September 2011

Maintenance and Reliability

Prevent failures in olefin-cracking operations

Failure analysis identifies root causes for damages to selective exchangers

Gupta, R. P., Pathak, H., Reliance Industries Ltd.

At the Nagothane olefins facility, the inner thermal sleeve, constructed with Incolloy 800H, for double-pipe ultra-selective exchangers (USXs) of an ethylene cracking furnace showed grooves/pitting/fissures damage after 14 years of service. Metallurgical examination and testing of the damaged samples revealed that the damage to the USX Alloy 800H thermal sleeve occurred due to metal dusting, a phenomenon caused by elevated temperatures and failures in the purge-steam supply. In this case history, the authors discuss how the damaged USXs were replaced and the selection process for a better design without a thermal sleeve was investigated. Background. The ethylene gas cracker plant of

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