Following a detailed study of two of the mechanical precipitators in the air preheaters of a thermoelectric power plant, a large amount of ash that was deposited on one of the inlet conduits was observed, obstructing the incoming gas flow. A comparison of the available data for the two most recent hopper cleaning operations revealed that, on the one hand, the amount of ash collected by the clogged precipitator (A) was significantly less than that collected by the other (B) and, on the other hand, the temperature of the ash in the former was noticeably lower than in the latter. Prior to the cleaning of the conduits, a certain amount of damage was caused to the boiler dome, which meant that subsequent cleaning required the use of a hydrolazer, where it was noted that inlet pressures were very high. All of this indicated that the cause of the clogging was not physical. This paper provides a comprehensive analytical analysis that explains what happened, as well as resolving the situation.

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