Failure Analysis and Remaining Life Assessment of Methanol Reformer Tubes

Case History---Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

High-quality failure analysis and good engineering judgment can turn plant shutdowns resulting from methanol reformer tube failures into an opportunity to improve the future performance of the reformer furnace. The plant down time can be used to evaluate remaining tube life and provide some insight into the effect of tube operating history, especially tube metal temperature on tube performance. The results can be used to minimize potential future failures and economic losses because of reformer shutdowns. In this article, the failure mechanism of a ruptured reformer tube is determined and an assessment of the remaining life of non-ruptured tubes in the reformer is discussed. Two assessment methods are reviewed (1) metallographic examination of ex-service material to characterize microstructure and creep damage and (2) modeling of creep damage accumulation using special-purpose finite-element software (WinTUBETM).

Keywords

Reformer Methanol Failure Creep Remaining 

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Copyright information

© ASM International 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DNV Columbus, Inc.DublinUSA

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