A metallurgical investigation on a failed superheater tube used in a thermal biomass power plant
This article described the investigation of the failed superheater tube made of SA210 Grade C used in a biomass power plant. Visual inspection, microstructural examination, chemical analysis and hardness measurement were employed to analyze the causes of the superheater tube failure. Results from the investigation showed that the major cause of this failure was mainly related to the long-term overheating, resulting in the occurrence of the excessive thermal oxidation and graphitization. The excessive thermal degradation accelerated the reduction of the wall tube and promoted the build-up of the stress acting on the tube. Graphitization degraded the microstructure of the tube, reducing the mechanical performance of the tube. The combined effects from the severe thermal oxidation and graphitization attributed to the premature failure of the tube. It is therefore advised to use the correct material, SA213 T22, in the superheat zone. Regular monitoring and inspection of the conditions of the external surface of the tube were also suggested.