Investigations on the Failure of Economizer Tubes in a High-Pressure Boiler
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This article describes the results of an investigation concerning the failure of economizer tubes of a high-pressure boiler in a dual-purpose power/water cogeneration plant. The failure was observed in the form of rupturing of one tube and a macrohole or pinhole in another tube. The boiler had an operating period of 116,123 h since its inception. For approximately the first 100,000 h, the fuel for the boiler was crude oil, which was replaced by Bunker C oil. The boiler tube is fabricated from carbon steel SA 210A1. The location of the failure was determined by on-site visual inspection of the boiler. Detailed macro- and microexaminations of inner and outer scales on the tube were begun to determine the cause of the rupture. The composition of the fire- and waterside scale and ash deposited on the outer surface of the tubes was analyzed by energy-dispersive x-ray (EDX) technique. The reduction percentage of wall thickness of the tube facing inside and outside the furnace was calculated. The cause of the failure of the economizer tube appears to be H2SO4 dew-point corrosion. The relatively low temperature of feedwater lowered the tube metal temperature and promoted the condensation of H2SO4. The external deposits on the tubes, as a result of bunker oil firing, further helped to lower the tube metal temperature, thus promoting H2SO4 condensation over the deposit and subsequent corrosion of the tube wall. Recommendations are given to prevent/minimize such failures.
KeywordsEconomizer tube High-pressure boiler Dew-point corrosion Energy-dispersive x-ray
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