Failure of Titanium Condenser Tubes After 24 Years Power Plant Service
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The titanium condenser has been in operation for 24 years at Amager unit 3 power plant. In February 2012, the plant was contaminated by seawater due to a failed condenser tube and some tubes were plugged. A month later, the plant tripped again. Small leaks were found again and finally approx. 200 tubes were plugged before the condenser was in service again. A series of inspections, NDT, and destructive examinations were conducted to try and understand the cause of failure in the tubes within the condenser. After such investigations, degradation mechanisms such as inner fouling, steam impingement, and fretting/erosion around the supports could be discounted. Ductile cracks were found in the tube within the tubesheet. From circumstantial evidence, it was concluded that failure was caused by a semi-filled condenser which led to a mismatch in expansion coefficients of filled tubes and unfilled tubes during a plant trip. In addition, small amounts of titanium hydride were revealed to be present in the tubes within the tubesheet indicating that the carbon steel tubesheet was corroding due to ingress of salt water. Although this was not the reason for the failure, it indicated the need for repair of the epoxy coating in the waterbox.
KeywordsTitanium condenser Failure Power plant trip
The authors thank HOFOR for constructive discussions and allowing the publication of this paper. Thanks also go to DTU-Mekanik for help with metallurgical analysis and discussions.
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