June 2006

Corrosion/Maintenance

Failure analysis of ethylene cracking heater convection section dilution steam tube

Several inspection techniques were required to determine the root cause of the failure

Gupta, R. P., Reliance Industries Ltd.; Moon, P., IPCL

Incoloy 800 HT tubes in steam service in the convection zone of an ethylene cracking furnace failed after 13 years. Examination of the samples at the weld and 100 mm away from the weld of the failed tube revealed initiation of cracks from the outer surface (OD) by the combined effects of creep and intergranular cracking. Prolonged elevated temperature operations beyond 100,000 hr was responsible for accelerating the creep void formation and cracking. The tubes were recommended to be replaced after ferrite measurement. Shifting the central weld to the outside of the furnace (or use single-length tube) was recommended to reduce the tube failure from the heat affected zone (HAZ). Introduction

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