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API 574 Inspection Practices

for Piping System Components

Inspection While Equipment is Shutdown
1. Visual Inspection
a. Corrosion Erosion & Fouling
The internal surfaces of the piping should be inspected visually over the greatest
possible area. A flash light or extension light is usually sufficient for this task,
but a probe such as boroscope of mirror and light will permit a more detailed
view. Other inspection methods include optical / laser mechanical calipers.
Where non uniform corrosion or erosion conditions are noted areas that are
accessible for visual examination, it may be advisable to perform a
radiographic inspection or to measure thickness with ultrasonic instruments to
extend coverage to parts of the piping that are inaccessible for visual
Fouling should be investigated to determine whether it consists of deposits from the
product stream or it is a buildup of corrosion products.
API 574 Inspection Practices
for Piping System Components
1. Visual Inspection (Cont.)
b. Cracks
The locations most susceptible to cracking are welds, including fillet welds at other
than pressure welds, heat affected areas adjoining welds and points of restraint
or excessive strain. Locations that are subjected to stress corrosion cracking,
hydrogen attack and caustic or amine embrittlement also require attention as
do exposed threads of threaded joints.
The inspected surface must be clean if cracks are to be detected. Cleaning can
accomplished by wire brushing, sandblasting or chemically removing coatings
, deposits and corrosion products. After thorough cleaning, the area should be
visually inspected for any indications of cracks. (Spot checking by wet
fluorescent magnetic particle, liquid penetrant or ultrasonic testing should be
considered even if visual inspection revealed no cracks.
API 574 Inspection Practices
for Piping System Components
1. Visual Inspection (Cont.)
c. Gasket Faces of Flanges
d. Valves
In severe Services, such as HF acid, slurry or fluidized catalyst service, valves may
need to be dismantled and inspected at specific intervals to assure internal
parts are of sufficient integrity to provide reliable and safe operation.
Whenever valves are removed from service and will be returned to service or
refurbished for reuse, they should be inspected and tested to the requirements
of API standard 598, Valve Inspection and Testing.
Gate Valves should be measured for thickness between the seats, since serious
deterioration may be occurred because of turbulence.
The stem and threads on the stem in the bonnet should be examined for corrosion
that might cause failure.
Swing check valves can be inspected by removing the cover or cap. Check valves
often flutter, making the shaft and hinges the principal points of deterioration.
Quarter turn valves should be inspected for ease of operation and the ability to open
and close completely. All seating surfaces should be inspected.
API 574 Inspection Practices
for Piping System Practices
1. Visual Inspection (Cont.)
e. Joints
Flanged Joints
When flanged joints are opened, they should be visually inspected for cracks and
metal loss caused by corrosion and erosion.
Flanged bolts should be inspected for stretching and corrosion
Welded Joints
In some services welds can preferentially corrode. The inspection program should
look at a sampling of welds if corrosion at welds is suspected.
Weld joints may be subject to leaks caused either by cracks or by corrosion or
The hardness of air hardenable alloy steel welds should therefore be checked after
heat treatment. Carbon steel welds in environmental cracking service should
be checked for hardness.
Corrosion can occur in the form of pitting that has penetrated the weld or the
adjacent heat affected metal. Both pitting and welding defects can be detected
by radiography.
API 574 Inspection Practices
for Piping System Practices
1. Visual Inspection (Cont.)
Threaded joints
Threaded joints may leak because of improper assembly, loose threads, corrosion,
poor fabrication, cross threading, through crack in the root of the thread, or
threads that are dirty at the time of assembly.
If the leak cannot be stopped by tightening the joint, the joint should be unscrewed
and visually examined to determine the cause of the leak.
Clamped Joints
A clamped joint that depends on machined surfaces for tightness a may leak because
of dirt. Corrosion of the mating surface, mechanical damage, or failure of the
clamp to provide sufficient force on the mating faces for proper contact.
If tightening the clamp does not stop the leak, the joint should be dismantled and
visually inspected to determine the cause of the leak.
API 574 Inspection Practices
for Piping System Practices
1. Visual Inspection (Cont.)
If misalignment of piping was noted during operation during operation, the cause
should be determined and corrected. Misalignment is usually caused by the
following conditions:
a. Inadequate provision for expansion
b. Broken or defective anchors or guides
c. Excessive friction on sliding saddles, indicating a lack of lubrication or a
need for rollers.
d. Broken rollers or rollers that cannot turn because of corrosion or lack of
e. Broken improperly adjusted hangers
f. Excessive operating temperature
g. Failure to remove the spring blocks after system construction.

Hot Spots
API 574 Inspection Practices
for Piping System Practices
2. Thickness Measurements
When Piping is opened, the thickness of pipes and fittings can be measured
behind the flange using transfer or indicating calipers.
Radiography has successfully been used to determine nipples thickness.
3. Pressure Tests
Piping Systems subject to pressure testing include the following:
Underground lines and other inaccessible piping.
Water and other non hazardous utility lines
Long oil transfer lines
Complicated manifold systems
Small piping and tubing systems
All systems after a chemical cleaning operation
The fluids which are used for pressure testing is:
Water with or without inhibitor, freezing point depressant or wetting agent
Liquid products normally carried in the system if they are non toxic or likely to
cause fire in case of leak or failure
Air, Carbon-dioxide, nitrogen, helium, or another inert gas.
API 574 Inspection Practices
for Piping System Practices
4. Hammer Testing

5. Inspection of Piping Welds