Inspectioneering Journal

NDE for Lifetime Extension and Increased Reliability for Refinery Structures

Elevated Temperature Flaw Detection & Sizing and In-Situ Measurement of Material Properties

By Nancy M. Carlson at Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, and Richard E. Rice at Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. This article appears in the September/October 1995 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.
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The U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) is leading an industry/university/national laboratory team to develop two (NDE) technologies that will economically extend refinery plant lifetime while continuing to protect the refinery plant lifetime while continuing to protect the public, the environment, and plant personnel. If successful, the first, high-temperature flaw detection and sizing, will allow inspection of critical structural components on-line, increasing the time of safe operation. The second NDE technique allows in-place measurement of physical properties in existing structures, reducing both reliance on conservative assumptions about critical flaw size and unnecessary repairs that cause loss of production and may, in turn, become sites of other defects.

Preliminary research activities were internally funded. The Department of Energy (DOE) sponsored development of the basic technologies through efforts at MIT and INEL. Chevron Research and Technology Company and INEL, in a series of meetings in early 1995, began to focus their technologies on refining industry needs. Soon, other industry companies, including oil, service, and others joined forces to identify gaps in NDE technology with hopes of extending equipment lifetime. These technology gaps are the abilities to:

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