Reformer tube life prediction after a thermal shock

Fractured reformer tubes
Fractured Reformer Tubes
Technical expert – acting for the operator

Reformer catalyst tubes in a methanol plant were subject to a loss-of-steam incident that led to temperature run-away, causing melting of some tubes and rapid creep failure of others. Restoration of steam with simultaneous cutting of the burners subjected the tubes to severe thermal shock, causing additional failures.

Mr Brear was requested to predict the remaining lives of the surviving HPNb tubes and to aid the plant operator in pursuing their insurance claim by quantifying the loss of tube life due to the incident. The remaining life of the surviving tubes was quantified, on a risk basis, and shown to be adequate.

Loss agreed with the insurer’s experts, allowing the claim to be settled without litigation.

Plant Integrity