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API 579 Fitness For

Coverage of damage

Fitness-For-Service (FFS)
assessment procedures that
can be used to
evaluate pressurized
components containing flaws
General Fitness-For-Service assessment procedure:

S1. Flaw and Damage Mechanism Identification

S2. Applicability and Limitations of the FFS Assessment Procedures

S3. Data Requirements (Original Equipment Design Data, Maintenance

and Operational History, Required Data/Measurements for a FFS
Assessment Specific for Damage Class, )

S4. Assessment Techniques and Acceptance Criteria

Level 1 screening (usually at plant)
Level 2 detailed evaluation, mainly based on existing design
margin (experienced professionals, based on existing
evaluations/documents + analytical calculations)
Level 3 expert evaluation, numerical methods, simulations

S5. Remaining Life or Limiting Flaw Size Evaluation

S6. Remediation

S7. In-Service Monitoring

S8. Documentation
Brittle Fracture loss of ductility of metals at low temperature,
leading to membrane failures (> 55 MPa)
Level 1 CET (Critical Exposure Temperature operation,
transients, etc) equal to or greater than the MAT (Minimum
Allowable Temperature toughness)
Level 2 Adjusting MAT based on temperature reduction
Level 3 detailed determinations of stress (FEA), flaw size
(fracture mechanics), and material toughness
General/Localized Metal loss resulting from corrosion,
erosion, or both corrosion and erosion; assessment is based on a
thickness averaging approach; can be used to qualify a component
for continued operation or for rerating

Level 1 limited to specific type of components; only load

considered is internal pressure, and a single thickness with one or
two surface area dimensions are used to characterize the local
metal loss
Level 2 provide a better estimate of the structural integrity of a
component when significant variations in the thickness profile occur
within the region of metal loss. More general loading is considered
(e.g. net-section bending moments on a cylindrical shell), and rules
are provided for the evaluation of local metal loss at a nozzle
Level 3 intended to evaluate components with complex
geometries and/or regions of localized metal loss. Numerical stress
analysis techniques are normally utilized in a Level 3 assessment.
Pitting localized regions of metal loss that can be characterized
by a pit diameter on the order of the plate thickness or less, and a
pit depth that is less than the plate thickness; both widespread and
localized pitting in a component with or without a region of local
metal loss

Level 1 limited to components with one-sided widespread

pitting damage designed to a recognized code or standard
using an equation that specifically relates pressure (or liquid fill
height for tanks) to a required wall thickness. The only load
considered is internal pressure.
Level 2 components that do not meet Level 1 assessment
criteria; widespread pitting, localized pitting, pitting within a
locally thin area, and a locally thin area in a region of
widespread pitting; better estimate of the structural integrity of
a component because a measure of the actual damage
parameter, the pit-couple, is directly used in the assessment;
pitting damage occurs on both sides of the component.
Level 3 more complex regions of pitting, loading conditions,
and/or components with details where only limited design rules
are provided in the original construction code or standard.
Detailed stress analysis techniques should be utilized.
Hydrogen Blisters
physical bulging of the surface(s) of equipment caused by
hydrogen accumulation at imperfections in the steel, such as
laminations or inclusions
Hydrogen Damage (HIC/SOHIC)
HIC is characterized by laminar (in-plane) cracking with some
associated through-thickness crack linkage
SOHIC Array of cracks, aligned nearly perpendicular to the
stress, that are formed by the link-up of small HIC cracks in steel.
Tensile stress (residual or applied) is required to produce SOHIC.
SOHIC is commonly observed in the base metal adjacent to the
heat-affected zone (HAZ) of a weld, oriented in the through-thickness
direction. SOHIC may also be produced in susceptible steels at other
high stress points such as from the tip of mechanical cracks and
defects, or from the interaction among HIC on different planes

Level 1 screening criteria to evaluate HIC damage, considering

the damage from the perspective of local metal loss
Level 2 utilize the methodologies of Part 5 and Part 9 to evaluate
the damage zone as a region of local metal loss and as a crack
Level 3 larger or more complex regions of HIC damage or
components that require detailed stress analysis because of
complex geometry, complex loading conditions or both
Crack-like Flaws planar flaws that are predominantly
characterized by a length and depth, with a sharp root radius.
Crack-like flaws may either be surface breaking, embedded, or
through-wall. Examples of crack-like flaws include planar cracks,
lack of fusion and lack of penetration in welds, sharp groove-like
localized corrosion, and branch type cracks associated with
environmental cracking

Level 1 limited to crack-like flaws in pressurized cylinders,

spheres or flat plates away from all structural discontinuities.
Level 2 general shell structures including crack-like flaws located
at structural discontinuities; requires detailed information on
material properties and loading conditions, stress analysis based at
this level on code equations, closed form solutions, or a numerical
Level 3 provides the best estimate of the structural integrity of a
component with a crack-like flaw, being required if subcritical crack-
growth is possible during future operation; FEA, fracture mechanics,
Creep tendency of a solid material to move slowly or deform
permanently under the influence of mechanical stresses. It can
occur as a result of long-term exposure to high levels of stress that
are still below the yield strength of the material. Creep is more
severe in materials that are subjected to heat for long periods, and
generally increases as they near their melting point

Level 1 based on a comparison with specified time-temperature-

stress limits and a simplified creep damage calculation for
components subject to multiple operating conditions (i.e.
temperature and applied stress combinations); check on material
properties (hardness or carbon content) and visual examination of
the component to evaluate the potential for creep damage based
on component distortion and material characteristics such as
discoloration or scaling
Level 2 stress analysis for the assessment may be based on
closed form stress solutions, reference stress solutions, or solutions
obtained from finite element analysis.
Level 3 detailed stress analysis is required to evaluate creep
damage, creep-fatigue damage, creep crack growth, and creep
buckling. In addition, a separate procedure is provided to perform a
creep-fatigue assessment of a dissimilar-weld joint.
An inward or outward deviation of a cross-section of a shell
member from an ideal shell geometry that is characterized by a
small local radius or notch
An elongated local removal and/or relocation of material from
the surface of a component caused by mechanical means that
results in a reduction in wall thickness; the length of a gouge is
much greater than the width and the material may have been
cold worked in the formation of the flaw

Level 1 limited to dent-gouge combinations in carbon steel

cylindrical shells located away from structural discontinuities. A
screening curve is provided to determine the acceptability for
continued operation based on the ratio of the dent depth to
cylinder outside diameter and the ratio of the gouge depth to wall
Level 2 limited to dent-gouge combinations in carbon steel
cylindrical shells located away from structural discontinuities. A
remaining strength factor approach is utilized to determine an
acceptable MAWP based on the dent depth and gouge depth. In
addition, a fatigue assessment to evaluate the effects of cyclic
pressure loading is provided.
Laminations a plane of non-fusion in the interior of a steel plate
that results from the steel manufacturing process; usually detected
during an ultrasonic examination. Laminations affect welding,
interfere with ultrasonic examination of welds, and reduce the
strength of the plate when the plate is subjected to bending
stresses, compressive stresses, or through thickness stresses

Level 1 screening criterion for laminations based on: the

lamination size, orientation relative to the surface, and spacing of
the lamination to weld joints, structural discontinuities, and other
Level 2 similar with Level 1, little more detailed evaluation
Level 3 detailed stress analyses techniques
Welds Misalignment centerline offset, angular misalignment
(peaking), and a combination of centerline offset and angular
misalignment of butt weld joints in flat plates, cylindrical shells and
spherical shells

Shell Distortions general distortion, out-of-roundness, bulging

Level 1 evaluating current geometry against the fabrication

tolerances of the original construction code
Level 2 estimate the structural integrity of a component with
weld misalignment or shell distortion characterized as out-of-
roundness; can consider pressure and supplemental loads as well
as complicated geometries (e.g. pipes with different wall thickness
and locations of welds).
Level 3 evaluation of components with general shell distortions,
complex component geometries and/or loadings; involves detailed
stress analysis techniques including fracture mechanics, fatigue,
and numerical stress analysis, and typically requires significant field
measurements to characterize the weld misalignment or shell