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Case Study

“Corrosion Under Insulation”

Dec 2015

It is expensive to remove the insulation. The failures are often the result of localized corrosion and not general wasting over a large area. This type of corrosion can cause failures in areas that are not normally of a primary concern to an inspection program. Alteration and Rerating of In-Service Piping Systems. identifies CUI as a special concern. Inspection Methods • • • • • • Profile Radiography Ultrasonic Thickness Measurement Insulation Removal Gamma Ray Real-Time Radiography Digital Radiography Testing www. These failures can be catastrophic in nature or at least have adverse economic effect in terms of downtime and repairs. 2 .ref. API 570. CUI is difficult to find because of the insulation cover that masks the corrosion problem until it is too late. The American Petroleum Institute code.pemex.Introduction Corrosion under insulation (CUI) is real threat to the onstream reliability of many of today's plants. Inspection.

but limited to a small area. The inspection holes cut in the insulation may compromise the integrity of the insulation and add to the corrosion under insulation problem.pemex. It is not practical to cut enough holes to get a reliable result. This technique will not detect corrosion induced stress corrosion cracking (CISCC) in stainless steels.Ultrasonic Thickness Measurement This is an effective method. . It is expensive to cut the insulation holes and cover the holes with caps or covers. if they are not recovered carefully.ref.

and replace the insulation. This is also the most expensive method in terms of cost and time . This approach will detect CISCC in stainless steels. check the surface condition of the pipe. www.Insulation Removal The most effective method is to remove the insulation. The logistics on insulation removal will probably involve asbestos and its attendant complications. if the insulation is removed while the piping is in service. Process related problems may occur. may require eddy current or liquid dye penetrant inspection.

The choice of radiation sources and their strength depends on a variety of factors including size of the component and the material thickness. Gamma sources vary from very low level fluoroscopic units to perform real time corrosion under insulation surveys. It is performed using two different sources of radiation.pemex. Portable X-Ray cameras used for field weld applications and thin wall material inspection. to Cobalt (Co 60) inspections for thick component testing . to Iridium (Ir192) and Selenium (Se 75) sources used for a variety of weld inspections.ref.Inspection Methods Gamma Ray (RT) Industrial radiography is used for a variety of applications. X-Ray and Gamma ray sources.

wash water. etc. corrosion becomes a significant concern in steel at temperatures between 32 F (0 C) and 300 F (149 C).When Does Corrosion Under Insulation Occur? The problem occurs on carbon steels and 300 series stainless steels. Though failure can occur in a broad band of temperatures. CUI is particularly aggressive where operating temperatures cause frequent condensation and reevaporation of atmospheric moisture. www. •Carbon steel piping systems that normally operate in-service above 250 F (120 C) but are in intermittent service. including those insulated for personnel protection operating between 25 F and 250 F. which traps the water like a sponge in contact with the metal surface. •Locations were insulation plugs have been removed to permit thickness measurements on insulated piping should receive particular attention.pemex. On the carbon steels it manifests as generalized or localized wall loss.ref. •Dead legs and attachments that protrude from insulated piping and operate at a temperature different than the active line. •Areas exposed to steam vents •Carbon steel piping systems. etc. •Piping systems with deteriorated coatings and/or . leakage. API 570 specifies to the following areas as susceptible to CUI: •Areas exposed to mist overspray from cooling water towers. The water can come from rain water. Corrosion under insulation is caused by the ingress of water into the insulation. With he stainless pipes it is often pitting and corrosion induced stress corrosion cracking.

Figure 4: Vent of the skirt in good conditions. Plate VI Figure 6: Wear evidence material thickness loss . .11 kg/cm² (not relevant) Fluid: Not Relevant Material: 515-70 Environment: saline environment by its proximity to the sea Figure 1: General View of the skirt in good conditions. Figure 3: Nozzles not inspected because 7 .CUI Case Tag: DA-1102 (Debutanizer Tower) Visual Inspection Results: CUI Operational Temperature: 147°F (not relevant) Operational Pressure: 15.pemex.300. Figure 2: Manhold Access view in good conditions. Figure 5: The skirt presents corrosión on Ring A. Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5 Figure 6 www.350” because high corrosión on Ring C.ref.

740” and remanent thickness of 0. www. original thickness 0.740” and remanent thickness of 0.314”.ref. original thickness 0.pemex.402”. Plate V with a remanent thickness of . Plate II. Plate V.422”.246”.0. Figure 8: concavity generated by the lost of material on the 3rd ring.397”. Figure 9: deep undermining with lost of material because high corrosion on the 3rd 8 .Figure 7 Figure 8 Figure 9 Figure 7: deep undermining with lost of material because high corrosion on the 3rd ring.0. 9 .740” and remanent thickness of 0. which is destroyed because high corrosión installed on the 3rd ring of the skirt.ref.0. Figure 11: zones with lost of material because high corrosión on 3rd ring.272”. plate VII. Figure 12: remove support ring of insulation.pemex.Figure 10 Figure 11 Figure 12 Figure 10: deep undermining with lost of material because high corrosion on the 3rd ring. Plate VII. original thickness 0.282”.

pt . should be checking temperatures during the contribution of material prior preheating . finally recommends put a ring plate 13 mm ( 0.ref. Before and after they recover thicknesses on plates listed. Under welding procedure. in the previous sections .500 " ) covering the entire thinning area with the purpose of give strength to the mechanical structure of the skirt. vt . ASME code section VIII and section IX . shall do nondestructive testing (ut . mt ) to determine if there is any other problem areas and thereafter to corroborate thickness after the application of welding . www.Recomendations • • Apply additional material to recover the nominal thickness and restablish the mechanical properties of the plate that conforms the skirt. In order to not impair the strength of the plate and not unleash the weakening of the same with consequences due to weight for tower supporting the skirt 10 .