Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 5–7 | Cite as

Failure Avoidance Brief: Estimating Heater Tube Life

  • Daniel J. Benac

The intention of this Failure Avoidance Brief is to provide lessons learned from materials, structure, and equipment failures so that costly failures can be prevented through good design, maintenance, and inspection practices, thus increasing safety, equipment reliability, and integrity of designs.

How long will heater tubes last? This question is frequently asked by those who use heater and reformer tubes in ammonia, refinery, and chemical plants. Tubes are critical to the processing, refining, and heating of product for optimized product processing. Beginning with research performed in 1928 at the University of Michigan, tube lifetime has been researched to understand the factors that influence high-temperature tube strength. Even though the degradation phenomena that occur in tubes are now better understood, tube failure is still a concern to the plant operator. Failures of heater tubes have resulted in fires, fatal accidents, loss of production, and leaking of hydrocarbon products...


Reformer Stress Rupture Creep Rupture Heater Tube Intergranular Facet 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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    MetalTek, Data sheet for 25–35Nb, 7 February 2002Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Test Methods for Conducting Creep, Creep-Rupture, and Stress Rupture Tests of Metallic Materials. ASTM E139, Annual Book of ASTM StandardsGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Benac, D.J., Swaminathan, V.P.: Elevated temperature life assessment for turbine components, piping, and tubing. In: Failure Analysis and Prevention, vol. 11, p. 298. ASM Handbook, ASM International, Materials Park, OH (2002) Google Scholar

Copyright information

© ASM International 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BakerRiskSan Antonio USA

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