components


Excessive stresses/strains caused by the following:
Thermal expansion/contraction under transient operating conditions
Changing boiler pressure

Figure 19-32
Pad weld repair showing renewed
corrosion fatigue crack growth
Source: TR-100455 V4, 1993

Subcooling in natural circulation boilers


Water wall tube strain can occur at scallop bar attachments, buckstay
attachments, windbox casing attachments.
Economizer tube strain can occur at tube bends and weld heat affected
zones.
Physical strain cracks protective magnetite oxide layer on ID.
Fresh base metal beneath oxide layer cracking is exposed to corrosive
environment, that is, water on ID of the tube.
Poor water chemistry can increase corrosion:
Low pH
High levels of dissolved oxygen
High levels of contaminates such as chlorides and sulfur
pH variation has a more significant effect than variations in chloride or
sulfur concentrations.
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

20

Over aggressive or improper chemical cleaning.


Corrosion fatigue most often occurs in subcritical units, but can occur in
supercritical units.

Table 19-4
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

All Root Causes

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Use the Influence Diagram method to screen for highly



susceptible units, and locations within a unit and to highlight
likely worst root causes.

Excessive strains/stresses
Subcooling (cooling water stratification) in natural
circulation boilers

Perform NDE and selective sampling to see if cracking has Replace damaged tubes in-kind only if a system emergency
initiated at suspect locations and to size cracks.
exists for the unit.
Field test with thermocouples and strain gauges to evaluate Do not pad weld corrosion fatigue leaks (pinholes).
levels of strain developed during all operating regimes,
including all transients.
Perform global and local finite element stress analysis using
as-built configuration and field measured strains and
temperatures.

Subcooling (cooling water stratification) in natural


circulation boilers

Review operating records.


Thermocouple top and bottom of the downcomers to monitor DT
as function of shutdown time.
Strain gauge to confirm.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

Same as above.

21

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 19-4 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Environmental Factors
Poor water chemistry

Overly aggressive or improper chemical cleaning

Review chemical cleaning procedures, and correlate chemical


cleaning with corrosion fatigue failures.
Perform NDE and/or selectively sample at-risk tubes.

Same as above, plus revise chemical cleaning procedures, as


required

Improper boiler shutdown and/or layup procedures

Determine whether a comprehensive boiler shutdown


procedure is used.

Optimize shutdown, layup procedures.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

22

Review water chemistry logs and practices, with particular Same as above.
emphasis on pH reductions during shutdown and early
startup.
Estimate the severity of the environment using the

environmental parameter for the Influence Diagram.
Evaluate timing of environmental contributors at various

strain levels. Use NDE or selectively sample tubes to
determine whether pitting or corrosion fatigue damage has
begun.

Table 19-4 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes
Unit operation

Actions to Confirm






Immediate Actions and Solutions

Review operating records to determine operating hours


Modify operating procedures to reduce
and boiler transients (hot, warm, and cold startups as well thermal strains.
as shutdowns and forced cools). Is the boiler regularly force
cooled?
Plot failure history against unit operating conditions.
Field test with thermocouples and strain gauges and perform
finite element analysis to confirm.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

23

Water-Touched Tubes

Figure 19-34
Influence diagram for corrosion fatigue in waterwall tubes. The lines E1E4
represent the results of the environment parameter evaluation. Line E1 is
approximately equivalent to operating with EPRI guidelines or better.
Decreasing water chemistry is represented by E2E4. Conditions to the right of
a particular environment line indicate a high risk for corrosion fatigue or
confirm that corrosion fatigue has already occurred. Conditions to the left of a
given environment line indicate a lower risk of corrosion fatigue.
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

24

Figure 19-36
Strain gauge and thermocouple monitoring locations on a buckstay
attachment detail.
Source: EPRI TC/Set-Aside Project on Corrosion Fatigue

Table 19-6
Potential Ramifications
Corrosion Fatigue Aspect

Alert for Other Cycle Components

Problems with boiler water or feedwater chemistry control.

Excessive or overly aggressive chemical cleans.

Potential for boiler tube damage by other mechanisms.

Inadequate or improper shutdown procedures.

Potential for boiler tube damage by other mechanisms such as pitting.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

Potential for boiler tube damage by other mechanisms such as acid phosphate corrosion,
if underlying problem is phosphate hideout, or hydrogen damage such as via condenser
leakage.
Potential for carryover in steam to reheater and turbine.

25

Water-Touched Tubes

Fly Ash Erosion (Chapter 21)


Description

Usually very localized.


Characterized by burnishing or polishing of affected tube surfaces facing the gas flow.
Heavy black polishing is first indication of impingement erosion.
Qualitatively, light polishing removes only the paint or scale.
Formation of fresh rust on tubes only a few hours after boiler washing is a distinctive feature of advanced erosion that has removed the protective scale.
As erosion becomes more severe, the tubes begin to thin, flattened areas develop, and eventually the internal pressure leads to tube rupture.

Figure 21-1a, Figure 21-1b


Examples of erosion damaged boiler tubing that led to wall thinning and final failures by rupture.
Source: TR-102432, 1994
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

26

Figure 21-3
Example of extensive damage to shields caused by fly ash erosion.
Source: J. Drennen

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

27

Water-Touched Tubes

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

For a constant ash loading, increasing particulate velocity from ~18.3 m/sec (~60 ft/sec) to ~27.4 m/sec (90 ft/sec) can triple the rate of fly ash
erosion.
At a constant velocity, doubling the ash loading will double the erosion rate.
Table 21-3
Fly Ash Composition Affects the Erosion Rate
Controllable* Factors

Constant* Factors

Fuel and fly ash composition

Temperature profile

Gas flow rate

Pressure part arrangement

Ash flux

Tube material properties

Mode of operation

Target shape

Boiler design characteristics (during design process)

Angle of impingement

* Controllable factors include those that can be changed during the design process or by operating choices; constant factors are those that are not likely to change without fundamental
modifications once the boiler is built.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

28

Table 21-1
Typical Locations for Fly Ash Erosion
Economizer / Superheater / Reheater
Leading edges of all tubes

Roof and back wall

All pendant SH/RH surfaces, especially bottom bends at exit from furnace nose to rear pass

Rear pass RH/SH and economizer; tube bends (all rows) adjacent to back wall of rear pass

At top of rear pass

Tube rows adjacent to side walls of rear pass

Staggered tube bank configurations (economizer); sides of tubes in accessible top rows and
often of tubes in middle of the tube bank.

Staggered tube bank configurations (economizer); sides of tubes in accessible top rows and
often of tubes in middle of the tube bank.

Rear pass SH/RH and economizer; tube bends (all rows) adjacent to back wall of rear pass

Near tube bank stiffeners (wrapper tubes in pendant banks; antivibration bars in horizontal
banks)

Finned tubes (economizer); at base of fins

Tubes immediately after open areas in tube bank

Adjacent to sootblower runs

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

29

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 21-1 (continued)


Typical Locations for Fly Ash Erosion
Waterwalls
Top of rear wall where gases change direction to rear pass
Where misalignment or ash plugging of pendant tubes occurs near waterwall.
Waterwall circuits in the back pass, especially the following:
(i) those forming dividing walls
(ii) those that protrude into flow
(iii) those that bend around openings
Around wall blowers

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

30

Figure 21-5
Typical boiler locations where fly ash
erosion can occur.

Table 21-4
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Excessive local velocities


Excessive (nonuniform) local gas flows: geometry
(design) causes

Compare locations of failure to those typical of fly ash


erosion.
Eliminate other root causes as primary factor.

Excessive (non-uniform) local gas flows:


Maintenance causes
- Distortion or misalignment of tubing rows
- Misalignment or loss of gas flow guides and

baffles

Visual inspection in areas near erosion problem for obvious Repair, replace, align damaged components.
distortions, misalignments, etc.

Excessive (nonuniform) local gas flows:


Operational causes
- Operating above the continuous design rating
- Operating above design excess air flow
- Fan or air heater imbalance leading
to nonuniform gas flows

Apply CAVT.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

Change problem geometries, such as replacing staggered tube


rows with in-line tubes in the economizer.

Changes in unit operation such as reducing load or lowering


excess air, but economic penalties are high.

31

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 21-4 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Increased Particle Loading


Increase in particle loading: fuel causes

Increase in erosive particle loading: sootblower


operation or maintenance causes

Review sootblower operating procedures and confirm


Institute intelligent sootblowing.
that equipment is properly functioning, such as at proper
temperatures.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

32

Evaluate ash and erosive material content of fuel from an


erosivity index and/or use a coal quality impact modeling
tool to assess the economic impact. Compare to design coal.
Evaluate whether changes in fuel handling or blending are
evident.

Apply CAVT to determine extent of problem; design and install


flow modifications (local diffusion screens and distribution screens);
confirm efficacy with CAVT retest.
Fuel and fuel handling changes may be considered to reduce
the amount of ash and erosive minerals.
Change to fuel with lower ash content.
Wash or blend coal.
Apply indices and/or use a coal quality impact modeling tool
to assess economic impact.

Table 21-4 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Other Root Causes


Palliative shields and baffles, usually punched plates
or solid baffles that were misapplied previously

Review history of fly ash erosion, prior repairs, and


relationship to current damage.

Inappropriate material; improperly or poorly applied


coating

Review prior maintenance activities to document such palliative Temporary pad weld, spray coating, or shielding may be used.
techniques.
These are not recommended for the long term as they will most
likely lead to continual repairs.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

Remove prior modifications.


Apply CAVT to determine the extent of the problem; design and
install flow modification (local diffusion screens and distribution
screens); confirm efficacy with CAVT retest

33

Water-Touched Tubes

Potential ramifications include the possibility of redirecting the flow of air or


ash to other locations, thereby causing a new problem area.

Figure 21-11
Erosion locations on a side elevation
drawing, also showing subsequent
application of distribution and
diffusing screens.
Source: TR-102432, 1994
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

34

Hydrogen Damage (Chapter 22)


Description
Macro Features
Gouged areas; thick deposits
Thick-edged, often window opening failure appearance
Brittle failure
Oxide growth under stress leads to thick, multilayer scale (alternating
layers of porous and dense magnetite), which may be missing as a result
of failure incident
Very rapid: can be >10 mm/yr (>0.39 in/yr). Failures can occur within
six months.
Micro Features
Intergranular microfissures in base tube material linking to form cracks.
Multilaminated, non-protective oxide sometimes containing chloride at
scale/metal interface.
Decarburization gradually spreads across tube wall from ID.
Figure 22-1
Typical multilaminated magnetite scale and subsurface microcracking
associated with hydrogen damage in a conventional waterwall.
Source: J. Hickey, ESB Ireland
4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

35

Water-Touched Tubes

Figure 22-8
Hydrogen damage window opening and thick-edged failure. It occurred just
downstream of a butt weld. (Flow is right to left).
Source: D.E. Hendrix

Figure 22-2
Hydrogen damaged tube showing thick-edged final fracture. Note that there
was a tube bend just out of view of the photograph.
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

36

Table 22-2
Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components
Location/Tube Condition
Locations where the water/fluid flow adjacent to the tube wall is disrupted
Welded joints and welding processes
(i) welded joints with backing rings
(ii) poor repair welds including pad welds, canoe pieces, or window welds
(iii) poor weld overlay (penetrating to the inside surface)
(iv) weld overlay on relatively thin wall that, because of high heat input, results in waviness on the tube ID
Locations with existing internal deposits caused by
(i) a deposition mechanism
(ii) deposits left from improper chemical cleaning
(iii) locally high heat flux/transfer
(iv) locally high steam quality
Geometric features
(i) bend around burners or openings
(ii) sharp changes of direction (such as the nose of the furnace)
(iii) tubes bending off lower headers and drums

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

37

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 22-2 (continued)


Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components
Location/Tube Condition
Locations with a high heat flux/transfer
Locations where boiling first initiates
Locations with thermal-hydraulic flow disruptions
Locations with local very high steam quality
Locations with horizontal or inclined tubing heated from above or below (roof tubes)
Localized overheating of the tubes (fireside conditions)
Flame impingement
Burner misalignment
Operating conditions such as overfiring or underfiring, gas channeling, or inadequate circulation rates
Major change in fuel source, such as higher Btu value coal, dual firing with gas, changeover to oil, or gas firing where heat flux increases

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

38

Figure 22-3a, Figure 22-3b


Through-wall thick-edged cracking caused by hydrogen damage. Note this
thick-edged leak is downstream of the line of butt welds.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

39

Water-Touched Tubes

Figure 22-4a, Figure 22-4b


Deposits and hydrogen damage associated with backing rings in conventional waterwall tubing. Flow is right to left.
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

40

Table 22-3
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Excessive DepositsAll Causes

Analyze results from chemistry monitors with particular


emphasis on levels of Fe and Cu in the feedwater.
Perform selective tube sampling for deposit measurement.
Check the efficacy of chemical cleaning.

Flow disruption:
Weld backing bar/ring
Poor weld geometry, pad welds, canoe piece
repairs, etc.
Weld overlay on tube OD
Deposits
Locally high heat flux or steam quality
Bends or sharp changes in tube direction
Horizontal or near horizontal tubing
Local regions of DNB

Examine boiler and maintenance history for evidence of


As above.
potential flow disruption sites.
Take and examine tube samples for distinctive bathtub ring
deposits.
Perform circulation testing.

Fireside conditions:
Flame impingement
Burner misalignment
Change in heat flux patterns following
installation of low NOX burners
Major change in fuel source

Inspect furnace wall for evidence of flame impingement.


Adjust burners, etc.
Check burner operation for possible direct flame impingement. Address combustion conditions.
Measure heat flux at selected locations

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

Perform internal tube assessment (typically using videoprobes).


Remove tube samples for analysis.

41

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 22-3 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Acidic ContaminationAll Causes

Evaluate cation conductivity and/or sodium in the hotwell or at Depending upon severity, initiate established procedures for unit
the condensate pump discharge.
shutdown and chemically clean, as needed.

Condenser leaks: minor but occurring over an


extended period

Review chemistry control logs to determine if, and when,


Depending upon severity, initiate established procedures for unit
impurities were excessive. Particularly important is boiler water shutdown and chemically clean, as needed.
cation conductivity.

Condenser leaks: major ingress, generally one serious Confirm from chemistry control logs, especially the extent and Immediate shutdown of unit, confirm pH depression, and
event
depth of pH depression in boiler water.
chemically clean.

Water treatment plant or condensate polisher


Evaluate results from and reliability of monitoring and alarm Remove unit from service and chemically clean; clean up water
regeneration chemical upset leading to low pH condition systems, particularly for cation conductivity
chemistry.
Improper use of low level phosphate treatments

Review cation conductivity, boiler water chloride control


Make sure that appropriate chloride control curves are chosen.
curves, and levels resulting from current choice of chemistry Make sure that operators understand where to operate for the
and its implementation
particular chemistry chosen.

Errors in chemical cleaning process

Review chemistry logs during cleaning and rinsing.


Depending upon severity, initiate established procedures for unit
Borescope/videoprobe examination to check the efficacy of the shutdown and reclean as needed.
chemical cleaning.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

42

Figure 22-11
Typical locations of hydrogen damage in conventional
units.

Figure 22-17
Schematic of the ultrasonic velocity change technique to detect hydrogen
damage.
Source: Lamping, 1991

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

43

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 22-5
Potential Ramifications
Hydrogen Damage Aspect

Alert for Other Cycle Components

Actions Indicated

Waterwall deposits indicate high feedwater corrosion


products

Poor feedwater chemistry control (probably iron levels at the Implement stricter cycle chemistry control program, core level of
economizer inlet are > 2 ppb)
instrumentation, etc.
High Cu levels in deposits might indicate Cu deposition in HP turbine Develop monitoring program to optimize feedwater chemistry.

Excessive waterwall deposits

Potential BTF by overheating and creep

Sampling to determine nature and extent of deposit problem.


Apply guidelines for chemical cleaning.

Geometric boiler water flow disruptions

Potential for excessive deposit buildup


Tube failures by overheating

Remove pad welds and other improper repairs.


Identify and remove other sources for flow disruption.

Contaminant ingress

Corrosion of other cycle parts: turbine, SH/RH

Contamination by improper chemical cleaning

Potential for problems throughout cycle

Inspect for problems and carefully monitor chemistry on return to service.


Establish proper chemical cleaning processes.

Fireside problems (flame impingement, burner


alignment, major fuel change)

Possible BTF by fireside corrosion of waterwall tubing


Possible BTF by overheating
Possible thermal fatigue cracking on waterwalls

Inspect and adjust as required.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

44

Inspect susceptible components; sample steam and/or material in


susceptible locations for indications of damage.
Careful examination of cycle chemistry monitors to characterize
extent of problem.

Acid Phosphate Corrosion (Chapter 23)


Description
Table 23-1
Characteristics and Appearance of Acid Phosphate Corrosion
Characteristic

Appearance

Features of failure

Gouged areas; thick, adherent deposits.


Ductile, thin-edged, or pinhole failure.

Effect on oxide and characteristic deposit

Caustic concentrates at base of deposit and leads to dissolution of protective oxide via
fluxing.
Deposit usually contains distinctive crystals of sodium ferroate and/or sodium ferroite.

Key microstructural features

Material removal only; no microstructural changes in tube steel.


No protective oxide layer.
Distinctive metal removal usually filled with adherent deposit.

Attack rate

Rapid: up to 2 mm/yr (0.08 in./yr).

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

45

Water-Touched Tubes

Figure 23-1
Example of acid phosphate corrosion showing tube gouging. Tube is from a
400 MW boiler with an 18.2 MPa (2640 psig) drum pressure. The severely
corroded region was approximately 2.5 cm x 10 cm (1 in. x 4 in.) in extent. The
stepped pattern on this ribbed tube is typical of that which occurs by dryout.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

46

Figure 23-2
Acid phosphate corrosion damage. The railroad track pattern of corrosion is
indicative of local steam blanketing.

Table 23-2
Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components
Location/Tube Condition
Locations where the water/fluid flow adjacent to the tube wall is disrupted
Welded joints and welding processes, such as the following:
(i) welded joints with backing rings
(ii) poor repair welds, including pad welds, canoe pieces, or window welds
(iii) poor weld overlay (penetrating to the inside surface)
(iv) weld overlay on relatively thin wall that, because of high heat input, results in waviness on the tube ID
Locations with existing internal deposits caused by the following:
(i) a deposition mechanism

(ii) deposits left from improper chemical cleaning
(iii) locally high heat flux/transfer
(iv) locally high steam quality
Geometric features, including the following:
(i) bends around burners or openings
(ii) sharp changes of direction (such as the nose of the furnace)
(iii) tubes bending off lower headers and drums

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

47

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 23-2 (continued)


Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components
Location/Tube Condition
Locations with a high heat flux/transfer
Locations where boiling first initiates
Locations with thermal-hydraulic flow disruptions
Locations with local very high steam quality
Locations with horizontal or inclined tubing heated from above or below (roof tubes)
Localized overheating of the tubes (fireside conditions)
Flame impingement
Burner misalignment
Operating conditions such as overfiring or underfiring, gas channeling, or inadequate circulation rates
Major change in fuel source, such as higher Btu value coal, dual firing with gas, changeover to oil, or gas firing where heat flux increases

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

48

Figure 23-11
Typical boiler locations where acid phosphate corrosion
can occur in conventional units.
Figure 23-3
Acid phosphate corrosion gouging showing concentric bathtub rings. The fact
that these rings are visible on the sides of the tube up to the mid-diameter
indicates that at some point steam blanketing encompassed the upper half of
the tube. Gouging and a pinhole leak occurred within the concentric rings.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

49

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 23-3
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Excessive DepositsAll Causes

Analyze results from chemistry monitors with particular


emphasis on levels of Fe and Cu in the feedwater.
Perform selective tube sampling for deposit measurement.
Check the efficacy of chemical cleaning.

Flow disruption, including the following:


Weld backing bar/ring
Poor weld geometry, pad welds,
canoe piece repairs, etc.
Weld overlay on tube OD
Deposits
Locally high heat flux or steam quality
Bends or sharp changes in tube direction
Horizontal or near horizontal tubing
Local regions of DNB

Examine boiler and maintenance history for evidence of


As above.
potential flow disruption sites.
Take and examine samples for distinctive bathtub ring deposits.
Perform circulation testing.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

50

Perform internal tube assessment (typically using videoprobes).


Remove tube samples for analysis.

Table 23-3 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Fireside conditions, including the following:


Flame impingement
Burner misalignment
Change in heat flux patterns following
installation of low NOX burners
Major change in fuel source

Inspect furnace wall for evidence of flame impingement.


Check burner operation for possible direct flame
impingement.
Measure heat flux at selected locations.

Immediate Actions and Solutions


Adjust burners, etc.
Address combustion conditions.

Phosphate Concentration

Evaluate boiler water; black boiler water samples are an Depending upon severity, initiate established procedures for
indication that severe corrosion is taking place over large
unit shutdown and chemical clean, as needed.
areas of the waterwall.

Use of improper cycle chemistry controls, particularly


chasing phosphate hideout by using monosodium
and/or an excess of di-sodium phosphate

Determine if boiler has a persistent problem with phosphate As above.


hideout: review plant chemistry control logs, on-line cycle
chemistry records, chemical additions to the boiler, and/
or alarms.
Review phosphate control additions; tabulate monthly usage of
mono- and di-sodium phosphate for at least the past two years.
Perform metallurgical analysis to confirm nature of deposits.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

51

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 23-5
Potential Ramifications
Acid Phosphate Corrosion Aspect

Alert for Other Cycle Components

Actions Indicated

Waterwall deposits indicate high feedwater corrosion


products

Excessive deposits

Potential BTF by overheating and creep

Perform sampling to determine nature and extent of deposit


problem.
Apply guidelines for chemical cleaning.

Geometric boiler water flow disruptions

Potential for excessive deposit buildup


Tube failures by overheating

Remove pad welds and other improper repairs.


Identify and remove other sources for flow disruption.

Phosphate hideout

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

52

Poor feedwater chemistry control (probably iron levels at the Implement stricter cycle chemistry control program,

economizer inlet are >2 ppb)
instrumentation, etc.
High Cu levels in deposits might indicate Cu deposition in HP Develop monitoring program to optimize feedwater chemistry.
turbine

Only a control problem by itself; however, chasing the hideout Optimize phosphate treatment without
problem through the use of mono- and/or an excess of di- excessive use of phosphate additions.
sodium phosphate can lead to excess phosphate throughout
the boiler with possible carryover into the turbine.
If associated with pH decreases during a startup, then there is
a possibility of increasing corrosion fatigue.

Table 23-2
Potential Ramifications
Acid Phosphate Corrosion Aspect

Alert for Other Cycle Components

Actions Indicated

Excessive phosphate in steam

Possibility for transport and deposit in SH/RH and turbine

Check steam chemistry and carryover.

Fireside problems (flame impingement, burner


alignment, major fuel change)

Possible BTF by fireside corrosion of waterwall tubing.


Possible BTF by overheating.
Possible thermal fatigue cracking on waterwalls

Inspect and adjust as required.

Figure 23-9
Acid phosphate corrosion damage. The railroad trackpattern of corrosion
is indicative of local steam blanketing.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

53

Water-Touched Tubes

Caustic Gouging (Chapter 24)


Description
Table 24-1
Characteristics and Appearance of Caustic Gouging
Characteristic

Appearance

Features of failure

Gouged areas; thick, adherent deposits.


Ductile, thin-edged, or pinhole failure.

Effect on oxide and characteristic deposit

Caustic concentrates at base of deposit and leads to dissolution of protective oxide via
fluxing.
Deposit usually contains distinctive crystals of sodium ferroate and/or sodium ferroite.

Key microstructural features

Material removal only; no microstructural changes in tube steel.


No protective oxide layer.
Distinctive metal removal usually filled with adherent deposit.

Attack rate

Rapid: up to 2 mm/yr (0.08 in./yr).

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

54

Figure 24-2
Cross-section through the thick, layered deposit shown
in figure at left.
Source: TR-102433, 1993

Figure 24-10
Cross-section through the failed tube showing the internal attack that
occurred. The following figures show detail of the thick deposit and scale at the
failure location.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

55

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 24-2
Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components
Location/Tube Condition
Locations where the water/fluid flow adjacent to the tube wall is disrupted
Welded joints and welding processes, including the following:
(i) welded joints with backing rings
(ii) poor repair welds, including pad welds, canoe pieces, or window welds
(iii) weld overlay on relatively thin wall that, because of high heat input, results in waviness on the tube ID
Locations with existing internal deposits caused by the following:
(i) a deposition mechanism
(ii) deposits left from improper chemical cleaning
(iii) locally high heat flux/transfer
(iv) locally high steam quality
Geometric features, including the following:
(i) bend around burners or openings
(ii) sharp changes of direction (such as the nose of the furnace)
(iii) tubes bending off lower headers and drums

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

56

Table 24-2 (continued)


Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components
Location/Tube Condition
Locations with a high heat flux/transfer
Locations where boiling first initiates
Locations with thermal-hydraulic flow disruptions
Locations with local very high steam quality
Locations with horizontal or inclined tubing heated from above or below (roof tubes)
Localized overheating of the tubes (fireside conditions)
Flame impingement
Burner misalignment
Operating conditions such as overfiring or underfiring, gas channeling, or inadequate circulation rates
Major change in fuel source, such as higher Btu value coal, dual firing with gas, changeover to oil, or gas firing where heat flux increases

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

57

Water-Touched Tubes

Figure 24-3
Needle-shaped crystals in the deposits.
Source: TR-102433, 1993
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

58

Figure 24-1
Thick deposits and gouged tube metal on the downstream side of a weld. A
large amount of copper is deposited, and the deposit is laminated.
Source: TR-102433, 1993

Table 24-3
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Excessive DepositsAll Causes

Analyze results from chemistry monitors with particular


emphasis on levels of Fe and Cu in the feedwater.
Perform selective tube sampling for deposit measurement.
Check the efficacy of chemical cleaning.

Flow disruption caused by the following:


Weld backing bar/ring
Poor weld geometry, pad welds,canoe piece
repairs, etc.
Weld overlay on tube OD
Deposits
Locally high heat flux or steam quality
Bends or sharp changes in tube direction
Horizontal or near horizontal tubing
Local regions of DNB

Examine boiler and maintenance history for evidence of


As above.
potential flow disruption sites.
Take and examine samples for distinctive bathtub ring deposits.
Perform circulation testing.

Fireside conditions, including the following:


Flame impingement
Burner misalignment
Change in heat flux patterns
following installation of low NOX burners
Major change in fuel source

Inspect furnace wall for evidence of flame impingement.


Check burner operation for possible direct flame impingement.
Measure heat flux at selected locations.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

Perform internal tube assessment (typically using videoprobes).


Remove tube samples for analysis.

Adjust burners, etc.


Address combustion conditions.

59

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 24-3 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Sources of Caustic ConcentrationAll Causes

Immediate Actions and Solutions


Depending upon severity, initiate established procedures for
unit shutdown and chemical clean, as needed.

Elevated caustic level over time (units on caustic


treatment)

Review plant chemistry control logs, on-line cycle chemistry As above, plus reduce levels of NaOH addition to Caustic
records, or instrumentation alarms.
Treatment Guidelines

Excessive caustic addition to units on AVT

Review plant chemistry control logs, on-line cycle chemistry


records, or instrumentation alarms.



Excessive caustic addition to contro phosphate


treatment

As above.

As above, plus:
Use blowdown more effectively to minimize NaOH additions.
Investigate the need to use NaOH on startups. The optimum
approach is to remove the reason that NaOH is added
(perhaps air in leakage)

As above. plus set-up optimum phosphate continuum with


<1 ppm NaOH treatment control range

Water treatment plant upset leading to high pH condition Check/confirm operation and records of regeneration of water Shut down unit, remove excess sodium hydroxide, flush unit a
(regeneration of condensate polishers or makeup water treatment plant equipment.
number of times until water is within specification, then
ion exchange resins, for example)
investigate the need to chemically clean unit.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

60

Figure 24-5
Typical boiler locations where caustic gouging can
occur in conventional units.

Figure 24-8
Schematic of caustic gouging beneath a region of heavy deposition.
Depending on the rate of corrosion, there may be a layer of protective
Fe3O4 beneath the concentrated NaOH.
4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

61

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 24-5
Potential Ramifications
Caustic Gouging Aspect

Alert for Other Cycle Components

Actions Indicated

Waterwall deposits indicate high feedwater corrosion


products.

Excessive deposits.

Potential BTF by overheating and creep

Perform sampling to determine nature and extent of deposit


problem.
Apply guidelines for chemical cleaning.

Geometric boiler water flow disruptions.

Potential for excessive deposit buildup


Tube failures by overheating

Remove pad welds and other improper repairs.


Identify and remove other sources for flow disruption.

Elevated caustic level over a long period (units on


caustic treatment).

Potential for carryover into steam; damage to austenitic SHs Consider additional sodium monitoring for feedwater, boiler
and to turbine.
water, and steam.
Ensure that steam limits for sodium (2 ppb) are not exceeded.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

62

Poor feedwater chemistry control (probably iron levels at the Implement stricter cycle chemistry control program and

economizer inlet are >10 ppb)
instrumentation.
High Cu levels in deposits might indicate Cu deposition in HP Develop monitoring program to optimize feedwater chemistry.
turbine

Table 24-5 (continued)


Potential Ramifications
Caustic Gouging Aspect

Alert for Other Cycle Components

Actions Indicated

Excessive caustic additions in units on AVT.

Same as above

Consider additional monitoring and alarms to prevent


recurrence.
Investigate the need to add NaOH during startup.

Excessive caustic additions in units on


phosphate treatment.

Same as above

Consider additional monitoring and alarms to prevent


recurrence.

Ingress from water treatment plant deficiency

Same as above

Check/confirm operation of condensate polishers and ion


exchange resins of makeup water.

Fireside problems (flame impingement, burner


alignment, major fuel change

Possible BTF by fireside corrosion of waterwall tubing.


Possible overheating tube failures

Inspect and adjust as required.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

63

Water-Touched Tubes

Waterwall Fireside Corrosion (Chapter 25)


Description

Large loss of wall thickness (wastage) on fireside of tube.


Maximum attack usually at the crown of the tube facing the flame encompassing approximately 120 degrees of tube circumference.
Longitudinal cracking may be evident.
Hard, fired inner-layer deposits on tube with loosely bonded ash on outer layers.
Removing deposits reveals tube surface grooving similar to alligator hide.
Final failure occurs when remaining wall thickness is unable to withstand hoop stress.
Final failure usually manifested as longitudinal thin-eged cracks.
Has occurred in a significant number of boilers retrofitted with low-NOx sytems that employ overfire air (OFA) ports.
Waterwall corrosion is most severe in super critical boilers burning relatively high sulfur coal, but subcritical boilers and boilers firing low sulfur coals are
not immune.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

64

Figure 25-1
Typical appearance of damage caused by waterwall fireside corrosion.
Figure 25-2
Cross-section through a tube affected by severe fireside corrosion showing
significant wall loss.
4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

65

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 25-1
Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components
Summary of Factors Affecting Waterwall Corrosion in Boilers Staged with Low NOx Combustion Systems

Sources: TR-111155, 1998; Bakker, 2004; Bakker, 2003; Kung, 2000; Bakker, 2002
Main factors

FeS and alkali chlorides in deposits and CO and HCl in the flue gas are the main factors increasing waterwall wastage rates.

FeS deposition

FeS deposition increases with increased staging, thus increasing both wastage rates and the area affected by corrosion.

Effect of amount of FeS

Corrosion rates increase rapidly with increasing FeS content up to 20%; at higher FeS levels, wastage rates increase further, but at a
lower rate.

Effect of amount of Cl

Corrosion rates increase rapidly with increasing chloride content up to 2%. At higher chloride levels, wastage rates increase further,
but at a slower rate.

Effect of stoichiometry

FeS deposits form under reducing conditions but decompose under subsequent oxidizing conditions to produce very corrosive species.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

66

Table 25-1 (continued)


Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components
Summary of Factors Affecting Waterwall Corrosion in Boilers Staged with Low NOx Combustion Systems

Sources: TR-111155, 1998; Bakker, 2004; Bakker, 2003; Kung, 2000; Bakker, 2002
Reducing conditions needed

Reducing conditions are needed for FeS and alkali chloride deposition.

Temperature effect

Both FeS and alkali chlorides are less stable at higher temperatures, with little or no deposition occurring above 900C (1652F).
Thus FeS and chloride deposition decrease with increasing deposit thickness. Chlorides, and to a lesser extent FeS, will deposit only on
bare or nearly bare tubes under high heat absorption conditions.

Effect of HCl in the flue gas

HCl in the flue gas increases corrosion rates. The rate of increase is proportional to the amount of chloride in the deposit. Without
chloride in the deposits, the effect of HCl in the flue gas is minimized.

Role of H2S

Corrosion caused by H2S in the flue gas cannot be neglected, but is generally less than 0.5 mm/yr (20 mils/yr) for supercritical
boilers. Modeling studies have indicated that measures to reduce FeS deposition may also reduce H2S levels near the furnace wall

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

67

Water-Touched Tubes

Figure 25-3
The general structure of the corrosion scale formed
on a furnace waterwall tube under fireside
corrosion conditions, which are usually related to a
reducing environment. Scale thickness is
approximately 0.25 mm (0.01 in.).
Adapted from Cutler, 1978

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

68

Figure 25-4
Grooving of the tubes external surface, known as
alligator hide, associated with oil and coal-ash
corrosion. The fireside oxide scale and ash deposit
were removed by glass bead blasting.
Source: TR-102433, 1993

Figure 25-5
Sample of highly corroded tube showing wall loss
and fireside surface appearance. Note the rounded
pits on the surface.

Table 25-2
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

All causes of fireside corrosion

Collect and evaluate samples of fireside scale/ash to determine Choose repair strategy based on the severity of the corrosion
concentration, patterns, and melting points of elements and rate and extent.
compounds n present.
Use corrosion probes to monitor wastage.

Substoichiometric (reducing)
EnvironmentAll Causes

Monitor for levels of O2, CO, H2S, and HCl along damaged or As above.
susceptible locations.
Field testing to detect combustion conditions in susceptible areas
with waterwall deposition probes to collect deposits.
Establish a combustion fluid dynamics model and use the
model to evaluate potential improvements in combustion
parameters.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

69

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 25-2 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Use of low NOX combustion systems with OFA

Poorly adjusted or worn burners

Visual examination to detect localized flame impingement.


Adjust burners to prevent flame impingement.
Monitor for change in furnace slagging conditions. Use waterwall
deposition probe, as needed.

Improper air/fuel mixing

Improper air/fuel mixing.

Deposition of carbon rich deposit

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

70

Collect and evaluate samples of fireside scale/ash to determine


As above.
concentration, patterns, and melting points of elements and
compounds present.
Use corrosion probes to monitor wastage.
Monitor for levels of O2, CO, H2S, and HCl along damaged or
susceptible locations.

Choose repair strategy based on the severity of the corrosion


rate and extent.

Use visual and metallographic analysis to determine whether As above, plus adjust mill classification.
carbon particle impingement is occurring.
Analyze coal fineness.

Table 25-2 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Overheated Tubes All Causes

Measure tube crown temperatures directly by installing


chordal thermocoupled tubes.
Evaluate tube microstructure.

Excessive heat absorption rates

Measure heat absorption rates with flux domes in areas


experiencing corrosion.

Flame impingement

Examine flame patterns within the furnace.

Excessive buildup of waterside deposits,such as ripple


magnetite (this should occur only on boilers where
the feedwater treatment has not been changed to
oxidizing AVT (O) or oxygenated treatment).

Excessive buildup of waterside deposits, such as ripple magnetite Chemically clean waterwalls.
(this should occur only on boilers where the feedwater treatment
has not been changed to oxidizing AVT (O) or oxygenated
treatment).

Flow restrictions of tubes

Examine failure records for evidence of conditions such as


short term overheating failures of the tubes.
Determine whether past buildups of deposits were sufficiently
severe so as to cause extensive areas of flow restriction.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

Examine flame patterns within the furnace.

71

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 25-2 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Excessive sootblowing

Review sootblowing procedures

Coal composition and/or changes

Review of the coal and coal ash chemistry (proximate and


ultimate analyses and ash chemistry) for the coals currently
being used and that were used prior to the occurrence of
the fireside corrosion.
Perform an analysis of the scales being formed.

Presence of pyrite and distribution of


pyrite size in coal grinds

Review of the coal and coal ash chemistry (proximate and Adjust mills to decrease grind size.
ultimate analyses and ash chemistry) for the coals currently
being used and that were used prior to the occurrence of
the fireside corrosion.
Perform an analysis of the scales being formed.
Determine coal fineness.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

72

Table 25-2 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Presence of chlorine in coal

Collect and evaluate samples of fireside scale/ash to



determine whether Cl is appearing in scale layers,
particularly the scale/metal interface)
Review the coal and coal ash chemistry (proximate and

ultimate analyses and ash chemistry) for the coals currently being
used and that were used prior to the occurrence of the fireside
corrosion.
Determine coal fineness.

Operating changes such as load change that result in


alternating between locally oxidizing and reducing
conditions

Monitor for levels O2, CO, H2S, and HCl along damaged or
susceptible locations as a function of various load conditions.
Establish a combustion fluid dynamics model and use the
model to evaluate various operating regimes.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

Immediate Actions and Solutions

73

Water-Touched Tubes

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

74

Figure 25-6
Typical boiler locations where fireside corrosion can occur.

Table 25-4
Potential Ramifications
Waterwalls Fireside
Corrosion Aspect

Alert for Other Cycle Components

Actions Indicated

Corrosive coal or coal blend

Potential for SH/RH fireside corrosion.


Potential for back-end corrosion.

Mitigate negative aspects of coal composition if possible by


fuel switch, blending, or washing.

Poor combustion conditions

Combustion adjustments to improve unit efficiency.


Correct mill performance

Tube overheating by thick internal deposits or ripple


magnetite

Low unit efficiency.


Poor mill performance.
Combustion is delayed and occurring in the convective
passes, which could lead to corrosion of SH/RH surfaces.

Overheating in tubes.
Alert of poor feedwater treatment or controls.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

Chemically clean unit if necessary.


Implement program to clean up and ensure proper cycle
chemistry

75

Water-Touched Tubes

Figure 25-7
Strategies for preventing repeat failures by waterwall fireside corrosion in
coal-fired plants.
Note: The circled numbers are used to identify options for the discussions
presented in EPRI report 1012757, and no ranking of the possible solutions is
thus implied.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

76

Thermal Fatigue in Waterwalls (Chapter 26)


Description
Macro Features
Multiple parallel circumferential cracks in waterwalls of coalfired supercritical units.
Cracking in weld overlays on waterwall in areas of severe fireside corrosion.
Crack density can be approximately 2040 cracks per inch of tube length, but adjacent cracks can be of different lengths.
Ripple magnetite scale on waterside (tube ID).
Thick ID oxide that causes tube OD temperature to rise.
Cracking on tube ID in the thick oxide in some cases.
Micro Features
Cracking is primarily transgranular.
Sulfur and small amount of intergranular sulfidation at crack tip.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

77

Water-Touched Tubes

Figure 26-1
Circumferentially cracked waterwall tubes from an 800 MW supercritical boiler.
Source: TR-104442, 1995
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

78

Figure 26-2
Thermal fatigue cracking through a 622 weld overlay and into the base tube
(T11).

Figure 26-4
Cross-section showing the
typical appearance of
cracking: sharp-pointed
features and the oxide (dark)
and sulfide (light) corrosion
products.

Figure 26-7
Appearance of thick internal oxide common in recent cases of thermal
fatigue. The left hand photograph shows the ID of the tube on the
furnace side, and the arrows indicate the extent of oxide was 0.14 mm
(5.5 mils). The right hand photograph shows the ID of the tube on the
casing side with an oxide layer (shown by the arrows) of 0.25 mm
(1 mil) thickness.

Source: TR-104442, 1995

Figure 26-5
Closeup of typical cracking indicating the
appearance at the crack tip and presence of a minor
amount of intergranular sulfidation at the tip. The
right of the two photographs is of etched material.
Source: TR-104442, 1995

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

79

Water-Touched Tubes

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

Similar cracking can occur on waterwalls of subcritical units where water


cannon is used to remove the ash.Most susceptible locations are areas of:
slag buildup and shedding, wall blower quenching, high heat fluxes, and
flame impingement.

Figure 26-10
Location of thermal fatigue cracking relative to the
position of the fireball.
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

80

Figure 26-9
Typical areas of supercritical
waterwall thermal fatigue.
Source: Plumley, 1991

Table 26-1
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

All causes

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Compile needed background information and review.


Determine the distribution of thermal fatigue damage and plot
Conduct NDE of cracked locations.
similar to that shown in Figure 26-9.
Use metallurgical evaluation to determine which root cause(s) Institute appropriate repairs or replacements.
appears most likely (see details below).
Establish a monitoring program to determine the time in

operating space in which thermal transients are occurring.
Perform detailed stress/strain FEA analysis to determine peak
surface strain ranges for each type of operating transient.

High Initial Waterwall Tube Temperatures


Thick weld overlays

Measure total tube metal thickness, including weld overlay, Apply thinner layers of protection or alternates.
and correlate to locations of thermal fatigue damage.
Measure tube temperatures at susceptible locations using
chordal thermocouples.

Higher heat fluxes

Measure heat flux at selected locations.


Perform boiler modeling to evaluate unit furnace
temperatures and the effect on waterwall circulation.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

Address combustion conditions.

81

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 26-1 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes
Flame impingement

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Inspect furnace waterwall slag patterns for evidence of flame Adjust burners, etc.
impingement.
Compare heat flux patterns.
Monitor the flame profile and extent of flame impingement.
Install a number of heat flux meters at representative

locations and compare results with CFD heat flux map of
waterwalls.

Analyze tube samples and deposits, specifically to determine Perform chemical cleaning if indicated by level of deposits that
the presence of rippled magnetite, thick oxide layers, or has formed. Plot pressure drop before and after.
corrosion products. This should include chemical and Perform chemical cleaning of thick (steamlike) oxides.
metallurgical examination.
Evaluate unit pressure drop.
Evaluate unit chemical cleaning frequency and records.
Evaluate cycle chemistry, including monitoring records, to
determine the cause of ripple magnetite or feedwater
corrosion product deposits.

Increasing Waterwall Tube Temperatures


Over Time
Internal deposits, including ripple magnetite, thick
oxide layers, ormfeedwater corrosion products

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

82

Table 26-1 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Reduced internal tube flow rates

Consider installation of anubar flow meters into selected


Evaluate/correct fluid flow and/or orifice design across load
tubes and pressures taps to measure steam quality, range.
fluid velocity, and pressure drop over a wide range
of operating conditions.
Conduct a flow hydrodynamics analysis to check for fluid
flow to waterwall panels.
Check orifice design and operation across load range

Formation of external oxides and deposits

Evaluate unit slagging patterns to determine if excessive


Temperature monitoring to determine frequency of slag
deposits are accumulating and, in areas of thermal fatigue shedding.
damage, make heat flux measurements.

Frequent severe thermal transients

Analyze tube and fluid temperature transients to determine Monitoring of temperature and heat flux to identify time in
effective midwall and tube crown temperatures.
operating space when thermal transients occur.
Review plant records for indications of the source of the

problem.

Natural or forced slag removal, including slag


shedding and sootblowing

Set up a monitoring program.


Perform periodic testing of sootblowers to ensure proper function
Evaluate the slagging and fouling characteristics of the unit of the water removal system.
in conjunction with the thermal monitoring to determine the
frequency of thermal transients and their extent.
Evaluate sootblower operation and maintenance to determine
whether excessive conditions or too frequent operation have
occurred. Relate thermal transients to sootblowing.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

83

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 26-1 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Application of water blowing (cannons) or improper


sootblowing

Use instrumented tube/panel and measured thermal transients Perform periodic testing of sootblowers to ensure proper function
along with thermal analysis to estimate local stresses created of the water removal system.
within the wall and at the crown. With the predicted
local stresses and frequency of blowing operations, the life of
the tubes can be predicted by fatigue analysis.
Perform visual examination to detect extent of problem and
identify any obvious deficiencies in the operation or
maintenance of the equipment.

Application of water blowing (cannons) or improper


sootblowing (continued)

Evaluate sootblower or water cannon operation and



maintenance to determine whether condensate introduced into the
sootblower media is causing excessive thermal shock to tubes.
Perform calibration and testing to measure key parameters such
as heat flux or temperature as a function of travel and sequence
times.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

84

Table 26-1 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Flame instabilities

Monitor the flame profile and extent of flame impingement Adjust burners, etc.
using a tube/instrumented panel.
Compare heat flux patterns.

Unit operations, including the following:


Forced fan cooling
Rapid startups
Initial firing
Frequent load cycling
Furnace pressure cycles in balanced-draft unit

Review unit operating records for conditions outlined above to Modify operating regimes in conjunction with results from
identify potential sources of excessive cyclic stresses.
instrumented tube/panel.
Monitor temperatures and strains during all unit transients
using instrumentation.

Fireside Environment

Collect and perform chemical and thermogravimetric



evaluations of the fireside scale/ash to determine
concentration, patterns, and melting characteristics and
corrosivity of elements and compounds present.
Review Chapter 25 for actions to evaluate the various root
causes

Effect of Susceptible Site

Review locations of cracking and correlate to obvious


geometric conditions or material degradation. Review
waterwall attachment details.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

85

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 26-2
Potential Ramifications
Waterwalls Thermal Fatigue Aspect
High levels of feedwater corrosion products

Alert for Other Cycle Components







Flow-accelerated corrosion (FAC) and/or corrosion may be


occurring in the feedwater system: in the feedwater heaters,
deaerators, piping, or at the economizer inlet.
Corrosion products have probably deposited in other

locations, such as the boiler feed pump and at boiler
orifices. The latter could lead to BTF by overheating.

Actions Indicated



Need to develop an optimized cycle chemistry control program,


preferably by instituting oxygenated treatment but consisting at a
minimum of periodic chemical cleaning and optimizing feedwater
treatment.

Figure 26-19
Close-up view of cleaned area of a tube with thermal fatigue cracks showing the
radiographic crack indications, their visual crack mouth appearance, and the
measured crack depth. Note that a longitudinal saw cut was made through the
tube.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

86

Thermal Fatigue of Economizer Header Tubes


(Chapter 27)
Description
Macro Features
Initiated on ID of stub tube at stress concentrations associated with
borehole and tube attachment to header
Multiple longitudinal cracks on tube ID

Figure 27-2
Damage developed from a tube penetration in an economizer inlet header.
4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

Micro Features
Straight transgranular cracks filled with oxides
Longitudinal cracking propagating radially from ID to OD of stub tube

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

Worst damage usually found in tubes closest to the feedwater inlet


First indication often pinhole leak in toe of stub tube to header weld on
the tube side

Figure 27-1
Cross-section through economizer inlet header and tubes showing stub tube
leak location and typical longitudinal pattern of cracking in the tube and
header bore.
Source: Dooley, 1981

87

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 27-2
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

For all root causes

Perform metallurgical analysis of removed


tube sample to confirm orientation, initiation
sites,and extent of cracking. Ensure that
damage is in fact thermally induced and not
either flexibility induced or caused by FAC.

Unit operations that


introduce large DT
excursions through the wall
of the header

Install thermocouples and measure through-


wall thermal gradients during all operating
periods, including feedwater flow, drum
top-up, and during shutdown.

Stress concentrations

Evaluate inspection data indicating


locations of damage.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

88

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Confirm mechanism.
Inspect to determine the extent of damage (fiber
optic is the usual first approach).
For minor damage, replace tube, modify operating
procedures, and institute long-term monitoring.
For major damage, replace header, modify

operating procedures, and institute long-term
monitoring.
Possible header redesign to lower stress

concentrations and stress levels caused by
temperature differentials (when replacing
header).

Figure 27-3
Typical thermal fatigue cracking morphology.
Note regular spacing of cracks and that they
become thinner and straighter with
propagation.

Potential Ramifications

Implications will mostly be confined to the economizer inlet header


If pitting in the tubes, caused by poor shutdown conditions, was a
contributor to flaw initation and growth, then other economizer regions
may be at risk for pitting damage

Figure 27-7
Inspection methods and areas
to be inspected. (MP)
magnetic particle inspection,
(DP) dye penetrant inspection.
Source: GS-5949, 1989

Figure 27-6
Schematic of typical thermocouple locations on the economizer inlet header.
Thermocouple locations are designated by a letter (S, F, R) followed by an
identifying number.
Source: GS-5949

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

89

Water-Touched Tubes

Thermal-Mechanical and Vibration-Induced


Fatigue in Water-Touched Tubes (Chapter 28)
Description
Macro Features include the following:

Micro Features include the following:


Predominately straight transgranular cracks.
Cracking may be intergranular when occurring in creep-damaged materials.
Depending on service conditions, the cracks may be filled with oxides.

Thick-edged failures.
Circumferential cracking initiated on OD.
Appearance of beach marks is typical, but they may be obliterated by oxidation.

Figure 28-1
Fatigue failure of a wall tube from a once-through boiler. The tube is a finned
tube and forms part of a manhole door opening. The failure initiated on the OD
of the tube at the toe of the fin/tube weld. The tube is shown here with the fin
removed by mechanical grinding to allow removal from the boiler.
Source: J. Hickey, Irish Electricity Supply Board
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

90

Figure 28-2
Micrograph taken through the crack showing transgranular cracking typical of
fatigue.
Source: J. Hickey, Irish Electricity Supply Board

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components


Typical locations for fatigue failure include:

Attachments, particularly solid attachments or jammed sliding attachments


Bends in tubing

The locations are often associated with welds, particularly where


the weld or condition of the attachment does not allow for thermal
expansion, including the end of membrane of water wall tubing at either
the lower slope region near the ash hopper or at the top of the rear wall
at the entrance of the near gas passage, and tie bars, K bars, or beams

Economizer inlet header

Figure 28-4
Three possible locations for tubing-related fatigue
failures in tight 180 bends.
Figure 28-3
Typical spacers or sliding supports where fatigue in
water-touched tubing can occur.
4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

Figure 28-5
Schematic illustrating failures caused by inflexibility
to the movement between header and waterwall.
91

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 28-2
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Excessive strains caused by constraint of thermal


expansion.

Visual examination for distortion or bending in adjacent tubes. Identify similar damaged locations.
Strain gauging of suspect locations to evaluate strains during unit Repair/replace affected tubes.
starts and cycling operation.
LVDT measurements to monitor the relative movement of the
header/tube during transients.

Poor design and/or manufacture giving rise to


excessive mechanical stresses

Strain gauging to measure actual strains experienced at the As above.


local area during operation.
LVDT measurements to monitor the relative movement of the
header/tube during transients.
For tight, hairpin bends, determine whether residual stresses
are high.

Vibration (flue-gas-induced) by direct flow or vortex


shedding.

Metallurgical examination to confirm high cycle fatigue.

Potential Ramifications
None for this mechanism

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

92

As above.

Thermal Fatigue Caused by Water Blowing


(Chapter 29)
Description
Macro Features

Figure 29-1
Typical appearance of the
waterwall tube thermal
fatigue cracks caused by
water blowing.

Closely spaced multiple circumferential cracks on tube OD


Thick-edged failures with no metal wastage
Micro Features
Straight transgranular cracks filled with oxides
Longitudinal cracking propagating radially from ID to OD of stub tube

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

93

Water-Touched Tubes

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

Damage is usually found in waterwall tubes cleaned with water blowers. Carbon steel tubes (e.g., SA 21- A1) are much more susceptible than low
chromium alloy (e.g., SA 213 T-2).

Figure 29-2
Close-up of damage showing portions with exclusively water cannon damage
and portions of the tube that were affected by normal circumferential thermal
fatigue and water-cannon-induced thermal fatigue.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

94

Figure 29-3
Surface appearance of cracking (right hand portion of tube shown in figure to
left).

Table 29-1
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes
Excessive Operation of Water Blowers
Operation is too frequent.
Progression velocities are too slow.
Flow volumes too large.
Maintenance or blower problems.

Actions to Confirm






Perform visual examination to determine location and



obvious maintenance shortcomings or blower problems.
Perform calibration and testing to measure key parameters
such as heat flux or temperature as a function of travel and
sequence times
Perform thermal, stress, and fatigue crack growth rate

analyses.

Figure 29-4
Microscopic view of typical
water-cannon-induced thermal
fatigue cracks. Features
indicated include surface
initiation, circumferential
orientation, narrow v-shape,
oxide-coated, and generally
straight- sided cracks with some
minor side branching in the
deeper cracks.
[1 mil = 0.0254 mm].
4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

Immediate Actions and Solutions








Evaluate the extent of cracking.


Execute the applicable repairs or replacements.
Avoid the use of temporary measures such as pad welding,
shielding, and/or coatings unless they are absolutely required
to get the unit to the next scheduled outage.
Repair blower inadequacies or maintenance shortcomings.
Adjust progression velocity of blower.

Potential Ramifications
None for this mechanism

95

Water-Touched Tubes

Flow-Accelerated Corrosion in Economizer


Inlet Header Tubing (Chapter 32)
Description
Macro Features
Localized to a particular area of the system, but the damaged area may
affect an entire component, e.g., elbow, tee, etc., and can extend for
more than one pipe diameter.
Causes wall thinning in carbon steel tubing exposed to flowing water
(single phase) or wet steam (two phase); water must be present, i.e., FAC
will not occur in dry steam or superheated steam regions of the system.
FAC occurs when the protective magnetite iron oxide layer on the tube
wall is dissolved. The magnetite becomes thinner and less protective,
resulting in a higher corrosion rate. When the oxide formation and
dissolution rates become equal, a stable corrosion rate is maintained.
Continued corrosion of the tube reduces the tube wall thickness until it is too thin
to withstand normal system operating pressures and fails by ductile overload.
Single-phase FAC damage typically exhibits an orange peel appearance
and may also exhibit chevrons or horseshoes toward the extremities of
the damage (in areas of slower FAC damage).
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

96

Two-phase FAC is more wavy or scalloped and may sometimes appear as


tiger stripes (alternate bands of rapid FAC and slow or nonexistent FAC).
Although FAC-damaged areas may appear to have no protective
magnetite layer, it is always present. FAC is the dissolution and removal
of the magnetite layer and not removal of the tube wall metal.
Micro Features
FAC preferentially attacks the pearlite colonies in the tube wall
microstructure and sometimes of the welds.
Figure 32-2
Typical surface appearance of FAC. The feedwater
flow was from bottom to top.

Table 32-2
Distinguishing Features of the Common Damage Mechanisms in Economizer Inlet Headers
Characteristic

Flow-Accelerated Corrosion

Location on header

Near feedwater inlet.

Location in tube attachment weld area

Long-term monitoring and alarm of through-Anywhere along the first 10-12 cm (4-5 in.) from
the header inlet.

Nature of damage

Wastage with an -orange peel appearance of internal tube surface.


Generally FAC is not visible along the header bore or on header ID.

Damage morphology

Generalized corrosion, orange peel appearance typical on tube ID.

Initiation site

ID initiated.

Orientation of the damage

In the middle of the largest gouge on the ID.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

97

Water-Touched Tubes

Figure 32-4
Cross-section through the economizer inlet header and tubes showing locations of FAC in the
tubes. The tube bore shows the orange peel appearance. This FAC peaks after a distance of about
2.55 cm (~12 in.) into the tube.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

98

Table
Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components
Factor

Effect on Flow-Accelerated Corrosion (FAC)

Oxidizing-reducing potential (ORD)

As ORP becomes more reducing (negative), possibility of FAC will increase.

pH of the water (at the hot operating temperatures)

Generally, a higher pH will reduce FAC; an alkaline pH with a positive ORD will minimize FAC.

Temperature

FAC occurs over range of 100C to 250C (212F to 482F) but tends to peak in the range of
150C to 180C (300F to 350F).

Velocity

Under laminar flow, magnetite growth at the oxide/steel interface matches the dissolution
rate, and the corrosion rate is stable. Under turbulent and higher velocity conditions, the flow
disrupts the boundary layer and the magnetite growth cannot match the flow- accelerated
dissolution, exfoliation, and spallation, and FAC occurs.

Mass transfer

Local mass transfer coefficient addresses transport of material (essentially magnetite) from
surface to bulk flow and is dependent in a complex manner on fluid velocity and viscosity, flow
geometry, temperature, and tube surface roughness. Mass transfer is a strong factor with an
exponent of approximately 3.

Geometry

FAC is more common at points of hydrodynamic disturbance.

Alloy composition

Even trace amounts of chromium (and copper and molybdenum) can significantly reduce the
solubility of magnetite and therefore FAC. A chromium concentration as low as 0.1 weight
percent in carbon steel can significantly reduce FAC.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

99

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 32-1
Survey Results of FAC Incidents in Fossil Plants in 2006 (2003, 2000, and 1997)
Locations of FAC
FAC any location
Economizer inlet tubing*

Percentage Reporting
70% (60%, 60%, 40%)
23% (25%, 22%)

Heater drain lines*+

65% (52%, 32%, 10%)

Piping around BFP*

20% (25%, 16%)

Tubesheet/tubes in HP heaters*

10% (11%, 12%)

Piping to economizer inlet header*

18% (35%, 11%)

Deaerator shell*

43% (14%, 11%)

Shell side of LP heaters*


Notes: *indicates single-phase FAC +indicates two-phase FAC

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

100

13% (7%)

Figure 32-3
Cross-section of the failed tube shown in figure on left. Note the almost
complete absence of protective magnetite on the inside surface.

Table 32-3
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Reducing conditions (single-phase FAC)

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Review chemistry records and monitoring systems for (i) ORP Visual examination and UT thickness measurements in
<-300 mV or (ii) dissolved oxygen levels approaching 1 ppb susceptible areas.
or less and the presence of a reducing agent.
Replace severely thinned tubes with 1.25% Cr material.

Figure 32-1
Appearance of an economizer inlet tube that failed by FAC. The weld is the
header nipple weld about 5 cm (~2 in.) from the header. The orange peel
appearance of FAC is clearly visible.
4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

Figure 32-11
Economizer inlet tube removed from a conventional fossil unit that had
previously experienced FAC damage. This drum unit was converted from
reducing AVT (with a reducing agent) to an oxidizing AVT. As a result, and as
can be seen here, the protective magnetite, previously lacking, has been
restored. Importantly, no further loss of wall thickness occurred after operating
on the oxidizing AVT for a year.
101

Water-Touched Tubes

Figure 32-12
Road map of activities for
controlling FAC.
Source: 1008082,
2005

Table 32-4
FAC Resistance of Commonly Used Replacement Alloys Compiled in
(TR-106611 R1, 1998) based on (Ducreux, 1982; ANSI B31.1, 1990)
Alloy

Rate (Carbon
Steel)/Rate (Alloy)

Nominal Composition
(Chromium and
Molybdenum only)

0; 0

A213 Grade T11 or P11

39 *

1.25% Cr; 0.5% Mo

A213 Grade T22 or P22

76 *

2.25% Cr; 1% Mo

Type 304 **

> 250

18% C

Carbon Steel

Notes:
* These values were determined using the nominal alloy content. ** Type 304 not permitted
in water-wetted applications for an ASME Section I design.

Potential Ramifications

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

102

FAC is a unit-wide problem. Discovery of a problem in one part of the unit must
trigger the initiation of a unit-wide program.
High iron levels in the fluid caused by FAC can cause deposition in HP evaporator
tubes that act as centers for under-deposit corrosion.

Sootblower Erosion in Water-Touched Tubes


(Chapter 33)
Description

Wall thinning caused by external tube surface wastage.


Little or no ash deposits or protective oxide on the tube.
Thermal fatigue cracking may be present if there is water in the first steam
flow from the sootblower.
Erosion pattern will be angled to the tubes from the direction of the blow.
Appearance of fresh rust on the tube surface only a few hours after boiler
washing, indicating protective oxide has been removed from the tube
surface.
If erosion is rapid, failure may be thin-edged, pinhole shaped, or a long,
thin blowout.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

Typical failure locations are in a circular pattern around wall blowers;


corner effects are important.
Entrainment of ash in sootblower medium will abrade tube wall surface
and remove metal.
Introduction of wet steam in place of normal superheated steam in the
sootblower can greatly increase the amount of ash loading in the medium
and accelerate erosion.
Refer to Fly Ash Erosion (Chapter 21) for more discussion of the effects of
fly ash impacting tube surfaces.

Potential Ramifications
None for this mechanism.

103

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 33-1
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm




Improper Operation of Sootblowers such as:


Condensate in blowing media
Excessive sootblowing pressures
Improper location of sootblower
Malfunction of sootblower
Excessive sootblowing

As above, plus measure key operating parameters such as As above.


checking travel and sequence times.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

104

Use visual examination to determine location and obvious


maintenance shortcomings or blower problems.

Measure key parameters such as:

Blowing temperature and pressure.

Operation of moisture traps.


Immediate Actions and Solutions

Improper Maintenance of Sootblowers such as:


Incorrect setting and confirmation of blowing
temperature (insufficient superheat)
Improper operation and maintenance of moisture
traps
Misalignment of sootblower

Evaluate the extent of wall thinning and erosion damage to


determine whether repairs or replacements are required.
Execute the applicable repairs or replacements.
Avoid the use of temporary measures such as pad welding,
shielding, and/or coatings unless they are absolutely required
to get the unit to the next scheduled outage.
Repair sootblower inadequacies or maintenance shortcomings.

Short-Term Overheating in Waterwall or Evaporator Tubing (Chapter 34)


Table 34-1
Distinguishing Features of the Three Levels of Short-Term Overheating for Waterwall and Evaporator Materials
Type of Overheating

Temperature Range

Fracture Surface

Extent of Tube Swelling

Subcritical short-term overheating

> Design
< Lower critical temperature, A1

Thin-lipped, fish-mouth

Considerable

Intercritical short-term overheating

Between the lower critical temperature, A1


and the upper critical temperature, A3

Thin-lipped, fish-mouth

Considerable

Upper critical short-term overheating

Upper critical temperature, A3

Thick-lipped, fish-mouth

Little

Transgranular void formation by power law


creep

Ferrite and spheroidized pearlite or bainite.

Near that of original hardness

Transgranular or mixed inter- and transgranular Ferrite, transformational products (pearlite,


Variable, with hardness near
void formation by power law creep
bainite, and/or martensite). Some spheroidized transformation products being above
pearlite or bainite may also be present.
the original
Inter- or transgranular creep fracture

Near rupture, transformational products


Above original
(pearlite, bainite, and/ or martensite). Some
ferrite may also be present.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

105

Water-Touched Tubes

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components


Typical Locations for Short-Term Overheating
Failures usually do not occur where the interruption of tube flow occurs but
in the higher (or highest) heat flux zone above.
Failure locations might therefore include the following:
Above places where flow has been partially or completed blocked by
prior maintenance activities, such as: in tubes where weld repairs have
been performed and weld spatter has been left in the tube or where tools
or repair materials have been left in tubing
Above those orifices in lower waterwalls where blockage or restricted
flow results from deposition of feedwater corrosion products across the
orifice
Locations, such as horizontal tubing, that are affected when a slug of
steam comes down the downcomer from the steam drum

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

106

Figure 34-2
Typical locations in conventional
boilers where short-term overheating
in waterwalls can occur.

Table 34-4
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Partial blockage caused by maintenance activities:


Tools left in tubes
Poor maintenance practices, particularly improperly
executed weld repairs such as where weld spatter
is allowed to fall into a tube

Check flows through tubes and/or for signs of obvious


blockage in tubes or lower headers.
Review repair records to see whether the tube circuit was
recently repaired.

Institute repair and replacement as required.

Plugging of waterwall orifices by feedwater corrosion


products

Inspect orifices in other lower waterwall areas for evidence of Clean orifices.
blockage.
Institute repair and replacement as required.
Check records of pressure drop across boiler circulation

pumps.

Poor control of drum level

Review operating records, including drum level control.

Institute repair and replacement as required.


Check drum internals and operation.

Loss of coolant because of upstream tube failure

Review past BTF locations in relation to current problem.

Institute repair and replacement as required.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

107

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 34-5
Potential Ramifications
Water-Touched Tube ShortTerm Overheating Aspect

Alert for Other Cycle Components

Orifice deposits may indicate high levels of


feedwater corrosion products.

Excessive deposits.

Potential BTF by overheating and creep.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

108

Poor feedwater chemistry control (probably iron levels at the


economizer inlet are > 10 ppb and/or Cu levels are
> 5 ppb).
On high drum pressure units (> 17 MPa [2400 psi]), high Cu
levels in deposits might indicate Cu deposition in HP turbine.

Actions Indicated



Implement stricter cycle chemistry control program and



instrumentation. See Chapter 8, Volume 1.
Develop monitoring program to optimize feedwater chemistry.
See Chapter 8, Volume 1.

Perform sampling to determine nature and extent of deposit


problem.
Apply guidelines for chemical cleaning. See Chapter 9,
Volume 1.

Low-Temperature Creep Cracking


(Chapter 35)

Thick-edged failure.
Tend to tunnel inside the tube wall, i.e., their true size will be larger than
inferred by the exposed length on the tube surface.

Description

Micro Features

Macro Features
Typically initiates in high stress locations, notably the outside surface of
tube bends.
Circumferential cracks are common, but longitudinal cracks also have
been observed on economizer bends in conventional units.
Figure 35-1
Low temperature creep in the 135 bend of a
reheater tube.
Source: Hickey, 1995

Predominately intergranular cracking with micro-fissuring aligned parallel


with the main crack and significant secondary cracking.
For higher stress and lower hardness, the cracking also may be
transgranular.
Cracking will generally display evidence of grain boundary cavitation
and formation of creep voids.
Figure 35-2
Micrograph of section through cracking.
Indicative of low-temperature creep damage are
the intergranular fracture, associated secondary
cracking, grain boundary creep cavitation, and
creep voids in the tube material.
Source: Hickey, 1995

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

109

Water-Touched Tubes

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

Elevated stress loading, including high residual stresses from cold


forming, enhanced membrane stresses caused by pipe ovality at bends,
and high service stresses.
Elevated hardness of the tube material.
As a rule of thumb, bends with ovality greater than 8% or hardness
greater than 220-240 HV are considered to be at the greatest risk.

Figure 35-3
Cross-section through a failed reheater tube showing ovality in excess of 8%.
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

110

Source: Hickey, 1995

Table
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes
High residual stress
High service stress
High metal hardness

Actions to Confirm




Immediate Actions and Solutions

Perform an in situ hardness test


All affected tube bends should be replaced.
Measure distortion (ovality) in susceptible locations.
Measure residual stresses. This action may not be definitive as
relaxation during service or removal of the tube from the
boiler may have lowered initial stresses.

Potential Ramifications
None for this mechanism

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

111

Water-Touched Tubes

Chemical Cleaning Damage: Waterwalls (Chapter 36)


Description

Generalized corrosion of affected tube surfaces.


Affected surface can appear as localized jagged, rough,
straight-sided, or undercut pits or as generalized wall
thinning that can occur around the entire tube
circumference.

Figure 36-1
Internal surface of a failed tube exhibiting a rough pitted and scalloped
appearance typical of acid cleaning corrosion. (MAG: 1.2X)
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

112

Source: TR-102433, 1993

Figure 36-2a, Figure 36-2b


Cross-sections of a`pitted region revealing straight-sided and undercut pit morphologies associated with acid cleaning corrosion. Note also the absence of
deposits within the pits, also characteristic of chemical cleaning corrosion.
Source: TR-102433, 1993

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

113

Water-Touched Tubes

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

Improper operations of the chemical cleaning process, including the following:


Use of inappropriate cleaning solvent
Excessively strong acid concentration
Excessively long cleaning times
Too high a temperature
Failure to neutralize, drain, and rinse after cleaning

Potential Ramifications

There is a concern for volatile carryover. In conventional units, the chemical carries over and inadvertently cleans the superheater. These steam circuits are
not rinsed; therefore, the material removed by the inadvertent chemical cleaning remains in the tubes and can cause deposits and blockage that result in
short-term overheating and tube failure.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

114

Table
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes










Actions to Confirm

Use of an inappropriate cleaning solvent.


Excessively strong acid concentration.
Excessively long cleaning times.
Too high a temperature.
Failure to neutralize, drain, and rinse after

cleaning.
Failure to monitor Fe levels during the cleaning.
Fe levels were monitored but did not

level out during the cleaning.
Breakdown of inhibitors as a result of

temperature excursions.

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Review of chemical cleaning procedures, chemical pumping


Repairing or replacing the damaged tubes
systems, and chemical control logs. Items of particular concern
Immediate chemical cleaning followed by proper neutralizing
are those listed above, which would lead to significant damage. and rinsing
Review of cycle chemistry monitoring records to detect a pH

depression on startup of the unit after cleaning, indicating improper
rinsing of acid from the unit.
Sampling of affected tubes to allow examination of the inside surface
for evidence of generalized corrosion. Part of an optimized procedure
for chemical cleaning will be sampling of selected tubes to confirm the
efficacy of the cleaning process. These samples can be used to
determine whether excessive damage has accumulated. Wall thickness
measurements can provide a quick screening as to whether excessive
tube corrosion has occurred.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

115

Water-Touched Tubes

Pitting in Water-Touched Tubes (Chapter 37)


Description

Pitting is associated with exposure to stagnant, oxygensaturated water formed during shutdown.
Pits can be numerous and closely spaced or isolated.
Pits usually covered with caps of corrosion product
(tubercles or nodules).
Pits may undercut the tube surface.

Figure 37-1
Pitting in a carbon steel economizer tube. Pits are covered with caps of
corrosion products (arrow). (MAG: 1.6X)
Source: TR-102433, 1993
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

116

Figure 37-2
Cross-section through a pit showing corrosion product cap and corrosion
products in the pit.
Figure 37-9
Pitting on waterwall tube hot side caused by acid phosphate corrosion.

Source: TR-102433, 1993

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

117

Water-Touched Tubes

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

In conventional units, pitting typically occurs where boiler waste stagnates in the tubes during shutdown and/or layup.
In HRSG units, pitting occurs in any component that is intentionally maintained wet during idle periods or that is intended to be dry but is subject to
incomplete draining or condensation accumulation. Horizontal tubes are particularly susceptible.

Potential Ramifications

Improper shutdown/layup procedures also can lead to problems in other areas, such as feed water heaters, condenser, and turbine.
Table 37-1
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes
Accumulation of stagnant, oxygenated water with no
protective environment during shutdown

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

118

Actions to Confirm



Immediate Actions and Solutions

Analyze corrosion products in and around pits, specifically looking Identify damaged locations.
for presence of hematite.
Replace affected tubes.
Perform critical evaluation of shutdownprocedures and of unit Revise shutdown/layup procedures.
condition during shutdown.

Coal Particulate Erosion (Chapter 38)


Description

Wear of surfaces where resistant liners or refractory coatings no longer perform their function.
Failure occurs where the remaining tube wall is insufficient to withstand the normal operating stresses.
Features include wall thinning, external wastage flats, little or no surface ash, a shallow layer of surface hardening caused by the particle impact, and in
some case, grooving of the tube surface.

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

In cyclone burners, impact of the coal particles entrained in the high velocity combustion air can wear out resistant liners and refractory coatings and
erode the subsequently exposed tube surfaces.
Particularly in front- or rear-fired burners, impact of the coal stream, before ignition, erodes the tubes in the throat or quarl region.

Potential Ramifications

None are identified in the report

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

119

Water-Touched Tubes

Table
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes





In cyclone burners, wear of replacable liners


near end of burner and wear of refractories
covering waterwall tubes
In front- or rear-fired burners, direct impingment
of coal stream before ignition in the throat
or quarl regions

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

120

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Visual examination of refractory coatings and wear-resistant Periodic program of inspection and replacement of wear-
liners
resistant liners and refractory coatings
Adjustment of secondary and tertiary air dampers

Falling Slag (Chapter 40)


Description

If erosion is the form of damage, tube wastage occurs on a progressive


basis, leading to a thin-edged ductile failure when the remaining tube wall is
insufficient to contain service stresses.
In the form of mechanical damage, impacts can cause breakage of tubes
and supports.

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

Sloping wall tubes and/or the ash hopper.


Typically, the heaviest damage tends to occur in the first 0.91.2 m
(34 feet) along each end of the furnace bottom opening.
Ash falling from superheater pendents can cause damage to tubes near
the center of the boiler.
Figure 40-1
Distribution of falling ash along furnace hopper opening. The higher
concentrations of falling ash through the first 0.9 to 1.2 m (3 to 4 ft) at each end
of the bottom opening result in significant fireside wall thinning.
Source: Combustion Engineering, Inc.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

121

Water-Touched Tubes

Table 40-1
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Falling slag: all causes

Deposition and sloughing of deposits on pendent


superheaters

Evaluate boiler FEGT and changes in fouling.


Examine the morphology of deposits.
Determine the extent of clays in the coal.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

122

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Perform visual inspection of superheater pendents and boiler Lower boiler load to cause partial freezing and shedding of slag
waterwalls. Determine location of damage on slope tubes and or deposits.
ash hopper.
Correlate extent of damage with variations in coal quality and
boiler operating conditions.
Obtain coal and slag samples for testing.
Perform probe studies to determine the slag potential as a
function of time.






Lower FEGT by keeping waterwalls and economizer clean


through optimized sootblowing.
Install retractable blowers just below the leading edge of the
pendents.
Inject refractory additives to freeze deposits and cause them to
slough off before becoming too large.
Inject modifying agent to melt deposits before they become hard.

Table 40-1 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Deposition and sloughing of deposits from


waterwalls

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Check mill performance.


Service or adjust mills.
Inspect boiler condition (tilts, alignment, oxygen levels, etc.).
Perform boiler operational checks
Confirm presence of popcorn ash.
Evaluate coal and slag samples.
Distinguish between boiler operation causes and coal quality
causes.
Perform thermoequilibrium modeling.

Potential Ramifications
None for this mechanism.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

123

Water-Touched Tubes

Acid Dewpoint Corrosion (Chapter 41)


Description

The normal fireside oxide scale will typically be thin or absent in the
affected regions.
The corroded surface of the tube, after removing fire-side deposits, if any,
will have a gouged or orange peel appearance.
The final failure will be over pressurization caused be wall thinning; the
fracture will appear thin-edged, transgranular, and ductile.
The presence of sulfur in ash deposits remaining on the tube is likely
because the attack is typically by sulfuric acid. A white layer of iron
sulfate may be present at the tube to deposit interface.

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

Acid dewpoint corrosion will occur in locations where the following


occur:
The boiler metal temperatures are below the acid dewpoint, allowing
condensation to form on the metal surface.
Flue gas temperatures are below the acid dewpoint, allowing
condensation to form on the fly ash particle.
Oil-fired, stoker-fired, and cyclone-burner-fired (coal) boilers are more
likely to experience acid dewpoint corrosion; these types of units produce
less fly ash, a product that acts to neutralize any acid formed.

Figure 41-2
Influence of fuel type and sulfur in fuel on the minimum design tube metal
temperatures to avoid dewpoint corrosion.
Source: Steam, 1972

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

124

Table 41-1
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

For all root causes

Examine affected areas for wall thinning (UT thickness testing).


Make the necessary tube repairs.

Economizer tube temperatures below the acid


dewpoint

Measure economizer temperatures and compare to calculated


or measured acid dewpoint.

High acid dewpoint caused by fuel or operating


choices

Evaluate dewpoint or measure with deposition probes and


relate to operating and fuel parameters.

Local air in leakage

Examine for localized wastage patterns.

Potential Ramifications

All downstream components such as ductwork, air heaters, flue gas cleaning equipment, and stack are at risk for extensive corrosion damage.

4. WATER-TOUCHED TUBES

125

5. Steam-Touched Tubes

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

127

Steam-Touched Tubes

Screening Table for Steam-Touched Boiler Tube Failures (Chapter 2)


The following table provides information that can be used to perfrom an initial screening of a boiler tube failure to identify a likely degradation mechanism
that may have contributed to the failure. The table also includes a reference to the applicable chapter in EPRI report 1012757 for more information on the
respective dergardation mechanism.
Table 2-2
Screening Table for Water-Touched Boiler Tube Failures
Typical Fracture
Surface Appearance

Other Likely Macroscopic and


Metallographic Features

Typical Locations

Possible
Mechanism

Chapter in
Volume 2

Thick-Edged Fracture
Surface
Thick-edged

Outside surface initiated, intergranular crack


growth with significant microfissuring aligned
parallel with the main crack and significant
secondary cracking; evidence of grain
boundary creep cavitation and creep voids.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

128

Predominant in lower temperature regions in tube


bends, particularly at intrados on outside surface, and
other locations subject to high residual, forming, or
service stresses.
Found in the lower temperature regions of the reheater
and in primary superheater.

Low temperature creep


cracking

Chap. 35 Volume 2

Table 2-2 (continued)


Screening Table for Water-Touched Boiler Tube Failures
Typical Fracture
Surface Appearance
Thick-edged

Other Likely Macroscopic and


Metallographic Features
In ferritic materials, thick, internal oxide
scales cracked longitudinally (alligator hide
appearance); potentially external wastage
typically at 10 oclock and 2 oclock positions;
generally longitudinal (axial) orientation; damage
on heated side of tube; microstructural damage by
overheat and intergranular or transgranular creep.

Typical Locations
Highest temperature locations: near material transitions,
where there is a variation in gas-touched length, in or just
beyond cavities, in the final leg of tubing just prior to the
outlet header.

Possible
Mechanism
Long-term Overheating
(Creep)

Chapter in
Volume 2
44

Also longitudinal cracking on austenitic tubing.


Thick-edged, leak

Usually fusion line cracking at or near the


heat-affected zone on low alloy side of weld,
circumferential orientation.

At dissimilar metal welds (transitions between ferritic and


austenitic materials)

Dissimilar Metal Weld Failure

47

Thick-edged (may manifest


as a pinhole)

Cracking is transgranular or intergranular


usually with significant branching; initiation
can be at ID (most common) or on OD,
circumferential or longitudinal orientation;
may involve blowout of window-type pieces.
Sometimes around attachments to SH or RH
tubing.

Bends and straight tubing with low spots; points with


the highest concentration of contaminants; high-stress
locations are particularly susceptible at bends, welds,
tube attachments, supports, or spacers

Stress Corrosion Cracking

49

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

129

Steam-Touched Tubes

Table 2-2 (continued)


Screening Table for Water-Touched Boiler Tube Failures
Typical Fracture
Surface Appearance

Other Likely Macroscopic and


Metallographic Features

Typical Locations

Possible
Mechanism

Chapter in
Volume 2

Thick-edged

Typically straight, transgranular cracking, OD


Tubing-related failures associated with attachments or
initiated and associated with tubing (at tube bends bends in tubing; header-related generally at ends of
or attachments) or headers (particularly at the
header
ends).

Fatigue

52

Thick-edged, leak

May have helical fracture path; most commonly Low temperature regions of the SH/RH; adjacent to
in HAZ of C or C-Mo steel tubes, although may weld fusion line at heat- affected zone most common
also be remote from weld; key is microstructure
appearance of graphite particles or nodules.

Graphitization

59

Thick-edged

Brittle fracture; typically ID initiating cracks.

Locations where explosive cleaning has been used

Explosive Cleaning Damage

51

External polishing of tube surface; very


localized damage.

Most prominent in backpass regions; bends near to


walls

Fly ash Erosion

Chap. 21 Volume 2

Thin-Edged Fracture
Surface
Thin-edged (unless creepassisted)

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

130

Table 2-2 (continued)


Screening Table for Water-Touched Boiler Tube Failures
Typical Fracture
Surface Appearance

Other Likely Macroscopic and


Metallographic Features

Typical Locations

Possible
Mechanism

Chapter in
Volume 2

Thin-edged

External damage; wastage at 10 and 2 oclock


(fluegas at 12 oclock); longitudinal cracking;
perhaps alligator hide appearance; real key to
identification will be the presence of low-meltingpoint ash in external deposits.

Highest temperature tubes: leading tubes, near


transitions, tubes out of alignment, tubes around radiant
cavities

Fireside Corrosion (coal-fired


units and oil-fired units)

45
(Coal-fired
units)
46
(Oil-fired units)

Thin-edged

Often shows signs of tube bulging or fishmouth appearance, longitudinal orientation.

Most commonly near bottom bends in vertical loops of


SH/RH; outlet legs, and near material transitions

Short-Term Overheating

48

Thin-edged, pinhole or thin


longitudinal blowout

Wall thinning caused by external wastage flats


around tube from sootblower direction; little or
no ash deposits on tube.

First tubes in from wall entrance of retractable blowers;


tubes in direct path of retractable blowers

Sootblower Erosion

50

Thin-edged

External damage; obvious metal-to-metal


contact on tube surface.

Rubbing/Fretting

57

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

131

Steam-Touched Tubes

Table 2-2 (continued)


Screening Table for Water-Touched Boiler Tube Failures
Typical Fracture
Surface Appearance

Other Likely Macroscopic and


Metallographic Features

Typical Locations

Possible
Mechanism

Chapter in
Volume 2

Pinhole Damage
Pitting

Internal tube surface damage; distinctive aspect For pitting: Tubes where condensate can form and
Chemical Cleaning Damage
ratio of damage - deep relative to area; partial or remain during shutdown: bottoms of pendant loops on or Pitting
total (through-wall) dissolution of the tube wall metal either SH or RH, low points in sagging horizontal tubes
may be observed.

58 or 60

Usually obvious from type of damage and


correspondence to past maintenance activity.

61

Various Other
Damage Types
Depends on the underlying
cause

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

132

Maintenance Damage

Table 2-2 (continued)


Screening Table for Water-Touched Boiler Tube Failures
Typical Fracture
Surface Appearance

Other Likely Macroscopic and


Metallographic Features

Typical Locations

Depends on defect
Usually thick-edged or
pinholes

Care required to separate weld defects from another


problem located at a weld.

Possible
Mechanism

Chapter in
Volume 2

Materials Flaws

62

Welding Flaws

63

Fly ash Erosion

Chap. 21 Volume 2

Thin-Edged Fracture
Thin-edged (unless creepassisted)

External polishing of tube surface; very


localized damage.

Most prominent in backpass regions; bends near to


walls

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

133

Steam-Touched Tubes

Long-Term Overheating/Creep in SH/RH Tubes (Chapter 44)


Description
Macro Features
Failures are generally longitudinal (axial to tube) and located on the heated side of the tube.
Generally a thick-edged failure corresponding to low ductility.
Reheater tube failures in conventional boilers tend to look more ductile than superheater tube failures due to thinner-walled materials.
Primary evidence of overheat of SH/RH tubes is thickened external scales with Y-shaped grooves that give the appearance of alligator hide.
In ferritic tube materials, particularly in T91 material, indicators include thickened internal oxide scales and longitudinal cracks.
Micro Features
Ferritic tubes will exhibit a spheroidized microstructure and creep cavities in the immediate vicinity of the rupture or the part-through-wall cracks.
Austenitic stainless steels will exhibit sigma phase microstructure and grain boundary creep cavities (microvoids).

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

134

Figure 44-1
Typical appearance of a tube failure by LTOC with axially oriented thick-edged
crack.

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

Figure 44-2
Typical appearance of an LTOC failure in a reheat tube.

135

Water-Touched Tubes

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

Locations susceptible to longterm overheating/creep include the following:


Near material changes such as in the middle of at tube circuit just before
the change to a higher grade material
Where there is a variation in the gas-touched length among tubes of the
same material
In the final leg of tubing just before the outlet header, where steam
temperatures are the highest
Tubing nearest to the flue gas inlet, especially for supplementally fired
units

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

136

Figure 44-4
Example of alligator hide appearance of a tube subject to LTOC.

Figure 44-5
Example of wastage flats on a tube subject to LTOC.

Figure 44-6
Example of spheroidized microstructure and creep
cavitation associated with a long-term overheating/
creep failure in 2 Cr - 1 Mo material (MAG: 500X,
Nital etch).

Figure 44-8
Typical grain boundary creep cavitation/
microcracking at and adjacent to a crack.
Source: J. Hickey, Irish Electricity Supply Board

Source: 1004503, 2002

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

137

Steam-Touched Tubes

Table 44-4
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes
All causes of overheating

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

138

Actions to Confirm












Review SH/RH circuit material diagrams, calculate and plot GTL


as a function of steam and metal temperatures; plot positions of
failures.
Direct measurement of temperatures by thermocouples,

especially on new units, prior to there being enough oxide to
measure. This is a proactive approach.
Indirect estimation of temperature by steamside oxide scale
thickness measurements.
Metallurgical analysis of tube structure,especially for

austenitics, and oxide thickness and morphology of
selected tube samples.
Visual examination for evidence of slag buildup, laning, bowed,
or misaligned tubes acting as leading tubes.

Immediate Actions and Solutions





Make local repairs as appropriate.


Perform selective sampling and/or ultrasonic measurement to
determine extent of problem.
Perform remaining life estimate of affected tubes (Chapter 14).

Table 44-4 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Initial Design and/or Material Choice


Perform GTL analysis.
As above.
Original alloy choice and extent inadequate for
Review temperature data from thermocouples installed in vestibule or
actual operating temperatures.
across the header.
Inadequate heat treatment of original alloy.
Tubes at failure location have gas-touched lengths
(GTL) longer than design estimate and/or row-to-
row variation in gas-touched length.
Side-to-side or local gas temperature differences.
Radiant cavity heating effects.
Lead tube/wrapper tube material not resistant
enough to temperature.
Buildup of Steamside Oxide Scale

Review SH/RH circuit material diagrams, calculate and plot GTL as a


function of steam and metal temperatures; plot positions of failures.
Direct measurement of temperatures by thermocouples, especially
on new units prior to there being enough oxide to measure. This is a
proactive approach
Indirect estimation of temperature by steamside oxide scale
thickness measurements.
Metallurgical analysis of tube structure,especially for austenitics, and
oxide thickness and morphology of selected tube samples.

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

139

Steam-Touched Tubes

Table 44-4 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes
Restricted Steam Flow due to Chemical or Other
Deposits, Scale, Debris, etc.

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Selective sampling of suspect locations to verify whether local Clean out tubes and remove source of blockages.
blockage is leading to excessive temperatures.

(This can cause short-term overheating as well see


Chapter 48).
Operating Conditions or Changes in Operation

Perform metallographic analysis to determine if the tube is


overheated or carburized due to delayed combustion.



Previous similar problems in adjacent SH/RH

Check temperature distribution through the circuit by


performing analysis of GTL and measured temperatures.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

140

Make local repairs as appropriate.


Perform selective sampling and/or ultrasonic measurement to
determine extent of problem.
Perform remaining life estimate of affected tubes.
See long-term action.

As above.

Table 44-4 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Combustion conditions
Excessive flue gas temperature
Displaced fireball
Delayed combustion
Periodic overfiring or uneven firing of fuel burners

Metallographic analysis.
Monitor gas temperatures with pyrometers or infrared
instruments.

Blockage or Laning of Boiler Gas Passages

Can be recognized using cold air velocity technique.


Visual examination to identify local flow blockages.

Immediate Actions and Solutions


As above, plus:
Restore boiler design (or optimized) conditions.

Thinned Tube Wall


NDE evaluation to determine the wall thickness.
Check short-term actions for wastage mechanisms: fireside
Wrong wall thickness tube installed.
If another mechanism is suspected, initiate actions to confirm corrosion (Chapters 45 and 46), sootblower erosion (Chapter
Tube wall thinned by a wastage mechanism, such as their involvement.
50), or fly ash erosion (Chapter 21).
sootblower erosion or fly ash erosion.

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

141

Steam-Touched Tubes

Table 44-6
Potential Ramifications
Long-Term Overheating
Aspect

Alert for Other Cycle Components

Tube overheating as evidenced by buildup of internal


oxide scale

Tube overheating as evidenced by buildup of internal


oxide scale

SH/RH tubes are more susceptible to damage from fireside Correct cause of overheating if possible; upgrade to more
corrosion if coal is corrosive.
resistance materials as required.

Total redesign of the superheater or reheater

May change absorption patterns through the SH/RH sections Check temperatures in the redesigned section and other
and may increase temperatures in other circuits.
sections.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

142

Potential for exfoliation of oxide from ferritic materials, which


can carry over into turbine sections.
Exfoliating scale from austenitic materials can lead to tube
blockage and failures by short-term overheating (see Chapter
48).

Actions Indicated




Chemical cleaning of SH/RH sections.


Monitoring plan to assess the severity of oxide buildup in
affected tubes, including UT inspection for direct measurement
of oxide scale and tube sampling to confirm type and extent of
scale.

Figure 44-9
Schematic representation of steamside oxide thickness versus tube wastage
(wall loss). Such a plot can be used to distinguish between long-term
overheating/creep and fireside corrosion mechanisms. [1 in. = 25.4 mm].
Source: TR-102433, 1993

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

143

Steam-Touched Tubes

Fireside Corrosion in SH/RH Tubes (Chapter 45)


Description

Typically, multilayered fireside scale and ash deposits that are generally tightly bound to tubes at room temperatures and will typically consist of three
layers
1. A hard, brittle, and porous outer layer, which makes up the bulk of the deposit and has a composition similar to that of boiler fly ash.
2. A white intermediate layer consisting of compounds of complex alkali sulfates, including alkali iron trisulfates. When this layer has a chalky
consistency, corrosion has been found to be mild or nonexistent; when fused and semi-glossy, corrosion has been found to be severe.
3. A black, glossy inner layer, composed primarily of oxides, sulfates, and sulfides of iron.
Tube wastage will often be evident and manifested as flat spots on the tube at the 10 oclock and 2 oclock positions (12 oclock is the upstream
position).
Fireside corrosion damage will be primarily distinguished from long-term overheating by the presence of low melting point ash compounds.
Greatest wall loss will generally be seen in tubes that have been operated at the highest temperatures over a period of time.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

144

Figure 45-1
Schematic representation of fireside corrosion development for superheaters
and reheaters involving a molten intermediate layer (alkalis, sulfates). This case
shows maximum wastage at the 10 and 2 oclock positions.
5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

Figure 45-2
Tube sample exhibiting fireside corrosion. Note the presence of multilayered
scale along with wastage flats at the 10 and 2 oclock positions of the tubes
circumference.
Source: TR-102433, 1993
145

Steam-Touched Tubes

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

Corrosion will generally be the worst in the highest temperature locations. Parts at highest risk therefore include the following:
Leading sides of all tubes in pendant platens, especially hottest (leading) tubes and steam outlet tubes.
Tubes out of alignment that act as leading tubes.
Tubes in the outlet (final) sections towards the header, because these are at the highest temperatures.
Just prior to a change of material, e.g., in T22 just prior to the austenitic material, as the lower Cr content. material may be operating above its design point.
Wrapper tubes.
Tubes that surround a radiant cavity (i.e., they may pick up more heat).
At bottom bends of platens, especially those facing the fireball.
Tubes with a longer GTL. (GTL is the distance measured along the tube circuit from the inlet header to the point of corrosion. See long-term overheating,
Chapter 44.)
Spacers and uncooled hangers and the fins and studs on tubes.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

146

Figure 45-6
Typical locations where fireside corrosion can
occur.
Figure 45-3
Two tube sample segments showing fireside corrosion. The left shows the ash
pattern as removed; the right shows the tube with the ash removed. On this
segment, the 12 oclock position shows a smooth contour typical of a fluxing
fireside corrosion reaction, and the 10 and 2 oclock positions show alligator
hide, here indicative of long-term overheating/creep.

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

147

Steam-Touched Tubes

Table 45-2
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

For all root causes of fireside corrosion

Collect and evaluate ash and deposits to identify presence of Choose repair strategy based on severity of corrosion rate.
low melting point constituents, particularly alkali iron trisulfates.
Implement long-term actions in conjunction with on-going
Use corrosion probes to monitor deposit compositions and program of remaining life assessment and monitoring.
wastage.
Use NDE measures (typically UT) to identify wall thinning.

Influence of overheating of tubes (These root causes


will only increase the corrosion rate, not initiate it,
unless there is a corrosive coal)

Measure steamside oxide thicknesses and evaluate whether As above.


overheating has occurred.
Perform selective tube sampling and metallurgical analysis to confirm
steamside oxide and wall thickness.
Monitor temperatures using thermocouples installed across the SH/
RH outlet legs in vestibule to identify hottest platens across the boiler

Poor initial design: choice of material

Evaluate temperatures across the element (via thermocouple As above; primary emphasis on upgrading to a more resistant
or steamside oxide measurements) to determine if sections material.
particularly near material changes are running too hot.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

148

Table 45-2 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Poor initial design: extra gas-touched


length

Evaluate temperatures across the element (via thermocouple As above


or steamside oxide measurements) to determine if sections
particularly near material changes are running too hot. See
discussion of gas-touched length in Chapter 44 for long-term
overheating.

Internal oxide growth which occurs during operation

Measure oxide scale thickness and use selective sampling to c As in primary list above (repairs followed by long-term strategy)
onfirm the results.
plus chemical cleaning of steamside scale.

High temperature laning

Tube misalignment (out of bank)

Visual examination.

Monitor temperatures.
Consider the use of the cold air velocity technique. See
Chapter 21, Volume 2, on fly
ash erosion for a discussion of the technique.

Operational problems when coal type is changed

As in primary list above (repairs followed by long-term strategy).

Realign tubes; implement ongoing program of remaining life


assessment and monitoring.
Evaluate whether operating procedures such as sootblowing can
be economically changed to protect SH/RH tubes.

Rapid startups causing reheater to reach temperature


before full steam flow

Check startup probe and that initial gas is limited to 1000F Modify startup procedures if feasible.
(538C) prior to RH flow.

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

149

Steam-Touched Tubes

Table 45-2 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes
Root Causes Related to Fuel Factors
Use of, or change to, fuel with corrosive ash,
particularly those with high S, Na, K, or Cl

Actions to Confirm

Root Causes Related to Combustion

Use of low NOX combustion systems

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

150

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Evaluate coal composition using corrosivity index.


As in primary list above (repairs, followed by long-term actions).
Analysis for low melting point of ash components using probes.
Analysis of metallurgical cross-sections, particularly for Cl, S,
C, Na, and K.
Install continuous readout corrosion sensors if unit switches
coal or uses spot market coal



Choose repair strategy based on severity of corrosion rate.


Implement long-term actions from choices in Figure 45-12 in
conjunction with ongoing program of remaining life assessment
and monitoring

Monitor for levels of O2, CO, H2S, and HCl along damaged or As above, plus:
susceptible locations.
Increase combustion air to avoid reducing conditions (however
Establish a combustion fluid dynamics model and use the model to
may increase corrosion by other mechanisms, and may
evaluate potential improvements in combustion parameters.

adversely affect NOX control).

Table 45-2 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and


Solutions

Use of startup oil, which coats Check for unburnt


the tube and leads to tube
startup oil deposits on
carburization
tubes.
Excess of unburnt or partially
burnt particles leading to an
increase in carburization

Perform metallurgical
examination, including
evaluating carbides, and
check for phase
transformations.
Perform microhardness t
traverses.
Evaluate carbon profile
if necessary.
Check for ferromagnetic
response.

Adjust mills to decrease


grind size.
Increase combustion air to
avoid reducing conditions
(however, this may increase
corrosion by other
mechanisms and may
adversely affect NOX control).
Decrease amount of
sootblowing to help keep
oxide layer intact (by
decreasing thermal changes to
tube surface).

F = (C x 1.8) + 32)
1nm = 0.00004mils
1mil = 0.025nm

Figure 45-11
The linear dependence of corrosion rate on coal chlorine content for UK coals
and austenitic steels. 50 nm/hr is approximately 18 mils/yr. Superheater
corrosion as a function of coal chlorine content.
Source: Gibb, 1983

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

151

Steam-Touched Tubes

Table 45-2
Potential Ramifications
Aspect of SH/RH
Fireside Corrosion

Alert for Other Cycle


Components

Corrosive coal

Potential for waterwall


fireside corrosion
Potential for back-end
corrosion

Poor combustion
conditions

Low unit efficiency


Poor mill performance

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

152

Actions Indicated










Develop a fireside testing program


using guidance such as
provided in the fireside testing
guidelines (CS-5552, 1988).
Investigate coal changes with
Vista Fuel Quality Impact Model
(Vista, 2006) or equivalent,
including economics evaluation.
Mitigate negative aspects of coal
composition if possible by fuel
switch, blending, or washing

Combustion adjustments to
improve unit efficiency. See
guidance in (CS-5552, 1988).
Correct mill performance.

Figure 45-4
Grooving of the tubes external surface, known as alligator hide, here associated
with coal ash corrosion. The fireside oxide scale and ash deposit have been
removed by glass bead blasting.
Source: TR-102433, 1993

SH/RH Fireside Corrosion (Chapter 46)


Description

The tube will usually be coated with multilayered fireside scale and ash
deposits that typically consist of two layers:
1. A hard, brittle, and porous outer layer, which may have alternating
dark/black/blue and light bands
2.



A black, glossy inner layer. If this layer is glassy or shows signs of


having been molten against the tube metal, then a very fast corrosion
rate has probably occurred. The absence of a layer of protective
oxide adjacent to the tube surface is indicative of the fastest corrosion
rates.

Tube wastage will often be evident and manifested as undulations and


unevenness of the tube surface.
Fireside corrosion damage will be primarily distinguished from long-term
overheating by the presence of low melting point ash compounds.
Greatest wall loss will generally be seen in tubes that have been operated
at the highest temperatures over a period of time.

Figure 46-1
General appearance of a 9% Cr final superheater tube containing fireside
corrosion deposits (top of the figure) in an oil-fired boiler after 50,000 hours of
service. The bottom of the figure shows a section of tubing having been acid
cleaned to remove the deposits, and the ring section taken through the
cleaned section shows the general appearance of tube wastage on the outside
surface.
Source: J. Hickey, Irish Electricity Supply Board

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

153

Steam-Touched Tubes

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

Corrosion will generally be the worst in the highest temperature locations.


Parts at highest risk therefore include the following:
Leading sides of all tubes in pendant platens, especially hottest (leading)
tubes and steam outlet tubes.
Tubes out of alignment that act as leading tubes.
Tubes in the outlet (final) sections towards the header, because these are at
the highest temperatures.
Just prior to a change of material, e.g., in T22 just prior to the austenitic
material, as the lower Cr content. material may be operating above its
design point.
Wrapper tubes.
Tubes that surround a radiant cavity (i.e., they may pick up more heat).
At bottom bends of platens, especially those facing the fireball.
Tubes with a longer GTL. (GTL is the distance measured along the tube
circuit from the inlet header to the point of corrosion. See long-term
overheating, Chapter 44.)
Spacers and uncooled hangers and the fins and studs on tubes.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

154

Figure 46-4
Typical boiler locations where oil ash fireside
corrosion can occur.

Table 46-5
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

For All Root Causes of Fireside Corrosion

Ash and deposit analysis to identify presence of low melting Choose repair strategy based on severity of corrosion rate.
point constituents, particularly vanadium/vanadium- Implement long-term actions in conjunction with ongoing

sodium and sodium sulfate complexes.
program of remaining life assessment and monitoring.
NDE measures (typically UT) to identify wall thinning and
steamside oxide scale buildup.

Oil Composition

Monitor oil corrosiveness using corrosion or deposition probes. As above, plus:


Analyze ash deposits.
Ongoing consideration of the use of Mg-based additives.

Overheating of Tube
Excessive temperatures caused by steamside oxide
buildup

NDE of steamside oxide thicknesses.



Selective tube sampling and metallurgical analysis to confirm
steamside oxide and wall thickness.

Monitoring of thermocouples installed across the SH/RH outlet
legs in vestibule to identify hottest platens across the boiler.

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

Choose repair strategy based on severity of corrosion rate.


Implement long-term strategy in conjunction with ongoing
program of remaining life assessment and monitoring.
Institute periodic chemical cleaning.

155

Steam-Touched Tubes

Table 46-5 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes
Excessive temperatures as caused by
operating conditions, such as the following:
High temperature laning of gases
Changes in absorption patterns between furnace
and convection sections
RH overheating because of rapid startups
Tube misalignments

Actions to Confirm







Immediate Actions and Solutions

For high temperature laning: monitor temperatures as in (g) Modify operation to correct the specific problem.
above and consider the use of the cold air velocity technique Implement long-term strategy in conjunction with ongoing
(CAVT). Details of the latter can be found in Chapter 21, program of remaining life assessment and monitoring.
Volume 1 on fly ash erosion.
For reheater overtemperature during start sequences: check
the startup probe and limit temperatures to 538C (1000F)
prior to RH flow.
Visual inspection can be used to detect tube misalignments.

Operating Factors
Operation with high levels of excess oxygen and/or
periods of very low excess oxygen

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

156

Check operating logs for typical excess oxygen levels.

Modify operating procedures, if economically feasible to reduce


levels of excess oxygen.
Implement long-term strategy in conjunction with ongoing
program of remaining life assessment and monitoring.

Table 46-5 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes
Poor sootblowing operations

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Check sootblowing frequency, effectiveness, and superheat


level of blowing medium.


Excess of unburnt or partially burnt Particles leading to Perform metallurgical examination, including evaluating carbides,
an increase in carburization
and check for phase transformations.
Perform microhardness traverses.
If necessary, evaluate carbon profile.
Check for ferromagnetic response.

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

Evaluate whether operating procedures such as sootblowing can


be economically changed to protect SH/RH tubes.
Implement long-term strategy in conjunction with ongoing
program of remaining life assessment and monitoring.
Increase combustion air to avoid reducing conditions (however,
may increase corrosion by other mechanisms, and may adversely
affect NOX control).
Decrease amount of sootblowing to help keep oxide layer intact
(by decreasing thermal changes to tube surface).

157

Steam-Touched Tubes

Table 46-8
Potential Ramifications
SH/RH Fireside Corrosion Aspect

Alert for Other Cycle Components

Actions Indicated

Use of additives

Mg-based additives can coat the waterwalls of the furnace and Monitor unit for signs of detrimental effects of additives.
cause a reflection of heat into the convective passes. This could
lead in turn to higher temperatures for SH and/or RH tubes
and an increase in boiler tube failures by long-term
overheating (see Chapter 44).
Additives can also cause increased erosion of burner

components and additive transport lines.

Tube overheating because of excessive steamside


oxide

Potential for additional tube failures by longterm overheating Chemically clean unit if necessary
mechanism.
Exfoliation of scale with subsequent carryover into turbine
could lead to solid particle erosion.
Exfoliation could lead to tube blockage and additional SH/RH
failures by a short-term overheating mechanism (Chapter 48).

Total redesign of the superheater or


reheater

Would change absorption patterns through the SH/RH


sections and may increase temperatures in other sections.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

158

Check temperatures in the redesigned and other areas.

Dissimilar Metal Weld Failures (Chapter 47)


Description
Macro Features
Thick-edged fractures with signs of low ductility.
Circumferential cracking in the ferritic material.
Located near a dissimilar metal weld.
Formation of an oxide notch on the outside surface of the
tube in the ferritic material.
Flat, featureless fracture surface (typical of induction welds).
Cracking following fusion line (typical of fusion welds).
Failures may be associated with bent tubes or other signs
of overstressing

Figure 47-1
Typical appearance of a cracked dissimilar metal weld.

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

159

Steam-Touched Tubes

Table 47-2
Distinguishing Features (Microscopic) of Failures in Fe-Based Stainless Steel and Ni-Base Filler Metals of DMW
Characteristic

Iron-Base Stainless Steel Filler Metal

Nickel-Base Filler Metal

Location of cracking within HAZ (generally)

Along prior austenite grain boundaries approximately 12 Immediately along weld interface associated with carbide
grain diameters from fusion line
precipitation and creep cavitation

Carbide morphology

Generally Type II

Generally Type I

Nature of carbide

Diffuse array of smaller carbides

Planar array of globular carbides

Do carbides encourage interfacial growth?

No

Yes

Creep voids associated with this carbide type?

No

Yes

Carbon activity gradient of filler with ferritic material?

Higher than for Ni-base fillers

Lower than Fe-base fillers

Thermal expansion with ferritic materials

Along prior austenite grain boundaries approximately 12 Immediately along weld interface associated with carbide
grain diameters from fusion line
precipitation and creep cavitation

Time to final failure

Generally Type II

Note: Induction-welded DMW will have similar properties to those listed for Fe-based fusion welds above.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

160

Generally Type I

Figure 47-2
Typical cross-sectional appearance of a dissimilar
metal weld failure after longtime boiler service. This
example is a DMW with stainless steel filler metal.
Note the oxide notch on the OD and the
intergranular cracking adjacent to the weld line.
Source: TR-102433, 1993

Figure 47-3
Further detail of the intergranular creep cracking
adjacent to a pressure weld. Note that the cracking
is oriented normal to the hoop stress.

Figure 47-4
Detailed metallographic appearance of cracking
along the weld fusion line associated with a line of
carbides. This is typically observed in dissimilar
metal welds made with nickel-base filler metals.

Source: D. French

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

161

Steam-Touched Tubes

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

Dissimilar metal welds (DMW) between ferritic steels and austenitic stainless steels.
Welds made by induction process have properties similar to those for fusion welding with austenitic filler.
DMW are more suceptible to failure than like material welds due to the following differences:
Thermal expansion
Creep behavior of the joined materials
Local metallurgical cchanges at the low alloy to weld metal interface
DMW are located in the superheater, reheater, vestibule, and penthouse regions of the boiler.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

162

Table 47-4
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Excessive tube stresses such as caused by improper


initial design or improper tube supports
Locating the DMW near the roof, furnace wall, or
other fixed points or near to the header
Weld placement in the middle of a long span
Inadequate allowance for thermal expansion
Support failures or slag accumulation leading to
constraint of thermal expansion

Visual examination of the unit to determine whether there are


suspect locations or evidence of a problem such as bent tubes,
warpage of tubes, misalignment, or missing or broken
supports.
Perform a stress analysis of suspect locations. Piping stress
codes can be used to determine both primary and secondary
stresses.

Determine the extent of damage through (i) visual examination


to detect adjacent locations with obvious signs of distress, (ii)
specialized radiography, (iii) oxide scale measurements and
analysis, and (iv) selective sampling as required for confirmation.
Repair damaged locations using either a shop welded

dutchman (preferred) or in situ weld repair with nickel-base
filler metal.
Implement additional weld changes: (i) optimize weld geometry,
(ii) make welds in vertical runs not horizontal runs of tubing, and
(iii) avoid post-weld heat treatment

Excessive local tube temperatures


Tube temperatures above those anticipated in the
design
Variation across the SH/RH

Conduct a GTL analysis up to the DMW.


As above.
Review of available vestibule thermocouple data for indications
of overheating.
Perform oxide scale thickness evaluation, including ultrasonic
measurement, and analysis of results.

Changes in unit operation


Review operating records with an eye toward conditions that As above.
To increased unit cycling
may have increased either tube stresses or temperatures.
Change of fuel causing increased tube

temperatures
Redesign of adjacent SH/RH that results in higher
tube service temperature

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

163

Steam-Touched Tubes

Table 47-4 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes
Initial fabrication defects

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Metallographic samples should be used to evaluate whether As above.


initial weld defects, such as incomplete fusion or lack of
penetration, are a contributing cause.

Table 47-5
Potential Ramifications
DMW Aspect

Alert for Other Cycle Components

Actions Indicated

Tubes are being subjected to temperatures in excess of Possibility of additional tube failures by mechanisms such as
Evaluate sources of overheating and determine what control
those that were expected by the design.
long-term overheating/creep (Chapter 44) or fireside measures are possible to prevent future failures.
corrosion (Chapter 45 or 46)
Consider installation of additional thermocouples or instituting
periodic oxide scale surveys via UT to monitor tube
temperature progression.
Redesign of SH/RH has changed absorption pattern
within convective pass.
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

164

Potential for overheating in other sections, which might


include a DMW

Ensure that the locations of DMW are known and that the
ramifications to them by any redesign of an adjacent SH/RH
section are known.

Short-Term Overheating in SH/RH Tubing (Chapter 48)


Description
Macro Features
Visual appearance can be misleading.
Tube swelling and fish-mouth rupture are much less distinct than observed in non-finned tubes.
Typically a thin-edged, ductile final failure.
Failures can appear as pinhole leaks.
Micro Features
Fracture mode will typically be transgranular creep.
If the short-term overheating temperature is less than the lower critical temperature of the metal (subcritical), the microstructure wil exhibit ferrite and
moderate to severely spheroidized carbides in ferritic tubing. In HRSGs without auxillary firing, only subcritical short-term overheating is possible.
Overheating at temperatures above the lower critical temperature but less than the upper critical temperature (intercritical) will be indicated by transformation of
the orignal pearlite, bainite, or martensite to austenite. Localized regions of transformation products indciate flame impingement or localized fluid side deposits.
Gradulal change in microstructure indicates inadequate fluid flow or other causes were active.
Supercritical overheating (temperature greater than upper critical temperature) will cause essentially the entire microstructure to transform to austenite

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

165

Steam-Touched Tubes

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components


Locations susceptible to short-term overheating include:

Tubing downstream of bends and other locations where exfoliated debris,


condensate, etc. can accumulate and cause a blockage
Tubing nearest to the gas inlet, especially for supplementally fired units

Figure 48-2
Fish-mouth appearance typical of failures by short-term overheating.
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

166

Source: Austra Electric, Australia

Table 48-2
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Tube Blockage Caused by Exfoliated Oxide in SH


tubes

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Remove damaged tube to confirm source of blockage.



Metallurgical examination may be required. See Chapter 12,
Volume 1, for an overview of such techniques.

Examine for signs of exfoliation in unit, such as outbreaks of
SPE in the turbine.

Perform NDE, such as radiography, for other locations of
similar blockage.

For austenitic materials, a hand-held magnet will detect spalled
oxide in bends.


NDE to determine blocked tubes.


Removal of bends with blockages.
Blow out debris and replace tubes or, if solid, remove bends and
replace tubing.
An interim solution can be to change operating procedures to
limit temperature transients if the problem is exfoliation in
austenitic material; especially important is to minimize forced or
rapid cooldowns.
Increase frequency of cooldowns so as to trigger more frequent
exfoliations of less quantity of material (for units that run for long
periods of time without shutdown).

Remove damaged tube to confirm source of blockage.


As above for tube blockages, plus:
Metallurgical examination may be required. See Chapter 12, Clean out tubes and remove source of blockages
Volume 1, for an overview of such techniques.
Review chemical cleaning procedures. See Chapter 9,

Volume 1, for additional discussion.

Maintenance-Induced Short- Term


Overheating in SH or RH
Improper chemical cleaning:
Of SH/RH: poor flushing procedures left deposits
in bends.
Of waterwalls: volatility of chemicals getting into
SH circuits or poor backfilling of SH.

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

167

Steam-Touched Tubes

Table 48-2 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes
Improper repairs, miscellaneous maintenance
shortcomings

Actions to Confirm
Review repair records and correlate to locations of failures.

Immediate Actions and Solutions


Replace tubing.

Operation-Induced Short-Term
Overheating in SH or RH
Improper shutdown and startup of unit (condensate
collection in SH/RH bends

Overfiring when a top feedwater heater is out of


service

Review operating logs of feedwater heater operation and


service.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

168

Check thermocouples in outlet; determine whether tubes are Replace tubing.


running cold because of no flow.
Review shutdown procedures; determine whether proper
procedures have been employed to boil out any condensate.
Replace tubing and perform NDE of adjacent areas.

Figure 48-4
Bottom bend and debris causing blockage in a conventional unit.
Source: Austra Electric, Australia

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

169

Steam-Touched Tubes

Table 48-3
Potential Ramifications
Short-Term Overheating Aspect
Presence of thick and exfoliating oxide

Alert for Other Cycle Components





Actions Indicated

Potential for solid particle erosion damage to begin in turbine Chemical cleaning of boiler. See Chapter 9, Volume 1.
components.
Remnant life assessment using oxide technique.
Potential for long-term overheating of SH/RH tubes and loss of
tube life.

Figure 48-10
Appearance of thick-section fish-mouth failure in Type 304 superheater tube.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

170

Stress Corrosion Cracking in Steam-Touched


Tubes (Chapter 49)
Description
Macro Features
Stress corrosion cracking (SCC) fractures are typically thick-edged, brittle
failures.
May ofter involve blowout of small window-type pieces.
May be a pinhole leak.
Cracking will form perpendicular to ddominant stress and may have
significant branching.
Can initiate on ID or OD of tube.

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

More often occurs in austenitic stainless steels.


Typical locations are those with potential for highest concentration of
contaminants, such as bends and low spots in straight tubing where
condensate can form during shutdown.
High stress locations, such as bends, welds, tube attachments, supports
or spacers, and near welds where a change of thickness occurs are
susceptible.

Micro Features
Crack propagation can be transgranular or intergranular.
Transgranular cracking often exhibits branching.

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

171

Steam-Touched Tubes

Figure 49-1
Cracking of SA-213 Type 304H base material near the edge of a weld backing
bar in a dissimilar metal weld joint. This tube contained through-wall cracks
after a few weeks of service. The corrodent causing the cracking was suspected
to be a petroleum-based preservative which was not effectively flushed from
the weld backing rings prior to service.
Source: TR-102433, 1993
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

172

Figure 49-2
Intergranular stress corrosion cracking (IGSCC) of an SA-213 Type 304H reheater
tube. Away from the rupture, the IGSCC was limited to the tubes inside surface.
Carryover of chlorides was believed to have been the corrodent responsible for
the cracking.
Source: TR-102433, 1993

Table 49-1
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Influence of environment, mainly contamination from:


Carryover of chlorides or sulfates from the

chemical cleaning of waterwalls
Boiler water carryover
Volatile carryover of sulfur-


containingcompounds
Introduction of high levels of caustic from

desuperheating or attemperator spray
Condenser cooling water constituents from a
condenser leak
Fireside contaminants such as polythionic acid
Ingress of flue gas environment into tube through
primary failure, especially in RH when vacuum is
drawn

Analyze steamside fracture surfaces and oxide deposits for


presence of contaminant species such as chlorides.
Analyze fireside deposits for indications of aggressive

corrodents.
Review chemistry records, monitoring records, etc. for

indication of source of contamination. Perform carryover test.
See main text for additional discussion on this point.
Review recent chemical cleaning operations, either

waterwalls or SH/RH circuits, for potential sources of
contamination.
Review polisher operation for leakage of chloride and/or
sulfate.

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

Immediate Actions and Solutions





Institute repair and replacement as required.


Clean up sources of contamination, if possible. For example,
reclean SH/RH circuits if improper flushing of solvents
is underlying cause.

173

Steam-Touched Tubes

Table 49-1 (continued)


Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Sulfate and chloride leakage from condensate


polishers
Influence of Excessive Stresses
Fabrication/welding/heat treatment residual
stresses
Service stresses, especially at attachments and
supports

Visual examination for signs of obvious distress, such as broken or Repair any obvious contributors to excess stress levels.
missing attachments or supports, etc.
Ensure that any redesign of supports, etc. will actually lower the
Review manufacturing process details to evaluate whether imposed stress.
proper heat treatment/annealing procedures were used.
Review field welding procedures for details of post-weld heat
treatment.

Influence of Susceptible Material


Tube materials which can sensitize during service
(Type 300 stainless steels)

Perform a metallurgical examination to determine whether


Consider replacement of material with a stabilized grade of
sensitization developed in service or was present as a stainless steel.
result of the fabrication process used.
Test the material for baseline susceptibility using ASTM

Standard Practice A262.
Analyze the chemical composition of the failed material to
see if the proper material was used.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

174

Potential Ramifications

Contamination that has caused SCC in the SH or RH tubes may cause significant damage to other parts of the unit, especially the steam turbine

Figure 49-3
View of the top tubes on the upper bank of the reheater showing the failure,
which was located in an area away from stress concentrations (such as welds or
bends).

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

Figure 49-4
Closeup view of the damaged location indicating the window-type blowout of
a section of tube.
175

Steam-Touched Tubes

Sootblower Erosion in SH/RH Tubes


(Chapter 50)

Potential Ramifications
None for this mechanism

Description

Wall thinning caused by external tube surface wastage


Little or no ash deposits or protective oxide on the tube
Appearance of gouges on external tube surface where eddying of the
stream occurs between adjacent tub
Wastage flats on the tube surface from the direction of impact from the
sootblower with severity of wastage decreasing with distance from the
sootblower
Formation of fresh rust only a few hours after boiler washing

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

Typical failure locations for sootblower erosion in the SH/RH include those
that:
Are the first tubes in from the wall entrance of the retractable blowers.
Are in the direct path of the retractable blowers.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

176

Figure 50-1
Superheater tube that failed because of sootblower erosion. Note wastage flats
and absence of ash deposits.
Source: TR-102433, 1993

Table 50-2
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Improper Maintenance of Sootblowers such as:


Incorrect setting and confirmation of blowing
temperature (insufficient superheat)
Improper operation and maintenance of moisture
traps
Misalignment of sootblower

Improper Operation of Sootblowers such as:


Condensate in blowing media
Excessive sootblowing pressures
Improper location of sootblower
Malfunction of sootblower
Excessive sootblowing

Use visual examination to determine location and obvious


maintenance shortcomings or blower problems.

Measure key parameters such as:

Blowing temperature and pressure

Operation of moisture traps


Immediate Actions and Solutions


Evaluate the extent of wall thinning and erosion damage to
determine whether repairs or replacements are required.
Execute the applicable repairs or replacements.
Avoid the use of temporary measures such as pad welding,
shielding, and/or coatings unless they are absolutely required to
get the unit to the next scheduled outage.
Repair sootblower inadequacies or maintenance shortcomings.

As above, plus measure key operating parameters such as As above.


checking travel and sequence times.

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

177

Steam-Touched Tubes

Explosive Cleaning Damage in SH/RH (Chapter 51)


Description

Explosive cleaning used in cases of extreme ash deposition on the gas passages of superheater pendent sections.
Explosive impact can induce high strains in the metal leading to immediate brittle fracture failure or to progressive degradation of the base metal
resulting in failure during subsequent cleaning.
May cause exfoliation of tube ID scales that could lead to short-term overheating (Chapter 48).

Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions

Recommended that ash deposition problems be resolved prior to reaching point at which explosive cleaning is required.
As a minimum, utilities using explosive cleaning processes need to have specifications in place to detail the allowable practices.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

178

Figure 51-1
Longitudinal split in the superheat pendent tube.
Figure 51-2
Closeup of the split showing the thick-edged
fracture surface.
Figure 51-3
Cross-section through the leak. No significant wall
thinning or tube deformation was present.

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

179

Steam-Touched Tubes

Thermal-Mechanical and Vibration-Induced


Fatigue in Steam-Touched Tubes (Chapter 52)
Description

Failures in bends, particularly U-bends, can be initiated on the intrados,


extrados, or neutral axis.
Failures in U-bends usually occur in the cooler (below creep temperature)
regions of the primary SH or RH.

Macro Features
Thick-edged failures.
Circumferential cracking initiated on OD.
Appearance of beach marks is typical, but they may be obliterated by oxidation.
Micro Features
Predominately straight transgranular cracks.
Cracking may be intergranular when occurring in creep-damaged materials.
Depending on service conditions, the cracks may be filled with oxides.

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components


Typical locations for fatigue failure include:

Attachments, particularly solid attachments or jammed sliding attachments


Bends in tubing
Often associated with welds, particularly where the weld or condition of
the attachment does not allow for thermal expansion.
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

180

Figure 52-1
Thermal-mechanical fatigue failure of an SA 213 Type 304H superheater tube.
The portion of the rupture that is missing was believed to have contained a
welded attachment clip.
Source: TR-102433, 1993

Table 52-1
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Excessive strains caused by constraint of thermal


expansion.

Visual examination for distortion or bending in adjacent tubes. Identify similar damaged locations.
Strain gauging of suspect locations to evaluate strains during Repair/replace affected tubes.
unit starts and cycling operation.
LVDT measurements to monitor the relative movement of the
header/tube during transients.

Poor design and/or manufacture giving rise to


excessive mechanical stresses.

Strain gauging to measure actual strains experienced at the As above


local area during operation.
LVDT measurements to monitor the relative movement of the
header/tube during transients.
For tight, hairpin bends, determine whether residual stresses
are high.

Vibration (flue-gas-induced) by direct flow or vortex


shedding.

Metallurgical examination to confirm high cycle fatigue.


Estimate natural and forcing frequencies and confirm by test.

As above

Poor welding, particularly poor geometry of final


joint.

Visual and microscopic examination of weld quality.

As above

Potential Ramifications
None for this mechanism.

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

181

Steam-Touched Tubes

Figure 52-3
Three possible locations for tubing-related fatigue failures in tight 180 bends.
Figure 52-2
Schematic showing typical locations of fatigue failures in steam-touched
tubing.
Source: Dooley, 1983
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

182

Figure 52-5
Schematic illustrating failures due to inflexibility of movement between steam
header and waterwall.

Figure 52-4
Fatigue tube failures caused by differential thermal expansion of element
transfer tubes on a header.
Source: Sylvester, 1978

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

183

Steam-Touched Tubes

Rubbing/Fretting (Chapter 57)


Description

Smooth wastage flats on the fireside of the tube; ash and fireside oxide scale may be missing.
Rubbed area may exhibit a concave shape that matches the profile of the adjacent tube.
Occurs where adjacent tubes come into direct metal-to-metal contact. Metal loss results from rubbing/fretting and be accelerated oxidation of the tube
surface where the protective iron oxide is removed by the rubbing/fretting.

Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions

Root causes may include (i) misaligned, nonfucntioning, broken, or inadequate tube supports or (ii) misaligned rubbing.
Repair or replace damaged tube.
Repair or replace defective or inadequate supports and correction misalignment.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

184

Figure 57-1
Region of a tube surface where rubbing occurred (arrow). Note the smooth
appearance and absence of a fireside scale in this region. (MAG: 1.3X)
Source: TR-102433, 1993

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

Figure 57-2
Side view of the rubbed area. Note the concave surface formed as a result of
the rubbing. (MAG: 1.3X)
Source: TR-102433, 1993

185

Steam-Touched Tubes

Pitting in Steam-Touched Tubes (Chapter 58)


Description

Pitting is associated with exposure to stagnant, oxygen-saturated water formed during shutdown.
Pits can be numerous and closely spaced or isolated.
Pits usually covered with caps of corrosion product (tubercles or nodules).
Pits may undercut the tube surface.
Figure 58-1, Figure 58-2
Superheater inlet heater drain with a failure at the neutral
axis. The tube was resting flat on a horizontal support at
this location resulting in oxygen-saturated water remaining
in the tube during shutdown periods of the unit. Typical
pitting on the ID surface of the tube is shown at the right.
Source: J. Hickey, Irish Electricity Supply Board

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

186

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

Pitting occurs in any component that is intended to be dry but is subject to incomplete draining or condensation accumulation, such as the bottoms of
pendent loops.

Potential Ramifications

Improper shutdown/layup procedures also can lead to problems in other areas, such as feedwater heaters, condenser, and turbine.
Table 58-2
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Immediate Actions and Solutions

Accumulation of stagnant, oxygenated water with no


protective environment during shutdown

Analyze corrosion products in and around pitting, specifically Identify damaged locations.
looking for presence of hematite.
Replace affected tubes.
Perform critical evaluation of shutdown procedures and of unit Revise shutdown/layup procedures.
condition during shutdown. Check logs of chemistry monitoring
during shutdown.

Carryover of (Ca,Na)2SO4 (Drum and once-through


boilers)

Analyze corrosion products, in this case, specifically looking As above, plus:


for a confirmation of (Ca,Na)2SO4.
Execute any obvious mechanical repairs such as damage to
Review drum condition and operation for carryover.

drum furniture, sources of air in leakage, etc.
Review steam composition, particularly evaluating for excesses
of Na, SO4, and Cl.

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

187

Steam-Touched Tubes

Graphitization (Chapter 59)


Description

Occurs most commonly in the heat affected zones (HAZ) of welds in carbon or carbon molydenum low alloy steel.
Microscopically, the damage is manisfested by brittle fracture along a line of graphite nodules (often termed chain graphitization) that forms along the
HAZ.
Failure is usually circumferential and parallel to the weld, but it can folllow any line of graphite formation.
Thick-edged, brittle failure.

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

Most prevalent in the low temperature portions of the superheater and reheater
Can occur over long periods of exposure to temperatures in the range of 450700C (~8401290F)

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

188

Figure 59-2
Closeup of graphitization damage.
Figure 59-1
Failures of tubes by graphitization. Note the almost helical nature of the
fractures.

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

189

Steam-Touched Tubes

Table
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes
All causes

Potential Ramifications
None for this mechanism.
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

190

Actions to Confirm













Immediate Actions and Solutions

Metallurgical examination on samples removed from service to Replace or repair damaged tubes.
characterize the appearance of graphitization.
Identify those similar locations or welds that may also be at risk
Bend testing of removed samples. Since graphitization results given the failures experienced.
in embrittled material, a bend specimen can be used to
determine qualitatively whether significant damage has
accumulated. A 45 bend at failure is taken as indicative of
severe graphitization damage and a 90 bend of mild
damage.
Fracture toughness testing on miniature specimens removed
from suspect locations. A method to remove small
samples from components for fracture testing using miniature
specimens has been developed (McMinn, 1988). These tests
are harder to apply and interpret than bend testing
but provide a more quantitative approach to flaw tolerance.

Chemical Cleaning Damage in SH/RH Tubes


(Chapter 60)
Description

Generalized corrosion of affected tube surfaces.


Affected surface can appear as localized jagged, rough, straight-sided,
or undercut pits or as generalized wall thinning that can occur around the
entire tube circumference.

Potential Ramifications

Exfoliation of steamside oxides not loosened and removed by the


chemical cleaning process can lead to solid particle erosion (SPE) in the
turbine.
Oxide scale loosened but not removed can cause SPE or tube blockage
when it releases.
Potential for SH/RH short-term overheating due to blockage or long-term
overheating (creep) if the scale is not removed.

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

Improper operations of the chemical cleaning process, including:


Use of inappropriate cleaning agent, inhibitor, or other chemical
Excessively strong acid concentration
Excessively long cleaning times
Too high a temperature
Failure to neutralize, drain, and rinse properly after cleaning

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

191

Steam-Touched Tubes

Table
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Major Root Causes










Use of an inappropriate cleaning solvent.


Excessively strong acid concentration.
Excessively long cleaning times.
Too high a temperature.
Failure to neutralize, drain, and rinse

after cleaning.
Failure to monitor Fe levels during the cleaning.
Fe levels were monitored but did not

level out during the cleaning.
Breakdown of inhibitors as a result of temperature
excursions.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

192

Actions to Confirm














Immediate Actions and Solutions

Review of chemical cleaning procedures,chemical pumping Repairing or replacing the damaged tubes
systems, and chemical control logs. Items of particular concern Immediate chemical cleaning followed by proper neutralizing
are those listed above, which would lead to significant and rinsing
damage.
Review of cycle chemistry monitoring records to detect a

pH depression on startup of the unit after cleaning, indicating
improper rinsing of acid from the unit.
Sampling of affected tubes to allow examination of the inside
surface for evidence of generalized corrosion. Part of an
optimized procedure for chemical cleaning will be sampling
of selected tubes to confirm the efficacy of the cleaning
process. These samples can be used to determine whether
excessive damage has accumulated. Wall thickness
measurements can provide a quick screening as to whether
excessive tube corrosion has occurred.

Maintenance Damage (Chapter 61)


Description and Contributing Causes

Tube damage can be introduced during the maintenance activity, mostly as


a result of the maintenance cleaning of the gas side of the tubing.
Typical of the damage that can be done to tubing during maintenance
operations are as follows:

Quality control measures such as (i) preparation of cleaning procedures


and (ii) training of personnel can minimize the possibility of damage
occurring during the maintenance procedure.
Inspection of tubing following cleaning and testing for integrity, such as with
hydrostatic testing, are recommended.

Wall thinning by excessive application of high pressure steam, water, or


abrasive slurries used in the cleaning process
Impacts to tubes from projectiles
Damage to tubes by mishandled or improperly applied tools
Damage incurred during a repair

Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions


If damage is found immediately following the suspect maintenance, then
the confirmation of root cause is straightforward; it is done by comparing
the tube damage to type of equipment or process used in the recently
completed maintenance. Damage found some time later may take
somewhat more analysis to tie it back to a prior operation.

Repair and replacement decisions will depend on the severity of the


damage. Cracks and punctures will require immediate repair. Gouges,
dents, or thinned tubes should be subjected to a fitness-for-service evaluation
on a case-by-case basis.
5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

Figure 61-1
Cross-section of a tube near a rupture; deformation was caused by the impact
of an explosive charge.
Source: TR-102433, 1993
193

Steam-Touched Tubes

Material and Manufacturing Flaws (Chapter 62)


Description and Contributing Causes

Examples of material flaws include such possibilities as:


Defects introduced into the tube during its manufacture, fabrication, storage, and/or installation. Such defects might include (CS-3945, 1985):
Forging laps.
Inclusions or laminations in the metal.
Lack of fusion of the welded seams.
Deep tool marks or scores from tube piercing, extrusion, or rolling operations.
Gouges, punctures, corrosion, or impact dents.
Use of the wrong tube material caused by errors in design, supply, storage, and stockroom exchange or issue.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

194

Examples of manufacturing flaws include the following:


Fabrication lap - may include such features as orientation in the tubes
forming direction rather than perpendicular to the tube service stress,
decarburization and/or inclusions along the lap surface, branching, and
secondary laps along the tube length. Stress corrosion cracking of U-bends
caused by inadequate heat treatment - Excessive residual stresses originating
from manufacturing of u-bends in SH wrapper tubes made of Type 347 H led
to failures by stress corrosion cracking. The solution annealing heat treatment
was inadequate for completely relieving the tensile stresses that originated in
the bending process.
Unfused membrane weld - during manufacture, if the process leaves
unfused material between the fin and tube surface, small initial cracks
are introduced by the lack-of-fusion or introduced into the martensitic
heat-affected zone during lifting of the panels during manufacture. These
cracks propagate in service and result in a window pane failure where
the failure occurs along the membrane line. The affected tube areas are
large and can result in a significant release of water or steam on final
rupture. The problem is overcome by using full penetration fusion welds.

Figure 62-5
Materials flaws can be introduced by the original fabrication process. Here an
electric resistance weld used to join a tube to a membrane results in a lack of
fusion region. Subsequent handling during manufacture can introduce cracks
in the weld heat-affected zone (HAZ), which has a martensitic zone.
Source: Flatley, 1995

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

195

Steam-Touched Tubes

Welding Defects (Chapter 63)


Table 63-1
Welding Practices as Contributors to Various Tube Failures
Welding/Repair Practice/Problem

Potential Tube Failure

Weld spatter or cutting debris left in tubes; improperly executed weld repairs that leave
material in tubes.

Tube blockage leading to short-term overheating failures in SH/RH tubes (Chapter 48)

Stress riser caused by the toe of a fillet weld or improper geometry to a weld repair.

Mechanical fatigue failures near tubing attachments in SH/RH tubes (Chapter 52)

Weld and attachment design can lead to constraint of thermal stresses and is a contributor to
tube failure.

Contributor to excessive stresses that can cause mehanical fatigue (Chapter 52)

Improperly executed induction pressure welds between dissimilar metals in SH/RH.

Direct cause of dissimilar metal weld failures (Chapter 47)

Welding procedures can lead to sensitization of material, or weld defects act as an initiation
site for stress corrosion cracking

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

196

Stress corrosion cracking (Chapter 49)

Generally, planar or sharp defects such as cracks, lamellar tears, lack-of-fusion, and lack-of-penetration are the most likely to grow into cracks and propagate to
final failure, particularly in the high residual stress fields that remain after the welding process.
Often, metallurgical analysis is needed to determine whether a welding problem has been at the root cause of a tube failure. A review of the welding
process, welder qualification records, inspection records, and weld material control reports may also provide an indication about whether a weld process
error is responsible for an observed failure.

Avoiding Weld-Related Damage

Detection of a weld shortcoming, once the joint has been placed in service, is difficult. Avoiding weld failures is therefore mostly preventive.
Solution of welding-defect-induced tube failures will consist of removing the problem areas and re-welding with proper techniques. References for welding
in conventional units (1004701, 2003) have been developed.

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

197

Steam-Touched Tubes

Figure 63-2
Example of a poorly
executed pad weld, which
led to tube failure.

Figure 63-1
Example of a pad weld made on a tube with corrosion fatigue; the process
extended the corrosion fatigue crack.
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

198

BTF Issues in Bubbling Bed FBCs (Chapter 64)


Table 64-1
Overview of Boiler Tubing Failure Mechanisms in Bubbling Bed Fluidized-Bed Combustors
Mechanism

Prevalence to Date

For More Information, Refer to:

Wastage of in-bed tubes

Major industry concern; severity highly variable between units;


mitigation options established

Chapter 64 (this chapter).

Underdeposit corrosion (internal),


particularly caustic gouging and hydrogen damage

Several incidences known, including tube leaks in as short a


period as 500 hours of operation

Discussed in this chapter, see also primary discussions in caustic


gouging (Chapter 24, Volume 2) and acid phosphate corrosion
(Chapter 23, Volume 2).

Fretting

Few incidences reported to date

Tube rubbing/fretting (Chapter 57).

Corrosion in austenitic tubing of superheaters and


reheaters

None known to date; potential ramification to consider if caustic


is used

Corrosion fatigue

Concern based on knowledge of conventional plant and


similarities with aspects of FBC designs.

Fly ash erosion of convective steam sections

A few incidences known in non-coal-fired (agricultural waste) units. Fly ash erosion (Chapter 21, Volume 2).

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

See chapter on corrosion fatigue (Chapter 19, Volume 2).

199

Steam-Touched Tubes

Figure 64-1
Schematic of a bubbling-bed boiler.
Source: J. Makansi, Special Report: Fluidized Bed Boilers, Power,
March 1991. Reproduced with permission.
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

200

Figure 64-2
A horizontal bottom tube from an atmospheric fluidized bed. The tube
experienced caustic corrosion at the 12 oclock position due to steam
blanketing and additional heat transfer through the top rib. Tube leaks occurred
after only 500 hours of operation.

Table 64-2
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Mechanism: In-Bed Wastage of FBC Tubes
Major Root Causes

Actions to Confirm

Susceptible material

Visual and UT inspection to determine extent of problem.

Fuel factors
Excessively hard particles
Excessively angular or sharp-edged
particles
High chlorine content
High alkali contents

Local jetting or flow characteristics that result from


blockage of air distributor nozzles and/or from
agglomeration of particles in the bed

Immediate Actions and Solutions


Upgrade material by armoring.
Upgrade material through chromizing, nitriding, or other surface
protection, alone or in conjunction with armoring.

Evaluate ash and erosive/abrasive content of fuel. Compare to Determine quartz content and assess fuels erosive/abrasive
design coal.
potential.
Metallographic analysis of tube deposits and bed materials
may provide indicators of key contaminants.

Determine whether there has been a change in pressure drop


across the air distributor plate,or across the bed as a whole
(depends on what instrumentation is used).

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

201

Steam-Touched Tubes

Table 64-3
Actions to Confirm and Immediate Actions and Solutions
Mechanism: Underdeposit Corrosion in the In-Bed Tubes of FBC Units
Major Root Causes
Excessive deposits due to steam blanketing

Underdeposit corrosion: influence of poor water


chemistry
Contaminated ingress
Use of mono- or di-sodium phosphate
Use of an excess of caustic

Potential Ramifications

Actions to Confirm













Analysis of results from chemistry monitors, mainly for levels of Chemically clean to remove excessive levels of deposits. See
Fe and Cu.
guidance in (1003994, 2001) and summary in Chapter 9,
NDE examination and selective sampling of tubes for deposit Volume 1.
measurements.
Check efficacy of chemical cleaning.
Check circulation ratio and confirm that tube flows are outside
regime of DNB.
Perform metallurgical analysis of tube samples to determine
nature and extent of tube deposits.
Perform metallurgical examination of damaged tubes,
As above, plus:
particularly to determine composition of deposits.
- Move to optimum cycle chemistry as detailed in (1004187,
Analyze cycle chemistry data: plant chemistry control logs,
2002; 1004188, 2004)
on-line cycle chemistry records, chemical additions to boiler,
and instrumentation alarms.

See appropriate chapters; otherwise there are none for these mechanisms.
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

202

Immediate Actions and Solutions

BTF Issues in Circulating Bed FBCs (Chapter 65)


Table 65-1
Overview of Boiler Tubing Failure Mechanisms in Circulating Bed Fluidized-Bed Combustors
Mechanism

Prevalence to Date

For More Information, Refer to:

Underdeposit corrosion in horizontal tubes of external Some occurrences in external heat exchangers
heat exchangers or cyclone separators in some
designs

Same mechanism in BFB units; also chapters on underdeposit


corrosion in conventional plants, particularly hydrogen damage
(Chapter 22, Volume 2), acid phosphate corrosion (Chapter 23),
and caustic gouging (Chapter 24).

Wastage on waterwall tubes at the refractory lining

Most prevalent material loss mechanism

Main text in this chapter (Chapter 64).

Fly ash erosion of tubes in convection


steam sections

Has also occurred with agricultural waste-fired units

See discussion of fly ash erosion in Chapter 21, Volume 2.

Corrosion fatigue

Concern based on knowledge of conventional plants and


similarities with aspects of FBC designs, especially if pH
depressions occur in units on phosphate treatment with hideout
and return

See Chapter 19, Volume 2, on corrosion fatigue.

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

203

Steam-Touched Tubes

Contributing Causes/Susceptible Components

Two problems have been found in CFB units that are somewhat different from those in conventional plants:
Erosion/abrasion on waterwall tubes, particularly at the interface between the refractory lining on the lower portions of the bed and the waterwall tube
panels
Wear has, in some cases, been extremely rapid, e.g., maximum loss rates up to 1800 mils per year (5200 nm/hr).
Because the problem is not uniform around the walls, inspections to determine the extent of damage must be as comprehensive as possible.
Corrective/preventive acitons have included (i) applying proprietary coatings, (ii) installing shelves above the refractory interface, (iii) reducing the
angle of the tapered region, and (iv) routing the affected tubes outside of the bed.
Potential for damage to external heat exchangers or in the cyclone separator by mechanisms such as wastage, fretting, and fatigue; a particular concern
is waterside corrosion in CFB units with horizontal tubes in these areas.
The potential for horizontal tubing to develop excessive deposits and for concentration of control chemicals (caustic or phosphates) within the deposits
has been extensively discussed in Chapter 64 on BFB. The mechanism, root causes and actions for preventing the development of underdeposit
corrosion in susceptible CFB locations are identical.

ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

204

Figure 65-2
Typical wear pattern on the waterwall
above the refractory lining in
circulating fluidized-bed units.
Source: Stringer, 1991

Figure 65-1
General schematic of a circulating fluidized bed.
Adapted from E. Bretz, Power, 133, No. 3, 1989, p. W-8. Reproduced
with permission.

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

205

Steam-Touched Tubes

BTF Issues in Waste-to-Energy Units


(Chapter 66)
Description and Contributing Causes

Fuel composition in waste-to-energy (WTE) units has a major impact on


the nature and extent of tube failures.
High levels of chlorine (from PVC and NaCl), as well as alkalis such
as Pb, Zn and Sn can lead to formation of aggressively corrosive low
melting point compounds.
Non-optimal (either oxidizing or substoichiometric) combustion conditions
caused by the diverse nature of the fuel exacerbates the fireside corrosion
problems. Some examples include:
Water-Touched Tubes
Waterwall thinning along grate line from mechanical wear/corrosion*
Mechanical wear from molten aluminum
Wastage from direct flame impingement on waterwalls
Fireside corrosion caused by low-melting-point chlorides and sulfates*
Fireside corrosion by combustion gases*
Erosion caused by high local velocities and carryover of particles
(economizer)*
ELECTRIC POWER
RESEARCH INSTITUTE

206

Steam-Touched Tubes
Fireside corrosion caused by low-melting-point chlorides and sulfates*
Fireside corrosion by combustion gases*
Erosion from excessive sootblowing required by slagging of superheater
tubes*
Fouling that results in flow-channeling, high local velocities, and
subsequently to excessive erosion rates*
Flame impingement from furnace in older units with short furnace zones
Pitting (external) from aqueous corrosion during unit downtime
Notes:
1. * Indicates mechanisms that are specifically discussed in Chapter 66.
2. Not all designs have all these problems; some of the problems are also
specific to older designs, and prevention has been achieved by various
approaches

Figure 66-3
Failure in a 57 mm (2.25 in.) O.D. furnace wall tube
from an RDF-fired boiler showing localized thinning
caused by fireside corrosion.
Source: TR-103658, 1994

Figure 66-1
Schematic of a waste-to-energy combustor
illustrating the typical areas that experience boiler
tube failures.
Source: Wright, 1995

Figure 66-2
Waterwall tubes from a waste-fired boiler showing
thinning from fireside corrosion.
Source: TR-103658, 1994

5. STEAM-TOUCHED TUBES

207