Failure in piping due to acoustic-induced fatigue can be considered catastrophic as it could happen only after a few minutes of operation. Acoustic-induced fatigue occurs mainly in gas piping systems with high velocity where high energy is dissipated through pressure reducing stations and pipe branch connections. It usually results in pipe through wall longitudinal cracks, pipe detachment from saddle supports, and complete shear off of branch connections. There are existing design criteria to avoid acoustic-induced fatigue based on comparison of generated power level to an acceptable power level. This criterion is normally used for the design of pressure relief and flare piping where high gas velocity exceeding 50% of the speed of sound (i.e., 0.5 Mach) is expected. However, acoustic-induced fatigue has been experienced in systems due to intermittent operations. Two case studies are presented in this paper. The first one is during a steam-out operation to clean a newly constructed steam header. During the cleaning operation, an orifice plate was used to control the flow in the steam header. Several pipe vents and drains failed due to fatigue in less than 1 h. The second case is for drainage of compressed natural gas during process upset condition. Because of the high level buildup in the liquefied gas separator vessel, the drain valve was opened to release the pressurized liquefied gas to the relief system to reduce the level buildup. Wall cracks and several pipe support detachments were found in the system after the upset condition. This paper presents the engineering analysis and material failure analysis conducted to find the root causes of the failures. Moreover, it highlights the recommendations and lessons learned from these two failures.
The Danger of Piping Failure Due to Acoustic-Induced Fatigue in Infrequent Operations: Two Case Studies
Contributed by the Pressure Vessel and Piping Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF PRESSURE VESSEL TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received April 21, 2012; final manuscript received April 29, 2013; published online October 10, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Allen C. Smith.
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Mohammed Al-Muslim, H., Ibrahim Al-Nasri, N., and Al-Hashem, M. Y. (October 10, 2013). "The Danger of Piping Failure Due to Acoustic-Induced Fatigue in Infrequent Operations: Two Case Studies." ASME. J. Pressure Vessel Technol. December 2013; 135(6): 064501. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4025081
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