June 2007


Failure analysis of an ethylene cracking heater finned tube

Here's what caused the leak and the steps taken to prevent future leaks

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

During the hydrotest as per the annual health check plan of this furnace, water leakage from the convection zone was noticed and further investigation, by opening the convection box cover at different locations, showed that a 4-in. Ø finned tube of the first-pass coil of the convection zone was leaking. Appearance/morphology of damage. An elliptical shaped 12-mm X 7-mm puncture was noticed toward the north side of the convection zone at the tube entry point in the convection zone. Erosion and erosion corrosion are characterized by a localized loss in thickness in the form of pits, grooves, gullies, waves, rounded holes and valleys. This loss often exhibits a directional pattern

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