Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 200–204 | Cite as

Analysis of a Failed Primary Superheater Tube and Life Assessment in a Coal-Fired Powerplant

  • M. N. Ilman
  • M. Prihajatno
  • Kusmono
Case History---Peer-Reviewed


The paper presents results of failure analysis of a primary superheater tube in a steam powerplant boiler. The boiler has been in service for around 52,000 h (6 years) and failure occurred on one of the primary superheater tubes in the form of a wide-open burst with appreciable wall thinning. The location of failure was first determined by on-site visual examination. Subsequently, specimens were taken from a region near the fracture surface for chemical analysis, microstructural examination using optical microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy equipped with energy-dispersive X-ray analysis to determine the probable cause of failure; whereas the lifetime of the superheater tubes was assessed using stress rupture test. Results suggest that the cause of failure was overheating due to deposit buildup inside the superheater tube which acted as thermal barrier and wall thinning resulted from direct impingement of flue gases. The lifetime of the superheater tubes is estimated and is discussed in the present investigation.


Boiler material Fish mouth fracture Stress rupture 


  1. 1.
    D. Gun, R. Horton, Industrial Boilers (Longman Scientific & Technical, Essex, 1989)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    D.N. French, Metallurgical Failures in Fosil Fired Boilers (Wiley, New York, 1983)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    D.R.H. Jones, Creep failures of overheated boiler, superheater and reformer tubes. Eng. Fail. Anal. 11, 873–893 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    J. Salonen, P. Auerkari, O. Lehtinen, M. Pihkakoski, Experience on in-service damage in power plant components. Eng. Fail. Anal. 14, 970–977 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    P.P. Psyllaki, G. Pantazopoulos, H. Lefakis, Metallurgical evaluation of creep-failed superheater tubes. Eng. Fail. Anal. 16, 1420–1431 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    M.M. Rahman, J. Purbolaksono, J. Ahmad, Root cause failure analysis of a division wall superheater tube of a coal-fired power station. Eng. Fail. Anal. 17, 1490–1494 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    M. Pronobis, W. Wojnar, Preliminary calculations of erosion wear resulting from exfoliation of iron oxides in austenitic superheaters. Eng. Fail. Anal. 32, 54–62 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    S.V.S.N. Murty, A.K. Jha, K.S. Kumar, Metallographic investigations of the failed superheater tubes used in liquid hydrogen plant. Eng. Fail. Anal. 17, 313–319 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    A. Saha, A.K. Shukla, Failure of a secondary superheater tube in a 140-MW thermal power plant. J. Fail. Preven. 14, 10–12 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    A. Almazrouee, R.K.S. Raman, K. Al-Fadhalah, M. Alardhi, M. Alenezi, Role of oxide notching and degraded alloy microstructure in remarkably premature failure of steam generator tubes. Eng. Fail. Anal. 18, 2288–2295 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    S.R. Paterson, T.W. Rettig, K.J. Clark, Creep damage and remaining life assessment of superheater and reheater tubes, in Proceedings of Conference on Life Extension and Assessment of Fossil Plants, (Washington DC, 1986), pp. 1–16Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    A.K. Ray, Y.N. Tiwari, R.K. Sinha, P.K. Roy, S.K. Sinha, R. Singh, S. Chaudhuri, Remnant life assessment of service-exposed pendent superheater tubes. Eng. Fail. Anal. 9, 83–92 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    R.W. Hertzberg, Deformation and Fracture Mechanics of Engineering Materials, 4th edn. (Wiley, New York, 1996)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© ASM International 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Industrial EngineeringGadjah Mada UniversityYogyakartaIndonesia

Personalised recommendations