Qualifying NDE Equipment and Personnel for Fitness-For-Service Assessments

by David A. Osage, P.E., ASME Fellow / Martin Prager, Ph.D. / October 2013

 

Success in fitness-for service assessment of pressure equipment requires detection of changes in the integrity through application of NDE procedures. However, advances in NDE tools and qualification of the personnel applying those tools have progressed slowly. Upgrading NDE requires ex-service components with quantified levels of in service degradation that can be used for training and testing personnel and upgrading equipment and procedures.

 

When a “rash” of problems occurred with seam welded high-temperature piping at electric utility plants MPC took the opportunity to build a library of creep-damaged pipe spools for the purposes of 1) evaluating ultrasonic and acoustic emission testing equipment, procedures and personnel 2) characterizing the creep degradation present 3) determining remaining creep strength and 4) fine tuning and enhancing life assessment tools. It was found that personnel and the ultrasonic and acoustic emission equipment varied widely in their capabilities for detecting and characterizing creep damage. Today this library of well characterized service-damaged specimens exists as a resource for training personnel for utilities and refineries.

 

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