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Investigation on the Failure of Boiler No 1 Economizer Tubes

Investigation on the Failure of Boiler No 1 Economizer Tubes

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10/03/2013

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INVESTIGATION ON THE FAILURE OF BOILER No 1 ECONOMIZER TUBES, SHUQAIQ PLANT1

Anees U. Malik, Mohammed Mobin and Mohammad Al-Hajri
Research and Development Center Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) P.O.Box 8328, Al-Jubail 31951, Saudi Arabia. E-mail: rdc@swcc.gov.sa

INTRODUCTION In a letter (Ref No. 2500/0852 dated 23.3.1426) addressed to the Manager, R&D Center, the Manager, SWCC Shuqaiq Plant informed about the failure of Boiler # 1 Economizer tubes. The Manager, Shuqaiq Plant requested RDC to carry out failure analysis and sought advice on any further operation and maintenance strategy. Two damaged tubes (tube #2 from row #13 and tube #2 from row # 14) were sent for investigations by the plant. The RDC decided to take up the task. BACKGROUND The T & I Department, Shuqaiq Plant provided the following first-hand information about the failure incidence took place related to economizer tube: During the normal boiler operation, on 24 January 2005, a heavy water leakage was observed at the flue gas outlet duct (upstream of economizer). Subsequently, the boiler was brought to shut down and the manhole was opened for economizer inspection. Heavy water leakage was observed from the bottom of the economizer coils at the 13th and 14th rows – 2nd tubes from the top rows of the tube bank, approximately 300 mm away from the water wall tube. The washing of the external boiler tubes was carried out by the contractor followed by a detailed visual testing by the T & I department. The important observations made were as follows: (i) One tube ruptured (fish mouth opening) by 40 mm length and a 3 mm diameter hole and another having a pin hole (leak). (ii)
1

There were defects at the original welding in 17 other tubes.

Issued as Troubleshooting Technical Report No. TSR 3804/05007 in July 2005.

Subsequent actions taken by plant authorities included replacement of 4 tubes starting from feed water inlet header and repairing of welding defects on the other 15 tubes. Fig. The fire side of the tube # 2. The cross section of tube # 2.(iii) Dimensional checking at random locations reveals tube thinning at the external surface. row 13 shows a large fish mouth rupture near the feed water inlet. pit or rupture. 2.2 mm. row 13. tube configuration and material. (iv) Tube thickness reduced by 1. row 14. row 14 (inside furnace) . The external surface of the tubes appeared to be cleaned without any deposits. Figure 4 shows two feed water inlet economizer tube # 2 samples from rows # 13 and 14. 5). row 13 shows wall thinning at the side of the rupture (Fig.2 – 2. Table 1 provides details of Boiler # 1 which include information about operating parameter. 7 shows a closer view of tube # 2. respectively. The schematic of boiler # 1 showing 3 dimensional views of steam / water circulation system is illustrated in Fig. 6). The tube appears to be without any pin hole. The magnified views of tube # 2. 3 (supplied by the Shuqaiq Plant engineers) shows the location of rupture of inlet tube #2. It is worth mentioning that uptill 2 years back. The shape of fish mouth rupture indicates that rupture occurred from inside of the tube. (v) Thickness reduction was extended upto the water wall tubes. METALLOGRAPHIC STUDIES The microstructures of the cross sections of economizer tube provide information about the matrix structure and scaling. Fig. a pin hole is also present slightly away from the rupture (Fig. 1 and the schematic of boiler # 1 showing economizer – tube leak location is represented in Fig. the fuel for the boilers had been crude oil which was replaced by Bunker C.5 mm as against standard thickness of 3. PHYSICAL EXAMINATION The two samples of economizer tubes provided by the Shuqaiq Plant were visually examined in as received condition.

which was collected during third economizer tubes failure on 26/6/2005. 10) of the fire side of inlet tube # 2. The high iron contents indicate that the ash is rich in iron sulfide / sulfate containing corrosion products. EDX profile (Fig. ANALYSIS OF FLY ASH SAMPLES Due to cleaning of economizer tubes after failure. row 14 (inside furnace) shows iron in very high concentrations (81. 12) indicates significant concentration of sulfur (12. A reduction in the outer dia of the tube indicates the thinning (loss in wall thickness) from outside (fireside) whereas a reduction in inner dia is indicative of the inside (steam side) scaling.5%) and high concentration of iron (34. namely. row 14 (outside furnace) shows a coarsened peartlitic–ferritic with no scaling but some decarburization (Fig. 11) of the inner most layer has some vanadium (2. 9).7%). The source of the vanadium compounds is flue gas. low concentration of vanadium (1.22%).3%) with low vanadium (4. The EDX profile (Fig. 8).9%) with very low sulfur (0.0%). ENERGY DISPERSIVE X-RAY (EDX) STUDIES The EDX studies have been carried out to determine the elemental compositions of the matrix and the deposits/scales on the boiler tubes. The EDX (Fig. Shuqaiq Plant authorities sent fly ash sample from boiler # 1. The outer side of the tube # 2. economizer area. MEASUREMENTS OF ECONOMIZER TUBES OUTER AND INNER DIA The average reduction in the outer and inner diameter of economizer tubes measured on the same tube at two different locations. The portion of both the tubes located .8%). inside the furnace and outside the furnace is listed in Table 3. This ash sample reflects the nature of ash deposited on economizer tube during first failure on 24/1/2005. The results of EDX studies indicate that there is substantial incorporation of vanadium compounds in the economizer tube during boiler operation. the boiler samples received by the RDC had no deposits on the external surface.shows matrix structure which is pearlitic – ferritic without scaling but the side appears to be fissured (Fig. The composition of the ash sample is given in table 2. However. This information is very important in point of view of failure investigation.

As the H2SO4 dew point is directly dependent upon the sulfur content of the flue gas. known as cold end corrosion. this indicates negligible attack from steam side. the sulfur present in the fuel oxidizes to form SO2 and to a small extent of SO3. the dew point increases with an increase in the concentration of SO3 and moisture content in the flue gas. Even if the temperature of flue gas is above the dew point. gas residence time. favored the condensation of H2SO4 on the economizer tubes outer surfaces causing severe corrosion. etc. The inner dia of the tube are almost unaffected at both the locations. the H2SO4 is condensed on the metal surface and corrodes the metal. CO2 and water vapors are invariably present in the combustion gases. The concentration of SO3 in the flue gas increases with increase in the level of excess air. leaks in boiler tubes and steam from soot blowing. the corrosion is very likely to occur wherever the metal temperature is less than dew point. The temperature at which H2SO4 first condenses is known as H2SO4 dew point. stack. The source of moisture is attributed mainly to the fuel. The H2SO4 dew point depends upon the concentration of SO3 and water vapor in the flue gas. a higher dew point than the feed inlet temperature is most probable. It should be noted that in this type of corrosion it is the temperature of metal which is critical and not the temperature of flue gas. In general. Considering the present failure the economizer feed inlet temperature appears to be on lower side keeping in view the high sulfur content in the flue gas. in . When the temperature of a metallic component drops below the H2SO4 dew point of the flue gas. DISCUSSION When a firing fuel containing sulfur or sulfur compounds is subjected to combustion. The SO3 combines with water vapor to form H2SO4. This. air preheater. The moisture content in the flue gas depends upon many factors. The critical factors governing the cold end corrosion include the presence of sufficient concentration of SO3 and moisture in the flue gas and a metal surface whose temperature is below the H2SO4 dew point. At certain temperature H2SO4 condense on the metallic surfaces and initiate corrosion. gas temperature and sulfur level in the fuel.inside the furnace show appreciable reduction (4 -5%) in outer dia indicating the initiation of wall thinning from fire side. This in turn. is mainly encountered in relatively low temperature boiler components such as economizer. This type of corrosion.

thus promoting H2SO4 condensation over the deposit. 2. The external deposits on the tubes. 4. resulted in the thinning of metal to a stage when it could not bear the inside pressure of the feed water and ultimately got ruptured. 2. The possibility of carrying out condition/remnant life assessment of economizer tube banks and header should be explored. located inside the furnace support the initiation of corrosion from fire side as a result of acid condensation. . A reduction in the wall thickness of the tubes. An exact feed inlet temperature can be determined by knowing the acid dew point temperature of the flue gas. 3. CONCLUSIONS 1. The efficiency of soot blowing process should be improved. the external deposits on the tubes helped in lowering down the tube metal temperature and thus favoring acid condensation over the deposit. 6. Sulfur content should be reduced to minimum which can help in preventing the acid dew point corrosion. 5. as a result of bunker oil firing. The relatively low temperature of feed water caused the lowering of the tube metal temperature and promoted the condensation of H2SO4. Further.consequence. further helped in lowering down the tube metal temperature. An increase in the economizer feed inlet temperature will help in reducing the severity of cold end corrosion. The thinning and perforation in the economizer tubes are due to H2SO4 dew point corrosion. RECOMMENDATIONS 1. An efficient fuel chemical additive program will help in reducing the possibility of acid dew point corrosion. 3.

Horizontal : Tube Wall Thickness . Semi-Outdoor Type.96 0.2 mm 3.84 53.00 100.) from its inception – up to Dec.72 38. 38.84 1..67 13. Shuqaiq Plant Boiler Type: Hitachi Zosen/Steinmuller Type HS5-400.48 0.00 Atomic % 21. 105.4 Kg/s.Nominal : Number of Elements : Number of Tubes in Parallel : Material : Heating Surface : 74 barg. Firing System (at present) : Max. Details of Boiler # 1. A1 1529 m2 Bunker C 70 / 74 barg.2 mm 200 2 SA 210 Gr.26 12.Minimum : . Single Drum. Working Pressure – Drum & Superheater / Economizer : Evaporation at MCR (FSH outlet) : Steam Condition at MCR (FSH outlet) : Total Operating Hours (approx. Element Element % 11.22 1. C 116123 Hrs.61 0. Table 2.20 8.52 34. Natural Circulation.00 C O Mg Si S V Fe Total .Table 1. Radiant.62 100. Chemical Composition of the Ash Deposited on Economizer tubes as determined by EDX analyses. 56 barg.1 mm 100 mm 75 mm 3.04 1. 2004 (G) : Economizer Type : Design Pressure : Outside Diameter of Tubes : Spacing of Tubes – Vertical : . 496 deg.

18 Inside the Furnace 36.32 Outer 14 Inner 38.28 30.01 0.13 30.22 Tube row # Average Tube dia (mm) Average % Reduction reduction in in dia dia (mm) Outer 13 Inner 1.10 0. % reduction in Economizer tubes # 2.63 4.09 36.36 0.10 0.96 5. Outer and Inner diameter .33 .46 30. Tube Location Out side the Furnace 38.46 1.11 30.Table 3.

Schematic drawing of Boiler # 1 showing steam/water circulation system .Figure 1.

Economizer tube leak location in Boiler # 1 Shuqaiq Plant .Figure 2.

Photograph showing failure of Economizer inlet tube # 2. Row 13 .Figure 3.

row 13 and 14 Figure 5. row 13 showing fish mouth open rupture and a hole . Closer view of economizer inlet tube # 2.Figure 4. Photograph of the samples from economizer inlet tube # 2.

Figure 6. Thinning of the economizer inlet tube # 2 row 13 Figure 7. row 14 . Economizer inlet tube # 2.

Photomicrograph of the fire side scales on economizer tube # 2. row 14 (outside furnace) X 200 . Photomicrograph of the outer side scales on economizer tube # 2.Figure 8. row 14 (inside furnace) X 200 Figure 9.

row 14 (fire side) located inside furnace .cps Fe 60 40 20 O Fe V Ca 0 0 5 10 15 20 Energy (keV) Figure 10. EDX profile of a cross section of economizer tube # 2.

row 14 (fire side) located inside furnace .cps 60 Fe 40 20 O Fe C S 0 0 5 10 15 20 Energy (keV) Ca V Mn Ni Figure 11. EDX profile of a cross section of economizer tube # 2.

EDX profile of the ash deposits collected from economizer outer surface .cps 50 S 40 O Fe 30 20 10 C Mg Si 0 0 5 10 15 20 Energy (keV) V Fe Figure 12.

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