Inspection and Remaining Life Evaluation of Process Plant Equipment

By Carl E. Jaske CC Technologies, Dublin, OH And Brian E. Shannon IESCO, Inc., Torrance, CA

Process & Power Plant Reliability Conference

Marriott Hotel and Conference Center (Hobby Airport) Houston, Texas

November 13-14, 2002

Organized by

Clarion Technical Conferences

Inspection and Remaining Life Evaluation of Process Plant Equipment
By Carl E. Jaske and Brian E. Shannon

This paper reviews the types of inspection that are used to assess the condition of process plant equipment. The types of damage and/or defects identified and characterized by each inspection technique are reviewed. For each type of damage/defect, the advantages and disadvantages of each inspection technique are discussed. The technique or technique combinations preferred for remaining life evaluation is highlighted. Methods for evaluating remaining life are reviewed with emphasis on data that are provided by in-service inspection. Methods of integrating the inspection data directly with remaining life evaluation are reviewed. This integrated approach provides results that the plant operator can utilize to make timely decisions regarding the fitness-for-service of equipment. Run, repair, or replace decisions then can be made to minimize downtime and impact on production. Examples are presented to illustrate the integrated approach to inspection and remaining life prediction. These examples are a pressure vessel with corrosio n damage and a furnace tube with creep damage. With each example, the benefits of automating the data processing and analysis by means of integrated computer software are pointed out.

Managing equipment integrity is essential to the safe, reliable operation of process plant equipment. This equipment includes pressure vessels, piping, storage tanks, valves, pumps, compressors, boilers, fired heaters, and turbines. Figure 1 shows an example of the framework for an integrity management program, which is adapted from API Standard 1160. 1 The first step in establishing such a program is to gather, review, and integrate all of the relevant data on the plant equipment. This is usually done using a computerized database. Using the initial data, an initial risk assessment of the plant is performed. The results of the risk assessment are used to prioritize equipment inspection and assessment and develop a baseline assessment plan. Once the baseline plan is completed, the remaining four items in Figure 1 are performed continually throughout the life of the plant. These involve inspection and mitigation, data review and integration, updating the risk assessment, and revision of plan. During this process, the effectiveness of the program is evaluated to make sure that it is achieving the desired goals. The current condition of equipment and remaining life must be evaluated to perform the risk assessment. Results of the inspection are used to assess the current condition, whereas stress analysis and materials degradation models are used to assess remaining life. This paper reviews the inspection methods and remaining life assessment procedures that can be applied to process plant equipment. Equipment condition depends of the type of material damage, such as corrosion, fatigue, or creep. Inspection is used to quantify this damage. The type of inspection employed must be tailored to the type of material damage that is expected in service. Thus, selection of the inspection technique(s) is based on analysis of the equipment operating conditions and past experience. Also, the remaining life evaluation depends on the material damage mechanism expected in future service. For example, inspection must

Proceedings of the Process & Power Plant Reliability Conference, November 2002. Copyright © 2002 by Clarion Technical Conferences and the authors. All rights reserved. This document may not be reproduced in any manner without permission of the copyright owners.

Example Framework for an Integrity Management Program. Both inspection and remaining life evaluation can be improved if they are employed using an integrated approach. and integrate initial data Perform initial risk assessment of plant Develop baseline assessment plan Perform inspection and/or mitigation Revise inspection and mitigation plan Evaluate program Review. update. 1 estimate fatigue crack growth when fatigue cracking under cyclic loading is the expected damage mechanism. 2002 Gather. the models used for remaining life assessment are based upon realistic values that can be measured during inspection. The inspection technique and type of data collected are then optimized for the remaining life assessment that is to be performed. review. Also. . November 13-14. Thus. and integrate data Update and revise risk assessment Figure 1. the inspection and remaining life prediction plans should be developed concurrently to obtain the best results in a cost-effective manner.4 Process & Power Plant Reliability Conference.

a selection can be made from one of three general groupings: 1. a presence of flaws with a known POD. This requires application specific techniques that provide technical merit through a combination of appropriate technology. more than any other technique can determine the initial overall condition of a structure or component. Liquid Penetrant Examination. with a known level of probability of detection (POD). will cause a leakage . orientation. Screen or Global Techniques Offering a cursory “general condition” status. procedure selection. etc. and shape need to be characterized to assess current equipment condition. and personnel qualification. The nondestructive examination data input for engineering analysis requires determination of an absence of flaws. which will require follow up examinations with more definitive techniques Surface Techniques These include the following methods: Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Visual Inspection Liquid Penetrant Examination Magnetic Particle Examination Eddy Current Alternating Current Field Measurement (ACFM) Visual Inspection. Liquid penetrant is normally applied t non-magnetic materials to o determine the presence of surface breaking flaws. Visual inspection. The addition of dimensional testing tools can greatly improve the effectiveness of the technique as can the use of video cameras. When considering NDE techniques for specific damage attributes. and remaining life. 3. location. fitness for service. Magnetic Particle Examination. The techniques are applied at “first pass” method where suspect areas are further examined using other more quantitative methods. borescopes. For the purpose of determining the full extent of flaws however. orientation. and discontinuities that lie in a direction transverse to the magnetic field. it is a poor technique as it only offers the surface dimension (length/width). Magnetic particle examination is utilized for the detection of surface and near surface flaws in ferromagnetic materials. or remote operational tools. The component or surface being examined is magnetized.Inspection and Remaining Life Evaluation of Process Plant Equipment 5 INSPECTION METHODS Defect location. Volumetric Techniques Offering varying degrees of quantitative information on flaw size. Surface Techniques Offering only general detection and length/width sizing 2. and the estimated size of flaws with a known degree of accuracy. The suitability of a particular technology or technique must fully be understood for the specific damage mechanism. The technique employs a series of dyes and contrast developers to denote the presence of flaws. size.

To sort dissimilar metals and detect differences in their composition. cracks. With normal protective paint coatings. – See Figure 2. In many applications. microstructure. no adjustment to the system gain would be required. it does not require direct electrical contact with the part being inspected. the sensitivity of the method to the many properties and characteristics inherent within a material can be a disadvantage. and inclusions. voids. Eddy current inspection is based on the principles of electromagnetic induction and is used to identify or differentiate between a wide variety of physical. Eddy Current. The eddy current method is adaptable to high speed inspection. New probes have been developed which have greater sensitivity to small surface breaking . To detect seams. The method is based on indirect measurement. November 13-14. To measure the thickness of a nonconductive coating on a conductive metal. caused by the discontinuity distorting the magnetic field. The induction coil and the sensors are all combined in a single probe that can be applied directly to weld inspection. but it does not indicate the depth and true extent of the flaw or defect. hardness. structural and metallurgical conditions in electrically conductive ferromagnetic and non-ferromagnetic metals and metal parts. laps. This is a non-contacting electromagnetic technique that uses an induced electric current to produce a magnetic field in the weld area to be inspected. Because the technique is non-contacting. however. Eddy current inspection can be used as follows: 1. and other properties. the gain on the system would have to be increased to take into account the separation between the surface and the probe face. Because eddy current inspection is an electromagnetic induction technique. To measure or identify such conditions and properties as electrical conductivity. it can be used to inspect an entire production output if desired. Two small sensors located orthogonally are then used to detect changes in the magnetic field components indicating the presence of cracks. The presence of this leakage field. which is both an advantage and disadvantage. but as the coating increases. it can be used to inspect through non-conducting coatings. Eddy current inspection is extremely versatile. heat treatment condition. and b ecause it is nondestructive. The technique is extremely sensitive to flaw detection and surface discontinuities. An alternative inspection method that has been applied to the detection of surface breaking cracks is the Alternating Current Field Measurement (ACFM) technique. 4.6 Process & Power Plant Reliability Conference. magnetic permeability. permits detection of the fla w when fine ferromagnetic particles are applied over the component surface. The advantage is that the method can be applied to many inspection problems provided that the p hysical requirements of the material are compatible with the inspection method. some variables in a material that are not important in terms of material or part serviceability may cause instrument signals that mask critical variables or are mistakenly interpreted to be caused by critical variables. 2. Rough non-coated surfaces can be examined with standard instrument settings except in extreme situations. and the correlation between the instrument readings and the structural characteristics and serviceability of the parts being inspected must be carefully and repeatedly established. Alternating Current Field Measurement (ACFM). 3. There is a range of probes available for use with the ACFM system at normal temperatures and elevated temperatures up to 270° degrees Fahrenheit and special probes can be used up to 1000° Fahrenheit. or the thickness of a nonmagnetic metal coating on a magnetic metal. and physical dimensions. 2002 in that field.

New improved software has also become available which aids the operator in selecting the speed of scanning. . setting up the instrument and sizing defects. Table 1. The Bz trough associated with the other end is similarly marked and the distance between them is measured with a flexible tape. The ACFM technique offers an alternative method of inspection for the detection of surface breaking hydrogen assisted and stress related cracking. This length is close to the true defect length and is used as an input to the sizing routine. Table 1 compares ACFM with magnetic particle inspection. a crack size estimate is made as follows: The length is found by moving the probe along the weld until the Bz peak (see Figure 3) associated with one end of the defect is maximized. Having found a defect indication using ACFM. and are not affected by edge effects. with little prior surface preparation and no refurbishment after inspection required. Typical HIC Damage that Can Be Detected and Sized by ACFM. less than 40 mils deep.Inspection and Remaining Life Evaluation of Process Plant Equipment 7 defects. Comparison of ACFM with Magnetic Particle Inspection. using a magnetic arrow for example.5”) Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Medium-High Figure 2. The probe position is then marked on the specimen. Magnetic Particle Inspection Yes Yes No No No No No Yes No No Medium Criteria Crack Detection Crack Length Crack Depth No Need to Clean Automatic Recording High Temperature Applications Non-Magnetic Materials Limited Access Automated Interpretation Calibration Required Operator Skill Required ACFM Yes Yes Yes (Max 1.

Volumetric Techniques Volumetric techniques include radiography and ultrasonic inspection. In a recent European study. usually film. The issue with regard to providing information necessary for engineering assessment is that again the technique provides only certain information. Radiation from the source is absorbed by the piece under test. and the minimum value in the middle of the defect trace. i. November 13-14. . only the width and length are available. Qualitative Explanation of the Nature of Bx and Bz Above a Notch. Radiation impinges on the film in differing degrees from that of the surrounding good material. the probability of detection using radiography for new welds was in some cases as low as 53%.8 Process & Power Plant Reliability Conference. 2002 Two measurements are taken from the Bx plot (see Figure 3). the flaws absorb different amounts of radiation. both width and depth. These two signal levels and the initial crack length estimate are then entered into a software routine which searches through theoretically. extent of corrosion. and a recording medium. These are the background level either side of the defect. Figure 3.e. Three elements are required for radiography as follows: a radiation source (usually x-ray or gamma ray). to produce the final estimates of the length and depth of the defect. But in the case of planar flaws (lack of fusion or cracking). This produces a two dimensional latent image when the film is developed. a test piece. based look tables. Radiography. are easily obtained.

to detect surface and subsurface flaws. and nature. The typical AUT presentations include C-scan (plan view). The sound w aves travel through the material with some attendant loss of energy (attenuation) and are reflected at interfaces. which allows the detection of flaws deep in the part. or not homogeneous. are difficult to inspect. automation. or rotor forgings. Portability. and to depths of about 20 feet in the axial inspection of parts. Operation is electronic. The reflected beam is detected and analyzed to define the presence and location of flaws. With most systems. Is not hazardous to operations or to nearby personnel. Ultrasonic inspection is done routinely to depths of several feet on many types of parts. • • • Disadvantages of ultrasonic inspection include the following: • • • • • • Manual operation requires careful attention by experienced technicians. Greater accuracy than other nondestructive methods in determining position of internal flaws. The work can be carried out on-line up to 750°F. estimating their size and characterizing their orientation. Automated ultrasonic imaging techniques (AUT) have the capability of providing detailed dimensions for flaw assessment and damage progression monitoring. Only one surface need be accessible. The principal advantages of ultrasonic inspection as compared to other methods for nondestructive inspection of metal parts are listed below: • • • • • Superior penetrating power. and process control. This makes the method suitable for immediate interpretation. a permanent record of inspection results can be made for future reference. 3D histograms along with data post processing. in-line production monitoring. In addition to traditional manual ultrasonic examination. B-scan (cross-sectional) and the recorded Ascans or digital RF waveforms. there are several advanced ultrasonic techniques that offer significant improvements in terms of coverage and accuracy of inspection data. Parts that are rough. rapid scanning. Discontinuities that are present in a shallow layer immediately beneath the surface may not be detectable and require specialized procedures for satisfactory results. shape. and has no effect on equipment and materials in the vicinity. Information on both corrosion and flaw detection can be provided. Volumetric scanning ability.Inspection and Remaining Life Evaluation of Process Plant Equipment 9 Ultrasonic Inspection. very small or thin. Reference standards are needed. Extensive technical knowledge is required for the development of inspection procedures. Ultrasonic inspection is a nondestructive method utilizing beams of high frequency sound waves that are introduced into the material being inspected. such as long steel shafts. which provides almost instantaneous indications of flaws. High sensitivity. irregular in shape. both for calibrating the equipment and for characterizing flaws. Additional presentations include volumetric projection views (overlaid data). enabling inspectio n of a volume of metal extending from front surface to back surface of a part. permitting the detection of extremely small flaws. These include Automated Ultrasonic Imaging Techniques (AUT) and Time-of-Flight Diffraction (TOFD). Couplants are needed to provide effective transfer of ultrasonic wave energy between transducers and parts being inspected. .

again).040 inch) or better. AUT Examination of HIC/Blistering Sample. as in conventional ultrasonics. Because the technique is not amplitude dependent. normally in the form of a sidedrilled hole or notch of a specific size for a specific material thickness. and uneven or changing material surfaces. not equivalent responses. The TOFD technique is implemented using two probes. normally placed either side of the weld joint or area to be examined. and displays all flaws and data in a proportional sense. . and the receiver . diffracted signals from the tips of flaws. Sizing using TOFD is carried out using direct measurements. low energy. providing excellent information on the nature and location of the inherent flaws. Data from the scan is collected in “raw” form and digitized in RF format (‘A’ Scan). 2002 The B-scan and projection views provide “cut-away slices. simplifying the characterization and positioning of flaws. The conventional energy response is compared to an “equivalent” defect. November 13-14. Therefore. TOFD. This is a unique fact in that the corresponding image and position of the flaw are absolute and can be readily applied by plant engineers in a critical assessment of equipment integrity using a fracture mechanics. this has the added benefit of allowing instant determination of the acceptability of flaws. allowing an exact or absolute position and size for the flaw to be measured and imaged. Time-of-Flight Diffraction TOFD differs from conventional pulse echo ultrasonics in that it depends on diffracted energy rather than reflected energy. B. TOFD is a very effective detection tool. however. Ch:2 0 Degree longitudinal data – Standard A. the inside surface. and C-scan views Figure 4. Accuracy has been reliably demonstrated at ± 1 mm (0. both in sizing of length and through-wall height. poor coupling. it does not suffer from the constraints of probe location to flaw orientation.10 Process & Power Plant Reliability Conference.outside surface. TOFD also uses compression energy only. a transmitter and a receiver. monitored in the form of signal height or amplitude. TOFD technique sees everything between the pulser (or outside surface. relies on timebased. representing both the length of the flaw and the through-wall extension or depth (see Figure 5). As detection and sizing are carried out in the same scan. allowing mode converted signals to be screened out.” These are excellent and easy-to-read visual means of determining if blisters are propagating and linking because of stepwise cracking. The signals are then “stacked” electronically on top of each other to provide a cross sectional image in the form of a ‘D’ Scan. This provides plant management with a superior monitoring tool for reliability decisions.

such as cracking. Detects flaws regardless of their orientation within the weld. with only a slight loss in sensitivity. heat affected zones and the adjacent base material in a single scan. Has a very high temperature limitation (700°F).Inspection and Remaining Life Evaluation of Process Plant Equipment 11 Figure 5. . Can also be used for in-service defects. Example of TOFD Measurements. there is no corresponding increase in the relative scan time. allowing instant determination of weld quality. providing an excellent record of vessel or pipe condition at birth. This has been demonstrated to be much faster than radiography or manual ultrasonics. Another consideration is that the effect of mismatched or complex geometries has no real effect on either the performance of the technique or the scan time required. See Figures 6 and 7. Allows flaw growth monitoring for run/repair decisions. Other benefits of TOFD include the following: • • • • • • • Can be applied to new construction welds. and by nature of the broad divergent beam employed. in lieu of radiography (ASME Code Case 2235). Scanning rates of two to six inches per second have been achieved in various field applications. Can be applied either during welding or immediately after completion of the weld. As the material under examination gets thicker. corrosion. TOFD can examine the full volume of weld metal. erosion. Can be applied without the need to shut down other activities in the area (which radiography demands). etc. Because of the tandem setup of the TOFD probes.

TOFD Scan Performed at 780°F. TOFD Scan Performed at 780°F.D.12 Process & Power Plant Reliability Conference. Notch Lateral Wave Back Wall Figure 7. 2002 Lateral Wave I. November 13-14. . Notch Back Wall Figure 6.

Inspection and Remaining Life Evaluation of Process Plant Equipment 13 Pulsed Eddy Current This technique is designed to detect corrosion in insulated vessels (up to 4 inches thick) and piping systems. Significant applications include continuous surveilla nce of pressure vessels and nuclear primary pressure boundaries for the detection and location of active flaws. to determine specific flaw dimensions. Figure 8 illustrates a pulsed eddy current system. usually automated ultrasonics. Deviations from known values are reflected back to the transducers where special software displays the information. The information is again qualitative and is usually verified by a more finite technique. such as roadways and insulated pipe. torsional. stress corrosion cracking and hydrogen embrittlement.” The overall idea is to induce various low frequency ultrasonic waves (longitudinal. Difficult to inspect areas. It allows screening of pressure systems with a high temperature profile (up to 1000°F). Tens of meters of pipe are examined from one location. can be screened for defects. Figure 8. Areas of concern are normally examined by a more quantitative method. . such as fatigue crack growth. flexural) onto an area of exposed piping – See Figure 9. Schematic of a Pulsed Eddy Current System. The system averages thickness values over the eddy current field. It can be used in the detection of sub-critical growth of flaws. and determination of the onset of stress corrosion cracking and hydrogen damage in susceptible structures. Acoustic Emission Inspection Acoustic emission is defined as the high frequency stress waves generated by the rapid release of strain energy that occurs within a material during crack growth. The waves propagate within the pipe wall over a predetermined distance along the pipe. The technique is sensitive to wall loss of approximately 10% of wall volume. plastic deformation or phase transformation. Long Range Ultrasonics A recent development for the inspection of piping systems over extended distances is the “guided wave concept. and displays a volumetric assessment of pipe or vessel wall.

. Guided Wave Ultrasonic Inspection of Piping.14 Process & Power Plant Reliability Conference. Acoustic emission inspection provides the following advantages over traditional nondestructive inspection methods such as ultrasonics and radiography: • • • It provides a complete integrity analysis of a structure. November 13-14. 2002 Figure 9. Figure 10. It can detect and evaluate the structural significance of flaws that may be inaccessible to traditional nondestructive inspection methods. It requires only limited access and downtime for the requalification of in-service structures. Testing of Large Diameter (6 to 24 inch) Pipes Using an Inflatable Ring.

Specifically. Cast heat-resistant alloys utilized in reformer furnaces offer a large challenge for inspection technology. however. The technique was incorporated into a hydrostatic acceptance test of large pressure vessels and was found capable of detecting and locating acoustic emission sites (flaws) as small as 0. Creep Damage in HP 45 Material. creep damage as shown below is readily found by volumetric ultrasonic inspection. Utilizing a Combination of Techniques to Quantify Creep Damage in Cast Materials Combining NDE techniques allows optimized inspection for a specific material damage mechanism. By also measuring the wall thickness and outside diameter (creep strain) one can obtain a true picture of tube condition. . on-line monitoring of central station nuclear reactor plants and monitoring of rocket chamber components have been performed. non-radial or outside surface connected damage is more readily detected using eddy current inspection. Because of the varying degrees and types of damage. Continuous.1 inches in maximum dimension. it is necessary to employ a combination of techniques to quantify the true extent of damage. Acoustic emission inspection of thick-wall pressure vessels during hydrostatic testing has been effective in locating discontinuities and other flaws in the wall that can propagate under stress and result in fracture. Combining the results of both offer a realistic determination on the through wall extent of cracking. Figure 11.Inspection and Remaining Life Evaluation of Process Plant Equipment 15 Assessment of the integrity of pressure vessels by acoustic emission analysis is convenient because the loading mechanism (pressure) is quiet and does not interfere with the acoustic emission inspection procedure. The technique also has been applied to in-service monitoring of pressure vessels in nuclear reactor plants to detect and locate growing sub-critical flaws.

tm ≥ t min + FCA (1) . For the first approach. This approach avoids getting too little. The estimates of remaining life are used to make repair/replace decisions and to set re-inspection intervals. The former procedure is typically less accurate than the latter because good data on past operating conditions is generally difficult to obtain. This information provides guidance for selection of an inspection technique for a specific piece of equipment in a process plant. The second approach is to compute RL directly from the corrosion rate. Corrosion – General and Local Two approaches are used to predict remaining corrosion life. conservatisms are employed to ensure that the calculations produce estimates of minimum remaining life. Values of t min are computed from standard design formulas for the component. When the damage models are very accurate and future operations are well defined. With this approach. November 13-14. and minimum required wall thickness (t min). For example. accurate estimates of remaining life can be calculated. For an in-service component.16 Process & Power Plant Reliability Conference. The first method is to utilize a future corrosion allowance (FCA) and then check to make sure that the component thickness (t) is adequate after taking the FCA into account. The current condition can be determined by computing the current material condition using damage accumulation models and past operating conditions or by means of nondestructive examination (NDE). The latter procedure is thus preferred if there are reliable NDE techniques for characterizing the current material condition. measured wall thickness (tm). the remaining life (RL) is implicit in the FCA. Once the current material condition is defined. An integrated approach also makes sure that the appropriate damage mechanism is addressed. too much. When NDE and life prediction are coupled both activities can be optimized and completed in a cost-effective manner. equipment should be carefully monitored during future operation. REMAINING LIFE EVALUATION Computing estimates of remaining life requires a model of the material damage mechanism. As uncertainties about the material damage m odel and future operating conditions increase. performing elegant creep damage calculations is not appropriate if fatigue crack growth is the most likely in-service damage mechanism and inspection reveals crack-like indications. estimated remaining life is calculated using damage accumulation models and forecasts of future operating conditions. More accurate damage models and knowledge of operating conditions will yield more accurate calculations of remaining life. This approach gives RL explicitly. the current condition of a component must be determined before remaining life can be estimated. In cases where remaining life cannot be estimated because there is no quantifiable material damage mechanism or the future operating conditions cannot be forecast. Integrated Approach Predictions of remaining life are best made using an integrated approach where NDE is used to characterize the current material condition and damage models and future operations are used to compute damage accumulation and remaining life. or the wrong type of inspection data and avoids trying to use damage models that are not compatible with the NDE data. 2002 Table 2 summarizes the applicability and effectiveness of the various common inspection techniques.

Connected Hydrogen Blistering – Embedded Creep Damage – Embedded High Temperature Hydrogen Attack Exam B C D B* C* B* N/A N/A N/A N/A Penetrant Testing N/A N/A N/A B* B* B* N/A N/A N/A N/A Magnetic Particle N/A N/A N/A B* B* B* B N/A N/A N/A Radiography B B B B C C D D D N/A Manual Ultrasonic C C B C C C C C C A Automated Ultrasonic A C A B A C A A A A ACFM N/A N/A N/A B A* A* A N/A N/A N/A Acoustic Emission N/A N/A N/A N/A 1B 1B N/A N/A C N/A ElectroMagnetic C C D C* B* B* N/A N/A N/A N/A A B C D E * ** N/A 1 Legend Highly Effective (Recommended) Usually Effective Fairly Effective Poorly Effective Ineffective (Not Recommended) Inspected Side Only Remote Side Only Not Applicable Only If The Defect Is Emitting An Acoustic Energy Signal (Growing Defect) .Inspection and Remaining Life Evaluation of Process Plant Equipment 17 Table 2. Visual Damage Attribute Erosion (General) OD Corrosion ID Corrosion Weld Flaws – Non-Planar Cracking / LOF Surface Flaws Hydrogen Surface Cracking . Comparison of Common Inspection Techniques.

et al. Appropriate safety factors are applied to the test results in developing design curves. remaining fatigue life (Nr) can be easily computed from N and the f number of prior cycles (Np ): Nr = Nf . the allowed local value of wall thinning may be less than the value of t min computed from standard design formulas when the surrounding material provides reinforcement. FCA and CR relate to the corrosion process at the local area of the component that is being evaluated. Fatigue and Corrosion-Fatigue Fatigue and corrosion-fatigue remaining life are computed using two different approaches. For local corrosion. respectively. Figure 12 shows an example design fatigue curve for carbon and low-alloy steels from the ASME Code.9 is widely used to quantify the number of discrete cycles of loading in a variable amplitude history. they found that the average and maximum SCC rates were approximately 1 x 10-8 mm/s and 2 x 10-8 mm/s. and RL can be simply computed from a constant SCC rate within that range. 7 Rainflow cycle counting 8. in most practical applications. 6 Such curves are usually based on total fracture of unflawed specimens tested under laboratory conditions. For general corrosion.tmin)/CR (2) Equations (1) and (2) apply to both general and local corrosion. and material properties. FCA and CR relate to the overall corrosion of the component in service. In some cases. stress level. When SCC can be quantified. and storage tanks. such as the linear stress intensity factor (K) or the J integral: da/dt = f(K) or f(J) (3) SCC RL is then computed by integrating Equation (3) from the initial crack size (ao ) to final the final crack size (af). November 13-14. Jaske. the load amplitude varies during service.18 Process & Power Plant Reliability Conference. so the cycles in the loading history must be counted and a cumulative fatigue damage rule must be employed to evaluate remaining fatigue life. Methods for assessing to allowed degree of localized corrosion have been developed for application to pressure vessels. For constant amplitude cycling. 2 Stress-Corrosion Cracking Computing remaining stress-corrosion-cracking (SCC) life is often more complicated than computing corrosion life. For example. for the range of loading typically experienced by underground gas pipelines. The first approach is based on stress amplitude (Sa) versus number of cycles to failure (N f) curves developed from the results of fatigue testing. 2002 For the second approach. such as the one in Figure 12. the rate of crack growth (da/dt) is related to fracture mechanics parameters. SCC behavior is sometimes difficult to quantify. da/dt is observed to be independent of K or J over a wide range of SCC. Also. RL = (tm . and in those cases equipment monitoring is recommended. 3-5 found that SCC of pipeline steels under rising loads and in a near-neutral pH groundwater environment could be characterized using the following power law function: da/dt = G Jg (4) where G and g are material-environment dependent constants.Np (5) However. However. for localized corrosion. piping. depending on the extent and depth of local corrosion. Figure 13 shows an example of rainflow cycle counting .

000 Sa . . Design Fatigue Curve of Carbon and Low-Alloy Steels from Section VIII.0419 0. kPa 3000 2000 c 1000 a 0 0 10 20 30 Time. kPa 4137 3896 3448 2413 f Cycle a-f g-h d-e b-c 5000 d 4000 b Frequency.0952 h Pressure.000 10. 1/hr 0.000 100.000 Number of Cycles Figure. Division 2 of the ASME Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code. hr 40 50 60 e g Figure 13.Inspection and Remaining Life Evaluation of Process Plant Equipment 19 10. Example of Rainflow Cycle Counting for a Variable Pressure History.0512 0.000. 6 Pressure Range.000 1. MPa 100 10 10 100 1.0646 0. 12.000 ASME Design Fatigue Curve for Carbon and Low-Alloy Steels at Temperatures Not Greater Than 371 C UTS < 552 MPa 1.

remaining creep life can be evaluated in terms of failure life or in terms of crack-growth life. and frequency (f): da/dN = f(∆K. . the well-known Miner’s Rule is used to calculate cumulative fatigue damage (Df). and the number of cycles required for it to grow to a critical final size (af) is computed. ratio of minimum to maximum cyclic load (R). as follows: Df = Σ (n/Nf) (6) where n and Nf are the number of cycles and corresponding number of cycles to failure at each stress amplitude. Creep High-temperature equipment is subject to creep damage during long-term service. November 13-14. integration of fatigue analysis and NDE helps optimize the assessment of a component. As with fatigue. 10 The pressure range and frequency are Once cycles are counted. remaining fatigue life is f determined from the remaining damage fraction (Dfr): Dfr = 1 . f) (8) Fatigue cracking above the threshold region of very low growth rates. Equation (8) or (9) is integrated from ao to af to compute remaining fatigue crack-growth life. The second approach for computing remaining fatigue or corrosion-fatigue life is based crack growth and engineering fracture mechanics.20 Process & Power Plant Reliability Conference. Also. 2002 for a variable pressure history on an underground pipeline. From the results of laboratory testing. rather than a single dominant crack that can be analyzed using fracture mechanics. Therefore. NDE is used to measure ao or the value of ao is assumed to be the largest flaw that may have been missed by NDE. Thus. The value of af is either the crack size that will produce a leak or the crack size that is predicted to cause a sudden failure. The former approach is most often employed because creep damage is typically associated with the formation of multiple voids and microcracks. Fatigue analysis can be used to predict the areas of largest expected fatigue damage in a component. the accuracy of the NDE directly influences the predicted remaining fatigue crack-growth life. R. The curve for carbon steel is an upper bound relationship from API RP 579 2 . fatigue failure is predicted. The anticipated future loading history is then used to compute the time associated with Dfr. it also provides a reasonable upper bound for the data on welds. When the value of D = 1. indicated for each discrete cycle. NDE can then focus on these areas.Dfp (7) where D fp is the prior damage fraction. A crack-like flaw of some initial size (ao ) is identified by nondestructive examination (NDE) or assumed to exist. is typically characterized using the well-known Paris Law: da/dN = C (∆K)n (9) Figure 14 shows a plot of typical Paris-Law curves for carbon steel and pipeline steel welds. the cyclic crack-growth rate (da/dN) is characterized as a function of the range of the stress intensity factor (∆K).

Figure 15 shows a typical plot of σ versus LMP. the well-known Robinson Rule is employed to cumulative compute creep damage (Dc). 11 Both average and minimum rupture strength curves for Ta in degrees K are shown in Figure 15. It is for the HK-40 alloy is from API STD 530. Creep-rupture life (tr) is a function of stress (σ) and absolute temperature (Ta) and is typically measured by testing tensile specimens in the laboratory. Values of tr decrease as T and σ increase. such as the well-known Larson-Miller parameter (LMP): LMP = Ta (CLM +tr) (10) where CLM is the Larson-Miller constant. Fatigue Crack Growth Curves for Pipeline Steels in Air at Room Temperature. The stress and temperature are usually not constant during the operating life of high-temperature equipment. Values of CLM are determined by curve fitting the test results and are typically in the range of 15 to 25 for engineering alloys. This behavior is characterized using parametric relationships. as follows: .5 ∆K (MPa-m ) Figure 14. If a component has been in service at constant temperature and stress. For this reason.Inspection and Remaining Life Evaluation of Process Plant Equipment 21 10 -2 Carbon Steel (Reference 2) API X52 Weld 1 10 -3 API X52 Weld 2 API X52 Weld 3 da/dN (mm/cycle) 10 -4 10 -5 10 -6 10 -7 0 1 2 10 10 10 0. then the remaining creep-rupture life is the total life computed using Equation (10) minus the time of prior service.

Larson-Miller Parameter Curves for the HK-40 Alloy. From the results of laboratory testing. Again. the creep crack-growth rate (da/dt) is characterized as a function of the C* integral. The time required for the flaw to grow to a critical final size that results in a leak or rupture is then computed. 2002 100 Average Rupture Strength Minimum Rupture Strength Stress. an initial crack-like flaw is identified by nondestructive examination (NDE) or assumed to exist. Remaining creep life can be based crack growth and engineering fracture mechanics when the creep damage is localized at the region of cracking. Therefore. The uncertainty in forecasting future operations is the same for either approach. which is typically a notch or stress concentration. Remaining creep damage (Dcr) is computed by subtracting the creep damage from prior service (Dcp): Dcr = 1 . the integrated NDE and analytical approach is best for predicting remaining creep life. MPa 10 HK-40 from Figure 3Q of API RP 530 1 18 20 22 24 26 Larson-Miller Parameter (C = 15) Figure 15. 11 Dc = Σ (t/tr) (11) where t and tr are the time interval and corresponding time to failure at each stress level. November 13-14. the anticipated operating history and Dcr are used to compute remaining creep life. Failure is predicted to occur when Dc = 1.22 Process & Power Plant Reliability Conference. The prediction of remaining creep life can be greatly improved when Dcp is measured by NDE because there is usually a high degree of uncertainty in defining the past operating conditions needed to compute Dcp. as follows: .Dcp (12) Then.

for many materials. The tasks are to determine if the vessel is acceptable for continued operation based on a API RP 579 2 Level 1 assessment and to estimate the remaining corrosion life of the vessel. with an ammonia reformer furnace tube. Wall thickness in the corroded region is measured at points on a 25-mm (1-in. 12 while the second deals Corrosion of a Pressure Vessel A region of corrosion is discovered in the wall of a pressure vessel. 0. use the standard code formulas to compute minimum required wall thickness values as follows: tc = min p(R i + FCA) 250(37.6p 17500(1.541. and 0. First. However. Part D of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code. integration of the creep analysis and NDE helps optimize the assessment of a component.. The measurements are then plotted. Stress analysis can be used to predict the areas of largest expected creep damage in a component. 0. The wall thickness is 0. and 0..403 in. as follows: Longitudinal: 0.050 in.6(250) (14a) . The 10-year future corrosion allowance (FCA) is 0. from Section II. The minimum measured thickness (tmm) is thus 0. so the inside radius (Ri ) is 37. EXAMPLE APPLICATIONS Two example applications are reviewed. the allowable stress (Sa) is 17.502.500 psi.541 in. The weld efficiency factor (E) is 0.483. where there is no corrosion loss.403.5 + 0 .) grid. Circumferential: 0. The material is ASME SA516 Grade 70 steel.0) − 0.05 ) = = 0. S a E − 0. The following parameters apply: • • • • • • • The maximum operating pressure (p) is 250 psig at 100 F. NDE can then focus on these areas. Equation (13) is integrated from ao to a f to compute remaining creep crack-growth life. 0. The accuracy of the NDE directly influences the predicted remaining creep crack-growth life. to determine the critical thickness profiles through minimum values in the longitudinal (M) and circumferential (C) directions. The corrosion is in base metal and does not cross any welds. 0.Inspection and Remaining Life Evaluation of Process Plant Equipment 23 da/dt = D (C*) d (13) where D and d are material constants that may be a function of temperature.541. As with fatigue. 0. The minimum distance of the flaw from a major structural discontinuity (L msd) is measured and found to be 32 in. as illustrated in Figure 16.541 in. The first deals with a pressure vessel. these values are independent of temperature.511. NDE is used to measure ao or the value of ao is assumed to be the largest flaw that may have been missed by NDE. Therefore.541 in. 0. The inside diameter (ID) is 75 in.85. This is done in anticipation of the need for remaining life assessment of the vessel.403.541 in. as illustrated in Figure 17.5 in.495.

Illustration of Critical Thickness Profiles Through Planes of Maximum Metal Loss.24 Process & Power Plant Reliability Conference. . 2002 Figure 16. Illustration of Inspection Planes for Measuring Critical Thickness Profiles. Figure 17. November 13-14.

Ammonia Reformer Furnace Tube This example involves the creep life assessment of HK-40 alloy catalyst tubes used in an ammonia reformer furnace.403 – 0.4p 2(17500 )(1 .d of API RP 579: Rt = 0. as illustrated in Figure 17. Since the minimum required thickness for longitudinal stress = 0. the corrosion flaw is found to be acceptable.4 of API RP 579 using Rt = 0.4.541 in.05 ) = = 0.123[{(1 .866(75(0.10 Okay 1. In this case t = tmin = 0.FCA = 0.5 = 0. evaluating the circumferential extent of the flaw (c) is not required.353.20 Okay tmm .1]0. or compute Q as follows: Q = 1. Based on the results of this Level 1 assessment per API RP 579.. The design parameters for these tubes are listed below: • • Outside diameter (Do ) = 4.9.Rt )/(1 .10 in.541 = 0. Rt = 0.652)/(1 . Using Figure 5.5 = 11.05 = 0. s will be less than the actual length of the corroded region.00 < 5.652 > 0.652 (15) Obtain the factor Q from Table 4.5 or Q = 1. (17) (16a) (16b) Now.2.20 at c/D = 0.0 ) + 0.51 in. The calculations directly used inspection data that were taken for the purpose of fitness for service and remaining life assessment.00 in.51). . Minimum wall thickness (tmin) = 0.4. Compute the remaining thickness ratio (Rt ). The min imum wall thickness (tmin) is 0.0.5 < Lmsd = 32 Okay In addition. check the criterion of Paragraph 5.267 in . The remaining corrosion life is implicit in the 10-year FCA for this example..2. E = 1.541))0.9)}2 .05 Okay.267 < 0. check the criteria of Paragraph 5.2.4( 250 ) (14b) Even though E = 0.652 and RSFa = 0.5 = 5.2. When t > tmin.1]0.Rt / RSFa)}2 .5 = 0. as follows: L = Q(ID(tmin))0.123[{(1 .0. determine the longitudinal extent of the corrosion flaw (s). the minimum remaining corrosion life is 10 years. Because s < L (4.Inspection and Remaining Life Evaluation of Process Plant Equipment 25 tL = min p(R i + FCA) 250 (37. 2Sa E + 0.541 in. Thus.05)/0.g of API RP 579 for c.85 for the vessel.5 + 0 .8(ID tmin)0. which is the actual length of the region of corrosion.670 in.652/0.866 Next.652 > 0.403 – 0. as follows: Rt = (tmm – FCA)/tmin = (0.7 of API RP 579.353 > 0. determine the length for thickness averaging (L). so s = 4.0 is used in the above calculations because the corroded region is in base metal. and the value of s has to be determined as shown in Figure 17.

The total minimum life for simulated operations then was computed to be 66. Outside tube metal temperature = 1675 F.340 with T equal to 1675 F and solving for Ld gives a design life of approximately 199. The following parameters were used to model the cyclic operation of the furnace tubes: • • • • • • • Outside diameter = 4. A H-Scan® inspection of the tube revealed that it was Grade 2 material. API STD 530 6 gives a LarsonMiller parameter value of 43.000 = 14. Inside tube metal temperature = 1610 F.1)/2 = 485 (4.8 in Figure 15). a Level 1 analysis gives a remaining tube life of 48.1)/2 = 1240 psi (18) For the minimum creep-rupture strength of the HK-40 alloy at 1240 psi. A repeated operating block consisting of a cold start followed by 1500 hours of steady operation. 2002 • • • Maximum tube metal temperature (Tmax) = 1700 F Maximum internal pressure (pmax) = 500 psig Design life = 100.000 . The operator was uncertain that the simulated operating conditions actually modeled past operations.670 . a more detailed Level 3 analysis was performed using the WinTUBE™ computer program.000 hours.10 in. the furnace tube was inspected using the H-Scan® techniques discussed previously and was . For this reason.078 x 1. It was assumed that future operations would be similar to the past ones. For the Level 2 analysis. In this case.000 hours. Internal pressure = 485 psig. which is 35% greater than the value of 199. and an 8-hour cold shutdown. the mean-diameter formula was used to calculate the maximum hoop stress (σ) for operating conditions as follows: σ = pmax (Do /tmin .000 hours. 1100 hours of steady operation. Wall thickness = 0.400 hours.670 in. A review of operating records revealed that the maximum temperature and pressure had been 1675 F and 485 psig.400 .000 hours computed in the Level 2 analysis.000 = 147. the remaining life estimate for Level 2 analysis was 199.340 for Ta in degrees R (24.400 hours. 1200 hours of steady operation.10/0.52. a 2 -hour hot trip.52. a 4-hour hot trip. For this reason. In this case. Before computing the expected creep life for simulated operations.000 hours of service.000 hours After 52. Setting Equation (19) equal to 43. The block of cyclic operation was patterned to model a typical repetitive segment of past operations. The furnace operator recognized that cyclic operation can significantly affect tube life and that the Level 1 and 2 analyses did not directly account for the effects of cyclic operation. November 13-14. the creep life was computed for steady operations using the computer program. the total minimum life was calculated to be 268. The minimum LMP for the HK-40 alloy is given by the following expression: LMP min = (T + 460)(15 + log Lmin) (19) where T is the temperature in degrees F and Lmin is the minimum life in hours.000 hours. which gave a Level 3 estimated minimum remaining life of 66. respectively.26 Process & Power Plant Reliability Conference. the more accurate Level 3 analysis predicted a much lower remaining life than the Level 1 and 2 analyses because operating conditions were modeled more closely. Therefore.

CONCLUSIONS Various NDE methods can be used to characterize the condition of material in operating equipment. ASTM Designation: E 1049 .” Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on the Mechanical Integrity of Process Piping. A. REFERENCES 1.” Paper No. 1988. C. 5.” Paper No. PA. Fatigue of Materials. 255.. Houston. American Petroleum Institute. Beavers. Arlington. “Fitness-For-Service Evaluation of Pipelines in Ground-Water Environments.. First Edition. 10.. E. Cambridge. Houston. 2. Cambridge University Press. D. E. Fitness-For-Service. 6. Managing System Integrity of Hazardous Liquid Pipelines. P. Jaske. Jaske. E. and Beavers. Warrendale. 2002. . S.C. The process was automated by modifying the inspection software to produce a data file for the creep life analysis. Vieth. SCC. and Beavers. New York. C. The operator used these results to schedule re-tubing of the furnace in a timely fashion and thus to avoid a costly unscheduled shutdowns for tube replacements. and Harle.” American Society for Testing and Materials.. Jaske. such as creep damage in cast heat-resistant alloys. They are especially useful for quantifying flaws. The Society of Automotive Engineers..” Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code. Materials Technology Institute of the Chemical Process Industries.85. 1995. 1996. Proceedings for the PRCI/EPRG 11th Biennial Joint Technical Meeting on Line Pipe Research. Washington. Jaske. 3. Based on this material condition and the same operating conditions. A.. Calculation of Heater-Tube Thickness in Petroleum Refineries.. fatigue. Since using inspection to characterize tube condition is usually more accurate than the modeling. 1996. E. 02089. Optimal results are obtained when inspection and remaining life assessment are integrated and coordinated. Suresh.. First Edition.. 1996. J. J. API Recommended Practice 579. “Assessment of Crack-Like Flaws in Pipelines..330 hours. The information on flaw type. D. J. “Section VIII . In addition to the measured material grade. 4.C. Methods of predicting remaining corrosion. 7. NACE International.. January 2000.Rules for Construction of Pressure Vessels Division 2 Alternative Rules. Corrosion 96. A.. 1998. J. 1997. which is approximately 3. 48. Inc. 12. Fatigue Design Handbook . “Effect of Stress Corrosion Cracking on Integrity and Remaining Life of Natural Gas Pipelines.. C. 287-297.Inspection and Remaining Life Evaluation of Process Plant Equipment 27 found to be Grade 2 material. API STD 530. the same combined inspection-assessment procedure was use to evaluate all the tubes in the furnace. Multiple parameter inspection techniques help to accurately quantify material damage. American Petroleum Institute. 1998. A. B. and Beavers. “Effect of Corrosion and Stress-Corrosion Cracking on Pipe Integrity and Remaining Life. D. Washington. and creep life were reviewed. Corrosion 2002. UK. November 2001. H. PA. NACE International. Two examples of combining inspection and life prediction were presented to illustrate the benefits of the integrated inspection-life assessment approach. ASME International. the minimum remaining tube life was computed to be 50.” Paper No. AE-10.C.5 times the value computed by modeling both past and future operations. MTI Publication No. Louis. St. 9. A. 11. American Petroleum Institute. 8. Second Edition. and location then can be used in engineering fracture mechanics models to evaluate equipment integrity and remaining life. measured tube diameter and wall thickness was used for each calculation.. Washington. C. “Standard Practices for Cycle Counting in Fatigue Analysis.. VA. API Standard 1160. West Conshohocken. pp. size.

43. C.28 Process & Power Plant Reliability Conference.. November 13-14. American Institute of Chemical Engineers. “Assuring the Safety of Ammonia Plant Vessels and Piping Using API RP 579. 2002 12. Vol. Jaske. 2002.” Paper 1C. New York. . Safety in Ammonia Plants and Related Facilities Symposium. E.

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