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Cyrus B. Meher-Homji
Boyce Engineering International, Inc.
10555 Rockley Road,
Houston, Texas.

ABSTRACT troubleshooters. Several case studies pertaining to blade failures

are presented in Meher-Homji (1995 0).
Blade failures account for as many as 42% of failures in gas
turbines. This paper covers approaches to detect and avoid blade
failures by direct and indirect measurement techniques. Direct 2.0 BLADE MONITORING TECHNIQUES
measurements involve the use of special sensors or methods that
measure blading vibration or condition. Indirect techniques do The measurement of blade behavior and underlying
not quantitatively measure blade conditions but provide operational conditions is valuable from a perspective of both
qualitative information that help in avoiding blade problems. safety and reliability. As delineated ahead, the condition
Metallurgical tests of hot section blades to determine monitoring of blading behavior can be classified into two
microstructure changes are also covered. A blade failure categories:
troubleshooting chart is furnished to assist users in diagnosing
common failure modes. 1. Dinaledinjoes, - These techniques entail the use of
special sensors or approaches to directly measure blading
vibration or other blade behavior. Included in this group are
1.0 INTRODUCTION optical methods, Doppler techniques (both acoustic and
laser), strain gauge measurements, tip clearance
With blades accounting for as many as 42% of failures in gas measurement methods, and the use of optical pyrometers.
turbines (Allianz, 1978), there is a need for a unified treatment of Destructive metallurgical examination of hot section blades
their causes, failure modes and practical troubleshooting. While to determine microstructure] changes of may also be
some pertinent publications exist, they tend, with a few considered a direct technique.
exceptions, to emphasize a singular aspect of the problem such as
metallurgy, vibration dynamics, design or stress analysis, and fail 2. bdirert Techniques, - Indirect techniques encompass the
to emphasize the multidisciplinary nature of failure investigation. use of vibration analysis, dynamic pressure analysis,
This paper, and associated papers (Meher-Homji, 1995 &BD) performance analysis and exhaust temperature spread
focuses on providing a practical treatment of this area taking into analysis techniques to ensure that flow conditions are not
account the complex nature of blading problems influenced by the conducive to blading distress. These techniques do not
operating environment, design factors and maintenance practices. provide a direct quantitative feel for blade vibration or
In this paper, the focus is on detection and troubleshooting of properties but furnishes a degree of qualitative insight as to
blading problems. the underlying operating environment. The use of
The avoidance of blade problems requires two conditions to be Performance and Vibration analysis pertaining to airfoil
complied with. First, and most important, the basic design has to failures has been detailed in Meher-Homji and Focke
be sound, with adequate factors of safety being incorporated. (1983).
Design reviews (Ehmdas, 1988) help in ensuring a safe design.
Second, the operating environment and design envelope must be The salient points of key direct and indirect techniques are
maintained during gas turbine operation. Monitoring techniques described below.
can be of help in detecting and avoiding operating regimes that
promote blading distress. Some practical aspects of blading 2.1.2sammanssalaaltsuin&
dynamics and design considerations have been addressed in Because several blade failures have, as their underlying cause,
Meher-Homji (1995 AB). This paper covers monitoring aerodynamic phenomena such as flow distortion, stalls,
techniques, details the troubleshooting process and provides a
blading failure and troubleshooting chart to assist

Presented at the International

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on 10/08/2018 Turbine
Terms and Aeroengine Congress and Exposition
of Use:
Houston, Texas - June 5-8, 1995
surge,etc., a program of performance monitoring' and trending of pressure measurements are also of value in detecting incipient
data is of considerable value. Performance analysis can help in surge conditions and other flow instabilities.
uncovering several of the underlying causes of gas turbine Vibration and dynamic pressure amplitudes are strongly
blading problems such as fouling, off schedule IGVs, icing, dependent on pressure ratio of the compressor. stator blade
distortion, nozzle deposits, and uneven combustion and other angles and flow rate. Consequently, if meaningful vibration
forms of deterioration. Performance monitoring involves the trending is to be accomplished, these factors must be taken into
acquisition of pertinent data (temperature, pressure and speed) at account. It is difficult to pass judgments on the absolute
stations along the gas turbine train , the computation of air mass amplitudes of vibration that the blades are experiencing but
flow rate, turbine inlet temperature and compressor and turbine qualitative judgments can be made.
efficiencies. Computational techniques are available for Mitchell (1975) describes work done to determine if changes
calculation of key cycle parameters such as the turbine inlet in the Blade Passing Frequency (BPF) can be used to detect blade
temperature and air mass flow rate. The use of performance problems. In the author's experience, relational changes in the
analysis has been detailed by Dundas (1982), Dimclas et BPF and its harmonics provide useful information. Blade
al,(1992), and Meher-Homji and Boyce(1983). The application Passing Frequencies amplitudes seem to increase at both low
of transient analysis of performance and startup data can also be flow (near surge) and at high (approaching choke) conditions.
used to provide valuable insight into operating problems (Meher- Figure 1 shows a cascade plot of dynamic discharge pressure
Homji and Bhargava, 1992). Performance maps can be generated taken on a large axial flow compressor that had a problem with
by obtaining performance data from new and clean machines varying tip clearance. The 1,000 Hz component was related to a
(Meher-Homji, et. al, 1993) and several techniques are available flow instability and possible blacling problems. A considerable
to model performance deterioration (Lakshminarsimha et al, amount of experimental work still needs to be done to correlate
1994). blade problems with signatures, but there is little doubt that
useful information does exist in signature analysis. Additional
2.111undiurandldaniarathifera This is work in the area of the use of vibration analysis for the detection
an exceedingly important area and can provide warning of of blade problems is provided by Parge(1989), Parge et al(1990)
conditions such as reduction of surge margin, compressor and and Simmons (1986, 1987). An examination of casing vibration
turbine deterioration or increase in exhaust gas temperature with respect to the surge map and correlations with dynamic
spread, which may promote blade problems. Trending techniques pressure are made by Mathioudakis et al, (1989). Loukis et al
should correct and normalize data and discriminate between (1991a and b) has provided a procedure for fault identification
changes in parameters due to deterioration as opposed to "off- based on spectral analysis and dynamic pressure using
design" operation. transducers located on the axial compressor casing.
Ila - 11,•I kJ I I III I • 2,, Acoustic Rub Detection,
Temperature (EGT) Profile, The clogging of fuel nozzles can Historically, gas turbine operators have detected turbine rubs
cause severe flow distortion which result in vibratory excitation by the use of stethoscopes during a startup or shutdown of a
of turbine airfoils. Monitoring the exhaust spread and the turbine. A simple device that permits operators to audibly detect
average temperature and relating this to the load and ambient rubs that occur during startup and shutdown transients uses a
conditions provides a good measure of combustor status'. E,GT microphone located on a 2" pipe fixed to the inlet plenum of the
monitoring has been most effective in avoiding turbine section gas turbine. An isolation valve is provided which disengages the
high cycle fatigue failures. Wisch (1993) and Knowles (1994) microphone at a certain speed. Operators can hear the sound
have addressed approaches of EGT monitoring. Studies during startup or shutdown or utilize a strip chart recorder.
conducted by the Royal Navy (Walker and Sommerfield, 1987)
have concluded that spread monitoring is amongst the most 2.4...111r-gfa,
effective condition monitoring tools for gas turbines. These 7.4.1 1 -noir Donnfrr Anemometry (11,DA) 1 Originally
studies have shown that vibratory stresses on the blades can developed for the measurement of fluid velocity, the WA
increase up to five times with serious nozzle blockage. A case technique has been 'applied to blade vibration. Because a laser
study showing the criticality of EGT analysis in averting blade has a coherent wave structure, any motion of a surface normal to
failure is presented in Meher-Homji, 1995D). the coherent wave front adds a Doppler shift to the frequency of
the scattered light which can then be related to surface velocity.
I 'lilt %I. bill II C • WA systems are now commercially available. This technique is
filafliDatakinia not being applied as a condition monitoring tool, but it holds
In practical field troubleshooting situations, difficult value promise and may be used in the future. As with several other
judgments regarding machine operability have frequently to be techniques, judicious selection of an optical window on the
made with incomplete data In such cases, data from machine casing would be required. Details may be found in
accelerometers or dynamic pressure sensors can prove Kadambi et al., (1989). A laser based system applied to hot
invaluable. The vibration signatures derived from gas turbines section blading is described by Kawashirna et al (1992).
are complex with the spectrum containing several peaks
corresponding to the different number of blades, blade passing 242Assaistis—Raultraldhed. The Acoustic Doppler
frequencies (BPF) and its harmonics in addition to other forcing Method has been under development and refinement for several
functions pertaining to gears, bearings and other components. By years as applied to high aspect ratio 1_2 turbine blades and is now
knowing the number of blades present on a certain disk or stage commercially available and Trainor, 1990). It was first
it is possible to detect problems by observing relational changes developed to address the serious problems that occurred with LP
in the blade passing frequency amplitude levels. Dynamic blade failures in utility steam turbines. In this method, non
intrusive acoustic sensors are fixed to the casing, downstream of
the blade row to detect sounds radiated by the vibrating blades.
Two sensors are required for each monitored blade row. This
'The analysis can be done either on or off line with varying degrees of technique provides a warning when a resonance conditions occur.
,,•2 It is interesting to note that despite this fact, several aeroderavative and
older vintage heavy duty machines have thermocouple harness arrangements ' Dimensional changes occur between the rotor and casing change dosing
that do not permit individual access to thermocouples and just provide an transients. These changes may be partimlady high darning fast sleets and
averaged reading used for control purposes. emergency trips.

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As cracks occur in blading, the natural frequency decreases.
Thus, a cracked blade may experience resonance conditions even
when operating at, say, 3,600 rpm (60Hz). With the acoustic a
Doppler technique, these occurrences can be monitored and a C
historical record maintained. tAt


Strain gauge testing of blades has been used predominantly in
test stand situations. The serviceability of strain gauges in the
field is a serious problem. Typically, one or several strain
gauges are attached to the blade surface. The use of strain
gauges on rotating components is problematic in the long run
because of the complicated telemetry system that is required. It
is, however, a tool utilized by manufacturers in resolving
compressor blading problems and to verify blading stresses.
Testing techniques are provided in Scrub (1974).
s us I !ill I I
2.6 .131razAlLidthetestian. ntAtre no
Cartwright and Fisher (1991) and Fisher (1988) have described
an engine debris monitoring system developed for the Ministry Figure 2. Pyrometer Trace (Meher-Homji, et al, 1993)
of Defence in the UK. In this technique, sensors mounted in the
gas path monitor the electrostatic charge. Experimental data has
shown that the electrostatic charge grows with blade or seal rubs
or other faults in the gas path.
2,7 Blade Tip Clearance Monitoring,
Several blade tip clearance measurement systems are available
and are used mainly by as turbine manufacturers in test
applications. Sheard and Kt11=(1994) describe a capacitance
based probe that is located in the casing and advanced towards
the blade tip by a stepper motor.

Measurement of Hot Section Bladlne,
The use of infrared pyrometery is an increasingly popular tool
for condition monitoring and has been applied to a wide range of
gas turbines. Some high performance military jet engines have,
for several years, used pyrometers for control purposes. In the
industrial turbine market, pyrometers are becoming increasingly
popular as a condition monitoring tool that can provide valuable
insight to hot section blading problems Kirby et al (1986).
Further details are provided by Barber(1969), Kirby (1986),
Beynon(1981) and Schulenerg and Bals(1978).
Figure 2 (Meher-Homji, et al, 1993) depicts a pyrometer trace
from the 1st stage of a 160 MW GE Frame 7F gas turbine.
Pyrometers were installed under an EPRI Durability Study
Program (Ondryas, et al, 1992). The pyrometer had the
capability of measuring approximately 40 points per rotating
blade as the blades rotated at 3,600 RPM.
Pyrotnetry enables the detection and pinpointing of blades
which run hotter than others and is a valuable condition
monitoring tool. Individual blade temperatures can be identified
by use of a key phasor.

2.11.1InaallatignSoraadmaisr—Eusmdus. There are

two approaches available for pyrometer installation. Dow has
patented an approach wherein the insertion is made near the
transition piece (Kirby, 1986) and the turbine blade viewed
through the stator nozzle. The other approach involves the
penetration of the high pressure casing. Figure 3 depicts the two

2.9...Qattallikaanzarsnalaslallzatlan, Figure 3. Pyrometer Installation Approaches. Top arrangement

With the new generation of high performance gas turbines, the Kirby et al, 1986, lower arrangement Land Instruments.
design tip clearances of the blade tips and interstage seals are
minimized to promote high efficiency. The minimum and
maximum tip clearances can vary substantially during effects manifest themselves. Blade rubs can create loss in
operational conditions and with deterioration. This can occur efficiency or, result in a catastrophic failure in severe cases. This
during startup and shut-down, as the rotor transgresses its critical approach was originally suggested by Roth (1980). Simmons et
speeds, under conditions of rotor thermal bow and as creep al.,(1991) describes an optical blade tip sensor in which laser

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light is focused on a spot on the turbine blade tip. The spot on 2. Erosion.
the blade is then imaged by the probe on the face of the fiber 3. Creep damage (elongation, necking, etc.).
optic bundle. Because of the angle at which the light strikes the 4. Blocked cooling holes.
blade, any change in distance between the blade tip and probe 5. Blade attachment problems.
will cause the imaged spot on the fiber optic to move across the 6. Evidence of rubs, over temperature (examine stators,
face of the bundle, the distance being directly related to change rotors and casings)
in blade to probe separation. This system has been surrssfully 7. Unusual nicks, evidence of foreign and domestic object
tested in a rig and could be used to monitor gas turbine blading. damage (FOX) and DOD).
The system frequency response is adequate to provide real time 8. Unusual coloration.
capability to measure tip clearance and time of arrival 9. DOD/FOX) locations.
measurements for each blade in a blade row. 10. Failure mode, if clearly evident.

11111ktalluzisaLltsliazialisaSsslismillasliaa. It is very important to make a "master diagram" of the

Damage to hot section blading can be determined by machine showing precise locations of struts, obstructions, nozzle
destructive metallurgical testing. Nickel based superalloys that or vane segments, etc. Blades should be carefully numbered and
are commonly used in turbine hot section blading contain a shown on this diagram indicating the location of each blade with
gamma prime phase that is precipitated during blade respect to the disk. The direction of rotation and rub patterns on
manufacture. With long term exposure to high temperatures, the the rotor and stator should be sketched. Figure 4 (Dundas 1993b)
morphology of the gamma prime phase changes resulting in a is a useful diagram that characterizes how blade rub patterns can
loss of creep strength. In order to conduct an assessment of be used for diagnosis.
blading condition, one or two blades from the turbine should be All fractured surfaces and components should be carefully
destructively tested and examined via SEM/T'Elvr techniques. wrapped in clean, protective wrapping material and put into
This allows a determination of coating and oxidation degradation boxes. Clear lacquer may be sprayed on fracture surfaces to
to be made. Once an assessment is made, corrective repair protect the surfaces.
workscope procedures can be defused. Details regarding these Blade removal (from disk) should be done in a careful and
tests and procedures may be found in Lowden and controlled miainer. Prior to removal, careful inspection of the tip
Liburdi(1983,I987). shrouds should be made looking for deposits, unusual marks or
other tell-tale signs that the shrouds may have been inactive.
Disks can be checked for cracks by NDT methods. All removed
3.0 BLADING FAILURE INVESTIGATION GUIDELINES. blades should be checked for cracks. The results of these checks -
should be mapped on the "master diagram". This gives valuable
The guidelines presented here are general in nature and indication of any failure patterns that have occurred.
modifications would be required depending on case specifics. In addition to inspecting the failed hardware and components,
Berause of the complexities involved in blade failures, the an inspection should be made of the auxiliary systems that may
problem is best tackled by a multidisciplinary team. In cases have been a root cause or indirect contributor to the problem.
involving potential litigation, several independent teams may For example, the fuel system, combustor nozzles, blade air
work on the blade failure analysis. The author has been involved cooling subsystems and heat exchangers, air intake filtration
in several cases where metallurgical analysis seemed to system, should be audited for any indication of problems.
predominate the investigation. Another common problem has
been stated by Dunclas (1993a,b) in an exceedingly valuable set
of papers: A 8
"One of the greatest barriers to a successful investigation is a
tendency to explain a feature of the failure by some very
circuitous sequence of events; this is usually accompanied by a
challenge to disprove the hypothesis"
Whereas specifics may vary for different investigations, the
general procedure that should be followed is provided below:
Ito c ,01,/•
This requires a first hand site survey of the damaged machine
as soon as feasible after the failure. It is imperative that all
"clean up" operations be held up unless a major safety hazard
exists. If it is not possible for the investigator to reach the site
immediately, orders should be issued to suspend all clean up
operations to ensure evidence is not destroyed or modified. The
dismantling of the turbine should start after the investigator
arrives. Upon arrival at the site, the investigator should carefully
inspect the wreckage, take photographs and take note of 11
details. Sketches should be made to document where pieces
came to rest. Important components that warrant further
investigation should be identified and tagged. R onto
All fracture surfaces and other components should be carefully unit:toed
examined and photographed. Observations should be made
relating to: Figure 4. Rub Detection Diagnosis (Dimdas, 1993b) A= 360 2
1. Corrosion. rub on both rotor and stator (insufficient radial clearance
probably during transient conditions). B= 360 2 rub on stator,
local rub on stator (stator misaligned). C= 360 2 nib on stator,
TEM is required to examine Gana prime particles that are very small (1-5 local tub on rotor (rotor whirl). I.360 !) Rub on stator, local rub
microns) at two diametrically opposed locations on rotor (Rotor ovalized
in case of potential litigation, great care should be taken to tag components by creep).
and maintain a paper trail

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1.2 Data Gatherina sophisticated analyses are required, then FEM techniques can be
After the inspection is over, a process of data gathering should used to model the case. Even with these techniques, considerable
be initiated. This involves: insight is required in determining realistic boundary conditions
and in interpreting results. Independent design reviews
1. Discussions with operators who witnessed the failure and/or pertaining to material suitability, manufacturing quality, blade
operations surrounding the failure. Discussions should be fabrication methods and stress analysis can be conducted.
held with individuals who were there before and durinp the
failure. Questions should be asked pertaining to operating
history, problems experienced, unusual clues, noises etc. 4.0 BLADE FAILURE TROUBLESHOOTING CHART
2. Discussions with plant engineers to obtain engineering The attached chart attempts to incorporate several interrelated
details (specifications, design information, performance factors and observations into a single tabulation to assist trouble-
curves, operating envelope, design and maintenance history, shooting activities. This chart is intended to provide plant
other related problems etc.) Blueprints and other drawings engineers a framework within which to troubleshoot blade
should be collected at this stage. failures. It is important to note that combined failure modes do
3. Operational history prior to failure. This is of critical
importance. Log sheets, strip charts and other- information
should be studied. These include: 5.0 SUMMARY
(i) Conditions of load pressure, temperature, vibration, High failure rates and complexities in the vibrational behavior
EGT conditions (levels and profiles), number of of gas turbine blading requires users to have a clear
starts etc., fired bows, trips, types of fuel, etc. Log understanding of the underlying mists and dynamics of the
sheets or printouts from the plant DCS may be used! failure process. A wide variety of monitoring techniques that can
(ii) Observations relating to ambient conditions. assist in either avoiding critical operating regimes or in detecting
storms, fog, humidity. This can influence air inlet dangerous behavior are available. The use of such techniques
filtration effectiveness or create blockage, i.e., can provide users information in making value judgments as to
airflow distortion. whether critical machines in poor mechanical health can be
(iii)Thrust position, bearing temperature history. operated. A troubleshooting chart and an extensive set of
(iv)Evidence (visual or otherwise) of surge, rotating references and a bibliography has been provided to assist users to
stall or any factor possibly causing inlet distortion investigate problems in greater detail.
or blockage.


Selected parts including components that have not failed
should be clearly marked, identified and sent to a metallurgist )1. Mechanism: Centr1tigaI Stress/Oversueed
who has the rglevanklackgroond (i.e., one who has experience Blade Design Aspects: More prevalent in longer airfoils
with gas turbines and is aware of complex interactions of Failure Location: Typically in power turbine.
sulphidation, effects of fatigue, vibration, etc.). The metallurgist Metallurgical and Fracture Analysis: Shearing flow of material -
should be briefed with the full intekground of the case, ie., all characteristic. Fracture surface with lip at the edge. Fracture
clues, factors, and engineering information (fuel type, EGT surface rough and angular. Blade lands sheared.
history, etc.) should be provided. Surrounding Evidence: Signs of massive yielding, failure of load
A metallurgical investigation typically consists of material coupling, control system distress, root screams may be stripped.
checks, visual observations (macro observations), SEM/TEM Overspeed will result in bowing of tiewires.
analysis and hardness checks
2. Mechanism: FOD/DOD/Im pact Overload
Blade Design *spuds: Transonic compressor blades may be '
This phase of failure investigation relates to the examination susceptible to FOD (thinner profile)
of evidence and the thought processes of hypothesis formulation Maintenance: Hardware left over from overhauls can cause
and testing. Several scenarios should be considered keeping the problems. Integrity and quality of air intake filter and last chance
"trig picture" in mind. A common error in diagnostic reasoning screen important Ensure that no loss of cooling hole integrity has
are errors of omission (i.e., certain scenarios/or events are just been caused by minor FOD.
not considered (Meher-Homji, 1985) Brainstorming activities Failure Location: POD/DOD often results in "blade salad" type
often help during scenario development and evaluation. In failure. Blade can be broken or damaged at any location. Typically
several gas turbine failures, there is a complex sequence of the front stages experience failure (FOD). On hot section nozzles,
events that may lead to the failure. Further, several factors often POD can damage aerodynamic integrity setting up undesirable
act in conjunction with one another (vibratory excitation, poor vibration in downstream blading.
environment, corrosion, material defects etc.) Metallurgical and Fracture Analysis: Typically has a candy rock
appearance (impact overload).
Surrounding Evidence: Loud noise, high vibration, drop in
Ii_Anablicallaysiligalissilasigalialts performance if damage is seven. Excessive icing/ice ingestion can
If required, an analytical investigation should be performed to cause compressor damage.
include estimation of natural frequencies, 'node shapes, stress Failure History: Operation of U710 over time under temperature
analysis. Varying degrees of analytical sophistication can be can cause drop in impact strength. DOD possible on first startup
employed depending on the particular needs of the failure due to tools/hardware left in machine.
analysts. In sonic cases, quick design checks are appropriate to
get a feel for the magnitudes of the stresses involved. If MOM

'This data cm be altered into a spraidshect and trends made of key

mem etas.

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3. Mechanism: Low Cycle Fatigue 6. Mechanism: High Cycle Fatigue
Environment and Operating Conditions: Excessive number of Blade Design Aspects: Can occur in any blades or vanes
start stop cycles, emergency trips or fast loading. (compressor or turbine).
Failure Location: Turbine and compressor disks. Typically occur Manufacturing: Variances in blade quality can cause small
in regions of low steady state stress 1st stage turbine blades often differences in fn .stress concentration of notches can women the
prove to be thenno mechanical fatigue. Cracks in nozzles, vanes. problem.
While some cracking is normal crack patterns that can allow part Environment and Operating Conditions: Corrosive environment
breakaway cannot be accepted. can dramatically drop fatigue strength. Natural frequencies can
Metallurgical and Fracture Analysis: High temperature ICE change with dirt buildup, excessive temperature or change in
cracks are similar to creep cracks (intergranular fracture path and boundary conditions. Combustion system distress or nozzle distress
presence of intergranular voids). Voids often larger than creep can also cause HCF on blading Self excited vibrations and flutter
voids. Lower temperature LCF occurs where plastic deformation can also cause HCF.
occurs with transgranular crack propagation. Low cycle fatigue Maintenance: Nicks, pits or damage can cause problems and act as
striations arc typically broader than HCF striations. crack initiators.
Failure History: I Arge number of start/stop cycles. Machine in Failure Location: Cracks can be located at the base of the airfoil or
operation for several years. Peaking duty. root. Failures on the airfoil other than at the base could imply a
higher mode of resonance.
4. Mechanism: Creep Rupture Metallurgical and Fracture Analysis: Elastic deformation
Blade Design Aspects: Expected in high temperature, highly predominates in all temperature regimes. Cracks initiate and
stressed blades and disks. propagate transgrannularly. Fractures often have a smooth
Manufacturing: Blockage of cooling passages dining blade appearance with the presence of clam shaped beach marks (ductile
manufacture can cause overheating and subsequent damage in a very failure). There is also typically a region of tear when crack has
short time (possibly hours). QA procedures of importance. reduced section size sufficiently. Striations perpendicular to the
Environment and Operating Conditions: Excessive temperatures, direction of the crack may be found. This may not be easily detected
loss of cooling and increased wheel space temperatures can promote on some high temperature superalloys.
creep. Surrounding Evidence: Resonance conditions can rause HCF.
Failure Location: In blades- highest temperature region midspan. Check for blockage, distortion, high FLIT spread, blocked fuel
In disks depends on stress temperature distribution. In nozzles nozzles, etc. Also check for loss of damping, increase or decrease in
creep distortion will be at the trailing edge or may result in sidewall mass fouling corrosion.
waviness. See sketch. Failure History: Noticed early in startup process as few hours at
resonance are required. Several blade failures not unconuncm. Can
occur relatively rapidly (close coincidence with resonance) or over
time with resonance coming in and out. Can occur after a chang,e in
process design point (operating in a new speed regime etc.). 10 1
cycles is commonly accepted as a point where S-Isl curve flattens
(i.e., infinite life but under ideal conditions - no corrosion, etc.).
Operating Symptoms: Typically no wanting. Cracks may be noted
on borescope inspection.
7. Mechanism: Tangential Mode Fatigue
Metallurgical and Fracture Analysis: Microscopic voids along Blade Design Aspects: Can affect all types of blades. Vane Pitch
grain boundaries. In final stages of failure, voids can link up to form variations can set up excitation or vane bowing.
intergranular crack. Creep region often discovered by oxidation. Manufacturing: Shroud assembly problems.
Often exhibits two zones - creep zone and final overload failure Maintenance: Blades damaged during handling.
(bright metallic appearance). Can also get multiple branch cracks Failure Location: Can be at foil base, root or an airfoil.
rumt#1 8 Parallel to the main crack. Coarsening of y precipitates and Metallurgical and Fracture Analysis: (See 13C,E)
cavities at grain boundaries noted. Surrounding Evidence: Erosion/Damage of stator vanes.
Surrounding Evidence: Possible loss of cooling, failure of external Failure History: (See HcE)
coolers blocked passages. Overtemperature-check for excessive
FLIT and/or spreads, fire in turbine etc. Noise from rubs may be S. Mechanism: Suite Stall
noticed during shutdown. Heavy tip nibs may indicate higher Environment and Operating Conditions: Excessive fouling,
temperatures or problems with internal alignment Seal rubs may corrosion, rapid acceleration or turbine section blockage. Excessive
also be noted. steam injection. Part Load Operation.
Failure History: More common on machines operating for a large Failure Location: Clash failures (Rotor Stator Contact) causes
number of hours (assuming normal blade cooling). triangular trailing edges impact of previous row of stators near outer
Notes: Steam /Water injection increases metal temperature of flow path. Vanes often broken. Damage will be rnidcompressor
blades (increase in K and C which increases heat transfer coeff.) (normal operation) and early stages (during startup). gang Occurs
when blade groups deflect tip of rotor tracking Impact LE of
5. Mechanism: Fretting Failure adjacent edge on pressure side tip corners bend or tear.
Manufacturing: Coating should be used in the dove tail region. Surrounding Evidence: Problems with anti surge bleed valves,
Dovetail/Fir tree tolerances important. mis-scheduled fuel curve, deteriorated compressor. Failure very
Environment and Operating Conditions: Peaking gas turbine and often results in massive DOD.
high humidity can induce crevice corrosion. Bucket rock can aid this
mechanism. 9. Mechanism: Oxidation
Failure Location: Blade attachment regions(wheel dovetails). May Environment and Operating Conditions: Excessive cycling can
see reddish brown debris of ferric oxide. Can also occur in wires, promote damage of the Ni-oxide layer.
tie pins, wire holes, tip shrouds or platform seal pins Failure Location: On Hot section nozzles and blades. Can occur
Surrounding Evidence: High vibration can promote fretting. on external or internal blade surfaces. On nozzles it is typically
Failure History: Considerable length of time. located non-uniformly concentrated in localized hot spot regions
Operating Symptoms: Excessive vibration. Failure History: Occurs over time
Surrounding Evidence: Possible high EGT spreads

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Note : Heavy oxidation can increase stresses ( reduced moss sectional Environment and Operating Conditions : Excessive number of
once) and increase material temperature ( surface roughness effect). stain and stops may promote coating break down and additional
These can affect creep strength. roughness.
Failure Location : Very often found on 1 st stage nook platforms
0 eehanlsm• of Co to can be outboard or inboard platform.
an securing : proper coating appbcancin can reduce Metallurgical and Fracture Analysis : Signs of ov ppeerranae
Protection. sSpurreraodusnding Evidence: Damaged coatings, Excessive EGT
Environment and Operating Conditions: Excessive > 03 ppm
Na+V in fuel or airborne salt ingestion Lower Threshold (825 0Q: Failure History: Typically noted after several operating hours.
Melting point of Na2SO4. (950° C): Dew Point of Operating Symptoms : No symptoms . Excessive tenpaanre
NaiSOa Alkali metals (Na, ~ ) combine during combustion with uneveaness may show on EGT analysis /plot. May not be urtifo tm
Sulpher and Ot present in fuel to form NaaSOa and K2SO. When around turbine circumference and is associated with hot regions
these condense on the blade , they destroy the protective oxide scale from the combustor outlet
allowing sulphur to penetrate the base metal.
Maintenance: Problems with fuel treannent, open blow in doors in 4.Mechanism: Standbv Corrosion
filter, and filtration problems can allow ingress of salt Leeching of B lade DeAp Aspects: Coatings are of help here
salt through filter ,: Poor quality of water injection can also be the Environment and Operating Conditions : High humidity coastal
cause of salt ingress . Improper washing procedures under power locations; salty envrtormtetttlndtuttial pollutants such as chlorite,
with a salt laden compressor. ammonia , Hydrogen sulphide can promote the problem. Typically
Failure Location : Turbine blades and nozzles . First stage blades on peaking or intermittent use machines.
will suffer more than subsequent stages . Damage typically forst Maintenance : Improper storage and dehumidification.
occurs on LE of airfoil Roughning of the surface. Failure Location : Crevices, rotors, blade attachment areas.
f? acrd Fracture
cr Analysis • Fracture may oecutr as e Metallurgical and Fracture Analysis: Failure may be in Fatigue
resuilt o tigue or eep =th e "thiuned down" LE or TE. Can initiated by crevice corrosion . Symptoms may be similar to
occir as a creep failure especially if cooling system defeated by hot corrosion fatigue (Iraasgranular)
corrosion . Denuded base metal zone often found with imergranular Surrounding Evidence : Wear in dovetail areas, none or excessive
attack and sulfide spikes . Sulfides can be disn' nguuhed from bucket rock.
internal oxides by their lighter co lor and non globular appearance. Failure History: Occurs over several years.
Porous non - protective oxide layer found with metal /oxide layer
irregular with ni trusions of oxide into the metal and islands of un-
oxidized metal within the oxide.
Surrounding Evidence : Green coloration of bhtding (NiO),
blisters, white deposits on turbine nozzles, exhaust possible. REFERENCES
Su 1phidation products are ferroma etic - ch ec k with magnet ti ed to
str ing . Reduced airfo il s ec tions oft~
eri get longitudinal cracks on LE. Alliant (1978), " Handbook of Loss Prevention ", Springer Verlag, New York,
& transverse cracks on T.E. More uniform, porous surface scale. 1978
Failure History : Large number of starts promotes coating cracking Amory, D.C. Kirby, PJ., (1991), " infrared Thermometry for Temaerouae
distress which could lead to hot corrosion. Problem can develop
rapidly with salt ingestion. Measaernem of Utility Gas Turbines," paper Presented at the EPRI
Operating Symptoms : Reduction in performance and efficiency Workshop on Optical Sensing in Utility Applications , San Francisco,
with severe blade degradation. Californi a, May 14-15,1991
Barber, 8.,(1969)' ARadiation Pyrometer Designed for In Fli
11, echanism: Hot C o e w e e m re Measurement of Turbine Blade Tanpetamra" . Presented at the National Air
n amen[ an Opera n ns: Ai bome or ruel bon Transportation Meeting, New York, April 21-24,1969, SAE Paper 690432.
salt similar to Type I. Beynon, T.G.R.. (1981), "Turbine Pvrometrv- An Eauinment
Maintenance : See Type I Martufaaurer ' s View ,", ASME Gas Turbine Conference Houston. Texas,
Failure Location : Hot section stems & blades. 1981, March 9-12,198 1, ASME Paper No : 81•GT. 136.
Metallurgical and Fracture Analysis : Layered type of corrosion Camvright , R.A. and Fisher , C.,(1991 ) " Marine Gas Turbine Condition .
scale . No intergranular attack of denuded zone found on base metal. Monitoring by Gas Path Electrostatic Detoc on Tedtnioues ", International
Typically very little sulphide formation within the metal. Gas Turbine and Aesoengme Conference, Odando Florida, Jame 3.6.1991.
Failure History : Machines operated at part load (lower metal Dundas • R.E(1993a) " Investigation of Failures in Gas Turbines" Pan I -
temperances). Tedreooes and Principles of Failure Investigation". ASME International Gas
Operating Symptoms: Loss in performance. Non uniform pitting Turbine and Aerocagme Congress, Cmdanati, May 24-27,1993 ASME
attack. Paper No : 93•GT•83.
Dundas , R&(1993b ) " Investigation of Failures in Gas Turbvaa" Part 2 -
2. elia sn • Erosio n Engineering and M=U2&a*c Asueas of Failure Investigation". ASME
B lade Design Aspects: Can occur on both compressor or turbine. International Gas Turbine and Aesoeagine Congress, Cmd®ati, May 2427,
Environment and Operating Conditions : erosive particles present 1993 ASME Papa No: 93-G7'-94.
in either air, steam or fuel. Dimdas, R.E. (1982) " 76e Use of Performance Mordmrmg to Prevent
M a inten ance : Lack of air filtrati on system in te grity , blow in doors Comotessor and Turbine Failures ", ASME Gtr Turbine Congress, Pepe No:
op ai
Failure Location : Severe attack on LE & TE of concave side. 882-GT-66.
Surrounding Evidence : Air filtration problems, blow in doors open Duodas, R.E., (1988)• " Review of Design Parameters in Gas Turbirm for
the Promcadve User' , International Gas Turbine and Aeromgme Casgras •
loss of filter housing integrity.
Operating Symptoms: loss of power ca abi li ty, higher EGT if Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Jame 6.9,1988.
severe de terioration . S urge possible with severe erosion. Duadas, R.&, Sullivan, DA., Abegg F., (1992), " j a KK
Monitoring of Gas Turbines for Faihve Preveroon", ASME International Gtr
3. chanism• Hot Gas EroslontOx1dadQn Turbine and Aaoengme Congress, Cologne, Geanmy, Jame 1-4,1992.,
v are cooling deficiencies can carte dais.
Blade Liestgn Aspects : ASME Paper No : 92-GT-267
Manufacturing : Poor coating quality.

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