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Introduction ....................................................................................................... 1 Typical design considerations ........................................................................... 2 Operating considerations .................................................................................. 3 Standards ........................................................................................................... 3 Evaluation considerations ................................................................................. 4 Information gathering ....................................................................................... 5 Service failure classifications ........................................................................... 6 Primary deterioration mechanism ..................................................................... 7 P91 material specification consideration .......................................................... 9 Metallurgical evaluation ................................................................................... 10 Prioritization considerations ............................................................................. 11 Steam circuit piping ................................................................................ 12 Feedwater circuit piping ......................................................................... 13 Hanger support components ................................................................... 15 Inspection techniques ........................................................................................ 16 Stress analysis ................................................................................................... 19 Destructive testing............................................................................................. 20 Upset operating conditions ............................................................................... 21 Run, repair, replace decisions ........................................................................... 22

The following information concerning high-energy piping systems; their mode of failure, high risk locations, and proper inspections and evaluation process is the resultofThielschEngineerings40+ years of experience in the fabrication, design analysis, failure analysis, and repair of high-energy piping systems. Thielsch Engineering maintains a database of over 10,000 engineering reports, in which all manners of high-energy piping system maintenance concerns have been documented. It is from this database that Thielsch Engineering has developed and continues to refine our approach to the assessment of these systems. INTRODUC TI ON High-energy piping systems are essential to the safe and cost-effective operation of a modern power plant. The propensity for piping and failures tends to increase with the age of the systems involved. Prolonged operation, particularly at elevated temperatures, may result in metallurgical degradation. Metallurgical degradation may increase the potential for cracking and crack propagation until a final failure stage is reached by the component. As a result, power plant operators have become increasingly cognizant of the importance of condition assessment evaluations for highenergy piping systems and boiler components. Significant levels of metallurgical degradation should be detected for conservative determinations of the remaining useful life of a component or system. With this information, proper planning and budgeting or repair and replacement programs can be accomplished. By proper planning and the performance of engineering evaluations, excessively long plant outages or interruptions of scheduled operations can be minimized and in some cases avoided. Effective programs for monitoring and maintaining piping systems generally involve an initial preliminary inspection to confirm the current integrity of the components. The effects of continued operation on the systems involved can then be evaluated. A program of periodic inspections and maintenance to ensure the continued satisfactory safe and efficient

performance of these critical components should then be followed by reinspections. T Y PI C A L D ESI G N C O NSI D E R A T I O NS During the operation of a modern steam turbine, moisture in the turbine will cause erosion on the turbine blade. This results in high maintenance costs and loss of power production and thus a loss of revenues that usually is far greater than the maintenance costs. Therefore, all modern fossil power plants use superheated steam, which is conveyed throughtheMainSteamPipingsystem,andmanyofthelarge utility plants use a second superheater (called a reheater) that reheats the steam after it has passed through a portion of the turbine. This is usually done on a utility boiler application after the initial superheated steam passes through the high-pressure section of a turbine. The lower-pressure steam from this section of the turbine returns to the boiler, where the steam temperature is increased, and then returns the turbine through the Hot ReheatPiping system. Another operating system widely being utilized in the industry today is the combined cycle HRSG. HRSGs are typically classified into one of two types defined by the orientation of the exhaust gas flow: horizontal or vertical. Most HRSGs in North America are horizontal arrangements which feature natural circulation, typically consisting of multi-pressure steam systems high-pressure (HP), intermediate-pressure (IP), and lowpressure (LP). Smaller units, such as peaking plants, may have a dual pressure system. Larger, triple pressure units often add a reheat system to further boost the overall cycles thermal efficiency. These new breeds of HRSGs were designed to operate at substantially higher flue-gas temperatures and steam pressures utilizing advanced, and for the most part, untested, boiler steels. The end result of these advances have yielded higher combined cycle efficiencies, however they have also created higher thermal stresses, fatigue cracking, creep damage, and corrosion concerns, particularly as units designed for base load were forced into cycling duty.

These problems can manifest themselves within a few short years of commissioning and cause expensive and time consuming repairs. O P E R A T I N G C O NSI D E R A T I O NS Most power generation facilities were designed on the assumption that they would be operated in a base-load mode or infrequently cycled. However, in response to local power market conditions and the terms of their power purchase agreements, many plants are now cycling their units more frequently than designers had intended resulting in greater thermal stresses, more pressure cycles, and therefore more cyclic fatigue damage and over all faster wear and degradation to the critical components due to both the mechanical and corrosion processes. As a general comment, cycling service has an adverse effect on the life expectancy of a unit. This is due to the fact that cycling results in fatigue loading (alternating cyclic stresses) whereas base load operation results in creep (sustained stresses). Depending on the severity of the stresses, and the number of cycles, fatigue loading can result in cracking, particularly at restraint locations. ST A N D A R DS Standards for the design, maintenance, and inspection of power plant highenergy piping systems can be found in a number of codes and standards. These standards take into consideration temperature, pressure, and geographic locations of systems and provide the appropriate safety factors for material, welding practices, engineered support systems and engineered relief devices. A listing of the more prominent standards is listed below: ASME: American Society of Mechanical Engineers Section B31.1 covering Power Piping. ASTM: American Society for Testing and Materials.

Thielsch Engineering: High-Energy Piping Condition Assessment Guidelines. EPRI: Electric Power Research Institute. Grinnell Corp: Hanger Support Technical Literature/Catalog E V A L U A T I O N C O NSI D E R A T I O NS For the determination of system integrity, the following conditions are generally important: Experience with the performance of power piping and associated components in a large number and range of operating power plants subject to various base load, cyclic and upset operating conditions. Statistical experience detailing the locations of leak type and rupture type failures that have occurred in high-energy piping systems. Experience with and the recognition of how failures occur as a result of corrosion, mechanical, and thermal fatigue in high-energy piping systems. Familiarity with the processes and effects of materials during manufacture, fabrication, welding, erection, heat treatment, and inspection, and how they would affect the integrity of a high-energy piping system. Recognition of the significance of weld defects and base metal defects on the integrity and performance of high-energy piping systems, since nondestructive examinations performed prior to 1970 were not as sensitive and detailed as the procedures utilized currently. As a result, the nondestructive examination procedures utilized currently may detect defects not detected in the original nondestructive examinations performed on the components at the time of the shop fabrications or power plant erections.

Familiarity with piping system analyses, and pipe support performance evaluations and inspections, and with the effects of pipe support adjustments and modifications made to improve the integrity of high-energy piping systems. Familiarity with the operating history of the high-energy piping system being inspected. INF ORM A TION G A T H ERIN G Prior to determining the prioritization of inspection of a high-energy piping system, every effort should be made to assemble all applicable information on that piping system. This would include, but not necessarily be limited to: Design Code Design pressure and temperature Operating pressure and temperature Operating hours Operating mode, e.g., base-loaded or cyclic Number of unit starts and characterization of start type Number of operating hours at off-design conditions Any upset operating conditions that could affect piping system integrity (This could include safety valve operation, turbine trips, water hammer, etc.) Pipe spool drawings Isometric drawings As-built drawings Fitting drawings Weld detail drawings Hanger support detail drawings (If this data is not available, then field hanger support audits are necessary.) Valve weights

Original pipe stress analysis required for design acceptance. (If this is not available, then turbine nozzle loads and boiler connections loads are necessary.) With this preliminary data compiled, a 4-SYTE 3-dimentional model is created that can be utilized during the inspection of the applicable piping system. This model shall contain the following information: Location of welds in the piping system (This will include girth welds, seam welds, penetration welds, attachment welds, etc.) Circumferential position of each longitudinal seam weld within the piping system (If the system was supposed to be fabricated using seamless pipe and fittings, consideration should be given to verifying the absence of seam welds by nondestructive examination.) Location and description of hanger support components (In particular, the type of support should be identified as rigid, constant, variable spring, snubber, etc.) F ig. 1 provides a typical 3-dimentional model generated for an integrity assessment program. Once the model is completed, the design, operating, maintenance and inspection history is reviewed and recorded into the HEP system strategy module. At this point, a field inspection program can be developed. This program encompasses safety, reliability as well as remaining useful life considerations. SE R V I C E F A I L U R E C L ASSI F I C A T I O NS Although numerous conditions may cause or lead to service failures, the responsibility for a failure can generally be assigned to one of five classifications: Design (structural, design notches, joint location, or welding end configuration)

Materials (selection and handling of base and welding materials) Base Metal Defects (introduced during manufacture and shaping of plate or piping components- pipe, cast valve, cast or forged fitting, etc.) Fabrication (fabrication, welding, heat treatment, or cleaning of pressure vessels or piping during shop fabrication or field erection) In Service (Fatigue, Creep, Thermal Shocking, Corrosion and Overload) In some instances, the responsibility can be related to a combination of several of these classifications. For example, a pipe weld containing root defects, such as lack of penetration, may not fail during service until thermal or mechanical fatigue of sufficient magnitude initiates cracking and crack propagation of the existing defect through the cross sectional thickness. A failure occurs by cracking or corrosion or sometimes a combination of both. The majority of failures occur gradually, in a ductile manner. They involve either a gradual propagation of cracks or corrosion across the wall thickness of a component. By bulging or leaking, ductile failures give warning to the operating personnel. It is fairly rare to experience a failure where partial cracking across the wall occurs, followed by a sudden pipe rupture, or where sudden rupture occurs which is not preceded by detectable prior cracking. These sudden rupture type failures are viewed with extreme concern as they may result in injury of personnel or loss of life, and many become extremely costly to the plant. Most of these failures are related to the brittle behavior of certain materials. Three conditions control this tendency for steel to behave in a brittle fashion. These include (1) high stress concentrations; (2) a high rate of straining; and (3) environmental temperature. Although brittle failures are often considered the most catastrophic, it is important to recognize that cracking through ductile metal may also have considerable consequences.

PR I M A R Y D E T E R I O R A T I O N M E C H A N ISM Steel materials normally are subject to changes in microstructures when the steels are exposed to temperatures above 800oF to 1000oF. The changes in microstructure tend to relate to the maximum temperatures reached, and the time at the respective temperatures. If the temperatures are sufficiently high and the stresses to which the header, steel pipe, welds, or tubes are subjected are of sufficient magnitude, dimensional changes may develop. Such dimensional changes at elevated temperatures are known as creep. Creep represents the permanent plastic deformation, which can occur at elevated temperatures and at stresses significantly less than the yield strength of the steel at the same elevated temperatures. Creep at elevated temperatures normally is identified by a curve, which shows four portions; F ig. 2. The first portion involves the initial extension (or expansion) at elevated temperature. This extension is partially elastic. In the next stage, the extension (or expansion) rates decreases with time. This stage is also called a transient or primary creep stage. The primary creep stage is not considered to represent damage. Subsequently, a stage occurs on the creep curve located where the rate of creep (expansion) is nearly constant. This stage is also called secondary creep. The period of secondary creep after some expansion (i.e., in the latter period of the stage) is evidenced by initial void formation along the grain boundaries. In time, these tend to join or "link up". Void formation generally tends to develop after approximately 50% of the life of the pipe material has been consumed. Thus, on the basis of the microstructures and the absence of any evidence of void formation, the high-energy Piping would be expected to be suitable for another 200,000 hours of service. The fourth stage of the creep curve, located beyond the constant creep rate portion, involves a rapidly increasing creep rate. This stage is called tertiary creep. It involves grain boundary fissuring (or microcracking). After this stage is reached, the material would tend to develop failure. This may represent a "remaining-life" period of 5% to 10% of the prior operating period. Thus, when the header or pipe material reaches the tertiary creep stage, the end of the useful life of the steel material, at the specific area of high-stress levels, is being approached. In many

components, the tertiary creep stage may not be reached until after 200,000 to 500,000 hours of operation, or longer. However, in other instances, particularly involving overheating of Superheater tubes, the tertiary creep stage has been reached after only 10,000 to 50,000 hours of operation. Such overheating, however, would generally involve temperatures of 1100oF to 1200oF. These are generally higher than the applicable design temperatures of most piping systems. The results of stress rupture tests performed on samples removed from a high-energy piping system can provide information about the remaining useful life of a high-energy piping system. To provide additional information regarding the condition of a high-energy piping system, the remnants of stress rupture samples are subject to metallographic examination. The observed microstructure will provide information about the condition of the piping system. Particular attention should be paid to the extent of carbide precipitation and agglomeration as well as creep determinations. i.e.: void formation and void linkage or microfissuring. P91 M A T E R I A L SP E C I F I C A T I O N C O NSI D E R A T I O N The use of modified 9Cr (grade 91) steel in modem power plants is derived from the superior properties of the material in comparison to carbon steels or lower chrome materials. It boasts superior creep and tensile strength characteristics which allow thinner materials to be designed into piping systems and pressure vessels. These are enviable characteristics in terms of thermal cycling, hence the wide spread use of the material in newer combined cycle plants. There are some drawbacks to this material that have been realized over its relatively short lifetime (use of P91 began in theUKinthelate1980s). It provides significant field welding challenges in terms of backing, preheat, and post weld, heat treat programs. There is little margin for error when welding and/or heat treating this material. Unlike carbon and low-alloy steels, the elevated creep strength in 9-Cr material depends on achieving and maintaining a specific microstructure.

This specific microstructure is created by the transformation to martensite during cooling. Any event during manufacture, erection, or operation that disrupts this microstructure will compromise the integrity of the material and prevent it from achieving the creep properties upon which the Code allowable stresses are based. In such cases the premature failure of such components is a reality. There is recent industry experience that reveals another adverse property of the material which has resulted in service failures. Softening of the material due to low a Nitrogen to Aluminum ratio of approximately <2.0 has been identified as a condition that leads to a loss of Vanadium due to Al-N precipitation. This results in lower creep strength and can initiate type IV cracking of the material. M E T A L LURGIC A L E V A LUA TION With respect to the metallurgical degradation, the following factors are also included in the performance of the evaluation program and the analysis of the results: Creep caused by the combination of high stresses and temperatures Local deformation (yielding or straining) caused by severe transient loads General metallurgical degradation involving spheroidization, graphitization, decarburization, diffusion, strain aging, temper embrittlement, etc Localized metallurgical degradation caused by improper welding filler metals, welding fluxes, major weld defects, etc Fatigue cracking due to pipe expansion and contraction Fatigue cracking due to thermal shocks and/or vibrations and internal thermal stresses


Mechanical fatigue cracking due to steam hammer, water hammer, flow induced vibrations, equipment fatigue, fan, and air preheater rotation, etc Overload conditions due to severe water induction (slugging) or similar severe thermal shocks (thermal quenching) incidents General corrosion Corrosion pitting Internal erosion associated with high-velocity steam flow containing water droplets, hard particles, etc. Stress corrosion (caustic embrittlement) PR I O R I T I Z A T I O N C O NSI D E R A T I O NS Effective programs for monitoring and maintaining piping systems should involve a thorough review of past inspection and maintenance data. In the absence of such data, an initial preliminary inspection to confirm the current integrity of the components is necessary. The effects of continued operation on the systems involved can then be determined and evaluated. This is then followed by the institution of periodic inspections and maintenance to ensure the continued safe and reliable operation of the systems. It is at this point in a program where Thielsch Engineerings materials engineering experience and real world practicality are tailored to the individual systems to make a dramatic difference in the effectiveness of a program. Thielsch Engineerings 4-SYTE Program provides more than just a data management platform. From this program an analysis of the current state of the piping / boiler systems is determined and a detailed prioritized guideline on how to manage the components is developed going forward.


These prioritized functions are individual to each unit/system due to where along the life cycle a program begins as well as the intended design service. However, the foundation of the prioritizing criteria are based upon internal statistical analysis of over 500 electric utility piping designs, inspections, failure analyzes and repair projects performed by Thielsch Engineering over the last 40 years. Three prioritized schedules are developed based upon likelihood of failure and severity of failure. Each schedule contains different welds than from the previous, with the exception, that as a progressive document, additional welds may be added to a subsequent schedule based on their initial findings. Additionally, this schedule should be viewed as an inspection baseline plan and does have the flexibility of revision to add or subtract intervals of inspection as well as recommended areas of priority based upon the results of the hanger walkdowns and nondestructive inspections of the system. At the conclusion of the inspection intervals as detailed below, many welds of highest propensity for damage associated with the piping system will have been inspected. A typical prioritized schedule is provided below. St e am C ir c uit Piping: Priority 1 It e ms : Priority 1 items should be considered for inspection with in the next 7,500 hours or 50 thermal cycles of operation. Locations with no known or documented inspection history and are considered high-risk areas associated with steam leaks, cracks and ruptures. i.e. boiler outlet connection; wye block / lateral fittings; longitudinal seam welds (traffic areas); attemporator spools; drain penetrations. Locations identified with Class 3 or 4 creep damage during previous examinations that have not been re-inspected with the last 15,000 hours of operation.

Priority 2 It e ms : Priority 2 items should be inspected after the next 25,000 hours or 150 thermal cycles of operation. Locations within the piping system which have documented weld repair history and that have not been re-inspected within the last 25,000 hours or 150 thermal cycles of additional operation. Seam welded piping systems that have been inspected and exhibited characteristics of Class 2 creep mode. Locations with no known or documented inspection history and are considered medium risk areas associated with steam leaks, cracking or ruptures. i.e. safety valve penetrations; valve connections; dissimilar metal welds; extraction line connections. Priority 3 It e ms : Priority 3 items should be inspected after the next 50,000 hours or 350 thermal cycles of additional operation. The balance of seam welded piping systems that have no known inspection history within systems that have more the 150,000 hours of operation. Locations that have been inspected in the past and found to be free of service related deterioration and were evaluated with the Class 1 creep. F ee dwat e r C ir c uit Piping Priority 1 It e ms : Priority 1 items should be inspected within the next 15,000 hours of operation.

Locations with temperatures above 325F and with internal flow velocity greater that 15 ft/second2 that have never been inspected before. All reducer and reducing elbow fittings over NPS 4 that are in the boiler feedwater discharge system, boiler feedwater recirculating system, and the attemporator feed system. Locations that have been identified as being affected by flow accelerated corrosion (FAC) and exhibited uniform wear/loss of greater than 30% of nominal wall thickness or exhibited insufficient Chromium content. Priority 2 It e ms : Priority 2 items should be inspected within the next 25,000 hours. Locations that have been inspected for FAC and exhibited uniform wear/loss from 5%-30% of specified nominal thickness or exhibited insufficient Chromium content. Priority 3 It e ms : Priority 3 items should be inspected within the next 50,000 hours. Locations with temperatures above 325F, have internal flow velocities greater than 15 ft/second2, and have wall thickness values consistent with specified nominal wall thicknesses for comparison with previous data or exhibited insufficient Chromium content. H ange r Support Compon e nts : Hot and Cold condition walkdowns of the hanger supports in each system should be audited annually. This will ensure that the piping systems are supporting as predicted and intended by the designer. (The condition of the supports provides an accurate barometer of the overall condition of the

applicable high-energy piping system. This is supported by the fact that over 95% of the through wall failures reported in high-energy piping systems is related to applied bending stresses from external or off design conditions. Often times these stresses are the result of improperly designed or malfunctioning hanger supports.)

I NSP E C T I O N T E C H N I Q U ES The inspection should include some or all of the following inspection techniques: Hanger support walkdowns in the hot and cold positions. Visual examination (The visual examination should be performed by an experienced engineer familiar with the designed movement of the high-energy piping system. It should include the entire piping system, and identify conditions of sagging, bowing, insulation damage or incorrect pitch.) Wet fluorescent magnetic particle examination Liquid penetrant examination Ultrasonic wall thickness determinations Ultrasonic phased array scans Ultrasonic time of flight examinations Diametric measurements In-situ Replication Metallography Boat sampling Seam verification by macroetching Positive material identification Refer to Appendix A for Piping Inspection Legend and Inspection Technique Recommendations. The condition assessment examination regimen should include the following:


Grit blasting down to gray metal shall be performed for four times the pipe wall thickness on each side of the circumferential and longitudinal seam welds. One inch of pipe material on both side of the nozzle penetration and attachments welds should be prepared down to gray metal for the examination. Visual examination of all exposed surfaces in order to identify conditions of swelling or bulging within the base material. The exposed weldments should be inspected for signs of welding defects, excessive grinding, or obvious cracking. This should be performed at all exposed circumferential welds, nozzle penetration welds, radiographic plug welds, and attachment welds. Wet fluorescent magnetic particle examinations should be performed on all exposed weldments in order to identify surface related indications. The small instrumentation welds shall be subject to a magnetic test to confirm if they are welded in place with either stainless steel or Inconel filler metal. If they are found to be nonferritic materials, then a liquid dye penetrant inspection shall be performed. Ultrasonic wall thickness determinations should be performed upstream and downstream of all exposed girth welds. The results of the wall thickness measurements should be compared to the nominal and minimum specified wall thickness values for and deviations. In addition, those systems with long pipe bends should have the extrados or outside of the bend check for hot particulate erosion. Diametric measurements should be performed upstream and downstream of any exposed girth welds to determine if swelling associated with advanced creep damage is present. These measurements shall be recorded using both a flexible pi tape and large calipers. Where appropriate, the measurements shall be compared to the manufacturing tolerances set forth in ASTM 530 covering "Requirements for Specialized Carbon and Alloy Steel Pipe".

Ultrasonic phased array scans shall be performed at each of the exposed circumferential girth welds and longitudinal seam welds in order to examine the full cross-sectional volume of the weldments and adjacent base material. This technique can be performed by either manual or automated systems, depending upon the physical access or the amount of linear footage of welds to be examined. Any recordable ultrasonic reflector shall be evaluated by time of flight diffraction techniques. This method shall be used to characterize and size the recordable reflectors. Engineering evaluation of the subsurface defects is essential in characterizing those benign defects from those that represent progressive cracking. On all exposed straight pipe spools and fitting components, macroacid etch, or eddy current techniques shall be utilized to identify longitudinal seam welds. It has been our experience that piping specified as seamless material is often procured as seamed piping due to price savings. This is most often revealed at elbow fittings which have to be purposely specified as seamless within the specification. Material sampling should be performed at each individual spool piece and fitting within the system. This can also be expanded to include the weldments within the system also. This process is conducted to ensure that the chemical composition of the material matches what was specified in the original construction. This can be performed utilizing an x-ray fluorescent spectrometer or through the physical removal of non-destructive shaving samples for chemical analysis. Information such as the presence of medium carbon steels and low carbon weld material can highlight specific locations as more susceptible to metallurgical deterioration. Replication foil impressions shall be removed from weldments determined by the project engineer. The replication process and the metallurgical analysis provide valuable information concerning the remaining useful life of the piping system, through the identification of creep voids and microfissuring, levels of spheroidization or the presence of martensite due to poor welding practices. It is typical to

perform a "three point" replica which contains the microstructure of the weld metal, the heat-affected zone, and the base metal. The engineer shall choose a location believed to be under tension during operation; two replicas at least 90 degrees apart should be removed from each weld. Hardness measurements shall be recorded at each replica site using a portable hardness tester. A minimum of 5 readings per site shall be taken in both the base metal and the weld metal. The standard deviation of less that 15 shall be maintained for viable readings. This information shall be correlated to mechanical strength properties to determine if thermal softening due to overheating is present or if excessive hardness due to rapid cooling of the original welding is present. Specific criteria exists for the evaluation of P91 components (CEFS) Based upon the evaluations of the nondestructive examination regimen outline above, locations which exhibit one or more surface related defects shall be confirmed through ultrasonic shear wave flaw sizing or exploratory grinding. Determinations for fitness for service or run / repair / replace will need to be made on a case by case basis by experienced engineering personnel. ST R ESS A N A L YSIS The results of the inspections performed on the high-energy piping system should be evaluated to determine the need for a stress analysis of the piping system. A stress analysis is considered prudent when the hanger support walkdowns reveal that a large number of the pipe supports are not functioning as intended by the designer. Similarly, a stress analysis is considered prudent if the inspections revealed repeated or chronic cracking in specific locations within a high-energy piping system.


D EST R U C T I V E T EST I N G In some instances, it may be beneficial or necessary to remove samples from a high-energy piping system. If cracking is discovered in a high-energy piping system, a boat sample shall be removed from the expected initiation point of the cracking. This boat sample shall be evaluated metallurgically in an effort to determine the cause of the cracking and the age of the cracking. The information generated from the metallurgical evaluation can also be used to refine to repair welding procedure. If a leak develops in a high-energy piping system, the source of the leak should be thoroughly investigated preferably using radiographic examination. Samples should be removed from the leak area and evaluated metallurgically to determine the cause of the leak. (Consideration should be given to expanding the scope of inspection to including like components in the applicable unit and any sister units of the same design and vintage.) If creep is discovered in a high-energy piping system, a boat sample shall be removed from the creep-affected area in an effort to determine if the creep is localized in nature or more widespread. If a subsurface reflector of sufficient magnitude is discovered in a longitudinal seam weld and that reflector cannot be characterized by radiographic examination, a boat or core sample shall be removed and subjected to metallurgical evaluation. When the piping system has been in service for 200,000 hours or more, consideration should be given to removing boat samples from identified high stress areas and subjecting them to stress-rupture testing in an effort to better define the remaining life of the highenergy piping system.


UPSE T O P E R A T I N G C O N D I T I O NS If a high-energy piping system has been subject to an upset operating condition with the potential to affect the integrity of that piping system, consideration should be given to performing an inspection of the piping system as soon as practical after the event to evaluate the effects of the event. The following provide examples of upset operating conditions that may require further investigation. For high-energy piping systems exposed to fires, the inspection should include visual examination of the lagging in an effort to identify possible exposure temperatures. In those areas where the piping system was exposed to temperatures in excess of the melting temperature of the lagging and was exposed to fire suppression activities, consideration should be given to performing replication and hardness testing. (Other nondestructive examinations may also be prudent.) High-energy piping systems are subject to severe water hammer. The initial inspection after such an event should focus on the pipe supports in an effort to identify the actual movement of the piping system. This should be followed by nondestructive examination of the weldments in those areas that were subject to the greatest movement. If any event-related deterioration is identified, the scope of inspection should be expanded. Ultimately, this condition can be avoided by proper steam line draining programs and maintenance of the automatic drains. A frequent occurrence observed by Thielsch Engineering is the collection of condensate in the lower horizontal sections of the Cold Reheat Piping system as a result of steam condensing during unit shutdown. This is typically the result of the automatic, low point drains not operating properly or they are clogged with scale and rust.


R U N , R E P A I R , R E P L A C E D E C ISI O NS The presence of cracks invariably leads to decisions about run, repair, or replacement. However, the presence of surface cracks in a thick-walled component may not mean steam leak is imminent and, in certain circumstances, operation with cracks may be acceptable. Assessments in such cases depend on accurate crack growth data and analytical procedures described earlier. In view of the uncertainties in operating conditions and the lack of crack growth data on service-exposed material, may utilities opt for defect repair at planned outages? Clearly such options can only be exercised if suitable weld repair procedures are available. Much research has been undertaken to improved weldment ductility by control of weld process variables to produce favorable microstructures or by modifications to weld metal composition. As discussed, service experience often indicates that the first observable creep damage occurs as cracking at weldments. However, examination of weldments is not usually sufficient to ensure overall structural integrity. In many cases, welds can be successfully repaired without reducing the overall component life. When problems have been identified, alternative to replacement sometimes exist. Furthermore, even when replacement is inevitable, remedial action to allow continued operation may be necessary. A list of potential actions for common problems in boiler components includes control of temperature ramp rates to minimize thermal stresses, maintenance of support to minimize system loading, and proper control of welding processes and subsequent post-weld heat treatments. Such a list cannot be considered as comprehensive, but in general, when problems with creep damage have been identified, significant improvements in service performance are invariably derived by reducing peak operating temperatures and/or the rate of temperature changes. The penalties to efficiency resulting from such action are usually severe so that mechanical modification or alternative material selections are normally required.


Fig. 1

From: Viswanathan, R. , Damage Mechanisms and Life Assessment of High Temperature Components, ASM International, United States, 1989, p. 219 (ref. 1).

Fig. 2. Creep life assessment based on cavity classification.

Creep is the deformation of a material under load, or stress. How fast creep occurs at a given stress is dependent on time and temperature. Increasing time and temperature increases creep rate. Creep strain differs from plastic strain in that it can occur at stresses well below the yield strength of the material and does not deform the actual metal grains. Creep produces cavities or voids at the boundaries between the grains. As more of these creep voids are produced, they join up and form cracks in the material. This weakens the material and can eventually lead to failures. The figure above defines creep by classes depending on the extent of damage to the material. The Wedel-Neubauer damage parameter is generally accepted as an accurate correlation between creep damage and remaining serviceable life.


PamSmoske 4/13/2011


CA=ChemicalAnalysisforChromiumContent DIM=CircumferentialMeasurements HD=HardnessMeasurements ME=Macroetch MET=BoatSampleMetallurgicalAnalysis MT=MagneticParticleExamination PMI=PositiveMaterialIdentification PT=LiquidPenetrantExamination REP=Replication UTOF=UltrasonicTimeofFlightExamination UTP=UltrasonicPhasedArrayExamination UTT=UltrasonicThicknessSurvey VidBor=VideoBorescopeExamination VT=VisualExamination

ReviewersRecommendations ReferenceSheet
Drawings,Assembly,PipeLine:Seeindividualcomponentsforrecommendedinspectiontechniquesto beperformedbythespecifiedpriorityoutageyear. ForPipingSystemsoperatinginCreepRange(over800degreesF)TypicallyMainSteam,HotReheat Systems GirthWelds:PerformVT:MT:UTT:UTP:Rep:HD:Dim o [ifseamsaresuspected:performMEoneithersideofweldtodetermineifseamwelds arepresent] o [ifmaterialisunknownorsuspect:conductPMItodeterminematerialcomposition] RTPlugs:PerformVT:MT Penetrations:PerformVT:MT Hangers:PerformperiodicHangerWalkdownsintheHotandColdconditions. HangerLugs,InsulationsLugs:PerformVT:MT Valves:PerforminternalVT:inspectadjacentgirthwelds. SeamWelds:[IfSeamsarepresent]PerformVT:MT:UTT:UTP/UTOF:Rep:HD:Dim Flanges,Reducers,WyeBlocks:PerformVT:Inspectadjacentgirthwelds.

ForPipingSystemsoperatingbelowCreepRange(lessthan800degreesF)TypicallyColdReheat Systems GirthWelds:PerformVT:MT:UTT:UTP o [ifseamsaresuspected:PerformMEoneithersideofweldtodetermineifseamwelds arepresent] o [ifmaterialisunknownorsuspect:ConductPMItodeterminematerialcomposition] RTPlugs:PerformVT:MT Penetrations:PerformVT:MT Hangers:PerformperiodicHangerWalkdownsintheHotandColdconditions. HangerLugs,InsulationLugs:PerformVT:MT Valves:PerforminternalVT:inspectadjacentgirthwelds. SeamWelds:[IfSeamsarepresent]PerformVT:MT:UTT:UTP/UTOF Attemperator:PerformVidBoroninternalandPTonnozzle. Flanges,Reducers,WyeBlocks:PerformVT:Inspectadjacentgirthwelds.

ForFeedwaterPipingSystemsconcernistheexistenceofFlowAcceleratedCorrosion Elbows,Tees,reducersorotherareasofvelocityincrease:PerformUTTforFAC:CAfor ChromiumContent Hangers:PerformperiodicHangerWalkdownsintheHotandColdconditions. GirthWelds,PenetrationsandRTplugsorotherattachments:PerformVT[inareaofFAC inspection] Valves:N/A