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Boiler Biz

Considering an
HRSG Pressure

2 separation. These pads look like Brillo dish cleaning pads

Manway Sealing
Part 3Gasket
Placement and Door
Finned Tube
New Additions to
the Team

Winter 2007

Trouble Behind the Brillo Pad?

Trouble Behind the

Brillo Pad?

Upcoming Training

Volume 8 Issue 2

Several drums use a mesh pad as a final stage of steam

and create a torturous path for the steam flow. Dry steam
is able to navigate its way through the twists and turns
3 where as any suspended water droplets will impact the mesh
wires, coalesce and drip back down into the drum water.
The perforated plate behind the mesh pad serves two
4 purposes. First, it provides support for the mesh as the
steam flows through and second, it creates a pressure drop
large enough to ensure that steam flows through the entire
area of the mesh pad. Without this pressure drop steam
4 flow would concentrate in the portion of the mesh immediately below the steam outlet.

Figure #1: Location of perforated plate.

5 This pressure drop, when amplified over a wide area, can

create a large force pushing the mesh pad toward the

steam outlet. If there is not enough weld holding the
HRST Opens a
perforated plate in place, the weld can fail and the
Maine Office
perforated plate can get pushed flush against the drum
Photo #1: Hole in perforated plate caused
6 shell, blocking off the steam outlet. If this happens, the
Recent Project
by high pressure drop across the plate.
pressure drop across the perf plate will dramatically
increase. Often, the pressure drop increase is so high that this event can cause the safety
valves to lift. As soon as minutes later, the large pressure drop across the perforated plate causes the plate near the
outlet nozzle to fail and that section of plate as well as the surrounding mesh pad is pushed up the steam line. Unlike
carry over contaminants which will typically plate the downstream superheater tubes, particles of the stainless steel
mesh pad will find their way to the steam turbine blades, causing significant and expensive damage.
Mesh pad steam separators 24 wide or greater, similar to what is shown in figure #1 above, are susceptible to failure.
If yours is susceptible, remove the mesh immediately below the steam outlet nozzle when you have the opportunity.
With the mesh out of the way, inspect the welds on the stiffeners and the housing. If any cracking is discovered, grind
out and re-lay the welds. As a general solution:

Make all welds between the perf plate and stiffeners within a 24 radius of the steam outlet full length welds
rather than skip welds.

Make the welds between the perf plate and the housing which supports the plate within 36 of steam outlet full
length welds.
Victor Ferris, P.E.
Copyright 2007 by HRST, Inc. All rights reserved.

Considering an HRSG Pressure Test?

Are you considering an HRSG Pressure Test for your next outage? Are you prepared if you need to do a pressure test?
Below are considerations to help you plan properly.
Hydrostatic Head Pressure Test:

For preheaters, economizers and evaporators, usually just filling the section with
water and relying on hydrostatic head is sufficient to reveal most tube leaks.


For superheaters and reheaters, shutting the HRSG down with the drain lines kept
closed can help find leaks. Condensate accumulates in the lower headers, which can
submerge the lower tube panel (harp) tube welds, possibly revealing leaks.


If possible, when entering an HRSG maintenance outage, keep the HRSG full of
water until the boiler inspector has had an opportunity to crawl through the lower
crawl spaces and access lanes. This improves the odds of the inspector noticing a
wet spot indicating a leak.


For outdoor HRSGs, keep the roof doors closed until the lower crawl spaces and
access lanes have been inspected. This keeps out rain water making it easier to
notice wet spots from pressure part leaks.


If there is freeze risk, be aware that sitting idle with an HRSG full of water can
be risky.

This tube leak was easy to find with just

static pressure from filling the drum.

Pressure Test Using a Pump:


Applying more than hydrostatic head pressure on the boiler section means first
completely filling the boiler with water, including the superheater. This allows
pressure to be applied, forcing water out even tight, small cracks. This involves
careful consideration and more involved preparation steps.


Superheaters operate full of steam, not water, so before flooding a superheater, research what pipe support
actions are required to handle the extra water weight.


Shutdown with superheater drains closed

revealed a tube-to-header crack above
this header.

Which pipe support spring hangers need to be pinned? Do temporary fixed supports need to be installed?
Research what was required by the OEM when the pre-commissioning hydro test was performed during

Determine the acceptable pipe metal temperatures before pinning is permitted. Pinning spring hangers while
piping is still hot can cause unexpected pipe loading as the pipes continue to cool.

Consider developing a pressure test pipe support plan that can be used if a pressure test is needed. Utilize a
piping engineer who can analyze and recommend temperature limits to determine when spring supports can be
pinned, and where additional temporary supports may need to be added.

Can the superheater be filled with drum water, or is back filling with clean condensate required?

Back filling with clean condensate is definitely required if the superheater has any austenitic pressure part
sections, because of stress corrosion cracking concerns. Most HRSG superheaters do not use austenitic steels,
so filling with drum water may be acceptable since the water can be completely drained prior to start-up.

If the evaporator is on phosphate or caustic water treatment programs, pushing boiler drum water into the
superheater might cause steam turbine start-up delays due to high sodium.

Keeping the steam system clean to protect the turbine tends to be a high priority at most plants, so using clean
condensate piped directly to the superheater or reheater will help avoid putting silica, iron oxide or other
junk in the superheater
Continued on pg. 3

Page 2

Copyright 2007 by HRST, Inc. All rights reserved.


Do you have leaky valves? Probably so! With this in mind youll need to rely on looking and listening for leaks, rather
than watching a pressure gauge to find leaks.


Decide in advance the maximum allowable temperature difference between the water entering a header or drum and
the components metal temperature.

Differentials up to 100 F are generally considered acceptable. Analysis may reveal higher allowable
temperature differentials.

Monitoring temperature differentials may require additional thermocouples in proper locations.


If the weather is cool, be careful to keep the HRSG pressure parts above 70 F.
Below 70 F, there is a chance of brittle fracture if applying serious pressure.


Be prepared to look and listen for water leaks. Once youve gone through all the
effort of preparing and filling for a pressure test, dont skimp on the follow
through effort to inspect and listen for leaks.


For HP systems, start with 100 psig pressure, and look from outside the
casing, through the manways, for obvious leaks.

Hopefully water is not raining down inside your HRSG! If all is dry, then increase pressure to 50% of HP drum operating pressure, and look for leaks
from the outside.

After holding at 50% of HP drum pressure for 20 minutes, reduce pressure to about 50 psig and send the
inspectors inside the HRSG to visually look and listen for leaks. Have your inspector do a thorough crawlthrough. You can use modern acoustic listening devices to aid your inspection.

Acoustic listening tools can help find small

leaks, photo courtesy of UE Systems Inc.


No leaks? Great, send an email to your boss that all the effort has decreased the risk of a tube leak outage
during the next peak season.


Found a leak? Cancel dinner at home, order in a pizza (use a coupon to save money for repairs) and contact your
HRSG repair expert for repair planning advice! Also brag to your boss that you found the leak on your time
table rather than letting the leak find you right before your vacation!


Finally, dont forget to properly drain the superheater and reheaters, remove spring hanger pins, remove
temporary supports, and disconnect temporary fill connections.

Pressure testing using low pressure air can be helpful, but well save that for a future newsletter.
Do you have a success story or preferred approach to finding tube leaks? Email me your tip or technique and if we use it
in BoilerBiz, or if we just find it interesting and creative, well send you a cool HRST monogrammed item from our
impressive collection of stuff.
Lester Stanley, P.E. (

Upcoming Training Courses

HRST provides training courses for plant O&M staff.
Contact us for custom plant-specific training.
Visit for further information.
Upcoming Courses: HRSG Academy, January 21st-24th in Tucson, Arizona
The January 21-24th HRSG Academy in Tucson, Arizona has only a few seats left!
We encourage you to plan ahead for our June/July 2008 course and register early.
Details for that course will be on our website in February.
Copyright 2007 by HRST, Inc. All rights reserved.

Page 3

Manway Sealing Part 3- Gasket Placement and Door Closing

Did you have a leaky manway door when bringing the plant back on-line after the latest
outage? Is this a recurrence and you are not sure why this keeps happening?
The outage is near completion, the HRSG LOTOs are cleared, and the order has been
given to close all drum manway doors. Does the plant have a specific contractor that is
used to close the manways every time or do O&M technicians close the doors? Who
ever is chosen to perform this critical task needs to be trained on the proper procedure
for closing doors as well as given the proper tooling.
HRSG steam drums in service today have either Elliptical Manway doors or Round
Manway doors for access into the vessel when the unit is offline. The main difference
in manway design would be just as in the name, one is round and one is elliptical. Elliptical
Manways are designed to allow for removal of the door for maintenance. The same is
not true for Round Manways. As every city street worker knows round sewer doors
cant fall down through the hole, which is good if you want to avoid dropping the door in
the sewage but could be bad if you want to get the door out of a steam drum.

Gasket placement on round drum doors

requires careful bending to get it
through the opening

Whichever door you have at your facility its important that the correct manway door gasket for the rated pressure
application, has been selected (see Boiler Biz, Volume 7 Issue 1, Spring 2007, Spiral Wound Gaskets). Elliptical Manway
gaskets can be easily placed in the drum by turning the gasket sideways. However the round manway gasket is not so
easy. Remember the city street worker??

Finned Tube Cleaning

Here is a question for you; how do you clean the gas side of your HRSG that wasn't
designed to be cleaned? Whats that you were told that the HRSG was never
supposed to need cleaning? Are you hoping that these rust flakes, ammonia salts or
other stuff that are clogging up by the fins are just a bad dream and will go away by
itself? If this is you, don't worry, youre not alone.
Regarding cleaning there is not necessarily a simple answer to this
question, but there are techniques that are showing promise in this
area. Dry ice blasting and water washing have their strengths and
weaknesses. Dry ice blasting may not reach sufficiently deep into a
densely packed coil. Water washing creates a corrosive mess and the
effectiveness depends on the solubility of the deposits.
Dont be scared of
cleaning your boiler
hiding from your
problems will only
make it worse.

In the previous issue of Boiler Biz we discussed the cost (loss of

efficiency) resulting from an increase in backpressure on the turbine.
The decrease in heat transfer piles on to further increase the cost
of a fouled HRSG. HRST has several customers currently expressing
interest in new cleaning techniques.

Photo #1: Tube bundle before cleaning

was started. Note the thickness of the
tube fouling present.

In response to the need, HRST has developed boiler cleaning techniques to remove the
deposits from finned tubes. Within the last year, two different methods have been
used successfully to clean deep into tube banks. The tools and the techniques vary per
the design as the obstacles to cleanability are not the same for all OEMs.
Understand that this is a competitive business and HRST has made an investment in
developing this technology. So don't expect us to disclose every detail here. If
interested in learning more about whether these new cleaning techniques may apply to
your needs, contact your favorite HRST engineer and ask.
Patrick Walker

Page 4

Copyright 2007 by HRST, Inc. All rights reserved.

Photo #2: The same tube bundle pictured

above after cleaning was finished.

New Additions To The Team

Brent Cosgrove joined the HRST team in May 2007. Brent holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from the
University of Minnesota and comes with a wealth of experience in a variety of fields, including: four years of
HRSG design for a major OEM, engine cooling design for the trucking industry, petroleum refining and a stint in
Naval nuclear power. Brent lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota with his partner and her 13 year old daughter. He also
has a son of his own who is in college and a daughter who is a senior in high school.
Scott Olson joined the HRST team in August 2007 as part of the product sales and design team. Within this team, he
provides consultation, design and documentation for retrofit projects relating to HRSGs. He also takes part in new
product development. For the prior 8 years previous to HRST, Scott worked with a major OEM for gas turbine HRSGs
assuming roles in lead design, layout and detail components comprising HRSGs. Scott graduated from Dunwoody Institute
of Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1999 with an Engineering, Drafting and Technology degree. He resides in Hopkins, MN and
enjoys biking and golfing, when the Minnesota weather permits.
Craig Dube joined the HRST team in September 2007. He brings 10 years of operating experience from major energy
producers, which included control room plant dispatch, field operations and operator training at several plant sites.
During that time he had also taken part in the operational reliability of the HRSGs, which included: inspecting, troubleshooting and training. He earned a Power Engineering Technology degree from Maine Maritime Academy. Craig lives in
Enfield, ME with his Fianc and will soon be married in September 2008. In his spare time, Craig enjoys fishing, hunting,
whitewater rafting and officiating high school wrestling.

HRST Opens a Maine Office

HRST has opened an office in the Bangor area to better serve our clients in the Northeast.
The new HRST office is managed by Craig Dube. Craig brings operational expertise to the
design team. You may know Craig as one of the talented lead operators involved with the
start-up, commissioning, and training at several plants for a major energy producer.

Manway Sealing Part 3

(Continued from pg. 4)

If using a Flexible Spiral Wound Gasket it has to be deformed slightly to get it inside
the drum opening. Do not compress the Flex Gasket from the OD, as this can result in
too much flexing of the corrugations and damage the gasket. The preferred method is
to use a Bow and Arrow motion by gently grabbing the ID of the gasket with both
hands 180 degrees apart. This will stretch the gasket to get it in the drum. Check
with your gasket provider if there are new designs available that may be a better fit to
The gasket is in the drum, whats next? Close the door, tighten it up and head for the
hills!!! This is another part of the drum manway closing that needs as much attention as
gasket selection. Drum manway doors all have some slack in them, meaning the door has
up and down movement because it pivots on a hinge. The door needs to be centered
with the gasket in position. Well, how do I do that correctly? One maintenance worker
told me he uses a Porta-Power Jack to center the door in the manway hole so he has
proper alignment on all sides of the door. That works, but who wants to carry a PortaPower to the top of the units, especially if you have multiple units. There is an
attachment that HRST has developed to help with this problem as can be seen in the photo above.
This device allows the individual closing the door to be sure there is an equal gap all around the door before tightening
the man-way bolts. Be sure to re-torque after the unit has been operating at full pressure and temperature (see Boiler
Biz, Volume 7 Issue 2, Fall 2006, Manway Sealing Part 2-Re-tourquing).
Dan Turley at Coyote Spring uses a PS-9400-G, Para Seal gasket obtained from Paramount Supply for his round
manways. Dan advises that the gasket seals well and can be easily fit into the drum.
Craig Dube
Copyright 2007 by HRST, Inc. All rights reserved.

Page 5

Recent Project Successes


HRSG Inspection and Troubleshooting: Over 100 different

HRSGs in 2007


Design & Supply of our patent pending Shock Master

Economizer design: Two LM6000 HRSGs


Supply of our patented HRSG sidewall pipe penetration seals:

Numerous HRSGs


HRSG Gas Side Cleaning Tools & Technical Advisor: 2 HRSG

sites, more being planned.


Retrofit of Quick Open/Close HRSG Access Doors: Several Plants


FAC Risk Assessment Studies: Several HRSG sites and designs


HRSG Cycling and/or Low Load Studies: Several F-Class sites

HRSG Cleaning to reduce back

pressure using HRST tools and
technical guidance.
HRST retrofit shock master
economizer design is built to
take daily cool water shocks.

HRST, Inc. Has Moved!

As of November 7th, 2007, HRST, Inc. has established new residence in Eden
Prairie, Minnesota.
If you haven't done so already, please update your records with our new address.
All phone numbers and emails have remained the same.
New Address!

Your Boiler Specialists

HRST, Inc.
6557 City West Parkway
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Performance Analysis
Root Cause Failure Analysis
Outage Inspections
Expert Witness
Field Services
Process Control

Visit us on the web!
Tel: 952-833-1427 Fax: 952-833-1429
Copyright 2007 by HRST, Inc. All rights reserved.