skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Towards Improved Prediction of Scale Exfoliation from Steam Tubes

Abstract

While scale exfoliation from the steam side of superheater and reheater tubes in fossil-fired steam boilers has been a problem for over 40 years, recent trends to increased steam temperature (and pressure), longer operating times at near to maximum load, and the introduction of new alloys have emphasized the importance of this phenomenon as a source of unavailability of coal-fired steam plant, and have led to renewed interest in approaches for managing it. Available mechanistic understanding suggests that thermally-grown oxide scales will detach from the metal surfaces on which they were grown when they are strained beyond a critical limit. Strain accumulates in growing oxides due to two main processes: from volume changes that occur when the metal is converted to oxide, and when changes occur in the oxide morphology as the oxide itself is further oxidized; and due to thermal cycling, when the often large differences in coefficients of thermal expansion between the metal and the oxide (and among different oxides) generate large stresses over relatively short times. Such strain accumulation increases with increasing scale thickness and increasing rate of temperature change, and there is a minimum scale thickness above which exfoliation is likely. Also important is the amountmore » of scale that detaches in an exfoliation event, as well as the size and shape of the oxide flakes, since these influence the ultimate destination of the debris in the steam circuit: either deposition in tube bends (resulting ultimately in blocking and/or tube overheating), or entrained transport in the steam to the turbine (leading to erosion damage of the first stages of nozzles and blades). Mechanistic understanding of the oxidation process allows these issues to be addressed analytically, and this approach has been used to map (the Armitt Diagram ) the regimes where various forms of exfoliation are expected, as a function of oxide thickness (time at temperature) and accumulated strain (oxide type, oxide and alloy properties). Limited use of this approach has provided quite accurate (post-event) predictions, albeit for only two classes of alloys for which sufficient data are available. The program from which this paper was drawn is aimed at extension of this approach to develop a tool for predicting the conditions under which an exfoliation event will occur, and its consequences. Progress depends on the ability to accurately predict oxide thicknesses and to develop mechanistic descriptions of the evolution of scale morphologies (to determine the features that trigger detachment, and mode of detachment) for a wider range of alloys and at temperatures and steam pressures higher that those accommodated in the original Diagram. Of particular concern are the 9-12%Cr ferritic-martensitic steels which do not appear to follow the behavior established for the lower-Cr steels, since the oxidation behavior of these newer steels appears to be significantly affected by small changes in, for instance, alloy composition (within the alloy specification), rendering problematical the description of the evolution of scale morphologies in a way that allows the application of analytical treatments for calculating stresses. This paper summarizes the issues being addressed, and describes the approach taken to build on the earlier methodology for predicting scale exfoliation.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [2]
  1. ORNL
  2. Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
FE USDOE - Office of Fossil Energy (FE); Work for Others (WFO)
OSTI Identifier:
964687
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Materials Issues Governing the Performance of Advanced 21st Century Energy Systems, Wellington, New Zealand, 20060226, 20060301
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; ALLOYS; BOILERS; DEPOSITION; ENERGY SYSTEMS; MORPHOLOGY; NOZZLES; OXIDATION; OXIDES; STEAM; STEELS; STRAINS; STRESSES; SUPERHEATERS; THERMAL CYCLING; THERMAL EXPANSION; THICKNESS; TURBINES; oxide exfoliation; advanced steam conditions; ferritic steels

Citation Formats

Wright, Ian G, Schuetze, Michael J, Tortorelli, Peter F, and Dooley, Barry. Towards Improved Prediction of Scale Exfoliation from Steam Tubes. United States: N. p., 2007. Web.
Wright, Ian G, Schuetze, Michael J, Tortorelli, Peter F, & Dooley, Barry. Towards Improved Prediction of Scale Exfoliation from Steam Tubes. United States.
Wright, Ian G, Schuetze, Michael J, Tortorelli, Peter F, and Dooley, Barry. Mon . "Towards Improved Prediction of Scale Exfoliation from Steam Tubes". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_964687,
title = {Towards Improved Prediction of Scale Exfoliation from Steam Tubes},
author = {Wright, Ian G and Schuetze, Michael J and Tortorelli, Peter F and Dooley, Barry},
abstractNote = {While scale exfoliation from the steam side of superheater and reheater tubes in fossil-fired steam boilers has been a problem for over 40 years, recent trends to increased steam temperature (and pressure), longer operating times at near to maximum load, and the introduction of new alloys have emphasized the importance of this phenomenon as a source of unavailability of coal-fired steam plant, and have led to renewed interest in approaches for managing it. Available mechanistic understanding suggests that thermally-grown oxide scales will detach from the metal surfaces on which they were grown when they are strained beyond a critical limit. Strain accumulates in growing oxides due to two main processes: from volume changes that occur when the metal is converted to oxide, and when changes occur in the oxide morphology as the oxide itself is further oxidized; and due to thermal cycling, when the often large differences in coefficients of thermal expansion between the metal and the oxide (and among different oxides) generate large stresses over relatively short times. Such strain accumulation increases with increasing scale thickness and increasing rate of temperature change, and there is a minimum scale thickness above which exfoliation is likely. Also important is the amount of scale that detaches in an exfoliation event, as well as the size and shape of the oxide flakes, since these influence the ultimate destination of the debris in the steam circuit: either deposition in tube bends (resulting ultimately in blocking and/or tube overheating), or entrained transport in the steam to the turbine (leading to erosion damage of the first stages of nozzles and blades). Mechanistic understanding of the oxidation process allows these issues to be addressed analytically, and this approach has been used to map (the Armitt Diagram ) the regimes where various forms of exfoliation are expected, as a function of oxide thickness (time at temperature) and accumulated strain (oxide type, oxide and alloy properties). Limited use of this approach has provided quite accurate (post-event) predictions, albeit for only two classes of alloys for which sufficient data are available. The program from which this paper was drawn is aimed at extension of this approach to develop a tool for predicting the conditions under which an exfoliation event will occur, and its consequences. Progress depends on the ability to accurately predict oxide thicknesses and to develop mechanistic descriptions of the evolution of scale morphologies (to determine the features that trigger detachment, and mode of detachment) for a wider range of alloys and at temperatures and steam pressures higher that those accommodated in the original Diagram. Of particular concern are the 9-12%Cr ferritic-martensitic steels which do not appear to follow the behavior established for the lower-Cr steels, since the oxidation behavior of these newer steels appears to be significantly affected by small changes in, for instance, alloy composition (within the alloy specification), rendering problematical the description of the evolution of scale morphologies in a way that allows the application of analytical treatments for calculating stresses. This paper summarizes the issues being addressed, and describes the approach taken to build on the earlier methodology for predicting scale exfoliation.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2007},
month = {Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2007}
}

Conference:
Other availability
Please see Document Availability for additional information on obtaining the full-text document. Library patrons may search WorldCat to identify libraries that hold this conference proceeding.

Save / Share:
  • Numerical simulation results are presented for the prediction of the likelihood of oxide scale exfoliation from superheater tubes. The scenarios considered involved alloys T22, TP347H, and TP347HFG subjected to a simplified operating cycle in a power plant generating supercritical steam. The states of stress and strain of the oxides grown in steam were based solely on modeling the various phenomena experienced by superheater tubes during boiler operation, current understanding of the oxidation behavior of each alloy in steam, and consideration of operating parameters such as heat flux, tube dimensions, and boiler duty cycle. Interpretation of the evolution of strain inmore » these scales, and the approach to conditions where scale failure (hence exfoliation) is expected, makes use of the type of Exfoliation Diagrams that incorporate various cracking and exfoliation criteria appropriate for the system considered. In these diagrams, the strain accumulation with time in an oxide is represented by a strain trajectory derived from the net strain resulting from oxide growth, differences in coefficients of thermal expansion among the components, and relaxation due to creep. It was found that an oxide growing on a tube subjected to routine boiler load cycling conditions attained relatively low values of net strain, indicating that oxide failure would not be expected to occur during normal boiler operation. However, during a boiler shut-down event, strains sufficient to exceed the scale failure criteria were developed after times reasonably in accord with plant experience, with the scales on the ferritic steel failing in tension, and those on the austenitic steels in compression. The results presented illustrate that using this approach to track the state of strain in the oxide scale through all phases of boiler operation, including transitions from full-to-low load and shut-down events, offers the possibility of identifying the phase(s) of boiler operation during which oxide failure is most likely to occur.« less
  • A model based on a concept of fraction of exfoliated area as a function of oxide scale strain energy was developed to predict the extent of exfoliation of steam-side scale from boiler tube superheater loops. As compared with the Armitt diagram, which can be used to predict when scale damage and exfoliation would be likely to occur, a fraction of exfoliated area approach provides an estimation of mass of scale released and the fraction of tube likely to be blocked by the exfoliation. This paper show results for the extent of blockage expected in a single bend of a superheatermore » loop was predicted as a function of operating time, bend geometry, and outlet steam temperature under realistic service conditions that include outages. The deposits of exfoliated scale were assumed to be distributed horizontally the tubes bends. Three types of bends were considered: regular bends, short bends, and hairpin bends. The progressive increase in steam and tube temperatures along a single loop of superheater tubing and the ensuing variation of oxide scale thickness are considered. Numerical simulation results for a superheater loop made of TP347H austenitic steel indicated that tube blockage fractions larger than 50% are likely to occur within the first two years of boiler operation (with regularly scheduled outages) for outlet tube temperatures of 540-570oC, which is consistent with practical experience. Higher blockage fractions were predicted for tubes with short bends and hairpin bends than for tubes with regular bends, of length that are larger than five internal tube diameters. Finally, the blockage model presented can be used with some confidence to devise operating schedules for managing the consequences of oxide scale exfoliation based on projections of time to some critical blockage fraction for specific boiler operating conditions.« less
  • Advances in materials for power plants include not only new materials with higher-temperature capabilities, but also the use of current materials at increasingly higher temperatures. This latter activity builds on extensive experience of the performance of the various alloys, and provides a basis for identifying changes in alloy behavior with increasing temperature as well as understanding the factors that ultimately determine the maximum use temperatures of the different alloy classes. This paper presents results from an effort to model the exfoliation processes of steam-side oxide scales in a manner that describes as accurately as possible the evolution of strains inmore » oxides growing inside small-diameter tubes subjected to large thermal gradients and to thermal transients typical of normal steam boiler operation. One way of portraying the results of such calculations is by plotting the evolving strains in a given oxide scale on an Exfoliation Diagram (of the type pioneered by Manning et al. of the British Central Electricity Research Laboratory) to determine the earliest time at which the trajectory of these strains intersects a criterion for scale failure. Understanding of how such strain trajectories differ among different alloys and are affected by the major variables associated with boiler operation has the potential to suggest boiler operating strategies to manage scale exfoliation, as well as to highlight the mode of scale failure and the limitations of each alloy. Preliminary results are presented of the strain trajectories calculated for alloys T22, T91, and TP347 subjected to the conditions experienced by superheaters under assumed boiler operating scenarios. For all three alloys the earliest predicted scale failures were associated with the increased strains developed during a boiler shut-down event; indeed, in the cases considered it appeared unlikely that scale failure would occur in any practically meaningful time due to strains accumulated during operation in a load-following mode in the absence of a shut down. The accuracy of the algorithms used for the kinetics of oxide growth appeared to be a very important consideration, especially for alloy TP347 for which large effects on oxide growth rate are known to occur with changes in alloy grain size and surface cold work.« less
  • This paper provides an introduction to a comprehensive model being developed to predict and control oxide scale exfoliation from the steam-side of superheater and reheater tubes in steam boilers. The model deals with the main phenomena involved in scale growth and failure in steam, and incorporates major variables related to boiler design and operation. The considerations used to calculate oxide growth under the specific constrains of small diameter tubes carrying high-pressure steam and operating with large temperature gradients under temperature and pressure cycling conditions, as well as the evolution of stresses and strains in the scales, are indicated but onlymore » a cursory description is given of the details of the analytical treatments. An example is presented of calculations made with the model to predict the extent of blockage expected in a single superheater loop as a function of time and outlet steam temperature under several realistic service conditions. The results suggest that problems due to scale exfoliation would be expected early in the operating life of superheater tubes made from austenitic steel TP347H.« less
  • Since 1987, FRAMATOME has developed ultrasonic testing methods and tools for the on-site inspection of steam generator tubes at the level of the rolled transition area. This paper presents new capabilities of the UT equipment for the inspection of the SG tube at the level of the tube support plate intersections and for the ultrasonic examination of laser welded sleeves. The development programs in progress on this topic are also reviewed at the end of the paper.