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Creep and Stress Rupture

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Creep is the time-dependent deformation of a material under load. It is a generally slow developing form of degradation occurring in metals under stress and higher pressures. The amount of creep deformation that will be experienced is highly dependent upon the level of stress, level of temperature, and material properties of the metal. Deformations caused by creep eventually cause damage that may result in a rupture of the affected equipment components. Commonly susceptible equipment includes nozzles and other components with high tri-axial loading on some catalytic reformers, furnace components, and dissimilar metal welds.

Inspection for creep damage is not straight-forward and may require several techniques to be used in combination. While the use of ring gauges for bulges in furnace tubes is fairly widespread, in other cases, a combination of surface and volumetric NDE may be required, along with metallographic samples (destructive & non-destructive) to verify the presence of creep damage.

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