Predicting the Remaining Life of High Temperature Steel Piping
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As the fleet of U.S. coal-fired power plants continues to age, one of the many decisions power generation companies will need to make is when to replace high temperature and pressure steam piping connecting the boiler and turbine. Waiting too long before replacing a creep-damaged steam pipe can lead to catastrophic pipe rupture and replacing a pipe prematurely would be an unnecessary expense. A research team at the Energy Research Center led by Professor Terry Delph has developed an analysis method which provides more realistic estimates of remaining useful life than has been possible up to now.
Delph explains, “Steel components used for high temperature and pressure applications undergo a degradation process referred to as creep damage, which weakens the steel and will eventually lead to mechanical failure by pipe rupture. The years of life which remain in a steam pipe depends on the years of service, operating temperature and stress level, and original creep properties of the...