CORROSION UNDER INSULATION (CUI

)
• CUI poses a major threat to plant operability
– Particularly older plant

• On most sites CUI tends to be a medium to long-term problem
– Risk increasing significantly after 5 to 10 year “holiday period” – General pattern conspires to give false sense of security – Routine inspection and maintenance of thermal insulation systems tends to be avoided or deferred until a process leak actually occurs – Resulting failures can have serious H, S & E implications

• Thermal insulation refurbishment projects carried out at two major BP sites in past 15 years have cost ~ $450MM
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CUI – Not a pretty sight!

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CUI – Will find you out!

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Greater Prudhoe Bay

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GPB – CUI Process 25/02/2013 5 .

GPB .History 25/02/2013 6 .

GPB – Incident Rate 25/02/2013 7 .

GPB – Corrosion Rates 25/02/2013 8 .

GPB .Outcome • Failure Rate and Forecast  Actual failure rate increasing  Forecast trend to continue • Current Program Scope/Scale  Cost $ 2 million per annum  Scope/scale 10.000 #/year  Full field cycle 25-30 years • Recommended Program Scope/Scale  Cost $ 10-12 million per annum  Scope/scale 50-60.000 #/year  Full field cycle 5 years • Move to Mainstream O&M Program  Full time program management from part-time • Actively Pursue Technology Advances 25/02/2013 9 .

but … – – – – Water composition is more likely to reflect environmental location Highly polluted industrial environments can result in water pH of 4 to 5 Coastal locations will usually result in significant Cl.level in water removed from insulation than local rain water • CUI problems more common where local climate comprises: – Frequent rain fall – High winds – Coast location • Local microclimates can also represent a high risk.content If steel substrate above ambient then can get concentration of aggressive ions as water vapour is driven off. eg: – – – – Cooling towers Emissions of acidic vapours Frequent testing of water deluge systems Enthusiastic water jetting activities 10 25/02/2013 . eg: • Tests at Sullom Voe found a 20x higher Cl.CUI – The cause • • Normally associated with ingress of water from external environment into/beneath insulation Some insulating material can contain measurable amounts of aggressive ions (eg Cl-).

CUI –The effect • Carbon and Low Alloy Steels – Manifest as localised wastage at areas in contact with water either held within the insulation or between steel and insulation – All insulated equipment operating between –5oC and 200oC at risk • Highest corrosion rates found between 60oC and 120oC • 1. but … • Severe corrosion can occur at locations where transition to ambient temperature or at protrusions through insulation – All thermally insulated surfaces operating between –5oC and 200oC and service life > 10 years should receive adequate corrosion protection before application of thermal insulation 25/02/2013 11 . but 3 mm/y has been reported – For operating temperatures below ambient the differential vapour pressure across the insulation draws water towards steel substrate • Corrosion rate at sub zero temperatures low.5 mm/y typical corrosion rate.

2204 duplex ~90oC – Stress corrosion cracking threshold temperature.CUI – The effect • Austenitic and Duplex Stainless Steels – 300 series stainless steels used widely but … • Prone to high rates of localised attack and stress corrosion cracking under certain conditions • Critical temperature. Cl. super duplex and super austenitic stainless steels >80oC 25/02/2013 12 . 316L ~36oC. pH – Pitting threshold temperature. eg: • 50oC – 60oC for 304L/316L • >100oC for 2507 duplex – It is prudent to require corrosion protection on process equipment operating above the following threshold temperatures • Austenitic and low Mo-duplex stainless steels >25oC • Duplex. eg: • 304L ~25oC.level.

CUI – The effect Critical Pitting Temperature Rainwater Fog Concentrated Water 25/02/2013 13 .

instrumentation etc. nozzles. usually associated with ancillary attachments. supports. valves and instruments – Attention to design of vessel/pipe supports. insulation supports.CUI – Design to minimise risk • Complex geometric shapes. piping layouts can greatly assist insulation contractor in reducing opportunity for water ingress An overhead pipe support detail which is impossible to seal from water ingress 25/02/2013 14 . stiffeners. are where water ingress/accumulation most likely – Little can be done to alter design of “off the shelf” items.

CUI – Insulation Specification • Should be sufficiently prescriptive to ensure that only quality materials from an established supplier are used – Clearly state client’s expectations wrt materials and design details – For new build. should be made available to process equipment designer in time to influence design/layouts – Contractor should provide certificate of conformance for materials used • The extent of insulation should be challenged – Only use that required for process reasons • Where not required but already installed. the spec. remove – Use metal mesh guards to provide personnel protection • CUI has been reported under the entire range of commonly used thermal insulating materials 25/02/2013 15 .

absorbent materials may draw a significant amount of water away from steel surface.CUI – Insulating Material • Three key properties affect CUI: – Moisture absorbency or ability to transport aqueous fluids – Ability of material to contribute to the chemical composition of the moisture – Ability to withstand mechanical abuse • In practice water penetration to steel substrate occurs through gaps between – Adjacent sections of installed insulation – Adjacent pieces of broken insulation • Where rate of water ingress is slow. but …! • Prevailing weather conditions and general physical conditions of insulation are most significant factors 25/02/2013 16 .

CUI – Insulating Material 25/02/2013 17 .

CUI – Weather Barriers • Metallic sheet provides optimum resistance to mechanical damage. but … – Poor track record of preventing water ingress – Need to select sheet material according to design life of plant and prevailing weather conditions • Non-metallic weather barriers have greater potential for limiting water ingress as more flexible and accommodating of complex geometries etc. but … – If water ingress occurs there is less likelihood of draining away of evaporating off – Success of application highly dependent on skills and experience of work force – Insulation contractors are reluctant to use them 25/02/2013 18 .

CUI – Metal Sheeting • Galvanised steel – Life expectancy related to Zn coating thickness and environment • Typically 80 microns – Unlikely to give life > 10 years in polluted and/or coastal atmosphere • Aluminised steel – Typically contains ~10% Si which is detrimental to corrosion performance • Rust breakthrough can occur within 1 year of exposure to aggressive environment – unsightly but does not cause rapid perforation – Life > 10 years unlikely to be realised unless use 99% Al • 55% Al .43.4% Zn alloy coated steel – Combines sacrificial properties of Zn with passive properties of Al – Numerous reports of giving life > 20 years • Aluminium – Extremely good resistance to environmental corrosion • thicker gauge to galvanised or aluminised steel for improved mechanical properties – Poor performance in fires – should not be used on flammable processing units • Austenitic stainless steels – Significant cost penalty. therefore only considered for harshest environments – Type 316 stainless steel gives superior pitting/crevice corrosion resistance 25/02/2013 19 .

sensitive to environmental degradation under extreme weather conditions • Glass fibre reinforced epoxy – Generally confined to specialist insulation systems eg.CUI – Non-metallic Barriers • Reinforced membranes – Wet applied weather/fire resistant mastic – usually water based – with glass cloth reinforcement • Certain products can be obtained pre-applied – Flexibility and ease of repair mean they are good for complex geometries etc – Success dependent on skill of applicator. cryogenic service – Potential to provided greater resistance to mechanical damage and lends itself best to low maintenance systems – Examples of still being in good condition after 20 years in service 25/02/2013 20 . but exhibit poor impact resistance and are susceptible to environmental degradation • Elastomeric sheet – Typically 1mm sheet cut to size and sealed with both adhesive and sealant – Not such a big departure from metal sheeting – more acceptable to contractors – Optimum performance dependent on skill of applicator.

if the barrier is breached and water gains access it is most like to collect and stay within the insulation – no loss due evaporation or natural drainage. However.CUI – Non-metallic Barriers Elastomeric Sheet Water being expelled It is comparatively easy to achieve a completely water tight system initially. 25/02/2013 21 .

CUI – Non-metallic Barriers Recent development of mouldable fibre glass reinforce plastic sheet. which forms a firm bond to itself and range of substrates and accommodates complex geometries. is showing great potential 25/02/2013 22 . cured by UV light.

CUI – Protective Coatings • Can be extremely effective method of preventing or delaying the onset of CUI – Same levels of quality control during surface prep. and painting to that for non-insulated surfaces must be applied – Thermally sprayed Al has potential to provide protection for full service life (> 20 years) • Consider as viable option for new build! – Aluminium and stainless steel overlapping spiral wrap foils are alternatives to liquid applied coating systems for protecting stainless steels from pitting and/or SCC • New build provides best opportunity to minimise risk of CUI – External condition of process equipment and access most favourable – For many cases it is the only time steel substrate is accessible when at ambient temperature – Extremes of temperature during coating application reduce dramatically coating performance 25/02/2013 23 .

CUI – Protective Coatings 25/02/2013 24 .

is capable of producing similar degree of surface cleanliness to dry blasting • Minor rust staining considered to have minimal effect when surface tolerant primers are applied as the first coat 25/02/2013 25 . which uses small amounts of entrained water in abrasive stream.CUI – Protective Coatings • As for all coating systems good surface preparation is the key factor to achieving optimum coating performance/service life • For carbon steel surfaces: – Hand or power tool cleaning is not a good base – widely demonstrated that this will typically give 18 – 24 mths service life for coating system – Dry abrasive blasting provides the optimum surface condition – 8 to 10 years protective performance from coating • In maintenance situation dry blasting often considered unsafe or inappropriate – Slurry blasting.

CUI – Protective Coatings • For stainless steels: – Should always be given some form of mechanical preparation to ensure good coating adhesion – Abrasive blasting (dry or slurry) or power sanding can be used – Wire brushing using stainless steel bristle brushed only should be used on weldments • Maintenance painting: – The need to maximise plant availability means much of the insulation maintenance and CUI mitigation activities are carried out while the plant is operating – Applying protective coating to live plant is fraught with difficulties due to the influence of substrate temperature. eg: Substrate Temperature (oC) Lifespan (years) <60 60 to 100 100 to 150 25/02/2013 12 6 3 26 .

CUI – Maintenance Practices Poorly maintained insulation showing many years of neglect Mechanically damaged cladding – note the absence of mastic sealant at joints Open cladding terminations allowing free water ingress 25/02/2013 27 .

and potential points of water entry – A strict quality control regime should be enforced during all insulation maintenance activities 25/02/2013 28 . missing or damaged sections of the weather barrier.CUI – Maintenance Practices • Many of the worst incidences of CUI are “self inflicted” – Due to general lack of awareness of consequences of day to day routine plant maintenance and operational activities by many site personnel • Responsibilities for the integrity of the thermal insulation system need to be clearly assigned – A full risk assessment should drive the CUI inspection and maintenance schedule – Routine inspections of insulated plant and equipment should be carried out to identify displaced.

CUI – Inspection Where and how to start? 25/02/2013 29 .

CUI – Inspection Techniques • No single inspection technique available today is capable of determining economically the extent of CUI – The optimum approach is to use a combination of techniques linked to a risk assessment and visual surveys of the condition of insulation • Isolated “strip and search” visual inspection alone is uneconomic and carries a low probability of finding all CUI affected areas – However. practical experience would dictate that for high risk areas complete removal of insulation plus visual inspection is the most reliable method of determining the extent of the problem 30 25/02/2013 .

permit quantitative measure of the extent of CUI • Conventional or Tangential Radiography. provide evidence that corrosion could be taking place • Thermography. Local and Long Range Electromagnetics – Direct …. provide evidence that corrosion is taking place. Neutron Backscatter – Screening ….CUI – Inspection Techniques • Non-intrusive and semi non-intrusive inspection methods fall into three man categories: – Indirect …. Removal and Visual / Physical / Conventional Ultrasonic Inspection 25/02/2013 31 . but unable to measure unequivocally • Long Range Ultrasonics..

CUI – Inspection Techniques • Thermography – Infra red thermovison camera capable of detecting ~ 0.2oC temperature variation • Looking for loss in thermal efficiency of insulation • Conduct survey after heavy rainfall – worst conditions! • Run first survey after commissioning – Advantages • Quick to set up and use • No hazards to equipment operator • Insulated plant and equipment inspected remotely – Disadvantages • • • • Only detects deficiencies in insulation For optimum results need ~30oC gradient across insulation Need to exercise care where insulation subject to wet/dry cycles Vicinity of very hot bare objects or reflective metal cladding can obscure defects • Interpretation of results requires a skilled and experienced operator 25/02/2013 32 .

CUI – Inspection Techniques Heat loss from a section of insulated pipe at the bottom of a vertical run due to wet insulation 25/02/2013 33 .

CUI – Inspection Techniques • Neutron Backscatter – Been field trialed at a number of sites around the world • Water in insulation increases density of hydrogen atoms which cause scatter of fast neutrons to lower energies – detected on slow neutron monitor • The amount of water in insulation is related to rate of counting of slow neutrons – Use involves • Positioning a small probe close insulation for ~20 secs while the backscattered neutrons are counted – Trials and practical experience has demonstrated • Can unambiguously detect the presence of water • Distinction between wet and dry insulation is greater for some insulating materials than others • Proximity of concrete foundations can affect interpretation of results • Results can be affected by liquid content of equipment if insulation thickness < 5cm • Cannot be used when raining 34 25/02/2013 .

CUI – Inspection Techniques • Tangential Radiography – Has emerged as most commonly applied inspection method for reliable detection of corrosion under insulation on pipework – Uses low level radiation sources (X-rays or gamma rays) • Work area does not need to be roped off • The radiation only passes through insulation and weather barrier – Capable of detecting uniform and pitting corrosion 25/02/2013 35 .

CUI – Inspection Techniques The current preference amongst plant operators is for Real-Time Radiography (RTR). 25/02/2013 36 . This utilises a visual display unit to show a “real time” view of the silhouette of the outside surface of the pipe.

5” “C-arm” lengths currently available are 8”.CUI – Inspection Techniques PORTABLE PROFILE RADIOGRAPHY      Uses low energy radiation source Radiation signals converted into “linear equivalent” wall thickness Cannot distinguish between internal and external wall loss Handle wall thickness of between 1” and 1. 13” and 18” 25/02/2013 37 .

3% has been achieved in practice – Under favourable circumstances detection of defects 150m+ from sensor array is considered possible – Temperatures up to 100oC are claimed to have no adverse effect on performance of equipment 25/02/2013 38 .CUI – Inspection Techniques • Long Range Ultrasonics – Use of ultrasonics for the detection of CUI has been focussed on the possibility of introducing low frequency ultrasonic waves into an exposed section of the insulated plant remote from the sites of interest • Guided Wave Technology – Pulsed (~70kHz) guided waves emitted from single ring of transducers encircling pipe – Returning echoes are detected and analysed – Response from metal loss feature is function of its depth and circumferential extent – Orientation of defect determined by sensor array – Claimed limit of detection 9% but 2% .

it may be possible to inspect 1000 m per day  In current form best viewed as screening tool for focusing more detailed (visual) examination CHIME . but can reproducibly locate same defect  Range of detection determined by signal attenuation: • High viscosity products in pipe.Creeping Head-Wave Method  Similar in principle to Teletest – uses surface-skimming waves which become out of phase if a defect is detected  Claims to provide more detailed information but inspection distance ~ metres 25/02/2013 39 . including good weather. enable interrogation lengths of 20 – 100 m • The insulation if tightly fitted can affect attenuation • Runs of pipe with numerous welded bends limit ease of interrogation of signal  Under favourable circumstances. limit interrogation lengths to 1 – 18 m • Light oils. including water.CUI – Inspection Techniques TELETEST GUIDED WAVE  Typically need to remove ~1 m of insulation  Can be used on both horizontal and vertical pipe  Gives approximation of % wall loss at remote location. gasoline or diesel.

CUI – Inspection Techniques • Electromagnetic Methods – Pulsed Eddy Current • Measures decaying eddy currents induced into carbon steel after switching off applied electromagnetic field • Rate of decaying eddy currents enables wall thickness to be determined • Measurement of wall thickness for pipe ID  75 mm and operating temperature range –1000C to 550oC claimed – Long Range Electromagnetics • Analogous to Long Range Ultrasonic but using electromagnetic pulses over broad frequency spectrum • Dual pulse method introduces two synchronised pulses to extremities of pipe section with imposed relative time delay in order to pinpoint the intersection of pulses within pipe wall via a receiver located adjacent to either pulse source • Single pulse can be used with receiver repeatedly located at several point along interval to be inspected 25/02/2013 40 .

supports  Electrical distortions and mechanical vibrations affect the tool’s performance  Performance is significantly reduced by galvanised or aluminised weather-proofing  Individual readings take typically 2 to 5 secs but the method can not be regarded as scanning  Measurements can be made at remote locations from stairways and ladders by mounting probe on a pole 25/02/2013 41 . welds.CUI – Inspection Techniques PULSED EDDY CURRENT  Can measure pipe wall thickness through insulation of thickness ~ 200 mm max.  Only applicable to carbon & low alloy steels  Typical smallest defect detected is 50% of stand-off distance  Thickness readings require calibration against measured defects  If steel is not electro-magnetically homogeneous the tool will give spurious results  A minimum clearance of 2” between measurement point and any adjacent detail eg.

~60”  Insulation removal is minimal compared to Long Range Ultrasonics resulting typically ~50% cost savings  Typical tolerance for positioning of anomalies is 1.5”. length ~150m  Min. but rarely fails to locate external corrosion  Unable to quantify degree of severity of damage. with max. with typically only C and D corresponding to actual CUI  Should be limited to interrogating straight pipe – max. pipe OD is 4.CUI – Inspection Techniques LONG RANGE ELECTROMAGNETICS Ranking A B C D No damage ~15% wall loss ~10 to 30% wall loss > ~25% wall loss  Tendency to provide a high frequency of false indications.5m  Unable to determine the specific orientation on pipe of an anomaly 25/02/2013 42 .

CUI – Risk Based Inspection • The shear scale of insulated plant and equipment on many sites renders full inspection impractical • Need to develop a risk based inspection scheme for cost effective management of CUI – Risk = Probability of Failure x Consequence of Failure • Probability of failure – Normally apply a scoring type assessment based on list of key factors • Consequence of failure – The impact upon safety of personnel – Effect on the environment of a product leak – Cost of lost production and/or repairs to damaged equipment 25/02/2013 43 .

CUI – RBI PROBABILITY 25/02/2013 44 .

CUI – RBI RISK RATING 25/02/2013 45 .

RBI CUI Risk Pyramid 2 Yes 1 No Recent bare pipe inspection Order for lines to be stripped 4 Yes 3 No High pressure design or ow wall thickness (Schedule 40) Yes No Gas Service Yes Insulation Removal 5 No Insulation in poor location Yes 6 No Exposed location or subject to deluge testing Yes 7 No Insulation required for process (Remove insulation where not required) Yes 8 No Hydrocarbon Service Yes Out 25/02/2013 No Are Lines Insulated 46 .CUI .

of increasing sophistication. Application of a sound coating system to the insulated steel substrate. – No single technique practically and/or economically holds all the answers Never rest on your laurels 25/02/2013 47 . available to support an RBI approach. etc starting with informed design and installation practice – eg. where its impact can all too easily be underestimated and addressed too late – It was born with the industry and continues to take its toll given an opportunity – Many of the problems even today are arguably “self inflicted” • Avoidance requires proactive management throughout the life of a plant. equipment. but ….Corrosion Under Insulation • CUI is a latent problem with a long half life. can really pay dividends • • • Cost effective management throughout operational life requires a risk based assessment approach and clear line of responsibility – Rigorously applied and regularly reviewed There is a growing range of inspection techniques. where possible.

Forties Alpha The 4” recycle line on the K01 gas compressor recycle line ruptured releasing the contents of the compression system to atmosphere. which initiated automatic production shutdown and depressurisation.CUI – Never sleeps! • • NGL Roof. • The released gas was detected by an infrared beam detector located on the NGL roof. The platform went to muster and was stood down 2 hrs later once the failed line had been made safe. • • The gas did not ignite and was quickly dispersed from the roof. 25/02/2013 48 .

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