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Failures of 10Cr-Mo9-10 and X 20Cr-Mo-V12-1 superheated pipes during service in steam power generation plants are described. Through micrographic and fractographic analysis, creep and overheating were identified as the cause of failure. The Larson-Miller parameter is computed, as a function of oxidation thickness, temperature and time, confirming the creep failure diagnostic.

Rupture occurred at a bend in a superheated steam transfer line between a header and a desuperheater of a boiler producing 230 t/h of steam at 540 deg C and 118 kPa. The boiler had operated for 77,000 h. Rupture occurred along the outer bend radius of the 168 mm diam tube, this being of 1 Cr, 0.5 Mo steel with a wall thickness of 14 mm. The design temperature of this tube was 490 deg C, but there is evidence that it was operating at a temperature much above 500 deg C. Metallographic analysis disclosed an advanced stage of creep damage accumulation in the form of local cracks, microcracks, and aligned damage centers which showed up as voids upon repeated polish-etch cycles. Because of the local nature of creep damage that can occur, any inspection that involves in situ metallography must be conducted at exactly the right or critical position or the presence of damage may not be detected.

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