Failure of Gas Turbine Last- Stage Bucket
Turbine buckets in a 37.5-MW gas turbine made of Udimet 500 superalloy failed in service. The power plant was located 1 km (0.6 miles) from the Pacific Ocean and operated on No. 2 diesel fuel, which was supplied by tanker ship. Turbine bucket failures occurred on three units after 2500 to 6400 h of operation. Investigation (visual inspection, metallographic examination, and stress analysis) supported the conclusion that the differing microstructure of the airfoil resulted in changes in mechanical properties. Because normal operation includes cycling of loads and temperatures, the shroud tip fractured due to thermomechanical fatigue in its degraded state. Recommendations included special chromium or silicon-rich coating to minimize corrosion in gas turbines operating in a marine environment with operating temperatures in the range of type 2 corrosion (650 to 750 deg C, or 1200 to 1380 deg F). Additionally, it was suggested that fuel delivery, handling, and treatment be high quality, to maintain fuel contamination within design limits, and inlet air filtration must be designed for the coastal site. Also, changing the bucket tip by increasing its thickness and changing the casting technique would reduce the stress and make the design more tolerant of corrosion.