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Case Study on Fireside Erosion of Platen Superheater Boiler Tubes of a Coal-Fired Power Plant


The platen superheater boiler tubes of a 660 MW coal-fired power plant have failed after long term in service. The failed boiler tubes are made of ASME SA-213 T12 and ASME SA-213 T22 and both have the same outer diameter of 50.8 mm and minimum wall thickness of 5.156 mm and 8.509 mm, respectively. The operating pressure of the platen superheater tubes is 178–179 barg, while the operating temperatures are 379–390 °C (inlet) and 430–440 °C (outlet). The failed tubes experienced severe localized thinning or erosion on the outer surface and occurred at different locations. The types and factors that cause erosion in the platen superheater tubes are discussed in this paper. The metallurgical assessment was carried out by preparing several specimens from the failed platen superheater tubes. Various laboratory tests were carried out, including visual and macroscopic examination, chemical analysis, metallographic examination, hardness and tensile testing, and scanning electron microscopy equipped with energy dispersive spectroscopy analysis. The results of the metallurgical assessment obtained show that the platen superheater tubes have experienced localized fireside erosion and leaks in several locations of the tubes. Formation of this localized fireside erosion is most likely caused by improper use and/or malfunction of the soot blower applied in the boiler. In addition, tube leaks due to localized fireside erosion may have also caused by erosion due to steam cutting from the adjacent tube that previously ruptured due to severe soot blower erosion. Besides, several platen superheater tubes have also experienced formation of hard and thick ash or slag deposits on the outer surfaces where no fireside erosion or leaks occurred. However, formation of these deposits was found to be insignificant to the fireside corrosion on the platen superheater tubes.

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The author wishes to express his gratitude to the Head and Members of Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Industrial Technology of the National Institute of Science and Technology (ISTN) for their support and encouragement in publishing this work.

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Adnyana, D.N. Case Study on Fireside Erosion of Platen Superheater Boiler Tubes of a Coal-Fired Power Plant. J Fail. Anal. and Preven. (2022).

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  • Platen superheater boiler tubes
  • Coal-fired power plant
  • Ash or slag deposits
  • Fireside erosion
  • Soot blower erosion
  • Erosion due to steam cutting