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FindingandfixingleakagewithincombinedHP-IPsteamturbines:PartII

FindingandfixingleakagewithincombinedHP-IPsteam
turbines:PartII
08/15/2007|WarrenHopson,PE,SouthernCompanyGeneration
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ForWestinghouse(Figure1)andAllis-Chalmerscombinedhigh-pressure/intermediate-pressure(HP-IP)
turbines,therearemoredesign(andpotentialnondesign)leakagestotheIPturbinethaninGeneralElectric
machines.Thatsbecausetheformerunitsrequirebalancingthethrustloadingofthereactionblading.
LeakagecanentertheIPturbineinlet,IPturbineexhaust,low-pressure(LP)crossoverpipes,andoccur
betweensplitIP1/IP2turbines.ItsresultcanbeanapparentincreaseordecreaseofIPturbineefficiency,
dependingonthesource.

1.Inthespotlight.AtypicalWestinghouse500-MWBB44HP-IPsteamturbine.Courtesy:SouthernCompany
Generation
SouthernCompanyGeneration(SCG)hasfoundthattrendingoftheapparentIPefficiencyusingtheBoothKautzmanntemperaturesplittests(discussedlastissueinPartI)isveryusefulforresolvinginternalleakage
problemsonourWestinghouseandAllis-Chalmersturbines.ItshouldbenotedthatthetrueIPbladepath
efficiencyoftheseunitsisdifficulttomeasure.
Forlater(BB44)Westinghouseturbines,thesourcesofdesignleakage(Figure2)include:
Mainsteaminletbellseals(theleakagebypassestheHP-IPturbine;morerecentunitsindicatezero
leakageonthedesignheatbalance).
HP-IP-LPdummybalanceseals(Figure3).
HPexhaustpistonsealrings.
IPinlet(hotreheat)pistonsealrings.

2.Gotothesource.DesignandnondesignleakageareasonthelowerinnershellofaWestinghouseBB44.
Courtesy:SouthernCompanyGeneration

3.Tobesmart,testthese.TheHP,IP,andLPdummysealsofatypicalWestinghouseBB44.Courtesy:
SouthernCompanyGeneration
Dependingontheunitdesign,HPdummysealleakagecanaffectHPturbineefficiencyasitflowsthrough
theequilibriumpipestotheHPexhaust.IftheIPdummyringisseverelydistorted,itispossiblefortheIP

dummyleakagetobeamixofHPdummyleakageandHPexhauststeamflowinginthereversedirection
throughtheequilibriumpipes.
Amongthesourcesofnondesignleakageare:
TheHPinnershellhorizontaljoint(distortedshellorloosebolting).
Brokeninternalequilibriumbalancingpipes.
Abrokenfirst-stagedrainorpressure-sensinglinebetweentheinnerandoutershell.
PistonsealringsontheIPturbinemid-pointextractionpipe.
Amissingmid-spanbalancingportplugintheinnershell.
Cracksinthemainsteaminletpipesatthetrepanradius.

Relatingefficiencytoleakage
FortheBB44design,twovaluesofapparentIPefficiencyshouldbemeasured.TheIPefficiencymeasured
fromthehotreheattotheIPexhaustatthebladingonlytakesintoaccounttheleakageeffectoftheIP
dummy.TheIPefficiencymeasuredfromthehotreheattotheLPcrossoverincludestheeffectsofallHPto
IPleakages.ThetemperaturesplittestsarealsousedtoestimatetheIPdummyleakageandthetotalHPto
IPleakage.
AlthoughthetestwellsprovidedbytheturbinemanufacturerattheIPbladingexhaustontheupperand
lower(difficult-to-access)shellsareinstratifiedlocations,theyarestillusefulfortrending.Becausethe
deaeratorandboilerfeedpumpusuallyextractatthesepoints,thetemperatureoftheextractionlinealso
shouldbemeasured.OnoneSouthernCompanyunitthathadbeenretrofittedwithanewdesignIPdummy
ring,wealsoinstalledtwonewtestwellsintheupperoutercylinderjustupstreamofthehotreheatinlet
pipes.TheresultsoftestingusingthesewellsstillindicatedsomestratificationofIPexhausttemperature.
AbrokenorcrackedbellsealonaBB44turbinecanbediagnosedbytrendingthedifferencebetweenthe
deaerator/boilerfeedpumpturbineextractiontemperatureandtheLPcrossoverpipetemperature.Ifthe
formerisseveraldegreeslowerthanthelatterandthetwocrossoverpipesareatadifferenttemperature,a
bellsealorinletpipecouldbecracked.
Forunitswithelectrohydraulicallycontrolledgovernorvalvesthatareindividuallyoperated,the
manufacturersbellsealdiagnostictestisusefultoperform.Eachoftheeightgovernorvalvesisclosed(and
re-opened)andtheabovetemperaturesaretrended.(Exercisecautionwhendoingsoonthenormalinitial
openinggovernorvalve,includingtemporarilydisablingtheunittripfunction.)Achangeinthetemperature
differenceswillbeobservedonaleakingbellsealwhenthecorrespondinggovernorvalveisclosed;this
reducesbutdoesnoteliminatetheleakage,whichisreverseflowfromthefirststage,ratherthanmain
steam.Ifthetestingindicatesthatanupperbellsealistheproblem,itcanbefixedrelativelyquicklybecause
onlytheupperhalfoftheoutercylindermustberemoved.Butifthetestingindicatesaproblemwitha
lowerbellseal,fixingitwillnotbeeasybecauseitwillrequireremovingallHP-IPturbinecomponents.

Diagnosingothermodels

ForWestinghouseturbineswithanIP1-HP-IP2arrangement(Figure4),therearealsotwovaluesof
measurableIPapparentefficiency.TheIP1efficiencyismeasuredfromthehotreheattotheIP1exhaust
usingvendor-suppliedcasingpressureandtemperatureconnectionsinthelowertestwellsthatare
somewhatdifficulttoaccesson-line.(Onsomeunits,thereisanextractionlocationontheIP1exhaustthat
canbeusedforpressure/temperaturemeasurements.)

4.Horseofadifferentcolor.AWestinghouse180-MWIP1-HP-IP2turbine.Courtesy:SouthernCompany
Generation
IP1efficiencyvaluesaccountfortheeffectofleakageofHPexhauststeamleakagetotheIP1inletthrough
theIPdummyseals.ThetotalIPefficiency,measuredfromthehotreheattotheLPcrossoverpipe,includes
theeffectsofleakagethroughtheIPandLPdummies,thebellseals,theHPexhaustpistonrings,thehot
reheatinletpistonrings,thegovernorvalvestems,andthesealattheendofthegovernorshaft.Possible
sourcesofnondesignleakageincludebrokenequilibriumpipes,aleakingHP-IP1innershellhorizontaljoint,
brokenfirst-stagedrainandpressure-sensinglines,andcracksinmainsteaminletpipes.

Untilrecently,theonlyunusualproblemthatSCGhasexperiencedontheIP1-HP-IP2typeofturbinewasa
veryhighIPdummyleakageononeunit,butnotonasisterunit.Theproblemwasdiagnosedas"extra"
coolingholesfoundintheIPdummyring,anditwasfixedbyreducinginsize(weldingup)theholes,asthe
existingIPdummysealswouldprovidesufficientIPinletbucketcoolingsteam.Apost-outagetestrevealed
thattakingthisactionsubstantiallyreducedbothIPdummyleakageandtotalHPtoIPleakage.Including
theeffectofreducedreheatsprayflow,theunitheatrateimprovementwasabout40Btu/kWh.
Smaller(100-MWandless)Westinghouseturbineshavepistonsealringsonthemainsteaminletpipes.On
theseunits,excessiveleakagewillreduceHPturbineefficiencyassomeoralloftheHPbladingisbypassed.
TotalHP-to-IPleakageisnotaffectedbythisleakagethroughthepistonsealrings.
OnSCGs100-MWWestinghouseturbines,theLPdummyflow(externalpipes)totheIPexhaustcanbe
measuredusingthevendor-suppliedflowmeasurement/restrictionorificeplates.Ononeoccasion,therotor
ofoneunitwasvisiblythrusting,causingmeasuredLPdummyflowtocycle.Theresultsoftemperaturesplit
testingwereinconclusiveduetotheswingsinleakage.Eventually,theturbinerequiredaninspectionto
checkforwearofitsthrustbearing.Therootcauseofthethrustingwasdeterminedtobeworn-outIP
dummyseals,whichwerenolongerinahi-loconfiguration(Figure5).

5.Sealsdontlie.A100-MWWestinghouseturbinewithseverelywornIPdummysealsthatcaused
noticeablethrustingofitsrotor.Courtesy:SouthernCompanyGeneration
LaterWestinghouseunitshaveamid-spanbalanceportthatcanbeusedforborescopeinspectionstocheck
forlooseHPinnershellboltsandbrokenequilibriumpipes.OnBB44units,thiscanalsobeaccomplishedby
removinganLPcrossoverpipe.
Allis-Chalmersreheatturbinesalsoaresusceptibletoseveralsourcesofdesignandnondesigninternal
leakages.Figure6highlightsthesesourcesfor75-MWAllis-Chalmersunits,ofwhichSCGhasthree.The
sourcesofdesignleakagetotheIPturbineincludetheIPdummy,thereheatdiaphragmpacking,andtheLP
dummy.ExcessiveleakagethroughtheIPdummyandreheatdiaphragmpackingintotheIPturbineinlet

wouldproduceanincreaseinmeasuredIPefficiency.Bycontrast,excessiveleakagethroughtheLPdummy
intotheLPcross-aroundpipeswouldcauseadecreaseinmeasuredIPefficiency.Sourcesofnondesign
leakageincludethereheatdiaphragmpackinghousingjointandthehorizontaljoint.

6.Othersourcesofinternalleakage.TheHP,IP,LP,andreheatdiaphragmpackingofanAllis-Chalmers75MWturbine(L)andtheHP-IP-LPdummysealslocation(R).Courtesy:SouthernCompanyGeneration
NondesignleakagesthroughthetwosetsofmainsteaminletpistonsealringsortheHPinnershell
horizontaljoint,orduetoabrokenfirst-stagepressure-sensingline/drainontheinnercylinderaffectthe
performance/efficiencyoftheHPturbine,butnotleakageintotheIPturbine.SCGhasusedtheBoothKautzmanntemperaturesplittesttotrendtheleakageratebeforeandafteraturbineoutageonAllisChalmersunits.Wealsohavetemporarilyopenedthereheatdiaphragm(similartotheGEN2packing
blowdowntest)andbalancepistonunloadingvalvestocalculatethereheatdiaphragmpackingleakageand
IPdummyleakage,respectively,basedonthechangeinmeasuredIPefficiency.

Recipeforrepairs
ReducingexcessiveinternalleakageinWestinghouseandAllis-Chalmersturbinesmayrequiretakinganyor
allofthefollowingsteps:
ReplacinganyHP-IP-LPdummyandreheatdiaphragmpackingsealswithexcessiveclearanceor
brokenteeth.
Replacingbellsealsorpistonsealringsthatarecrackedorbroken(Figure7)orhaveexcessive
clearance/taperorerosion.Theinnercylindernozzlechambersorinletpipesmayrequire
refurbishmentiftheyareerodedorworn.Anyunusedbellsealretainernutlockscrewholesshouldbe
weldedupastheycanbeasourceofmainsteamleakage.Somepistonsealringdesigns(Figure8)can
produceexcessiveleakageifinstalledimproperly,upside-down(onesideisflat,andtheotherhas
alternatinghighandlowsides).
Checkinginletsleevesforcracksinthetrepanradiususingtheturbinemanufacturerstestmethod.In
WestinghouseBB44sthatareroutinelyfoundtohavecrackedbellseals,distortedinletsleevescould
betheproblem(aconsequenceofage);themanufactureroffersamethodforstraighteningtheinlet
sleevethatSCGhasusedsuccessfully.
ChangingtheusuallydistortedIPdummyringonBB44stoanimproveddesignofferedbythe
manufacturer.Theresanothergoodreasontodothis:BB44IPdummyringboltsbrokenbythe
distortioncanentertheIPturbineanddamageitsblading.
Repairinganybrokenequilibriumpipesorfirst-stagedrain/pressuresensinglines.Sometimes,a
equilibriumpipecanbeerodedbyabrokenbellsealsteamjet.
Closinguporreducinginsizeany"extra"IPdummyringcoolingholesonIP1-HP-IP2turbines.(Before
doingthis,consultwiththemanufacturer.)

Inspectingthestuds/shellthreadsoftheHPinnershellhorizontaljointforpossibleweldbuild-up
causedbymachiningofthejointsurface.Theresultingleakagecanactuallyflowupthroughtheshell
holes(Figure9).Thestudnutsshouldbe"sounded"withahammertodetermineifanyarelooseprior
todisassembly.Forbothstudsandthrough-bolts,itisveryimportanttoknowwhattheyaremadeof
becausethematerialdetermineshowmuchtheycanbetightened.

7.Yetanothersource.CrackedandbrokenmainsteaminletbellsealsonaWestinghouseBB44.Courtesy:
SouthernCompanyGeneration

8.One-waystreet.Thealternating(high-andlow-side)pistonsealringsofa50-MWWestinghousereheat
turbine.Notethattheringsareinstalledcorrectly,withthehi-losideoppositetheoutershell.Courtesy:
SouthernCompanyGeneration

9.Loosey-goosey.LooseHPinnercylinderboltingonbothsidesofthisBB44turbinecausedexcessiveHPto
IPleakage,severelypenalizingtheunitsheatrate.Courtesy:SouthernCompanyGeneration
Afterarepairoutage,theturbinemustberetestedtoensurethattheworkwassuccessful.InSCGs
experiencewithWestinghouseturbines,lessthan6%ofhotreheatflowleakage(thedesignlevelis4%)can
beachievedwithgoodoverallwork.AlthoughSCGsexperiencewithAllis-Chalmersturbinesislimitedto
threeunits,resultsindicatethatlessthan6%ofhotreheatflowleakage(designis3%)canbeachieved.

Casestudy#1:ExcessiveHPtoIPleakageina500-MWWestinghousecombined
HP-IPdrumturbine
Inthisextremecase,abadbellsealwasdeterminedtobethecauseofexcessiveleakagethatraisedthe
unitsheatrate.Theturbinebeganproducinganunusuallyloudnoisefollowingatemperatureexcursion.A
temperaturesplittestindicatedthatthemeasuredIPefficiencytotheLPcrossoverhaddecreased5%,witha
significantincreaseintheLPcrossoverpressure.Mainsteamflowhadincreased6%althoughcorrectedload
hadonlyincreased3.2%.ThetestalsorevealedthattotalHPtoIPleakagehadincreasedfrom6%ofhot
reheatflowto13.5%.ThetemperaturerisefromtheIPexhaust(deaerator/boilerfeedpumpturbine
extraction)totheLPcrossoversuggestedapossibleleakthroughthebellsealorequilibriumpipe.
SCGengineersthendecidedtoconductthemanufacturersbellsealleakageperformancetest.Analysisof
thatdataindicatedthatclosingtheNo.7and8valves,whichfeedacommonnozzleblock,producedthe
biggestchangeintemperature.
SincetheNo.7and8valvesonthisunitareupperinletvalves(narrowingthescopeoftheproblem),the
decisionwasmadetoremovetheupperhalfoftheoutercylinder.Doingsorevealedabrokenbellsealon
theNo.8governorvalveinletsleeve(Figure10).Fortunately,thebrokenportionofthesealcouldbe
extractedfromtheinnershell,minimizingthedurationoftheoutage.

10.Untrainedseal.AbrokenbellsealonthesleeveoftheNo.8governorvalveofa500-MWWestinghouse
BB44steamturbine.Courtesy:SouthernCompanyGeneration

Casestudy#2:ExcessiveHPtoIPleakageina500-MWsupercritical
WestinghousecombinedHP-IPturbine
Thiscaseismoretypicalofexcessiveleakagethatgoesundetected.Pre-outagetemperaturesplittestingof
thisunitin1992indicatedaveryhighlevelofIPdummyleakage(7.6%ofhotreheatflow)andsimilarlyhigh
totalHPtoIPleakageof7.4%ofhotreheatflow(designis5.4%).SinceitisimpossiblefortheIPdummy
leakagetobehigherthanthetotalleakage,theabsoluteaccuracyoftheIPdummyleakagewascalledinto
question.AsteampathauditcalculatedIPdummyleakageof3%throughadistortedring.DistortedIP
dummyringsareagenericagingproblemfortheBB44design.
ThedistortionoftheIPdummyringwas"fixed"duringthe1992outagebyinstallingnewsealsandboring
themoutoff-center.Outageinspectionsalsorevealedthatabrokenfirst-stagedrainpipeandwornHP
dummysealswerecontributingtothehighleakage.Thebellsealswereingoodcondition.
Unfortunately,post-outagetesting,in1993,producedworsenumbersforIPdummyleakage(13.4%)and
totalHPtoIPleakage(14%).Theunitexperiencedsomethrustbalanceproblemsafterstart-upthatmay
havecontributedtothehigherleakage.Computermodelsindicatedthattheleakageraisedtheunitsheat
ratebyanywherefrom32Btu/kWhto109Btu/kWh,dependingonitssource(firststageorcoldreheat).The
unitwasretestedinlate1993andthenagaininlate1996.BothtestsindicatedthatboththeIPdummy
leakageandtotalHPtoIPleakagehaddecreasedsomewhatovertime,whichcouldnotbeexplained.
SincethedistortedIPdummyringwasaknownproblem,theplantpurchaseda"modernized"BB44MIP
dummyringfromWestinghouseandinstalleditduringa1999outage.
Inspectionsduringthe1999outagerevealedsomeseverelywornIPdummyseals(Figure11)andsomewith
rowsmissing.TheHPdummysealswerealsoinpoorcondition,withnumerousteethbrokenoffbyaxial
movement.TheLPdummysealsalsowereworn,andtwoleakingbellsealswerefoundaswell.However,a

pre-outagetesthadnotbeenconducted.Ifithadbeen,thetotalHPtoIPleakagewouldhavebeenmuch
higherthanreportedbythelastreadings,in1996.Thedummysealsandwornbellsealswerereplacedwhen
theIPdummyringwasupgraded.

11.Agetakesitstoll.A500-MWsupercriticalWestinghouseBB44turbinewithadistortedanddamagedIP
dummyringseal.Courtesy:SouthernCompanyGeneration
The1999post-outagetestrevealedtremendousimprovementsinIPdummyleakage(1%)andtotalHPtoIP
leakage(5.4%)tovaluesneardesign.Atestrepeatedoneyearlaterindicatedthatbothleakagerateshad
remainedneardesign.Withoutadoubt,thenewIPdummyringhadworkedasadvertised.Theapparent
valuesofIPefficiency,whichhadbeenhighduetotheIPdummyleakage,returnedtomorenormalvalues.
Unfortunately,duringthe2004outage,thereplacementIPdummyringwasfoundtobedistorted.Recent
testingindicatedthattheIPdummyleakagerate(4.4%)andtotalleakagelevel(7.0%),thoughnotquiteas
goodasthe1999results,areoverwhelminglybetterthanthosefoundbythe1993tests.

Casestudy#3:ExcessiveHPtoIPleakageina180-MWWestinghousecombined
IP1-HP-IP2turbine
ThiscasealsoistypicalofexcessiveIPdummyleakagethatgoesundetected.Formanyyears,temperature
splittestingofthisunitindicatedveryhighlevelsofIPdummyleakage(5%ofhotreheatflow)andtotalHP
toIPleakage(8.6%ofhotreheatflow).MeasuredvaluesofIP1andtotalIPefficiencywerealwayshigher
thandesign,indicatingsignificantleakageintotheIP1turbineinlet.ThesealclearancesoftheIPdummy
andthehorizontaljointoftheIPdummyring,andthefitoftheIPdummyringintotheoutercylinderhad
alwaysbeenfoundacceptable.Finally,themysterywasresolvedduringa2005outageinspection.Three
1.25-inchholeswereunexpectedlyfoundintheIPdummyring:oneontopandtwointhelowerquadrants
(Figure12).

12.Sizematters."Extra"IPdummyringholes(arrows)forcoolingsteamona180-MWWestinghouseIP1HP-IP2turbine.NarrowingthemreducedHPtoIPleakagerates.Courtesy:SouthernCompanyGeneration
AreviewoftheturbinecrosssectionandofdetailedIPdummydrawingsrevealedthattheholeswere
supposedtobethere.Flowcalculationsindicatedthattheseholesforcoolingsteamwerethesourceofthe
excessIPdummyleakage(asignificant40,000lb/hr).AfterdiscussionswithWestinghouse,SCGdecidedto
reducethesizeoftheholesto0.4375inchbyweldinganddrilling.Post-outagetestingconfirmedthatthe
workloweredthemeasuredIPturbineefficiencybyloweringitsHPtoIPleakagerates(to1%fortheIP
dummy,andto5.4%fortotalleakage).Onasimilar,smallerunitatthisplant,theholesintheIPdummyring
werecompletelyweldedupinthe2007outagebecauseasisterunitatanotherplantdidnothavetheextra
coolingholes.
Authors note: At press time, SCG was investigating a sudden rise in thrust bearing temperature in a 125-MW IP1HP-IP2 turbine. Further review of the incident indicated sudden increases in measured IP2 efficiencies (one to a
heater extraction and one to the LP crossover), along with lower reheat pressures and higher pressures in the IP2
turbine. The problem was determined to be a broken equilibrium pipe between the IP1 exhaust and the IP2 inlet.
Unit full load is restricted until an outage can be taken to correct the problem.
WarrenHopson,PE(whhopson@southernco.com(mailto:whhopson@southernco.com))isaSouthern
CompanyGenerationprincipalengineerforgeneratingplantperformance.

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