Failure Analysis of Superheater Outlet Header
In Nov. 1998, the west superheater outlet header at an electricity generating plant began to leak steam. Subsequent investigation revealed the presence of a crack that extended for 360 deg around the full circumference of the header and through the full cross-sectional thickness. The subsequent inspection of this header and the east superheater header revealed the presence of extremely severe ligament cracking. They operated at 2400 psi (16.5 MPa) and a temperature of 540deg C (1005 deg F). Both were fabricated from seamless pipe produced in accordance with ASME Specification SA-335, and the steel was Grade P22, a 2.25Cr-1Mo alloy steel. Visual and metallurgical evaluations showed the cracking in the west superheater outlet header was caused by thermal fatigue. Tube holes had served as a preferential site for thermal fatigue cracking.