Failure Investigation of Boiler Water Wall Tubes of a Thermal Power Station
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Failure investigation was carried out on boiler water wall tubes of a thermal power plant through visual inspection, chemical analysis, and metallurgical analysis. Failure was in the form of thin/micro cracks along the length of the tubes which were located at the girth welding joint of tubes. Experimental results revealed that the cracking was from inward to outward of the tube thickness. Discontinuities/cavities were observed in the welded region which might have occurred due to lack of fusion of base metal and the weld metal. Cracks were initiated from the sharp corner/crack tip of the cavities/discontinuities present at the welded region under the action of hoop/thermal stress existed during the operation. Nature of the crack propagation indicates the case of typical hydrogen-induced cracking. Moreover, the presence of the cavities/discontinuities reduced the cross-sectional area of tubes resulting increased stress intensity. Increased stress beyond the flow stress of the material assisted by hydrogen-induced effect resulted the cracking of the tubes. In order to mitigate the problem, proper welding of tubes joints should be carried out followed by proper inspection after weld. Secondly, hydrogen dissolution during welding should be prevented and treatment for its removal after welding should be carried out.
KeywordsBoiler tube Hydrogen-induced cracking Welding defects HAZ Ferrite–pearlite
The authors are thankful to the Director CSIR-National Metallurgical Laboratory for his kind permission to publish this research work.
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