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ISSN 2664-2441 (Online)
ISSN 2073-9583 (Print)

Studying the causes of destruction of steam superheater tubes in boiler equipment

Metalozn. obrobka met., 2021, vol. 27 (100), 52-59

L.V. Opryshko, Head of the Laboratory of Pipes and Products for Thermal and Nuclear Energy, Liudmila.opryshko@gmail.com, ORCID:  https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5444-311X
T.V. Golovnyak, Head of the sector for expert research of metal products from ferrous and non-ferrous metals and alloys, tatyana.golovniak@gmail.com, ORCID:  https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8853-7034

State Enterprise Ya.Yu.Osada Research and Design-Technology Institute of Pipe Industry, Dnipro

UDC 621.774:669.019:621.178
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Results of comprehensive studies of samples of prematurely destroyed 57×4 mm steam superheaer tubes of STBA 22 steel used in a boiler unit of Singburi Sugar Co, Ltd factory (Thailand) are presented. The tubes were manufactured at Interpipe Niko Tube Ltd. (Ukraine) according to JIS G 3462 Standard (Japan). They were destroyed in a short (~240 hrs) term of operation. The cause of premature destruction of tubes of the above steel grade and size assortment in the boiler unit has been established. Based on present-day investigation methods (metallography, X-ray diffraction, etc.), it was found that the tubes were operated with violation of fuel combustion conditions and heat-carrying agent circulation. Characteristic features of operation of damaged tubes include high thermal stresses from the side of the fire-chamber and limitation (or absence) of circulation of the heat-carrying agent (blockage in bends, drum heads, etc.). During operation, the tubes were also exposed to significant thermal vibration stresses (unstable combustion conditions). Prolonged overheating occurred at temperatures above 1000 °C because of violation of circulation of heat-carrying agent and unstable combustion mode. High thermal stresses at almost complete absence of a heat-carrying agent, uneven distribution of growing heat flows caused by violation of the combustion mode in the fire-chamber contributed to accelerated degradation of structure and thermal destruction of the tube metal. In a short term of operation (~240 hours), there was a significant change in the tube size (accelerated high-temperature creep) and complete recrystallization of metal structure throughout the entire wall thickness of the damaged tubes.
It has been established that the accelerated degradation of metal microstructure in the destroyed tubes was associated with both overheating of the tube wall and the as-delivered metal structure non-recommended for operation at high temperatures and pressures. It was shown that it is necessary to adjust the heat treatment conditions for these tubes at Interpipe Niko Tube Ltd.
The study results have made it possible to develop recommendations for eliminating violations of operating conditions and establishing control of actual heat flows in the most thermally loaded sections of the Singburi Sugar Co. Ltd factory’s steam boiler superheater. Taking into account peculiarities of the boiler equipment and its operating conditions, it was also recommended to use a more heat-resistant and refractory steel instead of the currently used material for manufacture of the steam superheater tubes.
Keywords: boiler tube, steam superheater, damage, thermal destruction, structure degradation, combustion conditions, heat carrier circulation, overheating.


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