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High Temp. Mater. Proc., Vol.

31 (2012), 759767

Copyright 2012 De Gruyter. DOI 10.1515/htmp-2012-0016

Remnant Life Assessment and Microstructural Studies on


Service Exposed Primary Reformer Tubes of a Catalytic
Converter of an Ammonia Plant

Krishna Guguloth,1; Jaganathan Swaminathan,1


Sumanta Bagui1 and Ashok Kumar Ray1
1

National Metallurgical Laboratory (CSIR), Material Science and Technology Division

13.5 year service exposed (SE) catalyst primary


reformer tube material made of H39WM micro-paralloy
grade used in feritilizer plant was assessed for remaining life. The investigation includes mechanical properties evaluation; microstructural analysis and accelerated
stress rupture tests. Failed tube portions showed coarsening primary carbides of Chromium and Niobium along the
grain boundaries. Degradation of Niobium carbide (NbC)
into Ni-Nb-Si phase and partial conversion this phase back
to NbC was observed. Secondary carbides within grains
were almost absent. Degradation in tensile strength for a
range of temperature from 1123 to 1223 K was also observed but they were within the specified limits. Premature failures within 35 years service exposure are more
common in reformer tubes. The failure was attributed to
localized overheating leading to creep damage. The cast
tube material may undergo microstructural changes during service exposure which is the main cause of degradation in strength and hardness changes. Accelerated
stress rupture tests were performed in the range of 1173
1248 K on samples machined from 13.5 years at 1191 K
and 15.4 MPa exposed reformer steel tubing, did not reveal any degradation of rupture behavior compared to that
of the virgin alloy. An additional life of at least 10.6
years is predicted at the operating stress-temperature conditions.

Abstract.

Keywords. Reformer tubes, remaining life, mechanical


properties, accelerated stress rupture, microstructure.
PACS (2010). NO.81.

* Corresponding author: Krishna Guguloth, MST Division, NML,


Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, 831007, India;
E-mail: krishna@nmlindia.org.
Received: April 24, 2012. Accepted: April 29, 2012.

1 Introduction
Reformer tubes in refineries, chemical and petrochemical
industries have finite life because of progressive damage
accumulation due to prolonged high temperature exposure
under stress and aggressive environment.
Primary reformer furnace unit of a petrochemical plant
produce hydrogen rich gases for the synthesis of ammonia, methanol and other organic chemicals. The primary reformer furnace consists of catalyst filled heater tubes made
of cast austenitic steel fired from outside. In plants as process fluids consisting of either naphtha or natural gas and
steam pass through these tubes they get reformed as a result
of endothermic reactions giving a mixture of gases rich in
hydrogen. Higher creep rupture strength of this alloy is the
main criteria for selection. The primary heater tubes were
designed for a life time of 100,000 h (11.4 years) at the
design temperature of 1191 K. Primary reformer tubes of
a fertilizer plant have served approximately for 118,260 h
(13.5 years) without any failure. Seven months prior to
this investigation, there was a failure due to increase in
methane slip and this phenomenon re-occurred thrice within
two months. Three to four months preceding the failure,
increase in tube wall temperature and hot spot were reported. At the bottom casing of radiant section, leakage
and hot spots were observed (1st tube in 8th row). Inspection during shutdown showed longitudinal cracks near the
weld joint (1st tube in 8th row) and circumferential cracks
in outlet manifold at the bottom, between the 1st and the
2nd tube in the 8th row. Maximum length of the crack was
62 mm and cracked area showed bulging. Chocking of catalyst due to carbon deposition was reported at the middle
portion of the tube. There was a carbon deposits on the
cracks located at the inner wall of the tube. Heavy carbon
deposition was observed on the catalyst in the area of high
heat flux zone of the burner flame. Flame disruptions for
some burners were also reported. In many cases, the premature failure seems to be the result of overheating leading
to creep damage, and service ageing leading to embrittlement [14]. Failure was investigated prior to this work [5]
and the remaining life was assessed using sample tubes
from the plant during the current shutdown in November
2010. This investigation incorporated measurement of tensile properties at 2981223 K and stress rupture properties
at 11731248 K. Additionally chemical composition, hard-

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760

K. Guguloth, J. Swaminathan, S. Bagui and A. K. Ray

Plant
Unit
Year of retrofit
Process fluid
Inlet temperature of fluid
Pressure inside the reformer tubes
Tube outlet temperature of fluid
Riser outlet temperature
Reformer tube recommended design skin temperature
Outlet manifold pressure
No. of catalyst tubes
Reformer tube dimension

Reformer tube material


No. of startups and/ shutdowns
Latest Catalyst replacement

Ammonia-II
Primary reformer
1996
Natural gas C steam
783 K
37 kg=cm2
1093 K
1118 K
1191 K
34.1 kg=cm2
504
OD (outer diameter) : 109 mm;
ID (inner diameter) : 85 mm;
Thickness : 12.5 mm
H39WM (Paralloy make)
40
April 2007

Table 1. Operating parameters and service history of the primary reformer.

ness and microstructure of the service exposed tubes have


been documented.

Experimental

2.1

Visual Observation and Dimensional Measurements

Inner and outer surfaces of the service exposed tubes were


greenish and black in color respectively and no oxides scale
was observed.
The dimensional measurement was carried out on the
service exposed primary reformer tubes. Outer diameter
(OD) measurement was taken at two mutually perpendicular directions along the length of the tube at an interval
of 150 mm [13]. The outer diameter and thickness of the
tubes were around 109 mm and 12.5 mm respectively (Table 1). Two tube portions, each of 400 mm length was cut
from service exposed tubes. These are namely

Element
C
Si
Mn
S
Ni
Cr
Mo
Nb
P
Cu
Ti
Zr
Fe

Specified
0.400.45
2.0 (max.)
1.5 (max.)
0.03 (max.)
3337
2428
0.5 (max.)
0.71.5
0.03 (max.)
0.25 (max.)
0.030.3
0.010.3
Bal.

Weight (%)
Analyzed
0.40
1.74
0.74
0.03
33.16
24.14
0.011
0.86
0.013
0.074
0.046
0.0065
Bal.

Centre portion tube cut at the centre of the vertical Table 2. Chemical analysis of the service exposed primary
length (T5),
reformer tube.

Bottom portion tube cut at 0.5 meters from the bottom


(T6).
2.3 Metallography

Metallographic observations were made using scanning


electron microscope (SEM) equipped with EDX analysis
Chemical composition of the service exposed reformer system for identifying various particles. For metallographic
tube was analyzed through standard analytical spectrome- observations small cubical samples were cut from center
try method. Carbon and sulphur levels were analyzed using and bottom locations of the service exposed primary reLECO make carbon-sulphur analyzer. Table 2 shows that former tubes. These samples were next mounted and methe material used in the present investigation conforms to chanically polished. Polished faces were etched using glycH39WM grade of steel.
ergia etchant [13].
2.2

Chemical Composition

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761

Remnant Life Assessment and Microstructural Studies

2.4

3 Results and Discussion

Hardness

Samples were cut from service exposed reformer tubes and


the specimens were polished uniformly using silicon carbide emery paper. Hardness measurement was carried out
by a Vickers hardness testing machine (Leitz make) with
applied load of 30 kg for dwell time of 10 s.
2.5

Tensile Test

In view of the increasing cost of setting up a new fertilizer


plant, considerable interest in life extension of the existing
units exists. In order to arrive at a quantitative estimate of
the remaining or balance life of such ageing components, it
is necessary to have creep and stress rupture data with a detailed microstructural correlation of the components as only
in situ non-destructive test results cannot predict the future
creep life and creep deformation behavior of the serviceexposed tubes. In common practice, in the absence of discernible damage, stress rupture tests can be selectively used
to assess the condition of the current components. One of
the most widely used techniques for life assessment of components involves removal of service exposed alloy and conducting accelerated tests at temperatures above the service
temperature [7].

Tensile tests at 298 K, 1123 K, 1173 K, 1198 K, and 1223 K


of the service exposed tubes were performed using MTS
make Model 880 servo-hydraulic testing machine equipped
with three zone split furnace with PID control. Standard
tensile specimens were made from the service exposed materials as per ASTM E8 specification [13]. Tensile tests
were carried out on the service exposed metal only from the
longitudinal direction of the service exposed tubes. During
tensile test, constant test temperature within 276 K and a
3.1 Visual Observation
constant displacement rate of 0:003 mm=sec were mainThe dimensional measurement carried out on the service extained.
posed primary reformer tubes did show non uniform and
rough surface damage in outer surface. Wall thickness and
2.6 Accelerated Stress Rupture Tests
the cross sections of these tubes were found to be uniAccelerated stress rupture tests of the service exposed tubes form. No oxide scales both at inner and at outer surfaces of
were conducted in single point 2 T capacity ATS creep the service exposed primary reformer tube were observed.
Testing Machines. The machines are fitted with a three However, it appeared that some amount of decarburization
zone split furnace attached with a high precision controller. was observed in certain areas of the inner surface of the
Specimens are tied with three numbers of R type thermo- tube.
couples along the gauge length portion of the cylindrical
specimens. The zonal temperature was maintained within
3.2 Metallography
276 K. Tests were carried out as per ASTM E 139/83
specification [13]. These tests were carried out in the tem- Metallographic examinations under SEM (scanning elecperature range of 11731248 K and in the stress range of tron microscope) are revealed in (Figs. 14). The precip2550 MPa. The stress levels above the operating stress at itation of carbides can be identified to be of two types. A
each temperature were selected in such a way as to obtain light grey one which are more continuous and blockier and a
rupture within a reasonable span of time. The hoop stress dark grey one which is present mostly in the intra-dendritic
h acting on the service exposed tubes was calculated using locations as confirmed by SEMEDX studies (Figs. 13).
Carbides in the inter-dendritic boundaries appear as lamelthe following formula to predict the remaining life:
lar or skeleton form [8]. Upon service induced ageing, they
PD
;
(1) would tend to get coarsened to a blocky shape and if the
h D
2t
temperatures are too high it will be in the worm shape [8,9].
where, P is the operating pressure in MPa, D is the mean The light grey phases (Fig. 3) were mainly identified as
diameter in mm and t is the thickness of the tube in mm. niobium-rich carbide [6] which is more stable at high temThe operating hoop stress thus evaluated is 15:4 MPa. perature compared to the secondary chromium carbides;
The stress rupture data have been plotted in terms of stress hence their presence is inside the dendrite grains. The priversus LMP (Larson Miller Parameter) along NRIM min- mary carbide network consisted of chromium-rich Cr23 C6
imum (min) data line for the particular grade of steel, for and niobium-rich carbides (Figs. 14) [4], with some nickel
the purpose of comparison. For the grade of steel under the and silicon in it. Presence of significant amount of silicon and nickel (Fig. 1) at the light grey precipitate confirms
present investigation [6],
that partial conversion of NbC phase to NbNiSi had oc(2) curred [4]. The intra-dendritic carbides are mainly niobiumLMP D T .23 C log tr /;
rich carbide with some silicon and nickel in it. Nb rich carwhere, T is the absolute temperature in K and tr is the rup- bides are seemed to be coagulated and coarsened and are
ture time in hours. The constant 23 has been obtained from present in the intra dendritic region [6]. Therefore, differregression analysis by best curve fitting method.
ent morphology of the precipitates was observed in the intra

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762

K. Guguloth, J. Swaminathan, S. Bagui and A. K. Ray

4.0

001

4.0
3.5

001

Cr

3.5
3.0

Si
Ni

2.5
2.0
1.5
1.0

Ni
Ni
Cr
Cr
Fe
C
Fe

Nb
Si
Ni
Cr
Fe
Nb

FeKesc

Fe

0.5
0.0
0.00

Ni

Nb

2.00

4.00

ms%
19.61
4.67
5.40
43.91
5.48
15.34
5.58

6.00

mol%
0.06
0.06
0.05
0.09
0.12
0.19
0.11

8.00
keV

2.0
1.5
1.0

10.00

12.00

14.00

Sigma Net
Kratio
40477 0.0000000
45906 0.0000000
267455 0.0000000
2560441 0.0000000
237858 0.0000000
518262 0.0000000
672750 0.0000000

100.00 100.00

Line
K
K
K
K
K
K
L

Ni

2.5

Ni
Fe
Fe
Cr
Cr

Nb

0.5

Chemicalformula
C
5.27
O
1.67
Si
3.39
Cr
51.07
Fe
6.85
Ni
20.14
Nb
11.60
Total

Counts[x1.E+3]

Counts[x1.E+3]

3.0

0.0
0.00

2.00

Chemicalformula
Si
9.70
Cr
2.11
Fe
5.63
Ni
50.63
Nb
31.93
Total
100.00

Fe
Cr
FeKesc Cr Fe

4.00

ms%
20.41
2.40
5.96
50.94
20.30
100.00

6.00

mol%
0.08
0.15
0.17
0.28
0.19

Ni

8.00
keV

10.00

12.00

14.00

Sigma Net
Kratio
769736 0.0000000
108397 0.0000000
230538 0.0000000
1416958 0.0000000
1788300 0.0000000

Line
K
K
K
K
L

Figure 2. SEM micrograph of the inner surface (Centre

Figure 1. SEM micrograph of the outer surface (Centre

portion) service exposed tube revealing chromium rich


precipitates at the inter-dendritic boundaries.

portion) service exposed tube revealing nickel rich precipitates at the inter-dendritic boundaries.

tube region of the primary reformer tube in the earlier investigation [5], as SEM image of the same revealed coarse
dendritic region, which are mostly Cr rich carbide and some carbides at dendritic boundaries and disappearance of fine
of them may be Nb rich carbide. It is in the healthy region intra dendritic precipitation (Figs. 56) [6]. Micro cracks
of the tube which is the centre portion of the tube.
were absent but creep cavitations were observed. It is noteThe main damage mechanism for reformer tube is the
combination of thermal stresses and internal pressure [9
Material
Average hard- NRIM
17]. This combination of stresses causes creep damage that
ness(VHN)
(VHN) [18]
typically develops at the inner diameter or just below the
Bottom portion
203
internal diameter surface [6]. Previous investigation on 20
155160
Centre
portion
210
years serviced exposed MOBIL (Altona) refinery furnace
tubes [16] had revealed similar observation. It was pointed
Top portion
196
out that applied testing stress was different from service
stress because various pressure and wall thickness combi- Table 3. Hardness measurements of the service exposed
nation did exist [16]. There was overheating in the failed reformer tube.

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763

Remnant Life Assessment and Microstructural Studies

8.0

001

8.0

7.0

6.0
Counts[x1.E+3]

Counts[x1.E+3]

5.0
4.0

2.0
1.0

Ni
Fe
Fe
Cr
Cr
Ti
Ni
Ti

0.0
0.00

Nb
Si

Cr
FeKesc
Ni
Ti
CrFe Fe
Ti

5.0
4.0
3.0
2.0
1.0

Ni
Ni
Cr
Cr
Fe
CFe

0.0
0.00

2.00

4.00

6.00

CrFe
FeKesc

Ni
Fe

Ni

Ni

8.00
keV

10.00

12.00

14.00

Chemicalformula ms%
mol%
Sigma
Net
Kratio
Si
1.72
4.39
0.05
119585 0.0000000
Ti
3.64
5.45
0.10
155553 0.0000000
Cr
17.27 23.82 0.13
607000 0.0000000
Fe
3.38
4.34
0.17
89894 0.0000000
Ni
10.93 13.35 0.25
218349 0.0000000
Nb
63.06 48.66 0.14
3063922 0.0000000
Total
100.00 100.00

Line
K
K
K
K
K
L

Figure 3. SEM micrograph of the outer surface (bottom

portion) service exposed tube revealing Nb rich precipitates at the inter-dendritic boundaries.
worthy that the healthy portion of the service-exposed alloy
was free from any signs of deterioration.
3.3

Cr

Nb

6.0

3.0

002

7.0

Mechanical Properties

Table 3 reveals that hardness of service exposed tube is


in the range of 196210 VHN, whereas that of NRIM
hardness [18] falls in the range of 150160 VHN. In the
present investigation the service exposed material contains
Nb 0:86 as trace which is higher in weight percent as compared to NRIM data (NbCTa < 0.02) [18]. Therefore it is
imperative that precipitation strengthening in matrix could
occur, as well as, in the grain boundary region there is formation of NbC, confirmed from EDAX analysis (Fig. 1).
Due to long time service exposure, carbide precipitation occurs along the grain boundary and within the grain, as a re-

2.00

4.00

Chemicalformula
C
4.69
Cr
75.75
Fe
14.58
Ni
4.97
Total
100.00

ms%
17.81
66.42
11.91
3.86
100.00

6.00

mol%
0.07
0.15
0.21
0.32

8.00
keV

10.00

12.00

14.00

Sigma
Net
Kratio
41353 0.0000000
3112484 0.0000000
389364 0.0000000
99928 0.0000000

Line
K
K
K
K

Figure 4. SEM micrograph of the inner surface (bottom

portion) service exposed tube revealing chromium rich


precipitates at the inter-dendritic boundaries.
sult hardness would increase. The average hardness values
(VHN) of the service exposed tubes (Table 3) did not indicate any difference compared to that of NRIM data [18], for
similar grade of steel.
Tensile strength properties were degraded, for the bottom
and center portion of the tube compared to the virgin tube
(NRIM data) [18] (Fig. 7(a) and 7(b), as this portion of the
reformer tubes is exposed to the higher temperatures. However, the deterioration is within the specified limits. Tensile
test results (Table 4 and Fig. 7) when compared with the
standard NRIM data of similar grade of steel[18] has clearly
established that the material has become softened due to
prolonged service exposure, which is also apparent from
presence of coarse carbides at dendritic boundaries and disappearance of fine intra dendritic precipitation (Fig. 1) [5],
at the bottom portion of the tube. The room temperature
(298 K) embrittlement [14] has also been reflected in the
298 K tensile ductility values (Fig. 5 [5] and Table 4) which

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764

K. Guguloth, J. Swaminathan, S. Bagui and A. K. Ray

4.0

002

2.0

002

1.8

3.5

Cr

2.0
1.5
1.0
0.5

Ni
Ni
Fe
Fe
Cr
Cr
C

0.0
0.00

Chemicalformula
C*

Cr

Fe

Ni

W*

Total


Ni

W
W
W

Cr

Fe

FeKesc

W
Ni

1.2
1.0
0.8
0.6

W
W

ms%
0.32
21.86
41.86
35.21
0.74
100.00

4.00

mol%
1.49
23.35
41.63
33.31
0.22
100.00

6.00

Sigma
0.06
0.09
0.13
0.21
0.20

8.00
keV

Net
2359

1015847 
1350259 
775999 
19776 

Ni
Fe
Mn
Fe
Cr
Mn
Cr
Ni

Mn

Si

Cr
Mn

WW

0.4
2.00

Ni

1.4

Cr

2.5

Fe

1.6

Fe

Counts[x1.E+3]

Counts[x1.E+3]

3.0

10.00

12.00

Kratio
0.0000000
0.0000000
0.0000000
0.0000000
0.0000000

Ni

FeKesc

0.2

14.00







Fe

Line
K
K
K
K
M

Figure 5. SEM micrograph of the inner surface (failed por-

tion) [5] service exposed tube revealing coarse carbides at


dendritic boundaries and disappearance of fine intra dendritic precipitation.

0.0
0.00

2.00

Chemicalformula
C*
0.19
Si
1.16
Cr
21.39
Mn*
1.05
Fe
41.87
Ni
34.12
Nb
0.24
Total
100.00

4.00

ms%
0.85
2.26
22.59
1.05
41.18
31.92
0.14
100.00

6.00

mol%
0.06
0.06
0.09
0.11
0.12
0.19
0.12

8.00
keV

10.00

12.00

Sigma Net
Kratio
1365
0.0000000
70272 0.0000000
1020598 0.0000000
40092 0.0000000
1385356 0.0000000
770951 0.0000000
11306 0.0000000

14.00

Line
K
K
K
K
K
K
L

Figure 6. SEM micrograph of the outer surface (failed por-

tion)[5] service exposed tube revealing coarse carbides at


dendritic boundaries and disappearance of fine intra dendritic precipitation. There is evidence of creep cavitations.
Sample location

Centre Portion

Bottom portion

Temperature (K)
298
1123
1173
1198
1223
298
1123
1173
1198
1223

0.2%
Proof
Strength (MPa)
369
100
84
73
71
362
120
103
79
77

Tensile Strength
(MPa)
507
134
104
94
84
561
144
120
102
90

Table 4. High temperature tensile strength properties of reformer tube materials.

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% Elongation
1.7
22.78
33.10
26.31
26.00
6.2
19.28
18.61
28.58
24.56

%
Reduction
Area
0.3
50.46
61.03
62.44
58.00
6.6
46.40
47.71
47.71
40.89

765

Remnant Life Assessment and Microstructural Studies

200

Min. Mean NRIM data [5]


T5(13.5 years SE)
T6(13.5 years SE)
11 years SE
KHR 35CT

100
80

(a)

60

Stress, MPa

40

20

Operating hoop stress, 15.4 MPa


Remaining life = 10.66 years at 15.4 MPa / 1191 K

10
8
6

(b)

Paralloy standard data[19]

2
26

28

30

32

34

36

38

-3

LMP = [T(23+log tr)]x10

Figure 8. Stress versus LMP plot of the service exposed

(c)

H39WM primary reformer tubes in the present investigation.

Figure 7. Fig. (a) Variation of yield strength with test tem-

perature of the service exposed reformer tube. (b) Variation of ultimate tensile strength with test temperature
of the service exposed reformer tube. (c) Variation of %
elongation with test temperature of the service exposed
reformer tube.

is observed mainly because of prolonged service ageing and


overheating. Loss in ductility in room temperature (298 K)
tensile tests (Table 4) indicated that the tube has become
hardened due to prolonged slow ageing at center portion of
the tube. Mainly, which is confirmed from the increase in
the hardness values compared to NRIM data [18], (see Table 3).
The experimentally determined stress rupture data (Table 5) for the service-exposed reformer tube is graphically
represented in Fig. 8. The data obtained from short term
stress rupture tests of the service exposed reformer tube
have been compared with the reported data on virgin material pertaining to the same grade of steel as per NRIM
specification [18] and paralloy min rupture data [19]. Barring one point most of the data point fall within 20% scatter
band of the NRIM min data line for the virgin material of
the same grade of steel. However, all data fall on the paralloy min data line. No creep cavities or voids were observed
(Fig. 1) either inner or outer surfaces of the tubes. For most
of the reformer alloys, creep cavities appear only at the tertiary stage of its creep life. The balance life was estimated

after deducting the number of hours of service exposure


from the estimated rupture time of the tubes. Therefore,
it is justified that only as far as creep strength is concerned
there is no appreciable degradation due to service exposure
and the service exposed tubes have a minimum balance life
of at least 10.6 years (see Fig. 8) at the operating hoop stress
(15.4 MPa)=temperature (1191 K), provided there is no evidence of localized damage in the form of surface cracks,
cavitations or dents and overheating of the tubes resulting
in early onset of creep damage. The service exposed primary reformer tubes appear to be in a reasonably good state
of health. While we believe that the above accurately states
the current conditions of the service exposed H39WM alloy used for tubing in the ammonia plant, it should be noted
that no valid service history records are available for individual tubes; thus, it is possible that the current test samples were machined from tubing which was replaced during an earlier shut-down of the ammonia plant i.e. 5 years
ago. Thus, another study, similar to the current work, of
the service exposed tubing has been recommended after an
additional 5 years of exposure to assess the condition of the
alloy for their future serviceability. Also during shut down
of the plant, NDT (nondestructive) tests viz. dimensional
(thickness and diameter) measurement, hardness measurement and in situ metallography may be carried out to assess
the condition of the materials for their future serviceability.
Future work would be aimed at adding more scientific
value to the work by carrying out some statistical analysis
of real versus expected lives, and reasons for discrepancies,
particularities of metallurgy and chemistry and their effect

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K. Guguloth, J. Swaminathan, S. Bagui and A. K. Ray

Sample location

Centre portion

Bottom portion

Temperature (K)
1248
1248
1223
1223
1223
1198
1198
1173
1173
1248
1248
1223
1223
1223
1198
1198
1173
1173

Stress (MPa)
35
25
48
48
40
45
37
50
42
35
25
48
48
40
45
37
42
50

Rupture time (h)


37
958
12
23
54
53
232
72
289
96
634
18
44
163
51
419
834
123

% Elongation
25.17
7.99
24.95
26.87
23.17
35.37
19.28
33.34
20.06
13.84
11.50
16.53
17.93
17.95
17.90
18.23
17.22
27.96

% Reduction Area
66.81
34.04
57.68
62.43
63.29
60.66
62.59
64.32
68.18
61.72
73.74
61.39
53.89
58.19
54.54
46.84
43.01
63.29

Table 5. Results of accelerated stress rupture tests of the service exposed primary reformer tubes.

on life, how well design criteria were met by real service


conditions, possible ways to increase residual life in this
or similar components, improvements to testing methods or
devices, etc.

Conclusions

Based on analysis of 1173 K to 1248 K stress rupture testing of samples machined from 13.5 years at 1191 K and
15.4 MPa exposed H39WM reformer steel tubing, and additional life of 10.6 years at 1191 K and 15.4 MPa predicted.
This is valid only if there is no evidence of any localized
damage in the form of surface cracks, cavitations or dents
and overheating of the tubes resulting in early onset of creep
damage. Another check for safety of the service exposed
tubes, similar to the current work, in terms of residual life
is recommended to be carried out after expiry of about 5
years of service life from the view of economical and safety
reasons

[2] J. Swaminathan, K. Guguloth, M. K. Gunjan, P. K. Roy and


R. Ghosh, Eng. Fail. Anal., 15 (2008), 311331.
[3] J. Swaminathan, P. Prasad, M. K. Gunjan, K. Guguloth, P.
K. Roy, R. Singh and R. Ghosh, Eng. Fail. Anal., 15 (2008),
723735.
[4] Remaining Life Assessment and Failure Analysis of Service Exposed Reformer Tubes, (SSP-9339) Sponsored by
Indo-Gulf Fertilizers, National Metallurgical Laboratory,
Jamshedpur, India, 2009.
[5] Remaining life assessment and failure analysis of service
exposed primary reformer catalytic tubes of ammonia plant
(SSP 0625), sponsored by KRIBHCo plant, National Metallurgical Laboratory, Jamshedpur, India, 2011.
[6] Ashok Kumar Ray, Sudheer Kumar, Guguloth Krishna,
Manoj Gunjan, B. Goswami and Samir Chandra Bose; Materials Science and Engineering A 529, (2011), 102112.
[7] R. Vishwanathan, R. Dooley and A. Saxena, Proceedings of
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Acknowledgement

[9] J. M. Brear, J. M. Church, D. R. Humphrey and M. S. Zanjani, Int. J. Pres. Ves. Pip., 78. (2001), 985994.

The authors are grateful to Mr. P. K. Roy for his assistance in conducting high temperature tensile test and to [10] P. P. Psyllaki, G. Pantazopoulos and H. Lefakis, Eng. Fail.
Anal., 16 (2009), 14201431.
Dr. S. Srikanth-Director, NML Jamshedpur for his moral
support and permission to publish this manuscript.
[11] E. A. Kenik, P. J. Maziasz, R. W. Swindeman, J. Cervenka
and D. May, Scripta Mater., 49 (2003), 117122.

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