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Chapter 13 • Volume 2 Corrosion Fatigue Introduction Corrosion fatigue occurs by the combined actions

Chapter 13 • Volume 2

Corrosion Fatigue

Introduction

Corrosion fatigue occurs by the combined actions of cyclic loading and a corrosive environment. The primary occurrence is on the water- side in waterwall and economizer tubing, usually located adjacent to attachments or restraints.

Corrosion fatigue in boiler tubes has been a major source of availability loss in fossil-fueled power plants for over ten years. It is one of the last major boiler tube failure mecha- nisms to be characterized to the point that root cause analysis and solutions to prevent recurrence can be defined. Although not as com- mon as in subcritical boilers, the same damage has also been found in supercritical boilers.

1.

Features of Failure and Typical Locations

Corrosion Fatigue:

Identification Keys

1. Failures are initiated at the inside surface, at multiple initia- tion sites, which can be associ- ated with pits or other surface discontinuities.

2. Damage at the outside tube surface can appear as a pin- hole, a thick-edge crack that is usually axial but may be cir- cumferential, or a thick-edge section “blow-out”. Particular care must be taken to distin- guish corrosion fatigue from outside surface-initiated mechanical fatigue.

3. Cracks are usually wide, oxide filled, with irregular profiles and evidence of discontinuous growth.

4. Failures are nearly always asso- ciated with tube attachments or other locations where significant constraint stresses develop. A list of 24 generic failure loca- tions has been developed.

1.1 Features of failure

Corrosion fatigue failures occur in water-touched tubes, usually in waterwall tubing, but also in econo- mizer tubing under some conditions. Corrosion fatigue cracks initiate on the inside surface. Although they are predominantly located on the cold- side of the inside surface such dam- age may also form on the fireside. General features of corrosion fatigue cracks are listed in Table 13-1.

A typical failure is shown in Figure 13-1; key features illustrated here are the initiation at multiple sites on the inside of the tube, the longitudi- nal orientation of the cracks and the association of the failure with an external tube attachment. Figure 13-2 shows schematically the gen- eral features of this damage type; these features are shown in actual tubes in Figures 13-3 and 13-4. As shown, cracks initiate from multiple sites at the inside surface, are ori- ented axially, can grow through the wall, and although they may be associated with pits and other inter- nal defects, they are not necessarily associated with weld defects. Sometimes damage is also seen on the outside surface.

Corrosion fatigue cracks have been identified with three types of macro- scopic appearance: (i) a pinhole leak, (ii) a thick-edged crack ori- ented axially (usually) or circumfer- entially, or (iii) a thick-edge blow-out or rupture which usually follows the membrane weld line either on the hot or cold side.

The pinhole leak on the tube outside surface is the most commonly observed form. Figure 13-4 would be typical of the cross section through such a defect type. This damage manifestation can often be confused with an OD-initiating mechanical fatigue crack. There are three means to distinguish the two. First, the surface-initiated fatigue

crack is generally associated with a discontinuity or stress riser, such as the toe of a weld, whereas the ID-initiated corrosion fatigue crack would only rarely break through to the outside surface exactly at the toe. An exception would be cracks that linked—one initiated on the inside surface and the other initiated on the outside surface.

Second, when grinding the flaw prior to weld repair, the outside-surface initiated damage will decrease with grinding depth into the tube, the inside-surface initiated damage will become more widespread. Third, externally initiated fatigue cracks tend to show up earlier in the life of the boiler.

The second damage manifestation, the thick-edged crack such as shown in Figure 13-5. This damage type is generally associated with attachments, but may be of consid- erable length and extend beyond the attachment area.

The third macroscopic manifestation of damage is the thick-edge blow- out or rupture and is characterized by cracking down both sides of the tube along the weld lines of the membrane; this causes an entire section of tube to fail (Figure 13-1). This third form is rare but has the potential to cause catastrophic dam- age and can be a safety problem if it occurs on the cold side of the tube in an area with heavy personnel traffic.

Microscopically, corrosion fatigue cracks are characterized by features such as multiple, wide, transgranular cracks with irregular profiles, usually filled with oxide and showing signs of discontinuous growth such as crack arrest marks. Figure 13-6 shows cross sections through corro- sion fatigue cracks illustrating these features.

Table 13-1 Common Features of Corrosion Fatigue Damage

Macro-features

• Initiation from inside (waterside) of tube.

• “Typical” development on “cold” side of the tube but can be on fireside.

• Cracks usually oriented longitudinally with respect to tube axis, i.e., normal to the predominant stress field, which in the typical case are tensile hoop stresses.

• Cracks can also be circumferential or any direction that is normal to the major applied stress.

• Can be initiated from pits or other surface discontinuities.

• Not OD-initiated.

• Not specifically related to presence of weld defects.

Micro-features

• Multiple, transgranular cracks.

• Cracks usually wide.

• Cracks usually oxide filled and blunt tipped.

• Crack profiles usually irregular.

• Signs of discontinuous growth, re-initiations.

• Signs of discontinuous growth, re-initiations. Figure 13-1. An example of corrosion fatigue cracking in

Figure 13-1. An example of corrosion fatigue cracking in SA-210 A1 waterwall tubing. Note that the main failure is coincident with an attachment welded onto the tube and that there are multiple longitudinal cracks on the tube inside surface. Source: G.I.

Ogundele, et al. 1b

Protective Fe 3 O 4 Water/steam side Secondary crack Deposited particles Slip band Extensive activity
Protective Fe 3 O 4
Water/steam
side
Secondary
crack
Deposited
particles
Slip
band
Extensive
activity
oxidation
Spherical
Deformed
corrosion
particles
pits
Onset of

final fracture

Figure 13-2. Schematic showing the general features of corrosion fatigue cracks.

Source: M.D.C. Moles and H.J. Westwood 2

fatigue cracks. Source: M.D.C. Moles and H.J. Westwood 2 Figure 13-3. Typical multiple corrosion fatigue cracks

Figure 13-3. Typical multiple corrosion fatigue cracks in a boiler waterwall tube. Source: D. Sidey, et al. 1d

in a boiler waterwall tube. Source: D. Sidey, et al. 1 d Figure 13-4. Throughwall p

Figure 13-4. Throughwall penetration of a corrosion fatigue crack. Note how the crack decreases in width towards the

outside surface. Source: H.J. Westwood and W.K. Lee 3

Figure 13-5. Thick-edged failure by corrosion fatigue. Source: D. Sidey, et al. 1 d Figure

Figure 13-5. Thick-edged failure by corrosion fatigue. Source: D. Sidey, et al. 1d

by corrosion fatigue. Source: D. Sidey, et al. 1 d Figure 13-6. Cross-sections of corrosion fatigue

Figure 13-6. Cross-sections of corrosion fatigue cracks showing typical features: oxide coating of the fracture surface, corrosion within the crack, wide crack mouths and tips, and a transgranular fracture path. Source: S.R. Paterson, et al. 10

Steam drum 17 Furnace Penthouse gas exit floor scallop scallop plate 1 plate Buckstay Top
Steam
drum
17
Furnace
Penthouse
gas exit
floor
scallop
scallop
plate
1
plate
Buckstay
Top
attachments
windbox
18
2
(a)
Corner
casing
10
(b)
Tie-bars
Rear wall
attachment
(c)
Stirrups
arch
10
Burner
throat
Windbox
1
region
Bottom
windbox
Burner
casing
elevations
attachment
9
Buckstay
Windbox
elevations
extension
22
Gas
flat bar
recirculation
Slope
duct
19
6
region
attachment
Boiler water
seal
3
+
4
Side wall
buckstay
connection
to slope wall
15
24
24
21
5
Side
(b)
Front wall
Side wall
(a)
wall/slope
Division
Lower
S-bends
gusset plate
wall
wall
division
connection
penetration
wall tube
of slope
ties

Note: Buckstay corner failures occur at Buckstay elevation ( other than in Slope region and Burner elevation

)
)

Figure 13-7a. Typical locations for tube failures by corrosion fatigue. Locations in tangentially-fired boilers. Numbers refer to additional description given Table 13-2. Source: D McNabb, et al. 1a

1.2 Locations of failure

A major effort has gone into identify-

ing the most common initiation sites for corrosion fatigue. The predomi- nant locations are near tube attach- ments: locations where large stresses develop during transient operating conditions as thermal expansion has been constrained by the attachment. Typical locations include windbox casing attach- ments, buckstay attachments, and scallop bar attachments. In econo- mizer tubing, failures have been reported in bends or the heat- affected zone of welds.

A list of twenty-four susceptible loca-

tions was developed following the detailed survey of ten operating units with a history of corrosion fatigue failures. 1a The units were all subcritical drum units but otherwise were chosen to reflect a variety of

factors: size, mode of operation, fuel type, quality of cooling water and cycle chemistry. Table 13-2 presents those locations in order of the fre- quency with which corrosion fatigue was found for the units surveyed. These locations are illustrated schematically in Figures 13-7a and 13-7b for two generic boiler designs - a tangentially-fired radiant boiler and a front/rear fired radiant boiler, respectively. As a general rule, any failure associated with constraint (attachment) should be examined carefully for evidence of a corrosion fatigue mechanism.

Table 13-2 summarizes the key aspects of corrosion fatigue at each location including: a description of the design, nature of the failures, and recommended modifications. Table 13-2 also presents a “stress

14 Scallop plate penthouse floor connection 13 20 12 Side wall buckstay connection to baffle
14
Scallop plate penthouse
floor connection
13
20
12
Side wall buckstay
connection to
baffle wall
Upper
gas off-
take
gusset
plates
Gas
Gas off-
outlet
takes
7
Upper
windbox
8
casing
(a)
Burner
throat region
attachment
(b)
Burner
mount
Windbox
and
burners
Lower
windbox
Slope
casing
region
attachment
Side wall/
23
slope wall
Furnace floor
connection
between front
and rear walls
16
6
connection
End of waterwall
membrane region
Division wall
penetration
of slope wall

Figure 13-7b. Typical locations for tube failures by corrosion fatigue. Locations in front/rear-fired radiant boil- ers. Numbers refer to additional description given Table 13-2. Source: D. McNabb, et al. 1a

rank” for the location, and possible modifications that can be used in corrective strategies; these two top- ics are discussed in considerably more detail in sections that follow.

The problem can also arise in econ- omizer tubing. The general industry experience has indicated the most likely failure locations are (i) at bends, (ii) in welds with the potential for high residual stresses such as fin welds, and (iii) at attachments simi- lar in nature to those outlined above for waterwalls. Parts of economizer circuits can form walls of the back pass.

A common denominator among nearly all of the most common fail- ure locations is the presence of sig- nificant thermal gradients, induced by either (i) high heat flux typical, for example, of the sites in the combus- tion zone of the furnace, or (ii) a variety of other causes such as where tubing carrying different media (e.g. steam and water) are connected.

Failures have also been found at locations without significant thermal gradient. These are generally the result of: (i) poor boiler water chem- istry conditions, (ii) an unusual structural loading, or both.

Table 13-2 Corrosion Fatigue Failure Site List with Descriptions, Stress Ranking, and Potential Modifications

Location

Description

Stress Rank for Use in Influence Diagram

Applied Modification

1. Windbox casing

a) Continuous scallop plate–primarily corner tubes affected

B

No modification derived

b) Filler bars

B

Replace cast filler bars with plate formed filler bars

2. Buckstay corners*

a) Rigid corner scallop plate connected to buckstay

B

Remove or relieve rigid corner

b) Lug mounted tie-bar connected to tubes at corner

A

Same as for case (a)

c) Tangent/membrane wall with filler bar connections

D

Remove filler bar

3. Boiler ash hopper seal plate

Continuous scallop plate

B

Change to U-bolt arrangement

4. Boiler seal heat shield (slag screen)

a) Continuous scallop plate

B

Short tangent bar (3-4 tubes), or a U-bolt arrangement

b) 6-8 tube tangential bar

C

Same as for case (a)

5. Side wall gusset plate

Triangular plate between redirected tubes

A

Change to peg membrane

6. Division wall penetration of slope

a) Refractory box rigidly connected at the top and bottom

D

Remove rigid connections

b) Continuous scallop plate

B

Use refractory box without rigid connections

7. Burner throat/gas off-take tube ties

a) Short bars welded between redirected tangent tubes

C

Replace tube ties with membrane bar

b) Short bars welded between tubes in tangent tube wall

B

Weld bar on hot side to restore neutral bending axis to geometric axis of tube

8. Burner barrel mounts

Direct connection from burner barrel to waterwall

C

Use mounting plate between burner and wall Increase the number of attachment lugs

9. Windbox extension vertical seal

Windbox extension duct welded directly to vertical flat bar–flat bar is on outside of windbox, but could also be on inside

D

Install expansion plate between windbox casing and flat bar, remove flat bar on inside

10. Buckstay connections to waterwalls

a) Continuous scallop tie-bar

C

Use stirrups or lugs on membrane walls Tack weld to alternate tubes on tangent tube wall

b) Continuous tangent bar tack welded to tubes

membrane wall

D

Same as for case (a)

tangent tube wall

B

Same as for case (a)

Table 13-2 Corrosion Fatigue Failure Site List with Descriptions, Stress Ranking, and Potential Modifications (continued)

Location

Description

Stress Rank for Use in Influence Diagram

Applied Modification

11. Scallop tie-bars

Tangent tube waterwalls – most failures at corners or associated with abnormally high loads

D

Address source of stress Remove weld from every other tube

12. Miscellaneous waterwall penetration gusset plates*

a) Sootblower penetrations

D

Replace with peg membrane

b) Burner throat and gas off-takes

C

13. Miscellaneous filler bar attachments*

a) Windbox strut attachment

D

Replace solid filler bars with formed

b) Side wall buckstay/baffle wall connection

D

plate filler bars

 

c) Slope wall support I-beam at side wall

B

14. Penthouse floor attachments

Continuous scallop plate

 

No modification determined

a) problems most common in corners

D

b) more serious if connecting tubes carrying different media

B

15. Side wall/slope wall seal

a) Scallop bar

D

Replace with refractory box

b) Rod welded between tubes

B

16. End of membrane

More serious adjacent to redirected tube

A

Cut back membrane

17. Furnace gas exit scallop plate

Continuous scallop plate

C

Move scallop plate further from redirected tubes and cover with refractory

adjacent to redirected tubes

18. Rear waterwall arch

Continuous scallop bar

D

Cut scallop bar at intervals to make discontinuous

adjacent to separation of hanger tubes

19. Side wall buckstay connection to slope wall

a) Tangent bar tack welded to tubes

C

Replace with scallop bar Evaluate necessity of attachment

b) Scallop bar tack welded on alternate sides of bar

D

Same as for case (a)

20. Side wall buckstay connection to baffle wall

Flat bar connection to baffle wall seal welded with filler bars at side wall

C

No modification derived

lowest connection affected

21. Lower front/rear waterwall S-bends

Immediately downstream of mud drums, with locating scallop bars between tubes

B

Remove scallop bars and replace affected bends

22. Gas recirculation duct scallop plate attachment

Continuous scallop bar

D

No modification derived

23. Furnace floor connection between nose tubes

Direct connection between nose tubes in opposite walls

C

Replace solid filler bars with formed plate filler bars No other modification derived

filler bars used

natural gas-fired boiler only

 

24. Division wall tube ties*

First set of tube ties above slope wall

D

No modification derived

2.

Mechanism of Failure

Corrosion Fatigue: Mechanism

1. Corrosion fatigue is caused by the synergistic effects of stress and environment. This leads to a breakdown of the protective magnetite on a tube surface by both mechanical (stress) and chemical (environment) means.

2. Corrosion fatigue is a discontin- uous process with cracks initiating and growing during transient periods such as starts and stops, and full load operation.

3. Transient operations result in cyclic strains driven by temper- ature differences between attachments and the tube. During peak strain range peri- ods reinitiation or initial crack- ing of the protective oxide will occur. Full load operation can result in a corrosive environ- ment which allows crack growth.

4. Both initiation and propagation of the corrosion fatigue are influenced by the interactions of: operating factors, chemical factors, and strain factors. A probabilistic approach, termed the Influence Diagram, has been developed to assess the impact of these three factors on the accumulation of corrosion fatigue damage.

2.1 Introduction

Corrosion fatigue is one of a number

of failure mechanisms that consist of

synergistic effects of stress and environment. Among the boiler tube failure mechanisms, other combina- tions have variously been termed stress corrosion cracking and stress-assisted pitting. In many ways the distinction among various stress/environment-driven failure mechanisms is artificial, character- ized by whether the stress or the environmental aspect seems to be predominant. The end result in any case is the accumulation of damage through the interaction of the two basic contributors.

A significant effort has gone into

characterizing corrosion fatigue damage, differentiating it from dam- age caused by other mechanisms, and to targeting solutions specific to corrosion fatigue. The balance of this section reviews the following aspects of corrosion fatigue in boiler tubes: (2.2) breakdown of mag- netite, (2.3) overview of mechanistic models, (2.4) analysis of trends in the field experience, (2.5) stress effects on initiation and propagation including both field measurements and finite element analysis, and (2.6) environmental effects including laboratory and field results.

2.2 Breakdown of magnetite

during corrosion fatigue

The use of carbon steel for boiler tubes in the high temperature and high pressure boiler environment depends on the formation of the protective layer of magnetite (Fe 3 O 4 ) on the waterside of the tube. 2-4 Corrosion fatigue presents perhaps the clearest example of the prob- lems that develop once that film is damaged.

In general, the magnetite layer can be damaged either by chemical means (corrosion) or by mechanical means (strain), or by the synergistic effect of the two 5 . Destabilization primarily by chemical means usually occurs at pre-existing active sites, resembles pitting and has some- times been termed stress-assisted pitting. When the film is destabilized primarily by strain, corrosion paths are produced, leading to an array of cracks and is generally termed cor- rosion fatigue in boiler tubes.

Rupture of the protective oxide film leads to more rapid damage by cor- rosion fatigue because (i) additional base metal is exposed to corrosion damage and (ii) the rupture, which is a crack or crack-like, acts as a stress concentrator.

The critical strain to fracture mag- netite at high temperatures is gener- ally reported to be between 0.01 and 0.1% strain. 1b, 6-8 That there is a lower bound or critical level of strain that is required to fracture the pro- tective oxide film and begin the cor- rosion fatigue damage process is supported by the German field experience and from modeling stud- ies of oxide. In the former instance, the German design standard TRD 301 requires that the strain level in oxide be kept below a certain limit, about 0.1% strain, during operation to avoid rupturing the magnetite scale. The lower level of damage from corrosion fatigue in those boil- ers seems to confirm the effective- ness of this limit.

Modeling and analysis of oxide pro- vides another indication of the effect of strain level on the appearance of corrosion fatigue damage. Damage

is often manifested as a surprisingly regular array of cracks, see Figure 13-3, for example. Grosskreutz and McNeil 9 proposed an explanation for this phenomenon while analyzing layers of Al 2 O 3 . They suggested that regularly spaced cracks would form in a layer under strain, that the sepa- ration between cracks would be a function of the strain level, and that the separation would decrease until some minimum was reached.

The stress relaxation model that they proposed is illustrated in Figure 13-8. The cracking process will result in stress relaxation, with the highest relaxation located immediately adja- cent to the crack formed. Therefore, the maximum remaining (unrelaxed) stress will be centered between cracks. With an increasing strain applied to the coating or oxide layer, the next crack will then form at the center between the existing cracks assuming a layer with uniform properties.

This model was used to explain the observation of cracks in silica coat- ings for 9 Cr 1 Mo in experimental work by Crouch and Dooley 4 ; their experimental results were used by Hay and Meadowcroft 11 to improve upon the original model. The same model appears to apply to the initia- tion of corrosion fatigue cracks and explains nicely the regular array of parallel cracks on the inner surface.

In addition to the geometry of crack- ing, the type of oxide that will form depends on the electrochemical potential of the material, which is in turn controlled by the oxygen con- tent of the water, see Figure 13-9, and by the pH. A potential-pH map, also known as a Pourbaix diagram, is used to identify the stable oxide species for selected conditions.

d b w d ) Ds ( 2 Stress in s ¶ film (s) x
d
b
w
d
)
Ds (
2
Stress in
s ¶
film (s)
x
o

Figure 13-8. Schematic representation of the development of a regular array of evenly-spaced cracks caused by corrosion fatigue. (s f ) is fracture stress; (Ds(x)) is a measure of stress relaxation.

Source: A.G. Crouch and R.B. Dooley 4

Potential (V SHE ) 0.2 200 C 275 C 0 -0.2 250 C 150 C
Potential (V SHE )
0.2
200
C
275
C
0
-0.2
250
C
150
C
-0.4
Potentials at 275 C
-0.6
Oxygen
(ppb)
Potential
(V SHE )
5
-0.780
-0.8
320
-0.190
1000
-0.090
-1.0
1 5
10
100
1000
10,000

Oxygen Concentration (ppb)

Figure 13-9. Electrochemical potential of carbon steel in water as a function of dis-

solved oxygen content. Source: P.M. Scott and W.H. Bamford 12

Figure 13-10 shows a Pourbaix dia- gram for iron in high temperature water. Plotted on this figure are results of laboratory tests using arti- ficially high levels of dissolved oxy- gen from a program described below; corrosion fatigue most readily occurs outside the region of mag- netite stability. Once the film is breached, damage accumulates until the surface is repassivated, thus repairing the film.

Dissolved salt contaminants such as chlorides and sulfates are of con- cern as they can affect the morphol- ogy, formation rate, thickness, and strength of the surface oxide. As will be described in more detail below, the contribution to corrosion fatigue damage in laboratory tests on boiler tube materials was not as significant for these environmental variables as for either pH or dissolved oxygen levels.

2.3 Mechanistic models of cor-

rosion fatigue

A review was undertaken of the cur-

rent thinking on alternative mechanis- tic models that attempt to predict from fundamentals the process that leads to corrosion fatigue damage. 1b

A brief description of four such

mechanistic models is included here:

film rupture/stabilization, mechani- cal/chemical dissolution, hydrogen embrittlement, and/or strain-induced corrosion cracking.

• Film rupture/stabilization. There are several variations of this model which ascribes accelerated crack growth to the rupturing of protec- tive films and subsequent re-oxida- tion or corrosion when the bare metal is exposed to the environ- ment. 5, 14-17 A variation of this model explains the onset of corro- sion fatigue or stress corrosion cracking as being controlled by crack tip effects that can be explained by the superposition of an environmental effect and a strain effect. 18

• Mechanically-assisted chemical dissolution. Figure 13-11 illus- trates the basics of this model. Vacancies, caused by dissolution of the metal surface in a corrosive

Potential (Volt vs. SHE) 2.5 No corrosion fatigue 2.0 Corrosion Fatigue 9 Fe 3+ 1.5
Potential (Volt vs. SHE)
2.5
No corrosion fatigue
2.0
Corrosion Fatigue
9
Fe 3+
1.5
21
4
1.0
Fe 2 -
Fe(OH) 2+
4
0.5
Fe 2+
28 Fe(OH) +
2
0
30
Fe 2 O 3
-0.5
26
23 17
Fe 3 O 4
13
-1.0
29
27
Fe
-
HFeO
2
-1.5
24
-2.0
-2
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16

pH (e) @ 250 C

Figure 13-10. Pourbaix diagram showing the stable oxide film as a function of electrochemical potential
Figure 13-10. Pourbaix diagram showing the stable oxide film as
a function of electrochemical potential and pH. Stability of a pro-
tective Fe 3 O 4 scale is believed to be related to the severity of
corrosion fatigue. Source: C.M. Chen, et al. 13
Migration
of vacancies
toward
crack tip
Material
Active crack tip strain
assisted dissolution
Corrosive solution
Vacancies
Dissolution of metal
atoms creates
vacancies
Atoms
Highly strained region
Vacancies migrate
toward strained region
Coalescence causes
crack to grow
toward strained region Coalescence causes crack to grow Figure 13-11. Schematic of the mechanical/chemical

Figure 13-11. Schematic of the mechanical/chemical dissolution model with the feature of the possibility of corrosion-generated surface vacancies migrating to the crack tip.

environment are driven by a stress field and accumulate at the crack tip; such coalescence results in incremental crack growth. 19

• Hydrogen assisted (or embrittle- ment) cracking. Hydrogen is pro- duced by reaction of carbon steel with water. Absorption of free hydrogen into the tube metal at the crack tip has been suggested by a number of researchers as being at the root of corrosion fatigue and stress corrosion cracking mechanisms. 20-23 A schematic of the process is shown in Figure 13-12.

Strain-induced corrosion crack- ing. Similar to the film rupture model, this concept involves the local disruption of protective oxide. 6, 22, 24 Destabilization of the oxide can occur by the environ- ment (dissolved oxygen content, conductivity and temperature of the water), mechanical means (strain rate and strain level), or by material characteristics (such as sulfur content). 24

2.4 General trends in corro-

sion fatigue failures: result of the analysis of field results.

A number of factors have an influ- ence on the incidence of corrosion fatigue in boiler tubes: boiler water and feedwater quality, chemical cleaning, tube replacement, boiler modifications, and operating mode. General observations from field studies include:

1. Unit operation can have a signifi- cant effect on the incidence of corrosion fatigue as shown in Figures 13-13 and 13-14. Peaking units have a large number of starts and relatively few operating hours; cycling units are those that tend to load follow and have rela- tively few starts and a larger num- ber of operating hours.

Oxide scale or Localized corrosion reactions (e.g. 3Fe + 4H 2 O - > Fe
Oxide
scale or
Localized corrosion reactions
(e.g. 3Fe + 4H 2 O - > Fe 3 O 4 + 4H 2 )
Hydrogen generation and
absorption into crack tip
bare surface
Material
Oxide free
Corrosive solution
crack tip
Highly
strained
region
Hydrogen migration
into hightly strained
region ahead of
crack tip
Passive crack walls

Figure 13-12. Schematic of the hydrogen embrittlement model showing how hydrogen is generated at an active crack tip and then absorbed into the material.

Tube Failures 140 Individual boilers 120 Range Cycling Boilers 100 80 60 Peaking Boilers 40
Tube Failures
140
Individual
boilers
120
Range
Cycling Boilers
100
80
60
Peaking Boilers
40
20
0
0 200
400
600
800
1000
1200
1400 1600
1800

Total Starts

Figure 13-13. Total boiler starts versus tube failures by corrosion fatigue.

Source: D. McNabb, et al. 1a

2. Chemical cleans by hydrochloric acid were shown to aggravate corrosion fatigue as illustrated in Figure 13-15. For example, boiler 1 shows a step function increase in the number of tube failures by corrosion fatigue directly follow- ing hydrochloric acid cleans. No such dramatic increase in corro- sion fatigue failures was found after cleans done with EDTA or citric acid. Two competing effects are in progress: crack tip blunting caused by acid cleaning may slow propagation of modest sized cracks, but in the case of pre- existing severe damage may lead to through-wall failure in a much shorter period.

3. Boilers that have had problems maintaining boiler water and feedwater limits generally experi- ence more boiler tube failures by corrosion fatigue. Units that have experienced extensive corrosion fatigue have had indications that large swings in pH may have occurred in the boiler. Such indi- cators include: hydrogen dam- age, or caustic gouging, or, for those units using congruent phosphate boiler water treatment, evidence of phosphate hideout.

Particularly important are pH depressions during shutdown and startup where pH drops to less than 8 such as caused (i) in phosphate treatment units when there is a phosphate hideout return, or (ii) in AVT units caused by CO 2 ingress and slippage through the condensate polish- ers. It is interesting that corrosion fatigue occurs much less fre- quently in caustic-treated boilers; these units do not usually experi- ence a pH depression during shutdown or early startup. Hideout and hideout return analy- sis of sulfate can be very informa- tive for boilers on AVT. Up to 1500 ppb of sulfate has been observed during the overnight shutdown of boilers. 25

Tube Failures 140 Range Peaking Boilers 120 Individual boilers 100 80 Cycling Boilers 60 40
Tube Failures
140
Range
Peaking Boilers
120
Individual boilers
100
80
Cycling Boilers
60
40
20
0
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180

Operating Hours (thousands)

Figure 13-14. Operating hours versus tube failures by corrosion fatigue.

Source: D. McNabb, et al. 1a

Tube Failures 140 Boiler 8 120 HCL clean EDTA or citric acid clean 100 Boiler
Tube Failures
140
Boiler 8
120
HCL clean
EDTA or citric
acid clean
100
Boiler 1
80
60
40
Boiler 7
20
10
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100

Operating Hours (thousands)

Figure 13-15. Operating hours versus corrosion fatigue tube failures illustrating the effects of different chemical cleaning solutions. Source: D. McNabb, et al. 1a

4. Boiler layup conditions were also suspected to aggravate damage by corrosion fatigue, particularly if the pH was depressed and dis- solved oxygen levels were not controlled.

2.5 Stress effects on initiation

and propagation of corrosion fatigue cracks

Corrosion Fatigue: Summary of Key Stress Factors

1. Local stresses and water chemistry are considered to be the two major factors that pro- mote corrosion fatigue.

2. A methodology is not yet fully established that can (i) predict stress levels at locations sus- ceptible to corrosion fatigue,

(ii) predict the rate at which

damage will accumulate, or

(iii) confirm, a priori the degree

to which a proposed attach- ment modification will result in lower tube stresses.

3. However, guidelines for the application of finite element analysis and field confirmation have been developed and con- firmed in field testing. These should guide utilities in the careful use of such techniques.

As noted above, the state of stress is a primary consideration in the analysis of corrosion fatigue. Predicting where corrosion fatigue will occur, predicting how quickly damage will accumulate, and pre- dicting the effectiveness of pro- posed modifications to mitigate a high stress condition will all ulti- mately require a knowledge of how to measure or analyze the relevant state of stress. This section reviews recent work toward that goal.

Sources of loads acting on tubes include (i) boiler pressure, (ii) ther- mal gradient through the tube (heat flux), (iii) constraint during thermal

expansion, and (iv) weight of the attachment (for some locations). Field tests have identified two major sources of cyclic strain: strains resulting from the pressure and tem- perature ramp during boiler starts, and strains from subcooling in nat- ural circulation boilers.

An idealized view of the levels of strain that would be expected dur- ing various load changes are shown in Figure 13-16. The results of strain gauge tests performed on three dif- ferent types of units confirmed that cold starts resulted in the highest measured tube strains; warm starts, hot starts, and load changes, both sliding pressure and constant pres- sure, resulted in lesser levels. The typical trends for a cold start are shown in Figure 13-17. The peak strain occurs at the point when the boiler reaches full operating pres- sure. This peak strain corresponds to the maximum thermal gradient through the tube as shown by the difference between the tube temper- ature and the attachment tempera- ture shown in the top part of Figure 13-17. Hoop strains then decline to steady state levels as the thermal gradient decreases.

The strains measured in units were lower than expected and lower than those which were thought, from lab-

oratory investigations, to be needed to develop corrosion fatigue dam- age. Refinements to the measure- ment process have been made and subsequently applied to other units and have resulted in measured strain levels on the order of 0.2 to 0.3%, more consistent with that needed for the accumulation of cor- rosion fatigue damage.

The second largest level of strains developed as a result of subcooling during warm starts. Subcooling occurs in natural circulation boilers when there is a top to bottom tem- perature stratification during “bot- tled” cool down periods. The magni- tude of the subcooling effect first increases, peaks at about 50 hours after shutdown for most natural cir- culation units, then starts to decline as temperatures over the height of the boiler start to equalize. The largest thermal transient in the sub- sequent start was observed in the lower furnace. It is believed that strains resulting from subcooling may not be an important contributor to corrosion fatigue in boiler tubes although a more important factor in thicker walled components. The strains associated with subcooling occur early in the start of a unit when boiler pressure and heat fluxes are low, and thus overall tube stresses are low.

Strain

(me)

Peak Steady state Partial sliding pressure Cold Steady shutdown Sliding start state Shutdown pressure Zero
Peak
Steady state
Partial sliding
pressure
Cold
Steady
shutdown
Sliding
start
state
Shutdown
pressure
Zero pressure
load change
shutdown
ª
ª
ª
ª

Time

Figure 13-16. Schematic of an idealized strain cycle for a cold start, sliding pressure load change and shutdown. Source: D. Sidey, et al. 1c

Guidelines for utility application of stress analysis in attacking corrosion fatigue problems are presented in Section 6 below on long-term actions to deal with corrosion fatigue damage.

2.6 Environment effects on the

initiation and propagation of corrosion fatigue cracks

Corrosion Fatigue: Summary of Key Environment Factors

1. There is a clear effect of envi- ronmental parameters on the severity of corrosion fatigue ini- tiation and propagation. The effects are independent of the basic treatment chosen, for example AVT compared to congruent phosphate treat- ment.

2. Most obvious effects are for pH excursions and the presence of high levels of dissolved oxy- gen.

3. pH is particularly important as low pH excursions, such as associated with phosphate hideout, can occur concur- rently with high strain in sus- ceptible tubes.

500 Hoop strain (me) 400 300 Tube temperature ( C) Attachment temperature ( C) 200
500
Hoop strain (me)
400
300
Tube
temperature ( C)
Attachment temperature ( C)
200
100
Axial strain (me)
0
-100
500
Unit load (MW)
400
Feedwater flow (kg/s)
Coal fires
300
Roll turbine
Lost coal fires
Unit
200
synchronization
Purge
Coal fires
100
Oil
Drum pressure (MPa X 10)
fires
0
80
10.8
CBD O 2
(ppb)
CBD phosphate (ppm x 10)
60
10.2
CBD - pH
40
9.8
pH
CBD cation
conductivity(mS/cm)
20
9.4
0
9.0
22
0
2
4
6
8
10
Time (hours)

There is no comprehensive model that can predict the effect of various environmental factors on the rate of initiation and propagation of corro- sion fatigue cracks in the boiler envi- ronment. A number of past experi- mental programs have been con- cerned with isolating the effect of one or more major parameters such as dissolved oxygen, pH and cation conductivity. A broad outline of those studies and some of the impli- cations are presented in the first part of this section (2.6.1)

There have also been a few field studies that have tried to correlate the results of the laboratory investi- gations with field measurements of similar factors, and with the inci-

Figure 13-17. Strain, temperature and cycle chemistry information collected on the cold start of a 500 MW unit. (CBD) is continuous blowdown. Source: D. Sidey, et al. 1d

dence or extent of corrosion fatigue damage. Unfortunately there has not been good correlation between what was thought to be important in the laboratory and what was measured in the field. In the broad outline in section 2.6.2 is a summary of what is presently known, what is thought to be correct and is undergoing con- firmation, and what is presently unknown. The discussion here is lim- ited to specific knowledge about boiler tube materials, the boiler envi- ronment and stress levels, and actual field investigations in working boilers.

A knowledge of cycle chemistry par-

ticularly during starts and transients

is essential. For example, at one unit

the major parameters (dissolved oxygen, pH and cation conductivity) were well maintained throughout transients. This was the result of

specific operating procedures which allowed up to 1 ppm free hydroxide

to counteract a phosphate hideout

problem. Prior to making that change in procedure, pH would drop to around 7 during shutdown and remain around that level until restart. 26 Similar hideout was observed during load changes as

Cycles to Initiation 4 10 3 10 2 10 10 Air Data (274 C) Clean
Cycles to Initiation
4
10
3
10
2
10
10
Air Data (274 C)
Clean AVT water at 274 C
Contaminated AVT water at 274 C
1
10 -5
10 -4
10 -3
10 -2
10 -1
1
10

Frequency (Hz)

Figure 13-18. Effect of cycle chemistry and frequency on the initiation of corrosion fatigue cracking.

Source: G.I. Ogundele, et al. 1b

Dissolved Oxygen (DO) ppb

4 10 LOG (N) = 3.3883 - 0.5256 LOG (DO) R = -0.9842 Phosphate test
4
10
LOG (N) = 3.3883 - 0.5256 LOG (DO)
R
= -0.9842
Phosphate test data
AVT test data
3
10
2
10
10
1
10
10 2
10 3
10 4

Cycles to Initiation, N

Figure 13-19. Effect of oxygen on corrosion fatigue initiation at 274°C (525°F) and a frequency of 0.0005 Hz.

Source: G.I. Ogundele, et al. 1b

well. This hideout phenomenon has been well documented 27, 28 and has important implications for units on congruent phosphate control. See additional discussion on this topic in Chapter 3, Volume 1.

In the final part of this section (2.6.3) a brief note clarifies the use of oxy- genated feedwater treatment, and how its use in drum boilers can be consistent with the observation that increased levels of dissolved oxy- gen have increased the propensity for corrosion fatigue damage in lab- oratory tests.

2.6.1 Laboratory results. The follow- ing results have been obtained from laboratory studies 1b ; it is important to note that there have been some differences from those obtained in field tests:

1. The number of cycles to crack initiation by corrosion fatigue are lower in simulated boiler water, either high-quality or contami- nated, than in air. Figure 13-18 shows this result. The number of cycles to initiation is markedly influenced by the presence of contaminants (lower curve). However, there is very little differ- ence in these results between the normal base chemistries for AVT and phosphate.

2. Figure 13-18 also indicates that the frequency of strain reversal is important for initiation. Lower fre- quencies increase the corrosion fatigue initiation potential. Frequency effects are also evi- dent for propagation rates. Higher frequency tests in labora- tory experiments are not thought to allow the full effects of the cor- rosion aspect of the damage mechanism to influence the crack growth. Long periods at lower strains between cycles allow full influence of corrosion effects.

3. Dissolved oxygen was shown to have a strong influence on cycles to initiate corrosion fatigue as illustrated in Figure 13-19.

4. pH level was also shown to have

a strong effect. A series of speci- mens was tested in solutions with

a constant levels of 5 ppb dis-

solved oxygen and with varying phosphates to simulate acidic phosphate hideout return. The number of cycles to initiation was reduced to about 1/3 at both 204°C (400°F) and 274°C (525°F) when the pH level was approxi- mately 6 as compared to the base condition of pH 9. Figure 13-20 illustrates this important result.

5. The presence of chlorides and sulfate had less noticeable effects, with the effect of chlorides up to 3000 ppb the most signifi- cant in reducing cycles to initia- tion.

2.6.2 Implications of laboratory tests

to operating boilers and comparison to field results. What are the impli- cations of laboratory test results, particularly for dissolved oxygen lev- els and pH on the potential for cor- rosion fatigue in boilers? The effect of oxygen levels are reviewed first.

It is clear that in the laboratory envi- ronment an increase in dissolved oxygen levels from 5 to 1000 ppb will significantly decrease the num- ber of cycles to initiate corrosion fatigue cracks (Figure 13-19). There is also no doubt that during a shut- down period the oxygen level in boiler water can reach high, per- haps saturation, levels; but upon first firing and circulation of the boiler water the dissolved oxygen levels decrease once the deaerator and drum start to separate oxygen. As a result, the experience from field test- ing has indicated that oxygen at high levels (> 20 ppb) does not gen- erally occur at the same time as the peak in applied strain level (Figure 3-17); peak strains occur well after the time when oxygen levels have approached a low level. It is impor- tant to know the time dependency of the elevated oxygen levels on startup and especially important to monitor the oxygen levels in the downcomer as compared to the boiler drum.

Cycles to Initiate Cracks

1200 400 F (204 C) 1000 525 F (274 C) 800 600 400 200 0
1200
400 F (204 C)
1000
525 F (274 C)
800
600
400
200
0
4
6
8
10

pH @ 25 C

Figure 13-20. The influence of pH on cycles to initiate corrosion fatigue cracks in deaerated boiler water (< 5 ppb oxygen). The pH was controlled with phosphate solu- tions of different Na:PO 4 molar ratios. Source: R.B. Dooley and L.D. Paul 32

This situation is contrasted with that for pH depressions on shutdown/ startup. Such depressions can be caused by phosphate hideout return, leakage from condensers, or ingress of carbon dioxide. In these cases, particularly the first, the pH level does not return to the normal range until the unit pressure has risen considerably and/or phosphate or caustic has been added to the unit. Thus, the pH of the boiler water can be depressed during the period of peak strain at locations suscepti- ble to corrosion fatigue. A pH level of 8 and below is not unusual in these cases as shown in Figure 16- 7. As indicated in Figure 13-20, this can reduce the number of cycles to initiate or re-initiate corrosion fatigue cracks.

Note that care is required to judge field test results. Table 13-3 shows chemistry, strains and temperatures measured for a variety of operating

conditions in three units that had his- torical problems with corrosion fatigue-induced tube failures. 1c At the time of testing, as shown in the table, boiler water chemistry for units A and B was generally well within acceptable values when tube strains were highest during both cold starts and during warm starts. What then was at the root of the problem with corrosion fatigue? Subsequent investigation indicated that each unit had been subject to considerable past problems with phosphate hideout and concurrent possibility of low pH excursions when operating with congruent phosphate treatment. As a result, both units had changed to equilib- rium phosphate treatment before the field tests and had not been experi- encing hideout, hideout return, or the low pH excursions which result.

Table 13-3 Field Test Results

 

Temperature

 

Temperature

Rate of

Hoop

Axial

Range

Change

Strain

Strain

Dissolved

Cation

(Tube OD)

(Tube OD)

DeH

DeA

Oxygen

conductivity

Operation/Boiler

DT (˚C)

(˚C/hr)

e)

e)

pH

(ppb)

(µS/cm)

Cold Start

Unit A

170

70

280

-700

8.6 - 9.5

> 1,000 to < 1

2 - 10

Unit B

145

120

500

50

10.0 - 9.5

> 1,000 to < 5

20 - 40

Unit C 1

260

250

150

8.5 - 7.2

> 1,000 to < 1

1 - 11

Unit C 2 (trip)

160

1,750

2,000

8.5 - 7.2

> 1,000 to < 1

1 - 11

Warm Start

Unit A 1

60

50

200

-500

9.2 - 9.4

< 2

3 - 7

Unit A 2

45

700

170

-500

9.2 - 9.4

< 2

3 - 7

Unit B

125

110

400

-100

9.2 - 9.4

< 2

10 - 30

Hot Start

Unit A 1

40

80

100

-175

9.1 - 9.3

< 5

2 - 6

Unit A 2

50

350

100

-250

9.1 - 9.3

< 5

2 - 6

Unit B

50

70

220

-100

9.1 - 9.8

< 5

5 - 40

Load Changing

Unit A

40

75

115

-125

9.1 - 9.3

< 5

2 - 6

Unit B

50

50

9.2 - 9.6

< 5

10 - 25

Unit C 1

50

90

80

8 - 9

< 1

3.2 - 2.8

Unit C 3

30

1,500

-700

8 - 9

< 1

3.2 - 2.8

Notes:

1 Pressure/temperature ramp event 2 Subcooling correction event. 3 Unidentified temperature excursion

Source: D. Sidey, et al. 1c

These results imply that cracks may only initiate, reinitiate and/or grow when environmental conditions are conducive. Inactive cracks are found in field studies, indicating that the process is not continuous but consists of a series of re-initia- tions. 1d Laboratory tests are seldom able to duplicate this feature of field cracking because of the time con- straints inherent in any test program. This discontinuous nature of the cor- rosion fatigue process also makes life assessment a very difficult task.

2.6.3 Oxygenated water chemistry

and effect on corrosion fatigue. The operation of supercritical and once- through units on oxygenated treat- ment has been fairly widespread. Today however, the operation of

drum units on oxygenated feedwater is also being implemented as the benefits are expected to be similar to those for once-through units. The level of oxygen entering the econo- mizer inlet has to be carefully con- trolled to ensure that elevated oxy- gen levels do not occur in the boiler tubes. As indicated in the last sec- tion, once the boiler starts to steam then the oxygen level in the water- walls is controlled by the recircula- tion ratio (the ratio of oxygen at the economizer inlet to that in the down- comer) which is typically between 6 at low load and 4 at full load. A sam- ple point for oxygen in the down- comer rather than in the drum is thus needed to control the oxygen levels.

For drum units, utilities should add oxygen only when the unit is steam- ing, operating above a certain mini- mum load, when the feedwater cation conductivity is less than 0.15 mS/cm, and when the boiler water (downcomer) cation conductivity is less than 1.5 mS/cm. Some utilities add oxygen no more than once a week. Whatever procedure is adopted for control, the oxygen level should be targeted to keep the oxy- gen level in waterwall tubes at around 5-10 ppb. Oxygen at this concentration should have minimal influence on the initiation of corro- sion fatigue cracks (see Figure 13- 19). Guidelines for oxygenated treat- ment for fossil plants have been pro- duced. 29

3.

Possible Root Causes and Actions to Confirm

Corrosion Fatigue: Root Causes

1. Corrosion fatigue is caused by a combination of cyclic stresses/strains and environ- mental effects. Analysis of root causes will consist of identify- ing excessive sources of these contributors.

2. An “influence diagram” can help judge the relative contri- bution of the various root cause influences to an identi- fied problem with corrosion fatigue and to judge the effi- cacy of proposed solutions.

3. The influence diagram should be considered as a predictive tool to anticipate the potential for corrosion fatigue, even in new units.

3.1 Introduction

Corrosion fatigue is caused by the interaction of stresses and environ- ment. The effects are synergistic and, as of yet, no closed form model or analytical tool can predict corro- sion fatigue initiation and propaga- tion from first principles. A method that is based on an influence dia- gram has been developed and allows decisions to be made about the relative contribution of various root cause influences. It also pro- vides a tool to evaluate possible approaches to prevent the recur- rence of corrosion fatigue; the method is discussed at the end of this section.

The discussion of root causes is divided into excessive stresses (3.2), environment (3.3), and opera- tional history of the boiler (3.4), as each can contribute to the problem of corrosion fatigue. Table 13-4 sum- marizes the potential root causes, actions to confirm, and immediate and long-term actions to be taken.

3.2 Influence of excessive

stresses/strains

3.2.1 Restraint stresses at attach-

ments. Primary failure locations are in tubes near attachments; many successful solutions to the problem have been effected by lowering the stresses associated with the restraint at these attachments. Stress analy- sis and confirmation with field mea- surements should be used in any redesign situation, particularly as some redesigns to combat corrosion fatigue by “lowering” local stresses have actually accumulated damage more quickly than the original design. It should also be noted that weld reinforcement at an existing attachment in an attempt to improve the weld profile and eliminate fatigue caused by thermal restraint has resulted in tube failures due to cor- rosion fatigue within two years. No corrosion fatigue cracking was

experienced with identical boilers where the weld profile was improved by grinding. Actions to confirm the influence of excessive stresses/strains include:

(a). Compare locations of damage to those compiled in Figures 13- 7a/b and in Table 13-2. Note partic- ularly those locations with high stress ranks, i.e., where field survey experience indicates attachment details are likely to have the highest stress levels.

(b). Use Figures 13-7a/b and Table 13-2 as an inspection guide to locate other highly susceptible loca- tions before damage is detected via tube failure.

(c). Selectively sample tubes to see if cracking has initiated.

(d). Field test with thermocouples and/or strain gauges to confirm the levels of strain developed at sus- pect attachments during operation, including hot, warm and cold starts.

(e). Perform finite element stress analysis for the suspect detail to confirm field results and/or predict future behavior. See the guidelines for stress analysis and field testing in Section 6 on long-term actions.

3.2.2 Subcooling in natural circula-

tion boilers. High strains have occurred during subcooling (stratifi- cation of cooling water along the length of the waterwall) during shut- down and restart in natural circula- tion boilers.

Actions to confirm:

(f). Review operating records.

(g). Install thermocouples at the top and bottom of the boiler and monitor the T as a function of shutdown length.

(h). Strain gauge to confirm exis- tence and seriousness of the prob- lem.

Table 13-4 Major Root Cause Influences, Confirmation and Corrective Actions

Major Root Cause

 

Immediate Actions

Long-Term Actions and

Influences

Actions to Confirm

and Solutions

Prevention of Repeat Failures

3.2 Influence of Excessive Stresses/Strains

3.2.1

Restraint stresses

(a). Compare damaged locations to those

• Apply Influence Diagram

• See guidance in Section 6.2.

at attachments

typical of corrosion fatigue. See Figures 13-7a/b and Table 13-2. (b). Inspection of susceptible locations

(Section 3.5) as a tool to identify proper short- and long-term solutions.

• Most effective measures have been modification of attachments to lower stresses.

 

before tube failures occur.

• Replace damaged tubes.

(c). Selectively sample to identify damage

• Do not pad weld.

accumulation. (d). Thermocouple and/or strain gauge test-

• Determine the extent of damage.

ing to confirm high strain locations. (e). Finite element stress analysis to predict high strain locations.

• Confirm damage mechanism is corrosion fatigue.

3.2.2 Subcooling (cooling water stratification) in natural circulation boilers

(f). Review operating records. (g). Thermocouple top and bottom of boiler to monitor DT as function of shutdown time. (h). Strain gauge to confirm.

• Same as above.

• Install off-line boiler circulation pumps to reduce level of subcooling.

3.3 Influence of Environmental Factors

3.3.1 Poor water chemistry

(i). Review water chemistry logs and prac- tices, with particular emphasis on pH reductions during shutdown and early startup; if review indicates a problem then implement a monitoring program. See discussion of minimum levels of instrumentation in Chapter 3, Volume 1. (j). Calculate Environmental Parameter for use in Influence Diagram from informa- tion gathered above Section 3.5.2 and Table 13-5; this will help determine the contribution of environment to the corrosion fatigue problem. (k). Selectively sample tubes from at-risk areas for evidence of pitting or corro- sion fatigue damage

• Same as above, particu- larly initiating the appli- cation of the Influence Diagram to characterize the contribution of the environment.

• Clean up overall cycle and confront specific chemistry problems such as condenser leaks, impurity ingress, lack of appropriate procedures, lack of appropriate monitoring devices, etc.

• Apply appropriate guideline procedures for specific chemistry, monitoring, and instrumentation. See overview of recommended practices in Chapter 3, Volume 1.

Table 13-4 Major Root Cause Influences, Confirmation and Corrective Actions (continued)

Possible Root Cause

Immediate Actions

Long-Term Actions and

Influences

Actions to Confirm

and Solutions

Prevention of Repeat Failures

3.3.2 Overly aggressive or improper chemical cleaning

(l). Review chemical cleaning procedures, and correlate chemical cleaning with corrosion fatigue failures. (m). Selective sampling of at-risk tubes.

• Same as above, plus

• Revise chemical clean- ing procedures, as required.

• Optimize chemical cleaning procedures

and frequency. See overview in Chapter 4, Volume 1.

3.3.3 Improper boiler

shutdown and/or

lay-up procedures

(n). See actions in items (i),(j) above.

• Same as above, plus

• Optimize shutdown, lay- up procedures.

• Optimize shutdown, lay-up procedures.

• See overview in Chapter 4, Volume 1.

3.4 Influence of Historical Unit Operation

3.4.1 Operating procedures that have produced high stresses

(o). Review operating records to determine operating hours and boiler starts. (p). Plot failure history against unit operat- ing conditions. See Figures 13-13 and 13-14.

• Apply Influence Diagram as a tool to identify proper short- and long-term solutions.

• Replace damaged tubes.

• Do not pad weld.

• Determine the extent of damage.

• Confirm damage mechanism is corrosion fatigue.

• See guidance in Section 6.2.

• Reduction of stresses or improvement in environmental parameter are possible actions.

3.3 Influence of environmental

factors

3.3.1 Poor water chemistry. A vari-

ety of excursions, including low pH, high levels of dissolved oxygen, and cycle chemistry contaminants, can influence both propagation and initi- ation of corrosion fatigue. Poor water chemistry will accelerate the corro- sion attack in existing cracks or breaks in the protective oxide; pit- ting caused by poor shutdown chemistry can provide a preferential initiation site for starting corrosion fatigue cracks.

Actions to confirm:

(i). A two-pronged approach is required. The first part will be a review of the chemistry records and logs. Particular emphasis should be

given to reductions in pH during the shutdown and early startup periods. For phosphate-treated units, the key question will be whether phosphate hideout occurs, which will result in phosphate return with concurrent pH reductions during shutdown or load reductions. For AVT units, depres- sions in pH during shutdown and early start up can result from conta- minant ingress, slippage from the condensate polisher, or carbon diox- ide ingress. For both chemical treat- ments, the pH depressions can remain during the early startup period.

(j). Using information gathered above, evaluate the severity of the environmental contribution to the corrosion fatigue problem by calcu- lating the “environmental parameter” for the influence diagram. This process is discussed in more detail in Section 3.5.2.

If the review indicates a problem,

then a monitoring effort should be

undertaken. The primary aim of such

a program would be to confirm any

pH reduction. It should also address

the possibility that dissolved oxygen

in the boiler tube, as monitored at

the downcomer, is high during shut- down, and more importantly, remains high ( 20 ppb) well into the startup period (past pressure rais- ing).

(k). Selectively sample tubes from high stress areas, or other at-risk locations, to determine whether pit- ting has begun, or whether there is evidence of more advanced dam- age such as developing corrosion fatigue cracks.

3.3.2 Overly aggressive or improper

chemical cleaning. Aggressive chemical cleaning can promote initi- ation and propagation of corrosion fatigue damage.

Actions to confirm:

(l). Review chemical cleaning pro- cedures and plot out corrosion fatigue failure history against past chemical cleaning events as shown in Figure 13-15.

(m). Selectively sample for evi- dence of initiating or propagating corrosion fatigue cracks.

3.3.3 Improper boiler shutdown

and/or lay-up procedures. Oxygenated stagnant water is a key ingredient for pitting and the forma- tion of corrosion fatigue initiation centers. Proper shutdown and/or layup procedures are vital. These involve the adequate use of N 2 H 4 or alternatives, or ensuring nitrogen blanketing.

Actions to confirm:

(n). Ensure that excessive oxygen levels are not present into the startup period, see items (i, j) above for specific actions required.

3.4 Influence of unit operation

3.4.1 Operating procedures that

have produced high stress levels, particularly during load changes. Field experience indicates that the highest cyclic strains are developed in tubes during load changes, par- ticularly cold starts. Increased cycling of the unit, choice of ramp- ing rates, and other operating choices can adversely affect a mar- ginal location. Peaking boilers with a large number of starts and few operating hours display a distinctly different failure trend than base load or load-following boilers. The influ- ence diagram incorporates this con- sideration through a combination of the number of operating hours (H)

and total boiler starts (N s ) into one parameter termed the equivalent operating hours (EOH):

EOH = (H/1000) +

(N

S /(H/1000))

(13-1)

Actions to confirm:

(o). Review operating logs to deter- mine operating hours and boiler starts.

(p) Plot failure history by corrosion

fatigue, if any, against unit operating conditions to observe patterns like in Figures 13-13 and 13-14.

3.5 The influence diagram and

its use to confirm root cause influences.

Figure 13-21 illustrates the influence diagram approach to analysis of corrosion fatigue susceptibility or failures. The approach integrates the three basic influences on failure of boiler tubes by corrosion fatigue:

stresses, environment and unit oper- ating history.

3.5.1 Stress rank. The influence of

stresses enters the diagram through the choice of a stress rank for a given location and condition. Four stress ranks have been proposed, labeled A through D in order of decreasing stress. Each of the 24 susceptible locations was assigned

a generic stress rank to be used as

the default stress rank, Table 13-2. The location-specific stress ranks were determined from time-to-failure

history for each of the 24 sites, infor- mation on detailed site design, and

a qualitative estimate of the major loads present.

Where additional information, such as field measurements or stress

analysis, about a particular location

is available, it is used to fine-tune

the judgment about stress rank. For sites not listed, a first cut is to iden- tify a listed site that is of similar design and then fine-tune the assessment through additional analysis or measurement.

A primary aim of the stress ranking

process was to allow priorities to be

set among various locations; the stress rank chosen is the ordinate on the influence diagram, Figure 13-21.

3.5.2 Environmental parameter.

The effect of environment on corro-

sion fatigue propensity is also evalu- ated by a four level ranking scheme:

E1, E2, E3, and E4, where E1 is good cycle chemistry and E4 is poorest. The ranking is chosen by answering the questions presented

in Table 13-5. A weighting process

provides a means to indicate the larger influences on corrosion fatigue.

Environmental influences of interest include: (i) pH and dissolved oxygen levels as obtained either by direct measurements or indirectly, such as indicated by hideout problems, (ii)

chemical cleans, and (iii) boiler shut- down and layup procedures. Completing the questionnaire will allow an environmental factor to be entered into the influence diagram.

A

detailed example of how this form

is

completed from unit information is

provided in the case study that fol- lows later in this section.

3.5.3 Unit operation. The effect of

unit starts and operating hours is entered into the influence diagram through the calculation outlined in equation 13-1.

3.5.4 Using the influence diagram.

When the appropriate stress rank and equivalent operating hours have been calculated, a location on the influence diagram can be deter- mined. A point to the left of the appropriate environment line indi- cates a low risk of failure by corro- sion fatigue; to the right indicates a high risk of failure. It can be seen how an increasingly higher stress, given a particular environmental state, will lead to a greater risk of failure. Similarly, for two units of iden- tical design and operating history, the unit with a better environment including cycle chemistry practices will have a significantly lower risk of corrosion fatigue failures.

Table 13-5 Form to Evaluate Environmental Parameter (E)

 

Response

Total

Value

Item

Score

Score

 

Phosphate boiler water alkalinity control

   

3

Does the boiler experience phosphate hideout or phosphate carryover to the reheater?

No

Irregularly

Regularly

 

3

6

9

 

Excursions

   

3

How many hydrogen damage or caustic gouging events resulting in tube failures have occurred over the life of the boiler?

None

One

More than one

 

3

6

9

 

Typical on-line chemical operations

   

1

(1a)

Boiler water pH at blowdown

9.0 - 9.6

8.0 - 10.0

< 8, > 10

 
 

12

3

1

(1b) Cation conductivity (µS/cm) (minus phosphate correction 4.1 x ppm PO 4 )

< 6

6 - 30

> 30

 

12

3

1

(2)

Feedwater at the economizer inlet,

< 5

< 20

> 20

 

dissolved oxygen (ppb)

1

2

3

 

Typical start-up chemical operating ranges (measured at the point of reaching target (or full) pressure)

   

2

(1a)

Boiler water pH at blowdown

9.0 - 9.6

8.0 - 10.0

< 8, > 10

 
 

24

6

2

(1b) Cation conductivity (µS/cm) (minus phosphate correction 4.1 x ppm PO 4 )

< 6

6 - 30

> 30

 

24

6

2

(2)

Feedwater at the economizer inlet,

< 50

< 200

> 200

 

dissolved oxygen (ppb)

2

4

6

 

Chemical cleans

   

1

How many chemical cleans using a hydrochloric acid solution has the boiler been exposed to?

None

One

More than one

 

1

2

3

 

Boiler shutdown/lay-up procedures

   

2

What actions are taken for shutdown corrosion protection:

Actions (a) to (d)

Actions (a) and (b)

No action

 

(a)

N 2 cap on drum and treat water if boiler not drained.

(b)

Refill drained boiler with chemically treated water to control pH and oxygen

2

4

6

(c)

Ensure dry storage if drained.

(d)

Monitor and adjust pH and oxygen in boiler water during wet lay-up.

Total Value:

(total for questions answered)

Total Score:

Environment Parameter:

= E1, for Total Score/Total Value = 1.0 to 1.5; = E2, for Total Score/Total Value = 1.5 to 2.0; = E3, for Total Score/Total Value = 2.0 to 2.5 = E4, for Total Score/Total Value = 2.5 to 3.0

Source: D. Sidey, et al. 1d

The influence diagram has been found to be particularly useful as a means to rank locations for further analysis and to provide a quick screening method before consider- ing approaches to prevent recur- rence of the problem.

The version of the influence diagram that is presented in Figure 13-21, and in the case study is one based on a 15% probability of failure (85% survivability). This probabilistic mea- sure was determined by analysis of field data. A plot of field failure data versus a boiler tube corrosion fatigue index (a combination of the environmental parameter, stress rank and equivalent operating hours) was fitted to a Weibull cumulative distrib- ution function to calculate an influ- ence diagram that incorporated a probability of failure. 1d Influence maps can be derived for 5%, 25% and 50%, etc. probabilities of failure.

Stress Rank (S)

High (A) Stress (B) Low High risk risk (C) Environment parameter (E) E4 E3 E2
High
(A)
Stress
(B)
Low
High
risk
risk
(C)
Environment
parameter (E)
E4
E3
E2
E1
Low
Stress (D)
0
30
60
90
120
150

Equivalent Operating Hours (EOH)

Figure 13-21. Influence map for corrosion fatigue in waterwall tubes (based on a 15% probability of failure). Source: D. Sidey, et al. 1d

4. Determining the Extent of Damage

Selective tube sampling and various NDE methods (including UT and RT) have been tried for determining the extent of corrosion fatigue damage. The NDE methods suffer from draw- backs associated with access to the susceptible locations and interfer- ence from attachments, membranes, etc. Another drawback is that gener- ally only advanced damage can be

detected. In a limited number of cases where inside access was pos- sible, the inner surfaces of tubes have been examined by videoprobe.

Most often tube removal and sam- pling from suspect locations is the primary means to assess the extent of damage.

It is vital that once corrosion fatigue has been confirmed, primarily by metallurgical analysis, that the extent of damage and correspond- ing locations be carefully deter- mined. The will help focus long-term steps such as the redesign and modification of attachments for key locations.

5.

Background to Repairs, Immediate Solutions and Actions

Corrosion Fatigue: Immediate Solutions and Actions

1. Implement the influence dia- gram approach to identify the most important root cause influ- ence (stress level, environment or operation).

2. Remove and replace the affected tube section.

3. Determine the extent of dam- age, including a confirmation of the failure mechanism.

4. Begin a long-term strategy to deal with root causes of corro- sion fatigue in each affected location.

In the past, in an effort to get units on-line quickly, minor corrosion fatigue damage, such as pinhole and axial cracks, was repaired by pad welds either with or without grinding. Because corrosion fatigue cracks manifest multiple, branched initiation sites, it is difficult to ensure that all damage has been removed and as a consequence, this repair strategy has often resulted in repeat failures at the same location. Figure 13-22 shows an example of this problem. Therefore, it is strongly rec- ommended that repairs be effected by replacement of the damaged tube sections.

However, if tube replacement is per- formed without understanding and dealing with the underlying causes, repeat failures will occur eventually. The use of the influence diagram early in the process will be of great value in defining the appropriate directions to take over the short and long term. For example, a direct cycle chemistry cause may be indi- cated after application of the influ- ence diagram, if so, then the appro- priate steps should be undertaken to optimize cycle chemistry.

steps should be undertaken to optimize cycle chemistry. Figure 13-22. Pad weld repair showing renewed corrosion

Figure 13-22. Pad weld repair showing renewed corrosion fatigue crack growth.

Source: D. Sidey, et al. 1d

6.

Background to Long-Term Actions and Prevention of Repeat Failures

Corrosion Fatigue: Long-Term Actions

1. An understanding of what is causing corrosion fatigue must be obtained before the proper long-term actions can be developed; the influence dia- gram should be used as a tool to gain this understanding.

2. The influence diagram can also be used to anticipate future potential problems with corro- sion fatigue, even in new units. The consequences of decisions about operations, environment, or to a lesser extent stresses can thus be evaluated.

3. Any solution must have a means to determine its effec- tiveness; an example might be before and after strain mea- sures if attachment redesign is used.

4. Solutions will consist of (i) improving cycle chemistry, (ii) lowering strains, primarily by redesign and modification of attachments, or (iii) both. Each may have effects throughout the boiler.

5. The most effective long-term approaches have been achieved by modifying attach- ment designs. However, improper modifications have intensified the problem.

6.1 Options for long-term solutions

The key to corrosion fatigue preven- tion is a coherent long term strategy that begins with understanding what is driving the corrosion fatigue. In the past, costly mistakes have been made when solutions were applied without such understanding. Simply designing a “more flexible” attach- ment and assuming that it will, through “lower” stresses, solve the problem has been shown to be a costly wrong assumption. Any solu- tion that is applied must have a means of testing its benefits. Thus, if the solution is to lower strains through attachment modification, measurement of actual strains before and after is recommended. Note that the approach chosen will be site-specific; there is no global approach to corrosion fatigue pre- vention.

Possible long-term actions are drawn from a range of hardware modifications, operating changes, cycle chemistry controls, chemical cleaning procedures, and lay- up/shutdown procedures as follows:

• Redesign tube attachments to eliminate or reduce restraint. Most successful modifications increase the amount of flexibility at the connection and thus reduce the total applied stress.

• Correct causes of low pH water chemistry, such as condenser leaks, or other impurity ingress, by adopting the latest phos- phate 30 and AVT 31 guidelines; control cycle chemistry levels.

• Optimize boiler shutdown and lay- up procedures to avoid out-of- service corrosion.

• Chemically clean to remove deposits; be cognizant that the use of hydrochloric acid cleans, where there is advanced corro- sion fatigue damage, may lead to a spike in the number of failures observed.

• Install off-line boiler circulation pumps to reduce level of sub- cooling in the waterwalls, which will reduce the stress level caused by thermal transients on startup. Such modifications have been successful in reducing the amount of subcooling but it is still unknown whether they have also reduced the amount of corrosion fatigue.

• Place restrictions on amount of cycling operation. This is not nor- mally a feasible option although the effect of increased cycling in future operations can be seen from its effects on the influence diagram.

Because of the number of potential locations that might be considered for modification of attachments, i.e., sites with similar attachment designs, it is important that the extent of corrosion fatigue damage be clearly determined before embarking on an extensive program of attachment redesign and modifi- cation.

6.2 Guidelines for the use of

stress analysis and field mea- surements

A combination of stress analysis, using finite element methods, and field confirmation using strain gauges, is useful for determining the contribution of strain to a location experiencing corrosion fatigue. It will also be helpful to (i) determine whether proposed modifications will lower the applied strains, and (ii) confirm that, after modification, the local condition did improve. Utilities seeking to apply these methods should do so with a full understand- ing of the benefits to be gained and the costs to execute such detailed evaluations.

6.2.1 Overall guidance

1. An analytical and experimental determination of applicable stresses is only one part of the overall approach to corrosion fatigue. It is important to under- stand how it fits into that ap- proach and what the limitations of the stress analysis methods are.

2. A consistent and fully predictive finite element stress analysis method is desirable as it would provide a way to assess potential design changes prior to their introduction and to predict their efficacy.

3. Modeling of a waterwall tube with attachment requires careful con- sideration of actual field loading, geometry, and local constraint; simplification of model, boundary conditions and/or symmetry choices can compromise the results.

4. Any analysis of stresses via finite element methods should be sup- ported by a field test program. Field testing alone may be enough.

6.2.2 Evaluation of the subject

boiler. Analysis of the boiler should precede any analytical program and include identifying critical locations, identifying the major anticipated loads, and reviewing tube failure history. This evaluation should result in a prioritized list of sites for evalua- tion. Tables 13-2 and Figures 13- 7a/b provide a starting point for identifying those locations which have generally been a concern.

6.2.3 Field testing. Field testing

is required to confirm major loads, help define applicable boundary conditions for the stress analysis, and relate operating changes to load and cycle chemistry changes. Instrumentation for a test program might include temperature and strain instrumentation, heat flux meters, cycle chemistry analyzers, and data acquisition equipment.

6.2.4 Finite element analysis.

Evaluation of model choice, degree of detail, boundary and symmetry conditions are critical; simplifying assumptions must be made with care and confirmed. The following key aspects are important 1c :

1. Boundary and symmetry condi- tions must be formulated from a detailed evaluation of field test results to include all critical field conditions and loads. Subsequently, boundary and symmetry conditions must be ver- ified. Measured and calculated strains should be compared.

Iteration may be required to refine boundary conditions and symme- try assumptions until agreement

is

obtained.

2. 3-D model should be formu-

A

lated to accommodate the triaxial stress state. Mesh size and num- ber of elements should be such as to allow convergence in a 2D thermal analysis: apply a thermal load to one side of the model and add elements until there is no

change in the thermal distribution.

A maximum aspect ratio of 7:1 for

elements has been recom- mended.

3. Detail of attachment is important.

It was found, for example, that

the assumption of a point attach- ment for tack welds was not appropriate.

4. When it is necessary to consider structural loads, an orthogonal plate extension to a local model was recommended; however, a global model was not considered cost-effective.

5. The cost of the analysis is related

to the complexity of the model,

which will cause tradeoffs to be made.

6. sensitivity analysis is necessary

A

to

identify major applied loads at

a

given location.

7. Results should be presented in a form (polar coordinates, a nodal map, etc.) that allow for the iden-

tification of high stress locations.

A deformation map was also

deemed to be useful.

7.

Case study

Corrosion Fatigue Case Study I: Application of Influence Diagram

This case study illustrates how the influence diagram approach might be used to determine locations with

a potential for corrosion fatigue prob- lems and how the evaluation of stress rank and environmental para- meter might influence that analysis.

Unit Background: The unit is rated at 163 MW. The boiler is a subcritical, drum-type unit with natural circulation and reheat. It is fired on lignite. The boiler has 68,000 firing hours and 728 starts. Although the boiler has experi- enced serious sootblower erosion problems, there have been no report of BTF by corrosion fatigue to date.

Stress Rank Evaluation: The first step in the evaluation process is to identify sites where the magnitude of the stress might be sufficient to cause a corrosion fatigue concern. A detailed inspection of unit was con- ducted; as a result a boiler ash hop- per seal plate attachment was selected for further evaluation. Figure 13-23 shows detail of the location. A stress rank of “B” was assigned by noting that this location was similar to that of location #3 in Figure 13-7 and Table 13-2.

Environmental Parameter: A review of the unit chemistry history allowed

a calculation of the environmental

parameter as detailed in Table 13-6. The following information served as

the basis:

Phosphate Boiler Water Alkalinity Control: Until about mid-1984 the unit used congruent phosphate treat- ment. A review of the level of phos- phate consumption indicates that the boiler had a severe hideout problem, which would be a factor of “9” on the form. However, the unit switched to equilibrium phosphate treatment in late 1984 and has not had a hideout problem since that time. Therefore the form shows “3” for this entry.

Excursions: The boiler had experi- enced no excursions causing hydro- gen damage (low pH events). Score “3” on the form.

Typical On-Line Chemical Operating Ranges: Typical on-line ranges for critical chemistry parameters (post- 1984) are:

• Boiler water pH: 9.1-9.8. Score “1” on the form.

• Boiler water cation conductivity:

< 12 mS/cm minus a phosphate

correction gives about 8mS/cm. Score “2” on the form.

• Feedwater dissolved oxygen:

< 5 ppb. Score “1” on the form.

The cation conductivity required for the form is corrected to typical phos- phate concentrations. Unit records indicated a normal phosphate level of 1 ppm, for a correction of 4.1 mS/cm. Note also that the unit has an all fer- rous feedwater system; that is, there are no copper alloy materials in the condensate or feedwater systems.

Typical Start-Up Chemical Operating Ranges: Selection of proper ranges for start is complicated by variations in chemistry and stress over the start- up period. For the evaluation, typical ranges at the point of attaining full or target steam drum pressures are used. Defining these ranges will require data from several starts of each type (cold, warm and hot). The subject boiler had these ranges:

• Boiler water pH: 9.1-9.8. Score “2” on the form.

• Boiler water cation conductivity, 20 mS/cm - correction of 4 mS/cm = 16 mS/cm. Score “4” on the form.

• Feedwater dissolved oxygen < 50 ppb. Score “2” on the form.

Chemical Cleans: There had been no chemical cleans since commission- ing. Score “1” on the form.

Boiler Shutdown/Lay-Up Procedures:

On shutdown a nitrogen blanket is introduced once the boiler reaches atmospheric levels. If the boiler is drained and refilled, the water is treated during the refilling process.

The boiler is fired and pressurized to approximately 3 MPa to purge any air in the steam and water circuits. Score “4”, for actions “a” and “b” on the form.

The assessed environmental para- meter is the total score “23”, divided by the value of the questions answered “18” or E = 1.3 in this case. As shown in the form, the result falls in the range of E 1 (good).

Equivalent Operating Hours: For 68,000 firing hours, (H) and 728 total boiler starts (N s ) the equivalent operating hours are derived from the equation:

EOH = (H/1000) + (N s /(H/1000)) = 78.7

Results: The corrosion fatigue regime for this situation can now be determined by plotting the results on the influence map. This is shown in Figure 13-24. Under the assigned conditions, the location is at high risk for damage due to corrosion fatigue because the point falls to the right of the E1 line. There have been no failures yet. It is possible that the actual stress at the location is slightly less than the typical “B” location. However, there should be sufficient concern to conduct selec- tive tube sampling for corrosion fatigue at this location, despite the fact that no failures have been observed yet.

It is also easy to see how, given a

currently marginal situation, a slight

deterioration in the operating prac- tices for cycle chemistry control could push the situation into consid- erably more severe problems. It is interesting to note that the earlier operation with congruent phosphate treatment and a severe hideout problem would have been charac-

terized by a calculated environmen- tal parameter of E 2 ; almost certainly

a severe corrosion fatigue problem would have resulted.

Scalloped Seal

Plate Attachment Membrane Tube Scallop bar Fillet Windbox weld casing C L furnace O.D.front or
Plate Attachment
Membrane
Tube
Scallop
bar
Fillet
Windbox
weld
casing
C L furnace
O.D.front or rear
wall tubes
Mud drum
Top of ash hopper
Seal
plates
Slag screen: stainless
steel type 430 woven
wire space cloth
Water
Water
trough
level

Figure 13-23. Schematic of the boiler ash hopper seal plate attachment.

Source: D. Sidey, et al. 1d

Stress Rank (S) High (A) Stress (B) Low High risk risk (C) Environment parameter (E)
Stress Rank (S)
High
(A)
Stress
(B)
Low
High
risk
risk
(C)
Environment
parameter (E)
E4
E3
E2
E1
Low
Stress (D)
0
30
60
79 90
120
150

Equivalent Operating Hours (EOH)

Figure 13-24. The case study results are plotted onto the influence map to determine the appropriate corrosion fatigue susceptibility. Source: D. Sidey, et al. 1d

Table 13-6 Completed Form for Case Study to Evaluate Environmental Parameter (E)

 

Response

Total

Value

Item

Score

Score

 

Phosphate boiler water alkalinity control

   

3

Does the boiler experience phosphate hideout or phosphate carryover to the reheater?

No

Irregularly

Regularly

 

3

6

93

 

Excursions

   

3

How many hydrogen damage or caustic gouging events resulting in tube failures have occurred over the life of the boiler?

None

One

More than one

 

3

6

93

 

Typical on-line chemical operations

   

1

(1a) Boiler water pH at blowdown

9.0 - 9.6

8.0 - 10.0

< 8, > 10

 
 

1

2

31

1

(1b) Cation conductivity (µS/cm) (minus phosphate correction 4.1 x ppm PO 4 )

6

6 - 30

> 30

 

1

2

3

2

1

(2) Feedwater at the economizer inlet, dissolved oxygen (ppb)

5

20

> 20

 

1

2

31

 

Typical start-up chemical operating ranges (measured at the point of reaching target (or full) pressure)

   

2

(1a) Boiler water pH at blowdown

9.0 - 9.6

8.0 - 10.0

< 8, > 10

 
 

2

4

62

2

(1b) Cation conductivity (µS/cm) (minus phosphate correction 4.1 x ppm PO 4 )

6

6 - 30

> 30

 

2

4

6

4

2

(2) Feedwater at the economizer inlet, dissolved oxygen (ppb)

50

200

> 200

 
 

2

4

62

 

Chemical cleans

   

1

How many chemical cleans using a hydrochloric acid solution has the boiler been exposed to?

None

One

More than one

 

1

2

31

 

Boiler shutdown/lay-up procedures

   

2

What actions are taken for shutdown corrosion protection:

Actions (a) to (d)

Actions (a) and (b)

No action

 

(a)

N 2 cap on drum and treat water if boiler not drained.

(b)

Refill drained boiler with chemically treated water to control pH and oxygen

2

4

6

4

(c)

Ensure dry storage if drained.

(d)

Monitor and adjust pH and oxygen in boiler water during wet lay-up.

Total Value:

18

Environment Parameter:

(total for questions answered)

= E1, for Total Score/Total Value = 1.0 to 1.5

= E2, for Total Score/Total Value = 1.5 to 2.0

= E3, for Total Score/Total Value = 2.0 to 2.5

= E4, for Total Score/Total Value = 2.5 to 3.0

Total Score:

23

8. References

1 Patterson, R.W., et al., Corrosion Fatigue Boiler Tube Failures in Waterwalls and Economizers, Research

Project 1890-5, Final Report TR-100455, Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA.

a. McNabb, D., D. Sidey, R.W. Patterson, J. Fishburn,

and A. Banweg, Volume 1: Field Survey Results, April,

1992.

b. Ogundele, G.I., E.T.C. Ho, D. Sidey, R.W. Patterson, L.D. Paul, M.T. Miglin, and A. Banweg, Volume 2:

Laboratory Corrosion Studies, July, 1992.

c. Sidey, D., D. McNabb, J. Stodola, R.W. Patterson, R. Ganta, B. Barishpolski, J. Fishburn, D. Peterson, D.K.

Johnson, and A. Banweg, Volume 3: Field Testing and Stress Analysis, January, 1993.

d. Sidey, D., D.D. McNabb, R.W. Patterson, J. Fishburn, A. Banweg, and R.B. Dooley, Volume 4: Summary

Report and Guidelines for Corrosion Fatigue

Evaluation, December, 1993.

2 Moles, M.D.C. and H.J. Westwood, “Corrosion Fatigue Tube Failures in Fossil-Fueled Boilers”, Proceedings

International Conference on Materials to Supply the

Energy Demand, Harrison, B.C. Canada, American Society for Metals, 1980, pp. 515-537.

3 Westwood, H.J. and W.K. Lee, “Corrosion Fatigue Cracking in Fossil-fueled Boilers”, Journal of Materials Engineering, Vol. 9, 1987, pp. 163-173.

4 Crouch, A.G. and R.B. Dooley, “The Mechanical Integrity and Protective Performance of Silica Coatings”, Corrosion Science, Volume 16, 1976, pp. 341-347.

5 Magnin, T., “An Approach to the Mechanisms of Corrosion Fatigue Damage”, Memoires et Etudes

Scientifiques Revue de Metallurgie, LS7857/7Feb90/js,

November, 1983.

6 Hickling, J. and D. Blind, “Strain-Induced Corrosion Cracking of Low-Alloy Steels in LWR Systems - Case Histories and Identification of Conditions Leading to

Susceptibility”, Nuclear Engineering and Design, Vol. 91,

1986, pp. 305-330.

7 Ward, G., B.S. Hockenhull, and P. Hancock, “The Effect of Cyclic Stressing on the Oxidation of a Low Carbon

Steel”, Metallurgical Transactions, Vol. 5., June, 1974.

8 Hurst, R.C., M. Davies, and P. Hancock, “The Determination of Fracture Strains of Growing Surface Oxides on Mild Steel at High Temperatures”, Oxidation of Metals, Vol. 9, No. 2, 1975, p 161.

9 Grosskreutz, J.C. and M.B. McNeil, Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 40, 1969, pp. 355.

10 Paterson, S.R., T.A. Kuntz, R.S. Moser, and H.

Vaillancourt, Boiler Tube Failure Metallurgical Guide, Volume 1: Technical Report, Volume 2: Appendices,

Research Project 1890-09, Final Report TR-102433,

Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA, October,

1993.

11 Hay, K.A. and D.B. Meadowcroft, “Kinetics of Oxide Growth Through Cracks in Coatings on 9% Cr Steels”, Corrosion Science, Volume 16, 1976, pp. 349-354.

12 Scott, P.M. and W.H. Bamford, “The Development and Use of Electrochemical Potential Monitoring in Environment Assisted Cracking Tests in High Temperature, High Pressure , Aqueous Environments” in

W.H. Cullen, ed., Proceedings of the Second International Atomic Energy Agency Specialists’ Meeting on Subcritical Crack Growth, NUREG/CP-0067, Vol. 1,

1986, pp. 51-67.

13 Chen. C.M., K. Aral, and G.J. Theus, Computer-

Calculated Potential-pH Diagrams to 300°C, Volume 2:

Handbook of Diagrams, Research Project 1167-2, Final Report NP-3137, Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA, June, 1983.

14 Parkins, R.N., “Stress Corrosion Spectrum”, British Corrosion Journal, vol. 7, January, 1972.

15 Ford, F.P., “Relationship Between Mechanics of Environmental Cracking and Design Criteria”, ICM3, Vol. 2, Cambridge, England, August, 1979.

16 Ford, F.P. and P.W. Emigh, “The Prediction of the Maximum Corrosion Fatigue Crack Propagation Rate in the Low Alloy Steel De-Oxygenated Water System at 288°C”, Corrosion Science, Vol. 25, No. 8/9, 1985, pp.

673-692.

17 Ford, F.P. and P. Combrade, “Electrochemical Reaction Rates on Bare Surfaces and Their Use in a Crack Prediction Model for the Low Alloy Steel/Water System”,

Proceedings of the 2nd IAEA Specialists’ Meeting on

Subcritical Crack Growth, Sendai, Japan, May 15-17,

1985.

18 Parkins, R.N., “Environment Sensitive Fracture and Its Prevention”, British Corrosion Journal, Vol. 14, 1979, pp.

5-14.

19 Galvele, J.R., “A Stress Corrosion Cracking Mechanism Based on Surface Mobility”, Corrosion Science, Vol. 27, No. 1, 1987, pp. 1-33.

20 Pugh, E.N., J.A.S. Green, and A.J. Sedricks, “Current Understanding of Stress Corrosion Cracking Phenomena”, RIAS Technical Report 69-3, Research Institute for Advanced Studies, Martin Marietta Corporation, Baltimore Maryland, March, 1969.

21 Scully, J.C., “The Theory of Stress Corrosion Cracking”,

The Theory of Stress Corrosion Cracking in Alloys, NATO

Science Affairs Division, September, 1972.

22 Hickling, J., “Strain Induced Corrosion Cracking:

Relationships to Stress Corrosion Cracking/Corrosion Fatigue and Importance for Nuclear Plant Service Life”,

Proceedings 3rd IAEA Specialists’ Meeting on Subcritical

Crack Growth, NUREG/CP-0112, ANL-90/22, Vol. II, Moscow, May 14-17, 1990.

23 Newman, R.C. and R.P.M. Procter, “Stress Corrosion Cracking: 1965-1990”, British Corrosion Journal, Vol. 25, No. 4, 1990, pp. 259-269.

24 Kussmaul, K. and B. Iskluth, “Environmentally Assisted Crack Growth in a Low Alloy Boiler Steel in High Temperature Water Containing Oxygen”, Nuclear Engineering and Design, Vol. 119, Elsevier Science Publishers, B.V., North Holland, 1990, pp. 415-430.

25 Personal Communication from T. Healy, (ESB Ireland) to R.B. Dooley, February, 1995.

26 Sidey, D., et al., “Lambton TGS Unit 4, Investigation Into Lower Waterwall Header and Steam Drum Cracking”, Ontario Hydro Internal Report CTS-31020-5, August, 1983.

27 Stodola, J., “Review of Boiler Water Alkalinity Control”,

International Water Conference, 47th Annual Meeting,

held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 27-29, 1986.

28 Layton, K.F., “Water Side Corrosion in the Waterwall Tubes of Hunter Unit 3”, in Dooley, B and D. Broske,

eds., Boiler Tube Failures in Fossil Power Plants:

Conference Proceedings, Conference held in Atlanta, Georgia, November 10-12, 1987, CS-5500-SR, Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA, 1988, pp. 2-271 through 2-286.

29 Bursik, A., R. B. Dooley, and B. Larkin, Guidelines for

Oxygenated Treatment for Fossil Plants, Research

Project 1403-45, Final Report TR-102285, Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA, December, 1994.

30 Dooley, R.B., A. Aschoff, and F. Pocock, Cycle

Chemistry Guidelines for Fossil Plants: Phosphate

Treatment for Drum Units, Final Report TR-103655, Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA, December, 1994.

31 Dooley, R.B., A. Aschoff, and F. Pocock, Cycle

Chemistry Guidelines for Fossil Plants: All-Volatile

Treatment for Drum Units, TR-105041, Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA, to be published 1996.

32 Dooley, R.B. and L.D. Paul, “Phosphate Chemistry and

Corrosion Fatigue”, International Water Conference,

Pittsburgh, PA, October, 1995, IWC-95-17.

ACTIONS for Corrosion Fatigue

Two paths for the BTF team to take in the investigation of corro- sion fatigue begin here. The goal of these actions is to see if fur- ther investigation of corrosion fatigue is warranted or whether another BTF mechanism should be investigated.

Follow Action 1a: If a BTF has occurred and corrosion fatigue is the likely mechanism.

Follow Action 1b: If a precursor has occurred in the unit that could lead to future BTF by corrosion fatigue.

Action 1a: If a BTF has oc- curred and corrosion fatigue is the likely mechanism.

Determine whether the failure has occurred in a location that is typi- cal of corrosion fatigue

Review Figures 13-7a and b for typical boiler regions.

Review Table 13-2 for suscepti- ble locations.

Determine whether failure loca- tions are near tube attachments or other locations where con- straint during transient opera- tions is likely.

Confirm that the macroscopic appearance of the failure includes such features as:

• Cracking that has initiated on the inside surface of the tube, typically at multiple locations (Figure 13-3).

• Association of the failure with an external attachment (Figure

13-1).

• A pin-hole leak (Figure 13-4), a thick-edged crack (Figure 13-5) oriented either axially or circum- ferentially, or a thick-edged blowout or rupture (Figure 13-1).

If the BTF seems to be consistent with these features of failure, go to Action 2 for further steps to confirm the mechanism.

If the BTF does not seem to have features like those listed, return to the screening Table for water- touched tubing (Table 12-1) to pick a more likely candidate.

Action 1b: If a precursor has occurred in the unit that could lead to future BTF by corrosion fatigue.

Determine whether one of more of the following precursors has been found or is likely to have occurred in the unit:

• Evidence of cracking found dur- ing routine inspections, particu- larly at susceptible locations. See Table 13-2, Figures 13-7 a and b.

• Evidence of corrosion fatigue damage found in similar units.

• Evidence that one or more of the risk factors from the influence dia- gram: environment ranking, stress ranking or equivalent operating hours, may lead to a concern. See case study in main text.

• Evaluation of unit cycle chemistry indicates an environmental rank- ing of E 3 or E 4 . See the case study and Table 13-5. Such a warning might be triggered by one or more of the following:

• A persistent problem with phos- phate hideout and return.

• One or more tube failures by either hydrogen damage or caustic gouging.

• Cycle chemistry operating ranges for pH, cation conduc- tivity, or dissolved oxygen, either during normal operation or upon startup, that are consis- tently outside the recom- mended ranges.

• More than one chemical clean by hydrochloric acid.

• Boiler shutdown and layup pro- cedures which have not included such steps as nitrogen capping, chemical treatment for pH and oxygen control during the lay-up and on re-start, and/or dry storage during drained periods.

• Unit has been subjected to numerous starts or has accumu- lated a large number of “equiva- lent operating hours”. This should be considered in conjunction with location stress rank and environ- mental factors - see main text.

These precursors can be root cause influences of corrosion fatigue. If one or more has occurred, go to Action 3 which outlines the steps to confirm the influence of each.

Action 2: Determine (confirm) that the mechanism is corrosion fatigue.

A failure has occurred which the BTF team has tentatively identi- fied as being caused by corro- sion fatigue (Action 1a). Action 2 should clearly identify corrosion fatigue as the primary mecha- nism or point to another cause. The actions listed will be exe- cuted by removing representative tube sample(s), followed by visual examination and detailed metallographic analysis. One of the primary aims is to establish that damage is not OD-initiated fatigue.

Confirm that damage location is consistent with corrosion fatigue. Is damage associated with a susceptible location? See Figures 13-7a/b and Table 13-2.

a susceptible location? See Figures 13-7a/b and Table 13-2. ➠ Determine location of damage initiation. Is

Determine location of damage initiation. Is damage initiated from the inside (waterside) of the tube?

Is damage initiated from the inside (waterside) of the tube? ➠ Evaluate nature of cracking. Is

Evaluate nature of cracking. Is there evidence of multiple initia- tion sites, with wide cracks, of a transgranular nature?

tion sites, with wide cracks, of a transgranular nature? Probably mechanism is corrosion fatigue. Confirming

Probably mechanism is corrosion fatigue. Confirming characteristics are:

• Cracks filled with oxide and blunt tipped.

• Crack profiles usually irregular.

• Signs of discontinuous growth, re-initiation.

irregular. • Signs of discontinuous growth, re-initiation. ➠ Go to Action 3: Root Cause Determination May

Go to Action 3: Root Cause Determination

May still be corrosion fatigue, con- tinue through flowchart; however, review for indications of mechani- cal fatigue, see distinctions dis- cussed in main text, Section 1.1.➠ Go to Action 3: Root Cause Determination If OD-initiated, mechanism is more likely to be

If OD-initiated, mechanism is more likely to be mechanically-induced fatigue. Review main text Section 1.1 for distinctions.see distinctions dis- cussed in main text, Section 1.1. If damage is of a more ‘gouging”

If damage is of a more ‘gouging” nature check to see if an underde- posit corrosion mechanism (hydro- gen damage, caustic gouging or acid phosphate corrosion) is active.OD-initiated, mechanism is more likely to be mechanically-induced fatigue. Review main text Section 1.1 for distinctions.

References to other sources of infor- mation:

• Main text (this chapter) provides the background to the mecha- nism and development of corro- sion fatigue.

• Summary of the steps and meth- ods of metallurgical investigation of boiler tube failures can be found in Chapter 6, Volume 1.

• Some care is required to distin- guish between ID-initiated corro- sion fatigue and OD-initiated fatigue. Key differences are dis- cussed in the main text, Section 1.1, and in Chapter 7, Volume 1.

Action 3: Determine root cause of corrosion fatigue

A BTF failure has occurred and

the mechanism has been con- firmed as corrosion fatigue (Action 2) or a precursor

occurred (Action 1b). The goal of this Action 3 is for the BTF Team

to review the potential root

causes of corrosion fatigue, iden- tify probable ones, and take those actions that are needed to confirm which are operative in the unit. This step must be taken so that the proper actions can be taken to prevent future BTF from occurring by this mechanism. Execute, in parallel, Action 4 to determine the extent of damage.

Review list of major root cause influences in first column, below.

Take indicated actions to confirm the applicability of that influence in unit.

Major Root Cause Influences

Actions to Confirm

3.2

Influence of Excessive Stresses/Strains

 

3.2.1

Restraint stresses at attachments

a). Compare damaged locations to those typical of corrosion fatigue. See Figures 13-7 a/b and Table 13-2.

 

b). Inspect susceptible locations before tube failures occur.

c). Selectively sample to identify damage accumulation.

d). Thermocouple and/or strain gauge testing to confirm high strain locations.

e). Finite element stress analysis to predict high strain locations.

3.2.2

Subcooling (cooling water stratification) in

f). Review operating records.

natural circulation boilers

g). Thermocouple top and bottom of boiler to monitor T as function of shut- down time.

h). Strain gauge to confirm.

3.3

Influence of Environmental Factors

 

3.3.1

Poor water chemistry

i). Review water chemistry logs and prac- tices, with particular emphasis on pH reductions during shutdown and early startup; if review indicates a problem then implement a monitoring program. See dis- cussion of minimum levels of instrumenta- tion in Chapter 3, Volume 1.

 

j). Calculate Environmental Parameter for use in Influence Diagram from information gathered above; this will help determine the contribution of environment to the cor- rosion fatigue problem.

k). Selectively sample tubes from at-risk areas for evidence of pitting or corrosion fatigue damage.

3.3.2

Overly aggressive or improper chemical

l). Review chemical cleaning procedures and correlate chemical cleaning with cor- rosion fatigue failures. See Chapter 4, Volume 1 for additional information about chemical cleaning.

cleaning

m). Selectively sample at-risk tubes.

Action 3: Determine root cause of corrosion fatigue (continued)

Major Root Cause Influences

Actions to Confirm

3.3.3 Improper boiler shutdown and/or

lay-up procedures

(n). See actions in items (i, j) above.

3.4 Influence of Historical Unit Operation

3.4.1 Operating procedures that have pro- duced high stresses

(o). Review operating records to deter- mine operating hours and boiler starts.

(p). Plot failure history against unit oper- ating conditions. See Figures 13-13 and

13-14.

Action 4: Determine the extent of damage or affected areas

In parallel with Action 3 (root cause analysis), the BTF Team should determine the extent of damage. Evaluation will be based on detecting obvious signs of cracking.

Identify all locations to be examined. Refer to Section 1.2 of main text, Figures 13-7 a/b, and Table 13-2 for typical locations. Missed locations are sites for future failures. Corrosion fatigue is very unlikely to have occurred in only one area.

fatigue is very unlikely to have occurred in only one area. ➠ Perform visual examination to

Perform visual examination to detect obvious signs of cracking.

visual examination to detect obvious signs of cracking. ➠ Perform UT/RT/videoprobe survey , as possible, to

Perform UT/RT/videoprobe survey, as possible, to measure extent of cracking. A review of NDE methods is provided in Chapter 9, Volume 1.

A review of NDE methods is provided in Chapter 9, Volume 1. ➠ Perform tube sampling

Perform tube sampling to confirm results of NDE inspection and to determine the degree of damage.

of NDE inspection and to determine the degree of damage. ➠ Use results interactively with Action

Use results interactively with Action 3.

of damage. ➠ Use results interactively with Action 3. ➠ Go to Action 5: Implement Repairs,

Go to Action 5: Implement Repairs, Immediate Solutions and Actions.

Action 5: Implement repairs, immediate solutions and actions

The most important immediate actions for the BTF team are to:(i) start the application of the influence diagram method to determine the probable effec- tiveness of longer-term solutions, (ii) repair or replace damaged tubes, (iii) implement available short-term changes to operation or chemical cleaning where they are at the root of the existing problem.

Implement repairs or replacement of affected tubes as identified from the NDE Survey (Action 4).

See Chapter 11, Volume 1 for summary of applicable tube repair techniques.

Develop a plan to replace affected tubing on the basis of the root causes and probable choice of long-term solution.

Apply the influence diagram. The use of the influence diagram approach will help pinpoint which root cause must be addressed to prevent repeat failures by corro- sion fatigue. This is primarily a long-term action, but an immedi- ate action that can be imple- mented during any repair or replacement activities is to ensure that the necessary plant information is gathered. See the case study for an example of the process.

Implement the appropriate guidelines, controls and monitor- ing if the root cause is poor cycle chemistry. See main text this sec- tion and background material in Chapter 3, Volume 1.

Institute modified procedures to correct overly aggressive chemi- cal cleaning. See Chapter 4, Volume 1 for an overview of the recommended practices.

If improper unit shutdown or layup procedures underlie the problem, modify procedures. See Chapter 4, Volume 1 for an overview of the recommended practices.

References to other sources of detailed information:

• Main text and Table 13-4 provide additional detail on repairs, imme- diate solutions and actions and their relation to the underlying root causes.

Action 6: Implement long-term actions to prevent repeat failures

The correction of the underlying problem(s) and the prevention of repeat failures are priorities for the BTF team. The proper choice of long-term actions will be based on clear identification of the underlying root cause(s), guided by the influence dia- gram. The most effective long- term solution has been lowering the applied stresses by modify- ing attachment designs; how- ever, improper modifications have intensified the problem.

Major Root Cause Influences

Long-Term Actions

Influence of Excessive Stresses

Restraint stresses at attachments

See guidance in main text for this mecha-

nism, Section 6.2.

Most effective measures have been modifi-

cation of attachments to lower stresses.

Subcooling (cooling water stratification) in natural circulation boilers

Install off-line boiler circulation pumps to

reduce level of subcooling.

Influence of Environmental Factors

Poor water chemistry

Clean up overall cycle and confront specific

chemistry problems such as condenser leaks, impurity ingress, lack of appropriate procedures, lack of appropriate monitoring devices, etc.

Apply appropriate guideline procedures for

specific chemistry, monitoring, and instrumen- tation. See the overview of recommended prac- tices in Chapter 3, Volume 1.

Overly aggressive or improper chemical cleaning

Optimize chemical cleaning procedures and

frequency. See Chapter 4, Volume 1.

Improper boiler shutdown and/or lay-up procedures

Optimize shutdown, lay-up procedures. See

Chapter 4, Volume 1.

Influence of Historical Unit Operation

Operating procedures that have produced high stresses

See guidance in main text for this

mechanism, Section 6.2, and references provided there.

Reduction of stresses or improvement in

environmental parameter are possible actions.

Action 7: Determine possible ramifications/ancillary problems

The final step for the BTF team is to review the possible ramifica- tions to other cycle components implied by the presence of corro- sion fatigue or its precursors.

Corrosion Fatigue

Alert for Other Cycle Components

Actions