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Chapter - 1

A country’s production of electricity is a basic indicator of its size & level of
developments. Although a few countries export electric power, mostly generation
is for domestic consumption.
In 1983 the first electric supply undertaking was established in India by a
company, which constructed a small generating station in the city of Surat in
Gujrat. This was perhaps one of the earliest electric supply companies anywhere in
the world. This undertaking got as far as lighting the main streets of the city by arc
lamps, but unfortunately in the next year disastrous floods of the river Tapi
submerged its generating plant. In the year 1896 an undertaking started operation
at Calcutta. Thus the beginning of electric supply industry in India was mainly due
to private company effort.
According to reports (1998)
The total installed capacity



Thermal power


55,969.48MW = 62.76%



21,891.08MW = 24.55%



2,225.00MW = 2.49%

Diesel, wind & gas


9,081.31MW = 10.18%

Installed power generation capacity, however does not give a correct
indication of the quantum of the reliable generation capacity (utilization factor). As
the thermal power units are periodically required to be close down (called planned
outages) for mandatory repair, inspection & overhauling. Consequently the
availability of TPP is reduced to about 60% even under the best condition of
operation & management. (The ratio of reliable capacity / installed capacity is

called utilization factor). In India the average utilization factor is about 46% .So as
such there exists a room for improving the availability. This would probably off
set the gap in present demand & supply more economically.
The forced shut down of a boiler due to failure of components severely
affects the progress through non-availability of power which is the basic need for
growth in national economy. Some of the outages are due to tube failures in
pressure parts most of which can be minimized by proper care and preventive steps
of its causes.
The actual cost of repairing failed tubes is less than the cost of generation
loss due to outage, so it becomes imperative to repair & bring the unit quickly into
service. Also, it is equally important to identify the cause of failure so as to take
corrective action and preventive measures so that the failure does not recur. Tube
failure is most significant causes of bringing down the plant availability in utility
fossil-fired boilers. Shutdown of a 200MW unit on account of tube failure will
cause a loss of several lakhs rupees, even when the shutdown is only for three
days. Further, during outage of boiler, if the secondary damages due to the tube
failure is not detected additional failure during start up or afterwards can occur,
thus prolonging shutdown & increasing the generation loss.
1. Forced / unplanned / planned outages in power plant amount to 15%.
2. Forced / unplanned / planned outages resulting out of boiler are 60% or more of
the above (1).
3. Outages due to boiler tube leakage are 75% or more of the above (2).

About The Process
Boiler is a composed of number of tubes. It covers the following heating zones.
1. Water Walls
2. Super-Heaters
3. Re- Heaters
4. Economiser

Water Walls
Almost all-modern power boilers are equipped with water walls. In large
boilers water walls completely occur in the interior surface of the furnace
providing practically complete elimination of exposed refractory surface. Water
walls serve as means of heating and evaporating the feed water supplied to the
boiler from economiser. Water walls usually consist of large number of vertical
tubes arranged tangentially or approximately. They are connected at the top and
bottom of headers. These tubes receive water from the boiler drum by means of
down comers connected between drum and water wall lower header. In boiler the
water walls absorb approximately 50% of heat released by combustion of fuel in
the furnace. Heat so absorbed is used in evaporation of all or a relatively large

So in modern Boilers SH are widely used to increase cycle efficiency economically. By increasing the temperature of the medium (steam) the useful energy that can be recovered increases thus efficiency of the cycle is improved. Types of water walls a) Tangent tube construction b) Membrane wall construction Super.Heaters SH are meant to raise the steam temperature above the saturation temperature by absorbing heat from flue gas.percentage of water supplied to the boiler. The maximum temperature to which steam can be heated is dictated by the metallurgy & economy in initial cost and maintenance . The mixture of steam and water is discharged from top of water wall tubes into the upper wall header and then passes through riser tubes to the steam drum.

Even though the surfaces get heat by both radiation and convection. Because of these additional investment. part of the energy has been extracted in H. SH also eliminates the formation of condensate during transporting of steam in pipelines and inside the early stages of turbines.The other surfaces are called as convection type. . Present trend is to limit the steam temperature value to 540 oC both in SH as well as reheater.) heating surface. The Reheater and SH placed above furnace which can view the flame is called Radiant type . isolating valve. safety equipment like safety valve.e. boiler turbine connecting piping.P. complexity in operation and reduced availability of such system offsets the gain in efficiency of the system gets minimised.cost. instruments etc. Reheating requires additional equipment (i. Radiant surfaces are located at high temperature region. which is harmful to the turbine blades and pipelines. NRV. The limit is also dictated by the predicted fuel price over the period of operation. This is another method of increasing the  cycle. Water Walls Reheater RH is used to raise the temperature of cold steam from which.T. the ratio between them varies according to the location and temperature of flue gases at that location. The efficiency increases with number of stages of reheating. Types of SH & RH These heating surfaces can be classified into convection and radiant type according to heat transfer process. Hence single RH can be economically applied only for capacity above 100 MW & two RH for capacity above 500MW. steam temperature regulating equipment .

The SH & RH can also arranged as ceiling or wall and they are termed as ceiling superheater or wall SH etc. .They are widely pitched to reduce the velocity of gas and bridging the surface by the ash . operating cost of draft loss and cost of tube material used at location. The SH and RH can be arranged either horizontally or allowed to hung vertically. Also on load cleaning of surfaces. This arrangement is pendent type. Hence In line or staggered arrangement is selected based on fuel fouling characteristic. Staggered arrangement requires fewer surfaces for the same duty but draft loss will be more. accordingly. The vertical arrangements are simpler in supporting and allows for expansion . Expansion movement should also be permitted with advantage of draining. The surface can be designed to place in such way that the flow direction of flue gas and steam is in line parallel or opposite. The SH which is placed at lower flue gas temperature region is called as Low Temperature Super heater (LTSH). Counter flow arrangement is used in most cases except in final section where the metal temperature limitations call for parallel flow. They are called platen SH. Horizontal SH needs supporting of tubes at multi points to avoid sagging . Arrangements of SH and RH Generally the heating surface can be arranged in line or staggered. They are arranged inline with least longitudinal pitch. Counter flow arrangement has advantages of minimum surface area requirement but the metal temperature at the leaving section is high compared to parallel flow. will not be effective.

Economiser coils are designed for horizontal placement. thus saving in fuel consumption. which is essential. for pulverized fuel fired boiler. This is a good proposition as the heat available in boiler exit flue gas can be economically recovered using air heater. which facilitate draining of the coil & favours the arrangement in the second pass of boiler. .Economiser The function of an economiser in a steam-generating unit is to absorb heat from the flue gases & add this as sensible heat to the feed water before the water enters the evaporative circuit of the boiler. Water flow is from bottom to top so that any steam formed during heat transfer can move along with water & prevent the lock up steam. In the modern boiler (used for power generation) feed water heaters are used to increased the efficiency of the unit & feed water temperature. Earlier the economisers were introduced mainly to recover the heat available in flue gas that leaves the boiler. Location & Arrangements It is usual to locate economiser ahead of Air Heaters & following the primary SH or RH in the gas stream. So the name “economiser” was christened. Provision of this additional heating surface increased the efficiency of steam generation. Hence it will generally be contained in the same casing as the primary SH or RH tubes. So the relative size of economiser is less than earlier unit. which will cause overheating. & failure of economizer tube. Counter flow arrangement is normally selected so that heating surface requirement is kept minimum for the same temperature drop in the flue gas.

Steel production consists of removal of slag of excessive amount of carbon silicon & manganese. Carbon . This type had good resistance against gas side corrosion but was heavy in weight.I. of variations in this type was available in earlier days. magnetite (Fe3O4).line or staggered type formation. This is followed by addition of controlled quantities of Large no. particularly oxygen & hydrogen. 2) Welded fin. silicon. limonite (2Fe2O3 3H2O) & siderite (FeCo3). are alloys of iron and carbon containing upto 2%. Modern boiler uses only plain or fin welded design as gas side corrosion is not faced due to high feed water temperature. & impurities such as sulphur & phosphorus by chemical reactions.Types of construction of economiser Tube 1) Plain Tube Plain tube economisers have several banks of tubes with either in. Other alloying elements are added in case of alloy steels. Cast Iron shrouds were shrunk on mild steel tubes for use as economiser in stoker fired boiler. Steel is cast in an initially malleable mass. are alloys of iron & carbon containing approximately 2% to 4. The solubility diminishes with falling temperature & gases released during cooling may be entrapped in the solidifying . The first step in the production of iron & steel is reduction of the ore with coke & limestone in blast furnace to produce an impure form of iron called pig iron. Steels like cast iron . manganese & aluminium to produce required composition. C. The principle ores of iron are heamatite (Fe2O3). Steels in the molten state can contain in solution relatively large quantities of gases. Pig iron is then remelted in a cupola furnace to produce cast iron. Materials Used for Boiler Tubes Metallic iron is rarely found in nature.5% carbons.

copper & cobalt. and Titanium & Niobium. Additions of the austenite stablising elements reduce temperature at which the austenite to ferrite change occurs and will consequently facilitate the formation . which tend to harden the steel. It is necessary to remove most of the gases whilst the steel is still molten. Alloying elements can be broadly classified into two groups a) Austenite Stabilizers: Which have the effects of extending the temperature range over which austenite is formed. Such elements are Silicon Chromium.steel. Molybdenum. b) Introducing complex precipitates. molybdenum & vanadium also form carbides. 2) To modify the room temperature & Elevated temperature strength of given structures by a) Stiffening the crystals. Some of these elements for example chromium. manganese. giving rise to extensive porosity. 3) To modify the type of oxide film formed on the surface of the steel & there by affects its corrosion resistance. Tungsten. b) Ferrite Stabilizers: Which have the effect of extending the temperature range over which alpha & delta ferrite are formed. This consequently reduces temperature range over which austentile is formed. a list of a few of the more important effects is given below. nickel. 1) To alter the transformation temperatures and time. Effects of Alloying The effects of alloying elements are numerous. Such elements are carbon. which replace or modify the iron carbide in the structure. All cast ingots contains a small proportion of cavities but these have little significance & are welded up by a pressure welding process during rolling or forging.

Although 5% is insufficient to obtain useful resistance to atmospheric & aqueous corrosion. it is enough to improve the oxidation resistance up to about 600c. A further important property of chromium particularly marked when present in quantities above about 5% is to improve resistance to corrosion & oxidation. upto 575 degree C these steels have good resistance to oxidation in air or flue gases but above this. In carbon & many low – alloy steels. the rate of oxidation increase rapidly. Application of this type of steel is steam turbine blades. This also means that for a given cooling rate. Further increasing the chromium content produces a more resistant oxide film & at 13% satisfactory resistance to mild corrosion media such as wet steam is achieved. impellers & water turbine runners. in excesses of about 5% promotes the formation of a more protective oxide film . however. satisfactory oxidation resistance at 1100 degree C can be obtained.e. A) Chromium Chromium. has a side effect of making the structural changes very sluggish. This suppresses the austenite to ferrite change in heat treatment easily . It is therefore extensively used in steels to be hardened & tempered. Increasing the chromium content above 13% produces improved resistance to more corrosive media & at 28% chromium.of martensite with slower rates of cooling that are necessary with plain carbon steels. At elevated temperature i. The presence of chromium. this oxide film offers little or no resistance to atmospheric corrosion. although in itself a ferrite & carbide former. propeller & pump shafts. Resistance to corrosion & oxidation of steel depends on the film of oxide formed on its surface . larger cross. B) Nickel In order to be able to utilize the good corrosion – resisting properties of these high chromium steels and at the same time attain satisfactory engineering .sections can be fully hardened uniformly throughout their section.

these austentite steels are similar to the high chromium ferritic steels in that they cannot be hardened by normal heat treatment. This is the well – known S80 steel (En 57) which is widely used for pump shafts in the marine field.magnetic and they have a high coefficient of thermal expansion and a low thermal conductivity. These include superheater tubing and steam piping where the metal temperatures are in excess of 550C. This can be done by adding nickel. they do have good elevated temperature tensile properties which. is suppressed below room temperature. In addition. since they are austenitic. when combined with their good corrosion resistance suit them to application demanding this combination. and numerous types of pressure vessels employed in the chemical and allied industries. it is necessary to re-establish the austentite region. they are non. . These steels are termed austenite and include the well-known 18/8 stainless steel. gas turbine components. on which hardening and tempering are dependent. Maintaining a chromium level of 18%. the addition of increasing amounts of nickel extends the They are different from the ferritic high chromium steels in that they are extremely ductile. and ideally suited for deep pressings and similar applications.established austentite region until at 8% nickel the temperature of the change from austenite to ferrite is suppressed below room temperature and the structure at room temperature consists of grains of austenite. Although these steels are not hardenable and have relatively low tensile strength at room temperature. With an 18% chromium steel the addition of about 2% of nickel does this and produces a steel which can be hardened and tempered. Since the austenite-ferrite change.

15% in order to assure optimum ductility for welding.e. expanding. The carbon content is usually restricted to a maximum of about 0. the . When added in amounts up to 2. In general.5%. Nevertheless. The curves in figure indicate the general effect of carbon on the mechanical properties of hot – rolled carbon steel. i.08%.C) Carbon Carbon is not generally regarded as an “alloying” element because steel would not be steel without carbon. it is appropriate in a discussion of alloying elements to note the specific effects of carbon on the properties of steel. To minimize intergranular corrosion caused by carbide precipitation. an increase in carbon content produces higher ultimate strength and hardness but lowers ductility and toughness of steel alloys. C) Silicon Silicon contributes greatly to the production of sound steel because of its deoxidizing and degasifying properties. or even less.resistant applications. and bending operations.carbon grades used in certain corrosion. An increase in carbon content lessens the thermal and electrical conductivities of steel and increases its hardness on quenching. the carbon content of austenitic (18-8 type) alloys is limited in commercial specification to a maximum of 0. especially in the presence of chromium in low – alloy steel for high – temperature applications. Carbon also increases air – hardening tendencies and weld hardness. 0.03% in the extremely low.4% carbon. In plain carbon steels in the normalised condition. At higher temperature there is but little variation of creep properties with carbon content. the resistance to creep at temperature below 440C appears to increase with carbon content upto 0.

ultimate strength of the steel is increased without loss in ductility. Silicon steels are. Titanium is also a good deoxidizer and denitrider. Silicon in excess of 2. Resistance to oxidation and surface stability of steel is increased by the addition of silicon. manganese serves as an inexpensive means of preventing “red shortness” (brittleness. These desirable effects partially compensate for the tendency of silicon to lower the creep properties of steel. F) Titanium and Columbium (Niobium) These are potent carbide-forming elements. This allows the chromium to remain in solid solution and in the . As an alloying element. manganese increases the crack sensitivity of weldments particularly with steels of higher carbon content. However. and resistance to wear. now more commonly known as “hot shortness”). and amounts higher than 5% make the steel nonmalleable. Silicon increases the electrical resistivity of steel and decreases hysteresis losses. Unlike silicon. manganese benefits the creep properties of steel. notably the ratio of yield strength to tensile strength at normal temperatures. hardenability. widely used in electrical apparatus. It does not appear to have any specific influence on the resistance to oxidation or corrosion of steel. therefore. E) Manganese Manganese is an excellent deoxidizer and sulfur neutralizer.5% causes brittleness. It improves rolling properties. These elements are most effective in the chromiumnickel austenitic alloys (18-8 type) where they react more readily with carbon than doe’s chromium. and improves the mechanical properties of steel.

temperature properties. Both columbium and titanium have been used in some of the “super alloys” to improve high.nickel stainless steels. These elements seem to have a beneficial effect on the long – time high – temperature properties of chromium.concentrations necessary to maintain the “stainlessness” (corrosion resistance) of the steel. .hardening tendencies and to increase resistance to oxidation in steel containing upto 14% Cr. Titanium and columbium (or columbium plus tantalum) are sometimes used to reduce air.

 Abnormal coolant flow from a blockage in the tube  Blockage due to debris in the tube  Blockage due to scale in the tube  Blockage due to condensate in the tube following an incomplete boil out  Excessive combustion gas temperatures  High temperatures from over-firing during start-up. there is a maximum allowable stress at a particular temperature. still other appearances are possible.Chapter . while a large fracture could have a thick-edged. If the tube metal temperature increases beyond this point. The area around the . With ferritic steel. With other tube materials. creep will occur and the tube will eventually fail by stress rupture. 2) High Temperature Creep (Stress Rupture) A small fracture may be associated with a blister. 2. with a thin edge fracture is most likely. "fish mouth".2 BOILER TUBE FAILURE MECHANISMS Identification 1) Short term Overheating (Stress Rupture) For a specific tube material. The causes for this type of failure are the following (Fig.  Superheaters and reheaters can experience interruptions and/or reductions in steam flow that can increase tube metal temperatures that lead to stress rupture failures. longitudinal crack.3). a "fish mouth" or longitudinal rupture.

with significant oxide scale penetration.4a) There are two types of caustic corrosion: caustic embrittlement and caustic gouging. embrittlement is relatively uncommon in comparison to caustic gouging. The weld crack will be circumferential at the weld. Caustic gouging is a general eating away of the protective magnetite film until the tube wall is thinned to failure. or other welded attachment  Partial pluggage from blockage or internal scale 3) Dissimilar Metal Welds (Stress Rupture) The weld failures will normally have one side of the weld that responds to a magnet. Caustic embrittlement is an intergranular attack along grain boundaries leading to sudden failures. Caustic . while the other does not. which add up to the total stress. The cause of failure relate the stress of the two metals expanding differently And the following  Stress from internal steam pressure  Stress from the vertical weight on the weld  Stress from the constraints of how the tube is supported or attached  Internal thermal gradients. over on the side that responds to the magnet. the ferritic side. Caustic Corrosion (Water-side Corrosion) (Fig.fracture may have an alligator hide appearance. 4. the sooner the weld fails. 2. longer term failure such as these are the following  High heat flux into a section of the boiler that could have used a higher grade of steel  Excessive hot gas flow through an area that is plugged  Excessive heat absorption from an adjacent lug. The higher the value. The root causes for high temperature.

Proper adjustment of boiler water chemistry is required to prevent caustic gouging. The tube fails when the tube is so thin that it cannot take the internal pressure any longer. It normally occurs in stressed and restricted areas where boiler water containing caustic soda can reach high concentration levels (100. the escaping steam leaves the tube-drum interface highly concentrated with soluble boiler water salts. then the potential for caustic embrittlement exists. . If leakage occurs around the rolled-in tube. The two conditions necessary for caustic gouging are : a concentrating mechanism must be initiated and free caustic must be present in the boiler water. Caustic corrosion can cause either a pinhole leak or what looks more like a small. Dirty tubes are far more susceptible to caustic gouging because the deposits trap and concentrate the boiler water. The most common occurrence of caustic embrittlement is on tubes that the rolled into boiler drums. There is often a thick deposit on the inside of the tube. If caustic is present. bulged.Caustic embrittlement is characterized by intergranular cracking with very little metal loss.000 ppm NaOH). This water side corrosion literally eats away the protective magnetite film along boiler tubing. These failures are usually found where the heat flux is greatest and are the result of the following  Condenser leaks  Deposits of caustic contaminants from the feed water system  Upsets in the boiler water chemistry. but the leak could purge much of the deposit. concentrating mechanism and free caustic.000 to 200. Three conditions are necessary for caustic embrittlement: high metal stress. thin edge rupture. There is no question that more boilers suffer from caustic gouging.

the sooner failures could occur. Hydrogen damage will not occur under alkaline conditions. Note that if the deposit is not there to begin with. Hydrogen Damage (Water-side Corrosion) Hydrogen damage is a serious and costly type of water side corrosion that affects generating tubes in sub critical boilers operating above 124. but it becomes more uncommon as the operating pressure is reduced. The failure's root cause is (Fig.5)  Boiler water chemistry that has turned acidic.11 bar or 1800 psig.  Hydrogen damage will occur whenever acidic conditions exist in the boiler  Clean tubes are far less susceptible to hydrogen damage than heavily deposited tubes. rather than its normally caustic level.5. the excursion to low pH by itself will not cause hydrogen damage. Sometimes hardened dense .  The dirtier the boiler water. almost like a window that has been placed in the tube.  In-leakage of condenser water which tends to be acidic  Contamination from a chemical cleaning procedure  Higher heat flux which helps to form the deposit in the first place. Certain types of adherent and nonporous deposits appear to promote localized hydrogen attack more readily. 2. The failures remove a chunk of tube. making it difficult to detect using ultrasonic devices. The failure has a thick edge fracture that removes the heavy deposit that lead to the failure. Hydrogen damage seldom causes any significant wastage of the tube wall. Lower pressure units can also experience hydrogen damage.

6) Water containing dissolved oxygen is highly corrosive to many metals . It appears as a steep edged crater with red iron oxide surrounding the pit. Far less commonly. 6. Localized pitting is found where oxygen is allowed to come in contact with the inside of the tubes. when the steam cools  Outages where air gets inside the assembly from adjacent repairs. Typically the chemical attack is on the inside of the tube and works its way out through the growing crack. 2. therefore everything must be done to minimize the introduction of oxygenated water into the boiler and pre-boiler systems.e. Sometimes there is a series of smaller pits. which is just about anywhere. The typical cause starts with  High levels of oxygen in the feed water. poor deaeration at start-up  Filling of condensate in low point.oxide plugs of magnetite dispersed with copper form directly over hydrogen damaged areas. The root cause is the coupling of more than one factor working on the same location  Contaminants can come from boiler steam drum carry over . such as bends. Pitting – Localised corrosion (Water-side corrosion)(Fig.2. i. Stress Corrosion Cracking (Water-side Corrosion) (Fig. Much of the suspended crux that enters an operating boiler is the direct result of oxygen attack of components in the pre-boiler system. depending on how the stress is oriented. Oxygen corrosion can dramatically affect various components in operating and non-operating boilers.7) These thick-edged fractures can be either circumferential or longitudinal. the chemical attack exists on the outside (fire side) and works its way inward. The tube surface near the pit may show little or no attack. or vents being left open as the steam condenses 7.

A broad. 2. The root cause for low temperature failures are  The presence of sulfur in the oil. A gouged exterior and a thin ductile failure characterize this form of failure. Water wall corrosion (Fire side) (Fig. general thinning occurs with the surface of the tube having fairly deep longitudinal and lateral gouges or cracks. Sulfur trioxide (SO3). Certain acidic salts (ferrous sulfate for example) can hydrolyze in moist environment to produce low pH conditions that will attack carbon steel. When the pressure becomes too great. can react with water vapour to produce sulfuric acid.9) Fire side water wall corrosion covers a broad array of corrosive forces from the intense combustion process. 9. Low temperature corrosion (Fire side) (Fig. Contaminants can come from contamination in the desuperheater spray  External contaminants come from acidic components to the fuel  Additionally there must be a stress possibly from a bend in the tube  Weld attachments from initial assembly  Or possibly from cyclic unit operation 8. which has an opportunity to condense on the last rows of economiser tubes  The condensing of sulfur and ash when the exit gas temperature is low. the pressure inside blows out a hole. The thin . Water washing can also produce acid attack. 2. sulfuric acid condenses along metal surfaces and corrodes the metal.8) External surfaces of furnace tubes that are exposed to a moist environment containing flue gases can experience acid corrosion. If the temperature is below the dew point. present in the cooler flue gas areas.

cyclic stresses produce a series of parallel surface cracks. 11. The fatigue is caused by  Sudden cooling of the tube metal. The root cause is  The vibration of the tube. a thick edge failure can form at the toe of the weld. corrosion and stress . caused by the steady flow of exhaust gases  Along with a lug location that induces a rigid point that will concentrate the force into a short distance. 2. Thermal Fatigue (Fig. however this time the corrosive environment adds to the deterioration by forcing an oxide wedge into the cracks. The causes have two key ingredients.11) The flexing action of thermal fatigue produces multiple surface cracks. either from within or externally  Rapid change in the feed water temperatures to the economiser. maloperation of the pre-boiler system 12. running at right angles to the weld. 2. Pits can often be found on the inside surface of the cracks.e.wall ductile rupture will go length wise down the tube. further leveraging the fracture. The surface of the tube will typically have a hard dark slag deposit. The causes are  A zone of combustion where there is too little oxygen  High level of chloride or sulfides in the fuel being burned 10.12) Like the previous fatigue mechanism. laterally across the tube which results in a thick edge fracture. i. Vibration Fatigue (Fig. Corrosion Fatigue (Fig. The thick edge fracture will be coated with an oxide layer. 2.10) In locations where boiler tubes are welded to support lugs. This fracture is circumferential.

 Insufficient neutralization of boiler wash chemicals prior to returning a unit to service. 2. but in time the chemical contamination will act on the most sensitive locations and result in such mechanisms as hydrogen damage.  External corrosion in steam cooled units aggravates the cyclic flexing where the tube enters the header. stress corrosion cracking. The causes are  Mal operation or mechanical malfunctions of the pre-boiler water treatment system. or dented. corrosion fatigue. there is induced stress from the way the tube is tied to a structural support. the damage will appear as a general pitting of the tubes' internal surface.13) When accumulations need to be removed with force. There is either induced stress from the way the tube connects to another pressure part or. caustic corrosion. . 13.14) Initially. Maintenance Cleaning Damage (Quality Control) (Fig. it is possible that tubes will be gouged. etc. Chemical Excursion Damage (Quality Control) (Fig. Some of the most common causes are  Hammering on a tube or its supporting lug  Chiseling at fused material  Poking and vacuuming ash/dust/debris out of tight spaces  Aqua-blasting 14.  There is residual stress left over from fabrication  Internal pits from dissolved oxygen or acidic corrosion from the pre-boiler circuit aggravate the cracking process in the water cooled tubes. 2. This point of stress will be a weak link that eventually gives way.

In either case. 2. Steam/Condensate Erosion When a failure is allowed to continue for several hours or days. Welding Defects (Quality Control) (Fig. and if the defect is a flaw. or corrosion fatigue failure. and resultant corrosion. The root cause is –  Decision making in how quickly a unit is brought off-line once a failure is found  Insufficient documentation to justify the economics of not waiting to bring the unit off-line to attend to the tube failure. Causes again relate to quality control  The procedure  Weld material used  Preparation of the tube ends before the first pass 17.15. the result can amount to more time and energy needed to make repairs. it can become a failure from the internal scale build-up. the result can be a stress rupture.15) When the wrong material is installed. where stress is concentrated in a small area.16) If the defect is most notable on the inside. the cause is  Poor QA on the part of the manufacturer  Material fabrication  Storage  Installation 16. If the defect is with the integrity of the weld itself. the failures often appear as a brittle failure. the failure may appear as a fatigue failure. 2. . Material Defects (Quality Control) (Fig.

 Difference in the coefficient in expansion between the internal magnetite layer and the tube metal. however. . Exfoliation (Fig. 2. resulting in spalling of scale when the unit cycles  Quenching of the tube internals when the unit is in a start-up mode. and the damaged component is in the turbine's internals. The spalling of the indigenous oxide on superheater. and some tubing problems do not necessarily reduce availability by virtue of a tube failure. resulting in forced migration of steam into the black oxide scale layer within the tube.17) The above list of 17 failure mechanism does not necessarily include all possible failure modes. With exfoliation. consider the following  Bottling-up of stream in the tube when the unit trips. reheater tubes and steam piping is referred to as exfoliation. as in the example shown below.18. the tube wastage is from the inside out. The root cause is not known.

and based on the determination. Often a combination of the above factors may be responsible for failures. All of the types of failures that may occur and all of the conditions that promote them are too numerous to list. in a broad generalization one may say that the following factors may cause service failures : i) Deficiencies in design lay out. Failures are of extreme importance to plant operators.Chapter – 3 METALLURGICAL FAILURE INVESTIGATIONS OF BOILER TUBES IN THERMAL POWER PLANTS INTRODUCTION Although failures/leakages may occur in a relatively low percentage of the total boiler tubes used in a power plant. . corrective action should be initiated that will prevent similar failures. iii) Incorrect material selection. fabricators and suppliers alike. iv) Deficiencies in operating conditions. People learn by mistakes and hence a correct diagnostic analysis of failure help in their future prevention. maintenance Engineers. manufacture and erection of the equipment. A failure investigation and subsequent analysis should determine the primary cause of failure. However. v) Deficiencies in maintenance. ii) Poor material quality and deficiencies in fabrication. they may cause a critical breakdown resulting in forced shutdown of generation.

a) Economiser Intermediate Box Drain Tube The economiser intermediate box drain tube in the power plant had suffered a rupture along the longitudinal axis of the tube (Fig. (b) Overheating of other tubes banks because of a loss of boiler circulation. (c) Damage to other components in the system resulting from loss of working fluid. v) Analysis of the evidence. local surface corrosion products. etc. The tube had opened out in the manner of a .Stages of an analysis Although the sequence is subject to variation depending on the nature of specific boiler tube failures. deposits or coatings. secondary cracks and other surface phenomena).). the principal stages that comprise the investigation and analysis of a failure are as follows: i) Collection of background data and history ii) Visual or preliminary examination of the damaged/failed tube iii) Non-destructive inspection iv) Selection of specimens from the tubes : a) For microscopic examination and analysis (fracture surface. SPECIFIC CASE STUDIES Case I: Failures Involving Tube Ruptures Sudden rupture of a tube in a steam generator is a serious failure. 1). formulation of conclusions and drafting the report. because the steam generator must be shut down immediately to avoid (a) Erosion and steam-cut on adjacent tubes by escaping steam. Such sudden ruptures can be caused by overheating. The length of the ruptured portion was approximately 330 mm. b) For mechanical testing including hardness and tensile testing c) Chemical Assessing (bulk.

The tube had failed as a result of prolonged localized overheating. Microstructural examination of the specimen selected judiciously from the extreme edge of the rupture covering the external surface revealed "inter crystalline” penetration of oxide scales (oxide-rooting) to an appreciable depth from the external surface of the tube (Fig. In the present case. Metrological measurement of the tube had established considerable amount of 'thinning and bulging" out of the wall of the subject tube. This in turn. Boiler quality carbon steel. and failure occurred. Further. This type of failure can be minimized by improving upon the tube layout design. conforming to the specification B. It also exhibited considerable decarborization of the material. Sometimes "Steam Blanket" preferentially might be formed inside the tube wall. . 4). might have deteriorated the heat transfer characteristics of the subject tube material. the microstructure away from the ruptured zone illustrated a ferrite-pearlite structure which is normal of this type of steel (Fig.S. There was a tightly adhering 'black-scale' on the outer surface of the tube. 2). The economiser tube may be changed into a vertical position instead of horizontal as in the present case to avoid possible formation of steam-blanket in the pipe wall.'thick-lip' rupture. 36021962 grade Hot Finished Seamless – 27. Due to 'overheating' and consequential 'oxidation' and ‘spheroidization’ the material could not withstand the working stress. was used as the material of construction for the economiser tube. and caused localized 'over heating'. the economiser tube was placed horizontally. 3). Microstructure in and around the rupture area of the tube represented globular carbides indicating "spherodization" of the carbide constitute of pearlite within and at the boundary of the ferrite grains (Fig.

the material strength in the affected region could not cope-up with the operating stress at the elevated temperature for long duration. The rupture had extended along the length of the tube and was accompanied by noticeable localize dwelling (Fig. The tube had ruptured characteristically with a 'fish mouth' type which was about 39 cms. which resulted in the weakening of the tube.b) Secondary Superheater Tube The boiler in the power plant used pulverized coal as fuel. 5). Due to 'spheroidization'. For the construction of superheater tubes. Microscopic examination of the specimens taken from the vicinity of rupture showed coalescence of fine particles of alloy carbides in the matrix of ferrite (Fig. .S. proper temperature monitoring systems by installing built-in thermocouples on the tube walls should be incorporated. To minimize the occurrences of such failures. There were no seals either on the outside or inside surface of the tube. Further. boiler quality steel (specification B. 6). while normal microstructures consisting of fine dispersion of alloy carbide particles in a matrix of ferrite at the areas away from the ruptured zone (Fig. This evidence clearly indicates that the effected area has been continuously heated below the lower critical temperature (A1) of the steel for a prolonged period in a much localized area of the material. 7). Thus the tube material was subjected to slow and progressive plastic deformation under the influence of operating stress and temperature. The characteristic features of the rupture indicated that the rupture had taken place after localized 'ballooning' of the tube wall. long and 8 mm wide at its maximum. variation in wall thickness in the zone rupture was noticed. 3059/12) was used. and its eventual rupture.

There was no evidence of corrosion or fitting on the bore of tube. fine dispersion of alloy carbides particles in a matrix of ferrite (Fig. There were no seals either on the outside or inside surface of the tube.e. The material used for the secondary superheater tube conforms to ASTM A 335 (Grade P5) Boiler quality steel. Further. typical crack on the bore surface was noticed . on dissection of the tube longitudinally. .Case II – Poor material Quality and Deficiency in Fabrication The present case documents an interesting analysis of failure of secondary superheater tube in a power plant due to poor material quality and processing defects. metrological measurements in regard to the well thickness at different locations of the tube in the vicinity of crack and at its sound portion as well as the roundness error on the inside diameter at the sound portion were done. No swelling was observed in the cracked zone. To substantiate the case of failure. The observations showed heterogeneity in measured values. and had extended along the length of the tube. Microstructural analysis of the samples selected from the vicinity of crack and away from it revealed almost identical structures.The bore surface of the tube was also found to be uneven and noticeable ribs (alternate elevation and depression on the tube wall) were detected. The damaged tube had a crack of about 53 cms long. i. 10). It was also evident that longitudinal and discontinuous crack propagated along one of the pronounced ribs. This illustrated that the tube was not overheated as the microstructure was quite agreeable to this class of material as developed in commercial production of the tubes.

leakages/ruptures of boiler tubes in the power plants can occur due to (a) embrittlement arising out of hydrogen damage. (d) fire side corrosion resulting from combustion of fossil fuel. Usually the most spectacular or dramatic failures are carefully studied while little emphasis is placed on the common failures. (d) abrasives erosion of superheater tubes results from impact by particles of fly ash entrained in the flue gases.The roundness error on the inside diameter of the round region of the cracked tube was in the order of 0. Thus metallurgical analysis of such failures is all the more important. This is represented graphically in Fig. Certainly many types of failures were not discussed and no attempt could be made to illustrate all the types of failures possible. (e) stress corrosion cracking of the tubes where feed or condensate can collect.60 mm. The causes that promote failures can indeed be many and complex and attempt has been made to illustrate and discuss some of the more common failures and the related causes.11. (b) water side corrosion by feed water. . Remarks The foregoing illustrations have discussed many causes related to failure. Many analyses of plant or operational failures usually add upto high separational costs due to time loss resulting from make-shift maintenance or repairs in order to continue operation. Development of ribs on the bore surface of the tube during tube production might have a contributory effect towards the failure of this nature during services. Many failures in steam systems involve more than one failures process the so called multiple mode failures. In addition to above causes.

There are several types of corrosion possible. The main need is to protect the internals from corrosion – which cause ultimate failure. NEED FOR WATER CONDITIONING 1. based on experience. In general . In the present chapter. They are – a) Feed System b) Drum c) Steam and Condensate . There are three zones. It may be due to faulty water conditioning or improper operation.4 SOME CAUSES OF BOILER TUBE FAILURE WHEN SEEN THROUGH A POWER STATION CHEMIST'S EYE INTRODUCTION In power plant operation a Chemist is intimately mixed up with tube failures. every tube failure may be due to any of the following three reasons : a) Material failure b) Mal . where same water is conditioned differently.Chapter . blame goes to the manufacturer. for maloperation and improper water conditioning it is human error.operation c) Improper water conditioning In case of material failure. like i) Dissolved O2 pitting ii) Stress corrosion iii) Ductile corrosion iv) H2 embrittlement etc. it has been tried to show how improper water conditioning can cause tube failures.

Boiler Pressure 60 kg/cm2 and under Particulars Boiler Pressure from 60 kg/cm2 and above PH Cond.5 – 8.0 Upto 4. These parameters vary depending upon the pressure of boiler and temperature of the Steam Cycle. : Conductivity in Micromhos .5 –9. The dosings are mainly of two types volatile and non-volatile.0 Upto 4.5 in drum is maintained by dosing suitable chemicals at different places of the water cycle. Hexameta Phosphate Drum To increase pH to maintain residual phosphate. No.0 0.5 Nil Nil 7. effective parameters are shown.02 Condensate 8. H Silica 7. 1.0 Nil Nil 8. depending upon the metallurgy of the surfaces through which water/steam flows.0 Nil Nil 8.5 Nil Nil Feed 8.5 Nil 0.5-8.0 in make-up to 9. silica.0 Nil 0.9 – 9.9 Upto 100 Nil * 9. to maintain residual phosphate . hardness in ppm CaCO 3. Sr.5 Upto 25 Nil * Steam 8.8 – 9. H Silica PH Cond.7 Upto4. In the table below.0 Upto 2.5 Nil Nil Make up Scale : Cond.5 Nil Nil Drum 9. Nonvolatile Tri-sodium Phosphate Sodium Hydroxide 4.7 Upto 2. The parameters are designed to suit the internals of the system.9 – 9.0 Upto 2. To decrease pH. Volatile Feed System at the suction of feed pump & In condensers at the suction of Extraction pump Drum To scavange oxygen & To increase pH 3.8 –9.3 – 9. * : As per pressure silica curve The change of pH 7. Nonvolatile Sodium Hydroxide & Sodium-di hydrogen Phosphate.02 8. time to time.0 0. so that a corrosion free surface is maintained.Various parameters are laid by the boiler manufacturers. Type of Dosing Volatile Chemical Dosed Place of Dosing Ultimate Effect Ammonia Morpholine Cyclohexyl amine Hydrazine hydrate inhibited or treated hydrazine Feed System at the suction of feed pump To increase pH 2. Silica in ppm.

MAIN CAUSE OF TUBE FAILURES EVEN AFTER PROPER DOSING There can be two types of main causes of failures. Chemical Ammonia Possible Impurities Hardness. These are – a) Improper Chemicals b) Excess or incorrect amount of dosing Improper chemicals not only deviate main aim of water conditioning it raise complication also. Effect of Excess Dosing Chemical Ammonia Normal Reaction Simple addition NH4OH + H2O – NH4OH H2O Hydrazine Phosphate Remarks on effect Caustic corrosion N2H4 + O2 = N2 + 2H2O Effect High pH & Conductivity (Dilution) Oxygen Scavenging 2N2H4 = N2 + H2 + 2NH3 Hydrogen in steam Stress corrosion 2N2H4 +H2O = 2NH4OH + N2 Ammonia formation Na3PO4 + H2O = NaOH + High pH & NaH2PO4 Conductivity None None Caustic attack carry over foaming causing starvation .When dosed properly. Silica Effect or Dosing Very slow increase in pH Rapid increase in conductivity. Free sodium hydroxide in Steam All above conditions lead to tube failure. the required parameters can be obtained and conditioning becomes proper. resulting in a trouble free service. Injection of silica in System/ Phosphate Free Sodium Hydroxide and chloride Unstable pH condition Increase in conductivity Foaming action in drum. the effect of improper chemical dosings are summerised as under with particular reference to the probable impurities.

This reacts with Fe(OH)2 and forms Fe(OH)3. excess of ammonia may give raise to a possible formation of nitric acid as : NH3 + 202 = HNO3 + H2O The possibility is very less due to the presence of excess hydrazine hydrate. Hydrogen Attack This is very serious. sometimes we find unnecessary increase in hydrogen level in steam. resulting static or slow moving slug of steam generation causing rupture in the tube due to irregular heat transfer. The caustic attack due to the presence of excess sodium hydroxide is very much harmful due to the phenomenon known as steam blanketing. yet excess of it may cause soap-bubble effect at a particular point leading to carryover and or volatile caustic carryover from drum and improper distribution of heat flux at any point due to the same. Whereas. . this leads to corrosion as per per-oxide theory. which takes care of any oxygen available in the system.When we analyse the remarks on last column following points are raised on tube failure: a) Caustic attack b) Hydrogen attack Caustic Attack Although the pH of the media is high and safe for most of the tubes. The caustic attack due to sodium hydroxide is very much deteriorating than due to ammonia. The H2 released combines immediately with free O2 to from hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).

resulting improper heat transfer and failure of tubes. OTHER FACTORS LEADING TO TUBE FAILURE The main amongst this is unnecessary increase in dissolved oxygen level. When water and steam chemistry are not maintained . tends to create hydroxyl ions with the available electrons.2Fe(OH)2 + H2O2 = 2Fe(OH)3 But hydrogen aid polarization which reduces electro-chemical reaction. this then forms metal carbonates and ultimately forms metal hydroxide. Dissolved carbon dioxide present in water/steam forms H2CO3 commonly known as carbonic acid. M(Metal) = M+ + e M+ + (OH) ¯ = M(OH) The metal hydroxide which is relatively less soluble has a tendency of forming a deposit. O2 + 2H2O + 4ē= 4 (OH)¯ And each hydroxyl ions so form. boiler. tends to stabilize with positively charged metal ions aiding to corrosion/deposit. CORROSION Control of the water and/or steam environment inside economiser. superheater and reheater tubes is a pre-requisite for trouble free performance of a fossil-fired steam generator. Dissolved oxygen. The effect of CO2 on iron (Fe) is as under – CO2 + H2O = H2CO3 2Fe + 2H2CO3 = 2Fe CO3 + 2H2 2FeCO3 + 5H2O + O = 2Fe (OH)3 + 2H2CO3 as H2CO3 is double in volume the process multiplies leading to further corrosion.

Hydraulic test water. 2. In the pH range from low acid to low-alkaline concentrations the oxides on boiler tubes are fully protective. Water wall corrosion problems generally can be avoided in boiler if – 1. Drum internal and drum water level controls are maintained in good working order. This oxide (magnetite Fe 3O4) is normal product that forms on steel exposed to boiler water. When the pH is excessively high or low. Thus the primary purpose of a boiler water treatment program is to . The magnetite coating is damaged most often by boiler water salt that becomes corrosive when concentrated. corrosion damage may occur in water walls and economiser tubes. 3. 3. Silica concentration in the boiler water is held within acceptable limits. Precautions are taken during chemical cleaning operations to prevent metal attack. the protective oxide is consumed by the corrosive action of the acid or alkaline salts in the water. Feed water oxygen concentration is properly controlled and 4. 2. superheater fill water. It protects the surface from corrosion. The iron oxide coating in the internal surfaces of boiler tubes is to be maintained. Graph 1 show the relative corrosion rate of carbon steel as acid and alkaline concentrations varies in the boiler water. It is preferable to use DM water for these operations. Corrosion products formed in the feed water system are kept within specified limits. Deposition problems can be avoided if – 1. Corrosion rates under these conditions accelerate with increasing concentration.within limits recommended by the boiler manufacturer or a qualified consultant. Recommended water treatment controls are followed. and desuperheater spray water are free of solids.

hydrogen damage is difficult to detect using non-destructive means. Generally. Methane is formed and it exerts internal pressures within the steel. Ultrasonic tube-wall thickness checks can detect tubes with metal loss. in the general areas where metal attack exists. causing grain-boundary fissuring. so that the oxide coating remains intact. Some of the hydrogen produced in the corrosion reaction diffuses into the tube metal where it combines with carbon in the steel. HIGH-pH DAMAGE Ductile failures caused by a gouging type of corrosion usually occur when the concentration of hydroxide salts such as sodium hydroxide in the boiler water is too high. Proper boiler water treatment can minimize further corrosion. but positive identification of all failure prone tube is not possible. Hydrogen induced brittle fracture occurs beneath a relatively dense deposit and is most likely to occur when boiler water pH is too low. Though some metal loss may be caused by corrosion mechanisms. . LOW-pH DAMAGE Corrosion failure occurs when acid or alkaline salts are concentrated.maintain a low concentration of potentially corrosive salts. Brittle fracture occurs along the partially separated boundaries. Arbitrary replacement of tubes. Restoration of proper boiler water treatment may not be sufficient to prevent further hydrogen attack. becomes necessary. the steam generator tube usually fractures long before it has corroded to the point at which tensile failure would occur. Even repeated chemical cleanings sometimes will not remove them. unless the dense corrosion product deposits are removed. Ultrasonic thickness checks may pinpoint some damaged areas. In many cases an entire section is blown out of the damaged tube.

Another potential source of acidic and caustic contaminants is the make up demineralizer.5 ppm for short periods only. sea water and water from Re circulating cooling water systems. Sodium hydroxide is used in conjunction with sodium-phosphate compound to treat boiler water. Shut down the steam generator immediately if the plant's surface condenser leakage produces more than 2 ppm of dissolved solids in the feed water. . a) An acidic or alkaline producing environment prevails. By contrast. with cooling towers contain dissolved solids that hydrolyze to form acidic compounds. Set a limit of 0. For example.MINIMISING CORROSIVE ATTACK Corrosion concentrations of salts generally exist at tube surfaces only when these inter-related conditions are present. Strict tolerance levels on condenser leakage should be established for all high pressure boilers. Fresh water from lakes and rivers. b) The boiler operates outside of the established boiler water treatment recommendations. Corrosion can occur if the sodium hydroxide and sodium phosphate are not added to the water in the proper proportion. The water source determines whether the in-leakage is either acid producing or caustic producing. Chemicals incorrectly applied during boiler water treatment also can be corrosive. where regenerate chemicals such as sulphuric acid and caustic soda may inadvertently enter the feed water system. CAUSES OF HIGH AND LOW pH The primary cause of acidic and caustic boiler water condition is condenser leakage. Raw cooling water that leaks into the condenser essentially ends up in the boiler water. usually provides dissolved solids that hydrolyze in the boiler water environment to form a caustic. allowing abnormal acidic or alkaline conditions to persist. c) A means of concentrating the acidic or alkaline salts exists. such as Sodium Hydroxide. for example.

That is. Graph 3 & 4 show that with only 15oF difference between the bulk fluid and tube wall temperatures. If the phosphate and pH control points are below the curve no potentially damaging free caustic is produced. But it does not give any protection against contaminants. They are volatile and coordinated phosphate/pH control. It does not contribute additional dissolved solids to the boiler water. When porous internal deposits are formed in areas of high heat absorption. Thus. As heat is transferred through the tube wall to the water/steam mixture in the tube. it minimizes the amount of solids that can be carried into the superheater by the steam. sodium hydroxide might concentrate dramatically at the tube surface. Phosphate treatment in drum type units maintains pH in the proper alkaline range to protect the magnetite film and it reacts with salt contaminants to prevent the formation of free caustic or acidic compounds. When boiler water evaporates. even in the event of moderate contamination. This concentration mechanism explains why corrosion damage normally occurs on the tube internal surface facing the fire and tends to be most severe in the highest heat absorbing area. volatile treatment uses a volatile neutralizing amine. dissolved solids such as sodium hydroxide. the temperature of the internal surface of the tube is slightly higher than that of the bulk fluid. . a temperature gradient is established. because the deposit acts as a diffusion barrier. with a corresponding pH as shown in the Graph 2. Briefly. such as salts carried into the boiler by condenser cooling water. The concentrating mechanism most often responsible for corrosion damage involves internal deposits. however.WATER TREATMENT CONTROLS To protect steam generator tubes against corrosion two widely used boiler water treatments are available. Coordinated phosphate/pH control is maintained by using a combination of di-sodium phosphate and trisodium phosphate or sodium hydroxide to give a residual phosphate concentration of upto 10 ppm. to maintain a pH that will not disrupt the magnetite coating on the boiler tubes. such as ammonia. it is possible to produce very high stable concentrations. concentrate in the thin film between the tube wall and the bulk fluid.

The following are few of the ways to minimise oxygen infiltration during idle and start up periods and to reduce the transport of corrosion products to the boiler. Idle units may even become saturated with oxygen if proper precautions are not exercised. etc. perhaps more critical than pH-especially during start-up. The boiler and as much of the pre-boiler system as possible should be blanketed with steam or nitrogen when the unit is out of service. 3.Pre-boiler corrosion occurs when oxygen and pH values deviate from established limits. peg the deaerator with steam from the boiler drum until turbine extraction steam is available. provide a path for air into the system. Connect aerated storage water into the feed water system only through the dearerating section of the condenser. Introduce aerated storage water into the feed water system only through the dearerating section of the condenser. Excellent results have been obtained with solutions containing 200 ppm of hydrazine and 10 ppm of ammonia for lay up period of more than one year. reduce the dosage to 50 ppm of hydrazine and 0. flanges. and idle periods. fill the boiler and feed water system to the greatest extent possible with the corrosion inhibitor. Oxygen control is. Thus any leaking valves. or through the aerator. 2. 1. For pre-boiler systems containing copper alloys. 4. . Oxygen concentration in feed water should be maintained at less than about 5 ppb during unit operation to minimise the formation of pre-boiler corrosion products. pumps. Low pressure feed water heaters and related extraction piping often is under negative pressure during low load operation. Make sure an adequate supply of steam is available to the deaerator during unit start-up so that oxygen can be purged from the feed water. if all deaeration is accomplished there.5 ppm of ammonia to avoid copper attack by ammonia. If no adequate auxiliary steam source is available. If a long outage is contemplated. shut-down.

Consider a partial flow condensate polisher for cycling units.5. The MgO powder can be sprayed through a separate nozzle into the furnace or magnesium wires can be burnt in the furnace. the oxides of which form flux with the protective oxide of the material. Crevices. thereby causing further attack on the material by the gas. and total solids. permits removal of both erosion products and oxygen from the feed water during steam-generator startup operations. like those . silica. Its use together with that of the pre-boiler systems recycles line. Low temperature or dew point corrosion occurs in oil fired boilers in the air heaters or economizers if the flue gas temperature approaches the dew point temperature. Sulphur in the oil transforms to SO3 in the furnace and then to sulphuric acid with the water vapour in the flue gas at low temperatures and causes corrosion. Minimizing Pitting of Boiler Tubes Excessive dissolved oxygen in the boiler water and excessive temperature during chemical cleaning can cause severe local attack pitting. copper and total iron. or counter flow existing in economizer with respect to gas is made as reversed or parallel flow of water. and conduct water tests as per programmed schedule. oxygen. This can be prevented by using low vanadium content oil or by employing certain additives like MgO powder in the oil. which gets higher temperature at low temperature gas end and helps preventing low temperature corrosion. The gas side corrosion occurs in oil fired boilers. for pH. Importance of Water Analysis A comprehensive water analysis program should be maintained to assure that feed water and boiler water chemistry are held within prescribed limits. Low temperature corrosion can be avoided by controlling the inlet temperature of the feed water to the economizer. High temperature corrosion occurs due to the presence in oil of sodium and vanadium.

Occasionally. or minor variations in metallurgical structure. together with a positive nitrogen pressure cap of about 3 – 5 psig. During shut-down periods. it is necessary to protect all internal surfaces.formed by backing rings. Normal. or to the introduction of contaminants into the heat transfer sections. Pitting attack of various types can affect the internal surfaces of all tubes. will protect metal surfaces from corrosion. such as the superheater and reheater. Those that do occur usually can be attributed to improper wet lay up. Avoiding Steam side Deposition A more common problem affecting the internal surfaces of steam side components. Penetrations of this type can develop into corrosion fatigue cracks. deposits. But deposits also have caused failures on vertical tubes. Crack like interconnected pitting is a common form of attack. The pitting attack usually is quite shallow and does not adversely affect the tube integrity. but higher than the average peak stress also can contribute to preferential pitting. wet lay up. They can cause overheating failures by insulating the tube from the cooling effect of the steam. may act to promote localized corrosion. too. they . Prevention Pitting caused by dissolved oxygen can be prevented by maintaining feed water oxygen level within the 5 ppm limit while attack by chemical cleaning solvents can be eliminated by carefully following the cleaning procedures. but occasionally it may be locally severe and even penetrate the tube wall. Most leaks associated with corrosion pitting are like to occur at or near weld or attachments. Such failures usually occur as creep blisters at the low spot in pendant surfaces. but it is not unusual for them to propagate through the wall as a result of corrosion alone. Some of the pitting attack may have been caused by the presence of oxygen and moisture during shut down periods.

To avoid solids contamination from operational point of view three factors are of particular importance. Steam drum internals reduce the mechanical carry over of moisture content upto 0. increase the rate of blow down and discontinue the use of spray water.partially or totally block steam flow in a particular circuit. The third and most important operating factor is to keep solids contained in the boiler feed water from entering the superheater. Boiler manufacturers help limit solids carry over by paying considerable attention to the design of drum components. feed water should be treated only with volatile chemicals for pH control. Since the source of spray water is the boiler feed water system. and the solids or salts in the water will concentrate. All solid chemicals used for treatment must be introduced into the system down stream of where the spray water is removed. Use other means for controlling steam temperature including load reduction until the condenser is repaired and the total solids level in the hot well is below 500 ppb. The need for high quality Hydrostatic Test Water Water used for hydrostatic tests will be evaporated from non-drainable sections during the next firing period. In the event condenser leakage causes the total amount of dissolved solids in the hot well to exceed 500 ppb. The need for High Quality De-superheating spray water Any solids in the spray water will adhere to superheater surfaces or be carried through the unit in the steam and be deposited in the turbine. 2. Vapors . 1. 3. Hence.1%. Solids carried by the steam into the turbine also can be damaging. water added to the superheater or reheater should be of condensate quality and dosed with hydrazine (200 ppm) and ammonia to produce a pH of 10.

Due to mix up of material of different specification than designed one comes to the service and failure occurs. . Failures Due to Manufacturing Defects Raw Material Defect Either mix up of material or raw material defect also accounts to tube failures. In conclusion. Except silica vaporous carry over of solids dissolved in the boiler water is negligible below an operating pressure of 2600 psig assuming that the concentration of solids are within recommended limits. you can avoid many potential operating problems by continuously monitoring steam quality.carry over is completely selective since it depends on the solubility or volatility of a specific constituent in the steam. Material defect due to defective rolling of tubes is shown in figures below : Eccentric Rolling Defects Lap Formed Tube Sufficient care during rolling of tubes and correct material selection can avoid failures due to such defects. may provide an early indication of some carryover abnormality. Increase in solids level – even if within prescribed limits. The volatility of silica is much higher than that of other solids and it increases exponentially with boiler pressure. And raw material defect comes in the rolling of tubes itself and a lap or eccentricity formed thus causes tube failures at elevated temperatures.

b) Standard mechanical tests. The samples of materials which failed due to brittle fracture should be taken out (if it possible) and the fractured facets should be protected by using rust preventive coatings. water.Procedures for failure investigations and collection of failed sample The causes for failures are evaluated by removing carefully the failed material (e. ash etc. tube) along with deposits if present. This will help in the interpretation of complex failures. For comparison. Generally the following procedures are followed: a) Dimension and thickness measurement at important locations comparison with the original or good material. If the deposits are loose. In certain cases it becomes essential for the metallurgist or chemist to visit the site and have first hand information regarding the location and overall nature of failed tubes or any other components. if the cut region is close to failed region. Procedures for Metallurgical Investigations The tools and techniques for failure investigations are chosen as to suit the individual requirements. In some cases in site micro-examination is carried out when the specimen could not be removed. It is preferable to pack them with polythene wrappers and box. water side and fire side deposits are collected in separate polythene bags with rigid tags. c) Spectral and chemical analysis of deposits. . This technique is also used for fracture investigations. He has to watch the performance under the existing condition at site.g. hardness etc. such that no corrosion and mechanical damage occur during transit. The flame cut region should be at least 200 mm away from the region of failure since heat produced during flame cutting will change the microstructure. usually tensile. drift flattening. it is preferable to have a good portion (about 300 mm) of the tube (along with deposits if it is present) which is considerably away from failed region. fuel.

deposits. creep testing and burst testing for the determination of residual creep life etc. x-ray diffraction for the analyzing of ash. data of failure etc. a) Operating pressure and temperature of the pressure parts close to failed region location of the failed tube. -o0o- .. Electron microscopy for detailed information on fine structures and creep damages. b) Composition of the fuel c) Composition of the flue gas d) Amount of excess combustion air e) Analysis of feed water and steam condensate type and amount of contaminants in make up water f) Normal power output and fluctuation in steam demand g) Frequency and method of cleaning water side and fire side surfaces of tubes. Data Required for Investigation The log book is to be referred at site for one or more of the following information which will be required for effective investigation of failed components.d) Investigations with microscope for evaluating the nature of failures – special corrosion tests for stainless steel components. e) Advanced techniques. scales etc. are used for complex case histories.

REPAIR GUIDELINES Introduction All plant personnel should bear in mind the legal formalities involved in the repair of boiler pressure parts. Although it is difficult to obtain accurate cuts on furnace tubes. The minimum replacement tube length should be not less than 152 mm (6'). before making repairs or alterations of a pressure part. In some cases. use window welds for repair work. The weld passes may be completed by either process. Generally. it is important to get the existing tube ends squared and correctly chamfered and to cut the replacement tube to the correct length. The responsible inspection agency may be the boiler insurance carrier or state or municipal inspection agency. Fit-up of the weld joints is important. must notify the legally responsible inspection agency and obtain approval before starting the work. If access is difficult. Without a backing ring. The responsible parties. the manufacturer's recommendation will be accepted. Welding Repair or Low Carbon Steel Tubes Cut out a damaged tube at least 50 mm (2') on each side of the defective area. The first pass of a window weld must be made by gas tungsten arc of oxyacetylene (Fig. it may be a federal agency. but it must be approved by the responsible inspection agency. The boiler manufacturer may recommend a repair procedure. Do not use backing rings to weld any heat-absorbing tubes carrying water or a mixture of steam and water. or by shielding metal arc. but the inspection agency still has the legal responsibility for approval. 1). The responsible parties must follow this procedure even though a pressure part fails during the manufacturer's warranty period. Remember . make the first pass of the weld using gas tungsten arc or oxyacetylene. Allow for shrink in welding. Use a tube-end scarfing tool when possible.

particularly if the existing tubes are rigidly supported. make the cuts to remove the damaged tube at least 152 mm (6") from the shop weld.  Do not tack weld both ends of the replacement tube. thus leaving a "Safe end".  A butt weld in a tube will shorten the total length about 1. first complete the weld at the lower end of the replacement tube. Use a clamp or guide lug to hold one end of the replacement tube in alignment while the first weld is made. Alloy Tube Repairs If a damaged alloy tube must be replaced. Before removing the damaged tube.  Do not start welding the upper end of the replacement tube until both the replacement and existing tubes have cooled to ambient temperature.that the weld metal and parent metal are melted in the welding process and the molten metal shrinks as it solidifies. If at all possible.6 mm (1/16").  As a general rule. pay special attention since all qualified but-welding procedures require the two tube ends to have the same internal diameter (ID) as the weld root. If necessary to cut out a shop weld joining tubes of different material and/or wall thickness. the thicker wall tube may be bored to match the ID of the thinner wall tube .  In some cases. it is always preferable to weld the replacement tube to an existing tube end of the same alloy and the same wall thickness. check the manufacturer's unit material diagram and locate shop welds used to join the damaged length to tubes of different material or different wall thickness.

is at least equal to the strength of the thinner wall tube at the same operating temperature. Allowance must be made for expansion from preheating which will close the root gap slightly. it is essential that the root gap opening be sufficient to assure full penetration and fusion with the backing ring during the first pass. For shielded metal arc welding with a backing ring.  For gas tungsten arc welding.  Generally. Repair of Tube Blisters Internal deposits cause blisters on the furnace wall or boiler tubes. after reducing the wall thickness. But the thicker wall tube may be bored only if the strength of the tube. they occur in boilers operated with a high percentage of make-up feed water. A ferritic alloy tube must not be bored to match a thinner wall austenitic alloy tube. Shrinkage in welding alloy tubes is similar to that for carbon steel tubes.  A blister forms because an internal deposit increases tube metal temperature until metal creep occurs.  The only satisfactory method is to use a connector of austenitic alloy tube having the same wall thickness as the ferritic alloy tube. .  There must be no pressure exerted between the two tubes. 3. a zero root gap opening is permitted.  It is advisable to allow enough clearance to avoid actual contact at the root gap opening after the two tubes are preheated.  One end of the connector is bored to match the wall thickness of the existing austenitic alloy tube.

. insert a low carbon steel welding rod for a filler. To avoid a massive tube replacement job.  If the gas between bar or fin is too great for easy bridging.  The spaces in the bars or fins. Follow these general guidelines : Remove the damaged tube. As the heated area swells. weld the bar or fin to the replacement tube. Commonly. at the tube joints. a large number of tubes are blistered and not noticed until one of the blisters cracks open. the internal deposit cracks off and the tube metal temperature returns to normal. insert a low carbon steel welding rod for a fin is too great for easy bridging. are built up with deposited weld metal. work the blisters down to the original tube radius.  Be sure no cracks exist in the these deposits before making the final weld to the tubes.  The process may be repeated several times before the blister ruptures. then carefully cut away enough of the bar or fin to allow chamfering the tube end for welding around the sides of the replacement tube joint After the tube welds are completed. particularly where replacement tubes are not immediately available.

Erosion. 4.Chapter – 5 CAUSES OF TUBE FAILURE 1. on either side of the burst. Bursting occurs due to excessive reactive force cause by change of state from water to steam. Chocking with foreign material. The reasons for overheating of water wall or SH tubes are. Starvation due to. 5. In case of SH tube failure takes the form of a narrow opening with multiple stallite cracks. Waterwall tube failure results in a burst with a “fish mouth opening”. 1. 3. Overheating Overheating can be localised. to which the tube was subjected before failure occured. extensive. prolonged or of a short duration. Manufacturing Defects. Observation of the grain growth & microstructure of the failed tube material also indicates if the overheating was of a prolonged or short duration. a) Improper circulation. Occasionally cracks will also appear up to length of 2 Mts. 2. This may lead the power station authorities to apprehend that the tube is of the CRW type. Corrosion. 2. Overheating. b) Insufficient flow . Metallographic analysis indicates the approximate temp. Material Defects.

 Choking with foreign materials Foreign materials like mill scales. Choking of tube with foreign materials will impede the flow fully or partially & cause overheating. Which in turn will result in tube failures. Other causes.3. it can be used during overheating. the problem of choking can be minimised by eliminating the construction at the weld joints due to excessive weld penetration to check the blocking of tube with foreign material an instrument called “contract flow meter (developed by CE research lab UK. This meter can be used during the commissioning of new boiler to ensure that there is not blockage of & in the case of operating boiler. & manufactured by Land Pyrometers LTD. small tools. the same can be improved in the region of water wall by providing additional downcorners / spider tubes to the existing downcomers. Which collect at the bends or weld joints where the internal cross section is restricted will cause choking of tubes. Precautions can be taken to mitigate tube choking at various stages of manufacture. sand. 5. Secondary burning of fuel. UK) can be used”. By using TIG root welding for all SH coils at shop & site. electrodes bits. Where the failure are traced to improper circulation. shipping and / or erection.  Starvation – due to improper circulation:Insufficient circulation in the water walls may lead to departure from onset of nucleate boiling & may lead to overheating. Flame impingement 4. . nuts etc. weld slag. rust products. shipping. chips. storage & erection. These materials enter the tube during various stages of manufacture.

which get distorted in service. These binder coils have a number of bends & are longer in length than the other coils in the platen. Such failures can be avoided by replacing the long binder tubes with shorter tubes. & prevents overheating. To avoid such failures new burner nozzles such as honeycomb types. Even in coal fired boilers.  Secondary burning of fuel:In certain cases oil from the oil gun may flash on to the tubes & then burning takes place which results in overheating the tubes. which resist distortion. are now used. This is due to the flame impingement from burners. Overheating can also be avoided by allowing cooler steam through the wrapper tubes of platen to better cooling of the tube materials. the . which in turn increases internal flow. therefore. The materials of the bottom portion of the outermost coils of platen can also be replaced by stainless steel to enhance their life since the bottom most portion faces direct radiation from the furnace. Arrangements could be made to supply mellowing air to bring down air temperature wherever necessary so that the combustion front can be kept away from the burner nozzles. The flow through these binder coils is. Additional peep holes can also be provided for better monitoring of the flame & observation of the burner tip. inadequate. This is generally observed in the binder tubes of the platen SH. Starvation – due to insufficient flow:Starvation can occurs in SH tubes due to an insufficient flow resulting in overheating.  Flame Impingement Water wall failures occurs mostly near the burners. The prolong overheating in such tubes results in creep failure.

To avoid this. To avoid this. This internal deposit will cause overheating of water wall tubes leading to failure. Too little of excess air leads to higher furnance temperature resulting in higher radiation. heat absorption & slagging problems. or overheating of the tubes.  Excessive air Excess air plays an important role in the heat absorption pattern of various zones of the boiler. the feed water of boiler water quality should be maintained within the allowable limits as per the international standards. to avoid overheating the flue gas temperature in different zones should be closely monitored & kept within the design limits. coal particle size & the firing rate. The carryover of salts by steam can cause deposits in the tubes with consequent overheating & failure.  Internal Deposits Inferior quality of feed water leads to internal deposits of salts & silica in the water wall tube. corrosion. explosion. the salts. To avoid such failure O2 content in flue gases should be measured periodically during operation & adjustments made to achieve design values as closely as possible. content in the drum water should . Further. Too much of excess air leads to cooler furnace & higher heat absorption rates in convective paths. This can be avoided by proper control of the atomisation of oil.unburnt fuel particles may catch fire at the top of the furnace or in the second pass causing secondary combustion. In oil fired boilers too much of excess air is favourable to the formation of SO3 due to the increased availability of O2 thereby promoting a higher rate of low temp.

be maintained as per the standard operation with high water levels in drum could lead to carryover of water drops & dissolved solids leading to internal tube deposits in SH tubes. then erosion may occurs in these zones. if the velocity of the flue gas at narrow gaps between coils & walls & SH coils and ash hoppers below them is high. Hence it is necessary to restrict the drum WATER LEVEL TO THE prescribed limits under all operating conditions. . This can be avoided by suitable control of the excess air & the boiler load. Erosion of SH & economiser tube may be due to following reasons i) Flue gas erosion. These deposits hinder heat transfer & lead to increase in metal temperature & consequent tube failure. the tube will fail. ii) Erosion due to steam or water. The tube wall thickness gets reduced due to erosion & when the thickness is not sufficient to withstand the operating pressure and temperature of the tube. Therefore the boiler have to be designed with 15m/s velocities as for as possible.  Other causes Mal-operation can sometimes leads to overheating & results in tube failure. Due to the above. When high-pressure heaters are out of service. the convection SH O/L temperature can shoot up leading to overheating of tubes. The ash content of the Indian coals is of more abrasive in nature containing high silica & alumina.  EROSION Erosion is a second major cause of tube failure. Flue gas Erosion The rate of erosion is proportional to the cube of velocity. During hot restart if the flow of auxiliary steam from the drum tap off point is high it will result in a reduced flow through the SH which in turn will lead to overheating.

Erosion due to steam or water Whenever there is a tube failure the water or steam from the faulty tube escapes in the form of a high velocity jet & when it impinges on the adjacent tube they get eroded. .5 to 56.3 to 6.A typical ash analysis data is given below : Silica -.5. SH or economiser tubes.9% Unburnt carbon -.  Corrosion This can be mainly grouped into two types 1) External corrosion due to depositing of chemicals.68% The flue gas erosion in the horizontal SH & economiser can be prevented by providing baffles. The flue gas erosion in the bands of the convection SH in the horizontal pass can be prevented by increasing the height of refractory lining of the ash hoppers in front of the coils.4 to 6. Additionally.37 to 2.55. 2) Internal corrosion taking place inside the tube due to impurities in steam and water.0.27.2% FeO -.16% Sulphates -. vertical bar type soot blowers have caused tube failures in the horizontal SH & RH & to overcome this the sort blowers should be moved from the ceiling to the sidewalls.3 to 27.5% Alumina -.4.7% Lime -.5 to 0.1. In some boiler. If the boiler is not shutdown immediately after detection of the failure & allowed operating for a protected period the damage due to steam or water erosion will be considerable. sometimes leakage from the soot blowers or wall blowers causes erosion of water wall.

is lower than about 150C. Phosphate deposit This is also similar to the sodium deposits fouling. Low Temperate Corrosion This is caused by sulphuric acid. Fouling Fouling on other hand is the condensation of combustible constituents such as sodium sulphate on fly ash particles and on boiler tube in area of the unit where temperature are such that the constituents are remain in the liquid state. it can be seen that ash consists of sulfate up to 0. Though it is usually is associated on furnace tube surface. fly ash. The deposits may be classified either as slagging or fouling. Slagging This is the deposition of molten or partially fused particles of fuel constituents (non-combustible) on furnace tube surface. However the feed water temperature is most of the utility boilers & the sulphur content of the coal burnt are .681. which are initiated by the attack of acidic phosphorous compounds on the tube metal & the fly ash particles. On review of ash analysis detailed under flue errosion. and flue gas react chemically to form the deposit. & can occur in the economisers of some units if the feed water temp.1) External corrosion due to depositing of chemicals carried by ash.5 to 0. Indian coals do not contain phosphorous as one of the major constituents and as such this type of corrosion is rarely expected. The combustibles. This type of corrosion results mainly from the deposits of ash on tube surface. slagging can also occurs in screen tube and in the super heater when molten ash carried over into these solutions and is exposed to excessively high gas temperature.

such that dew point problems already rarely encountered. Condensation problem
further down stream where lower temperature exists may corrode air heater,
precipitator, hoppers, fans, ducts & stacks. As the sulpher content is more in the
fuel oil & also as the flue gas temperature will be low during starting usually the
air preheaters will be experiencing the cold corrosion problems. To overcome this
problem, steam coiled Air preheater should be kept in service till flue gas
temperature rises above 300C.
All the deposits, which cause corrosion of the above types, are easily soluble
in water & will be loose also. This deposit can be cleaned by normal operation of
soot blowers. When this method is not totally effective, water washing during
outage is recommended. It is very important to schedule water washing so that the
tube surfaces can be dried out immediately after cleaning, as otherwise corrosion
will occur. A good approach is to water just before returning a boiler to service. If
this is not possible, fire at a low rate until tubes are dry.
Design Improvements
In coal fired boilers most major corrosion problems are caused by coal ash
with in a specific temp. range certain coal produce liquid ash compounds that are
very corrosive to all conventional boiler materials. This temp. range normally
extend from about 1000F to 1200F essentially restricts attack to the SH & RH .
Engineers weigh carefully the four major factors that influence the severity
of coal ash corrosion viz. Ash properties, ash deposition rate, tube external
temperature, & tube chromium content, before finalizing the design of SH & RH
surfaces. If the high temp. Corrosion occurs inspite of design efforts, the option for
correcting the problems are limited; for example the following remedial measures
may be resorted to.

1) Replace damaged tubes with one of higher Chromium Content.
2) Switch to a fuel with more favourable ash characteristics.
3) Install stainless steel tube shields. These shields will effectively
keep the liquid ash from the tube surface & operate at temperature
above that at which liquid phase can exist. Extensive shielding
however, inhibits heat transfer performance.
Internal corrosion due to impurities in water & steam
Internal corrosion is mainly due to improper feed water treatment. The most
prevalent forms of waterside attack in the drumtype utility boiler are,

Hydrogen damage.


Bulks under deposit corrosion.


Corrosion fatigue.


Stress corrosion.


Steam blanketting.



vii) Pitting.
viii) Galvanic attack.

Caustic embrittlement.
Hydrogen Damage
This induces brittle fracture & will occur beneath a relatively dense deposit

when boiler water pH is too low. The accepted thereby of this type of attacks is that
the hydrogen atoms are produced between the deposit and the tube surface. They in
turn react with cementite a hard brittle iron compound at the grain boundaries of
the tube material to form molecular methane gas, which removes carbon from
metal weakening it by creating fissures in its grain structure.

The pressure of the gas that is formed literally blows the material apart. This
damage is most common where condenser leakage occurs in units cooled by sea
water. Some metal loss may be caused by corrosion mechanism, but the tube
which failure would occur.

Bulk Under deposit Corrosion
This is caused by the concentration of traces amounts so soluble corrosive

compounds usually strong alkalies, such as sodium hydroxide between the tube
walls & a relatively porous deposit. (60-90 % porosity compared to theoretically
dense magnetite). The term “caustic gouging” is sometimes used to describe this
form of corrosion, which is characterised by rapid attack & subsequent tube

Corrosion Fatigue
Material that undergoes cyclic strain may suffer fatigue failure. The strain

can be mechanical in nature such as vibration or thermal such as soot blower
condense quenching, corrosion or oxidation can accelerate failure in other words,
failure may occur after fewer cycles at a lower level or strain in a corrosive
iv) Stress Corrosion Cracking
Portion of austenitic stainless steel SH elements containing residual stress
such as stress supports & ring welds are susceptible to cracking in high temp. water
containing chloride or hydroxide compounds & oxygen. Though such condition are
relatively uncommon, they do occurs after because of operator error. Stress
corrosion attack on the secondary SH tube was caused by inadvertent use of a boil
out cleaning solution containing caustic. The boiler was fired only a few hours, but
the damage was significant, and tube replacement was required.

Surface irregularities such as scratches & cuts developing during manufacturing. . which are slightly inclined. SH & RH tubing are subjected to oxidation. The effect of individual factor depends upon their relative magnitude & most of them are independent. All materials used in high temp. 3. This can result due to the following reasons. it may give rise to general wasting of the crown of the tube or the formation of grooves at the water line. 1. Different concentration in dissolved compounds. above about 450C is a natural phenomenon in the boiler water side environment. for example flow started slag screen tubes since the steam flow in some what restricted resulting in obstruction for heat transfer. 2. Problems arise when oxide scale on the tube’s internal surface become so thick that differential expansion between the oxide and the parent metal results in spalling of the oxide from the metal surface a process called “exfoliation”. In such environment if the feed water possesses caustic soda. Differential heat treatment resulting in localised difference in stress concentration. vi) Oxidation Oxidation of low alloy ferritic steels operating at temp. Loose scale can clog tubes at bends causing their failure by overheating.v) Steam Blanketting: Steam blanketting phenomenon occurs in tubes. although at different rates. The loose flakes are hard & brittle & generally range from the size of a match HEAD to that of a quarter. Pitting This is mainly due to the difference in effective electrode potential between adjacent areas of the metal surface.

are very high Galvanic attack will be more severe in these areas. . Mix up of material sometimes lead to failure because of the wrong usage of materials. Manufacturing defects Tube failure may occur due to the defect in the manufacturing process. & by resorting to strict quality control inspection procedure.Galvanic Attack The corrosion of the less noble member of a pair of metal which are joined together is called “Galvanic corrosion” or “Dissimilar metal corrosion”. since at temperature that occurs in the high pressure boiler tubing. The effects of galvanic corrosion are often serious especially in sea water power station as feed water conditions are conductive. Though different quality control measurement are adopted in various stages of the manufacturing. Successful waterside corrosion control requires careful selection of the material used throughout the steam cycle including the feed water heaters & condensers. such as weld defect. which have undergone ultrasonic tests. Caustic embrittlement This is due to the caustic ALKALINITY formed in the drum & the scale of this caustic soda reacts with the metal & may result in cracking at welding joints where the welding is weak Material Defects Some of the tube failures in the boiler may be due to the usage of the defective raw materials. & improper heat treatment. High quality of the materials can be ensured by selecting tubes. defective materials may find there way in rare cases and cause failure.

This process is one in which failure may arise exposer to many cycle of alternating stress. with or without super imposition of mean stress. Thus strain hardening predominates initially until the strain rate falls to level at which the opposing influence are in balance accompanied by continuous deformation until the tertiary stage is reached. This process is known as “creep” and is of major importance in selecting metals for service in power plant. The figure illustrated that the creep process can be viewed in three stages. The predominant failure is creep not fatigue. Creep When metal stressed at sufficiently high temperature it will continue to deform with time although at a relatively low rate. This type of failure is comparatively rare in power plant. the second stage in which strain rate remain constant over a period of time. and the tertiary stage in which strain rate increases continuously and which culminates in rupture. Metals undergoing high temperature will also be subject both creep and fatigue. This behaviour may be explained in terms of a balance between the effect of straining which are to be strengthen the material and increase its resistance to further deformation and effect of heating which are to be soften the material and decrease resistance to deformation. This is because at temperature much above 350C (660F) steels are subjected to this phenomenon. . where loss of strength leads to fracture. Fatigue Metals undergoing high temperature service may also be subjected to fatigue. The primary stage in which the initially high rate of strain remain constant over a period of time.Creep and fatigue are very important factors while designing the thermal power plant equipment.

In power plant. However in certain cases it has been observed that larger size less is a fatigue life. . Fatigue strength increase with increasing rate of cycling probably because of the increased strain rate. Fatigue occurring under the specific corrosive environmental is caused corrosion fatigue. Higher stress gradient. This is due to more chance of imperfection or stress rises in large size components. triangular or sinusoidal wave has no effect on the fatigue life. iii) Size of component has no effect on fatigue life if component is identical one another in all respects such as defect microstructure. i) The form of the stress cycle such as square. Factors affecting fatigue life The rate of cycle loading has only small effect on fatigue strength. except size. etc.000). it is possible to encounter situation that are classified as thermal fatigue. inclusion. In these frequency of straining is given by the number of stops and starts endured the full life of plant (say 5000 to 10. lesser is fatigue life. The decrease fatigue strength is more for high strength material. This problem is believed to involve both creep and fatigue process. The level of strain is enhanced by the creation of thermal gradient during operation. ii) The environment in which component undergoes stress reversal has marked effects on fatigue life. and/or by geometric strain concentration. iv) Stress gradient has strong effect on fatigue life. This clearly indicates that the environment has a corrosive effect and reduce the fatigue life. The fatigue life in vacuum is about 10 times more than that in moist air.

Decrease in temperature below room temperature increase the fatigue life. In some cases in site micro examination is carried out when specimen could not be cut or removed. it is preferable to have good portion (about 300mm) of the tube (along with the deposit if it is present) which is considerably away from the failed region. Tube) along with deposits if present. The samples of material. Procedure of Metallurgical Analysis 1.v) An increase in temperature above room temperature decrease the fatigue life to increase in the crack growth rate. such that no corrosion & mechanical damage occur during transits. if the cut region is closed to fail region. This technique is also used for fracture analysis. Hardness Test. If the deposits are loose. water side & fire side deposit are collected in separate polythene bags with rigid tags. . Procedure For Failure Investigation & Collection Of Failed Samples The causes for failures are evaluated by removing carefully the failed material (eg. which failed due to brittle fracture. This will help in the interpretation of complex failures. Visual Inspection. In certain cases it becomes essential for the metallurgist or chemist to visit the site & have first hand information regarding the location and overall nature of failed tubes or any other components. should be taken out (if it is possible) & using rust preventive coatings should protect fractured facets. It is preferable to pack them with polythene wrappers & box. The flame cut region should be at least 200mm away from the region of failure since heat produced during flame cutting will change the microstructure. 2. For comparison. Dimension & thickness measurement at critical section. 3. These have to watch the performance under the existing condition at site.

. Erosion Due to erosion the normal structure will change from pearlite to pearritic & spheroidisition of carbides occur along the grain boundaries. Then take the sample of tube of unfractured zone and fractured zone. with the dispersed grain boundaries. 3. The normal microstructure of the material consist of ferrite & pearlite. Then watch the prepared sample under microscope. fractured & unfractured zone. In case of failure the microstructure of the material changes & depending upon the change of microstructure. Corrosion Due to corrosion the normal structure of the material which consists of ferrite & pearlite will change from ferrite to ferritic & spheroidisition of carbides occur along the grain boundaries. 1. grind it to remove rust and scale & then polish it to get scratch free surface. For which Diamond paste & metsesfluid (lubricant) is used & after that apply etching agent (nitol or picrol) for 30sec & then clean the surface by acetone. The polishing method is known as buffing.4. metallurgist can conclude the cause of failure. 2. Then with the help of grinder. Analysis to Find out Cause of Failure The metallurgist can conclude the cause of failure by studying the microstructure of the material of both. Creeps Due to creep the grain growth occurs along the boundaries which weakness the material strength & due to which the voids are formed along the boundaries & in case of prolonged period these voids combine & fracture takes place.

Oxygen may be carried over into boiler through make up water leaks. Boiler pressure kg/cm2 12. 3. Even the minute quantity of O2 is capable of causing sever corrosion in the boiler working at high pressure.6 42 70 140 O2 in feed water: O2 in steam 5000:1 5000:3. . Corrosion products formed in the feed water system should be minimised by proper phosphate dozing & hydrazine dosing.Remedial Measures The corrosion in general is resulting due to the oxygen present in feed water & the pH value of feed water. Silica concentration in the boiler is controlled within limits 7. Feed water O2 concentration should be controlled by proper deaeration employing effective deaerator. Recommended water treatment controls are followed. 1. Proper precautions are taken during chemical cleaning operation to prevent metal attack. 2. Corrosion products formed in the feed water system are kept within specific limit. 8. Since the O2 content carried over the steam will go on increasing as the pressure of the boiler increases. Feed water O2 concentration properly controlled.2 5000:5. The table below shows how the O2 content carried over to steam increases as the pressure increases. 5. etc. 4.3 5000:10 Corrosion related problems could generally be avoided if. Drum internal & drum level controls are maintained in good condition. 6.

They may be introduced either by adding with fuel or injecting into the furnace or sprayed to external surfaces of the tubes. have been reported to be useful by way of either raising ash softening temperature or fixing SO2 from high sulphur coal. 6) Use of thicker tubes or faceted tubes in the corrosion zone. magnesia etc. 8) Resistance to erosion should require a hard brittle tube material. Research Institute suggests them to follow the following practices during operation to avoid frequent failure of boiler tubes & thus prevents the frequency of outages. 5) Reducing the ash content of the coal by using washed or blended coal. . 4) Design modification such as avoidance of sharp bends in the path of flue gas to avoid local high velocity. N2H4 + O2 N2 + 2H2O The possible measure to minimise fire side corrosion/erosion 1) Modifying the physical or chemical characteristics of deposits with the addition of chemicals. Conclusion It is observed from the various failures at various power stations. 7) Replacement of tubing with more corrosion resistant tubing. which would be unsuitable for pressure part use. decreasing the flue gas velocity to an optimum level improving combustion condition etc. For this reason the pressure part are required to be designed to allow for a rate of material removal by erosion within their design life. lime.In modern boiler hydrazine dosing is adopted to effectively remove the oxygen. 3) Periodic removal of deposits by blowing of compressed air or steam. 2) Use of coating to improve corrosion or erosion resistance. Addition such as silica based compound.

3. proper care to be taken from retraction or leaky poppet valve to avoid erosion of nearby tubes may help to reduce tube failure considerably. Feed water quality should be maintained within permissible limit. 2. 5. 4. Start up fuel automisation should be checked for its proper operation. Shrouding. Soot blowers operation. proper distribution of secondary air and total airflow & proper soot blower operation may help to reduce outages. 6. . shielding the areas. Wall soot blowers should be properly aligned for hot operation of the blower considering the expansion of furnace & structure. 7. Particular care for operation of oil guns. Sudden variation of loads & abnormal operation beyond permissible limits should be avoided. which are prone to erosion & proper inspection of tube elements during overhaul. 8. Proper purging of boiler should be carried out during start up & after every shutdowns. may help to reduce the outages.1. Proper operation of boiler whithin the permissible limits of various parameters.