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BRITTLE FRACTURE The Cold, Hard Facts

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by Verne Ragle

8/26/12

Verne Ragle, P.E.

Energy

45 years in the Petrochemical business with primary emphasis on equipment integrity, inspection, materials, corrosion and failure analysis. n 25 year member of NACE n Active in numerous NACE and API Standards Committees n Worked in all areas of Process Safety Management n Mechanical Integrity Click to editPSM Compliance Master subtitle style n Current job l Support company operations worldwide on Corrosion and Materials issues. Specific focus on Downstream Mechanical Integrity Issues. l Pressure Equipment Mech. Integ. Assessment l Fitness for Service
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Purpose of Presentation l Create and awareness of Brittle


Fracture and the factors that cause it.
l Notable Brittle Fracture Failures l Variables that Cause Brittle

Fracture
l Effect on Codes an Standards l API RP 579 l Assessing Existing Facilities
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Example: Brittle vs Ductile

(a)
(a)

(b)

(c)

Highly ductile fracture in which the specimen necks down to a point. Moderately ductile fracture after some necking. Brittle fracture without any plastic deformation.

(b)

(c)

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Notable Brittle Fracture Failures


Great Boston Molasses Flood 1919

Liberty Ships Breaking apart 1943


Oil Storage Tank Failure -1988

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The Great Boston Molasses Flood

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Boston Molasses Flood Data


Date:

January 15, 1919

Location:

Boston, Massachusetts

Temperature: -2 to 41F (temp. rise over previous several day) Construction: Material: cast iron) Riveted Steel- type unknown (one report said

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Significant Characteristics: Poor construction quality Point of Origin: Manhole near the base of the tank Commodity: Molasses Amount Lost: 2,300,000 gallons ( 50ft tall by 90 ft diam.) Deaths: 21 150

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Injuries:

Boston Molasses Flood Data Reports Witness

Some say it collapsed, others say it exploded.

Reported loud rumbling like a machine gun as rivets shot out of the tank.

The ground shook like a train going by. Eight to fifteen foot wave of molasses at 35 MPH.

Girders of Boston Elevated Railway broke train lifted off the tracks

Buildings swept off of their foundation

Several blocks flooded to a depth of 2 to 3 feet with molasses.

Moving masses investigated to determine if man or animal.

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Truck blown into Boston Harbor.

The Great Boston Molasses Flood

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Boston Molasses Flood Data Contributing factors reported and


speculated

Poor construction and insufficient testing People reportedly filled their molasses jars from home from leaks

Filled to highest level (also filled to max on 8 other occasions)

Cyclic stress and fatigue? Pre-stressed cracks?

Speculation of Carbon Dioxide pressure due to fermentation

Vents Plugged? Maximum hoop stress

Initiated from a manhole near the base of the tank


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Liberty Ship Failures

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USS Schenectady

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Liberty Ships Breaking Apart


Date: January 16, 1943 Location: Portland Oregon Temperature: Water 29.2F : Air 37F Construction: Welded Material: Steel- type unknown Significant Characteristics: Rapid construction, No Crack arresting plates, Inexperienced welders Poor construction quality Point of Origin: Corners of Hatch opening,
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Number of ships that failed; 1944- 120

1943 -20

Liberty Ships Breaking Apart


Significant contributors to failure:

Poor quality steel

New construction methods (welding)thought to be an unsuitable method of construction

Lack of knowledge of fracture characteristics of steel,


Cold, North sea water, Overloading.

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Liberty Ship Failures


Add text

USS Ponaganset
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Oil Storage Tank Failure

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Oil Storage Tank Failure


Date: Location: January 2, 1988 Floreffe , Pennsylvania Temperature: 12 to 26F (12 hours before to time of failure) Construction: Material: unknown Welded Steel type: Carbon Steel Grade

Significant Characteristics: Reconstructed Tank Point of Origin: Flaw near a weld Commodity: Deaths: Diesel fuel none Injuries: none Amount Lost: 2,500,000 gallons Significant factor: Filled to highest level ever attained

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Photograph source: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/programs/er/resource/d1_07.htm

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Oil Storage Tank Failure


Witness comments: Eyewitness accounts of the failure indicated that there were no warnings. At the time of failure the tank was nearly full. There was no explosion. An operator was on the roof of the tank to verify that it was nearly full just five minutes before the tank ruptured. Sounds like thunder were described as emanating from the tank for about 30 seconds at the time of the failure.
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Oil Storage Tank Failure

R.M. Keddal & Assoc., Library, PA

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The Aftermath
Observations of the failure site revealed that the tank had moved about 120 feet. The roof of the tank was still attached to portions of the tank wall. The bottom of the failed tank remained intact. Collateral damage included a fifty ft high adjoining tank that had oil on its roof and another tank some distance away that had oil all over it and was physically damaged The tidal wave effect of the sudden release of a column of diesel oil 120 ft in diameter and 50 ft high caused the oil to flow over the dike wall, into storm drain at an adjacent power plant that flowed directly to the Monongahela River.
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An estimated 500,000 gallons of oil went into the

Oil Storage Tank Failure

R.M. Keddal & Assoc., Library, PA

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Contributing Factors to Tank Failure

Tank was built in 1940


Poor quality steel Welding Technology was not what it is today

Tank was cut apart and rewelded Flaw existed

From original Welding Old service required Heating and Insulation New Service did not required heating and insulation

Service Change

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Contributing Factors to Tank Failure

Battelle; Columbus ,Ohio

Flaw in bottom shell course from original construction. 8/26/12

Factors Contributing to Brittle Fracture Common factors that are very


consequential. All of the failures were associated with cold weather All of the failed structures were subjected to high stress levels. The tanks were at their maximum fill height The ships were subjected to the stresses of the pounding of waves and, in many cases overloading. They were fabricated during times that very little was known concerning fracture mechanics and the effect low temperature could have on the toughness of steel.

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Factors Contributing to Brittle Fracture .

Stress risers were present The molasses tank was noted to have many flaws Revealed by the leaks Initiated at a lower manway

The oil tank had a flaw that was attributed to be the triggering mechanism for the failure.

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Many of the ship failures initiated in corners of hatches or other locations that are know now to be points of high stress concentration

Similar Traits of Failures


Molasses Tank
-2 to 41F Low temperatur e

Oil Tank
12 to 26F

Ships
29/37F

Flaws, Stress

Leaks

Yes

Stress Risers

Maximum fill Maximum fill Movement and overload Yes Yes Yes Yes

Susceptible Yes Metal


NO New Technology (welding) 8/26/12

Common Factors
Three things are necessary for brittle fracture to occur: A material that is susceptible to brittle fracture High NDT Low Charpy Values

1)

2) Stress Uniform stress Concentrated Stress due to flaws or discontinuities 3) Low metal temperature Below or near the NDT
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Effect on Codes and Standards


Molasses Flood Era

No active organization such as API-AME Minimal failures Lack of attention

Liberty Ship Era

New technology War Effort Early Refineries No significant incidents

Early ASME Codes

1951 API-ASME Listed allowable stress down to -20F

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Effect on Codes and 1980s & 90s Standards

API In response to industry needs was In a period of unprecedented development of documents


RP 570 Piping Inspection Code: RP 571 Damage Mechanisms Affecting Fixed Equipment RP 572 Inspection of Pressure Vessels RP 573 Inspection of Fired Boilers and Heaters RP 574 Inspection Practices for Piping System Components RP 575 Inspection of Atmospheric & L P Storage Tanks RP 576 Inspection of Pressure-Relieving Devices RP 577 Welding Inspection and Metallurgy RP 578 Material Verification Program Std 579-1/ASME FFS-1 Fitness-For-Service RP 580 & 581 Risk-Based Inspection
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Effect on Codes and Standards


ASME data on Brittle Fracture and Low temperature In UCS 65, UCS 66

ASME 1988 -- 3 by 8 column ASME 1989 -- 6 pages

API Std 650


Extensive section on Low Temperature

API 620 Std


Appendix Q and R related to Low Temperature

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Considerations for Existing Equipment resistance of the material of The brittle fracture
construction is fixed for any existing piece of equipment and cannot be altered . API 579-1/ASME FFS-1, JUNE 5, 2007

Part 3 - based on ASME Section 8 Div 1, Para UCS-66


Screening tool for determining propensity for Brittle Fracture Variables Material Type Thickness Stress Applied Stress Known flaws Credit for PWHT Temperature -Limit Exposure
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Assessment Considerations Three Levels of Assessment


Level 1 Can be satisfied based on:

Impact test results or impact test exemptions curves from the code Accomplished by a scrutiny of existing equipment data Comparing the CET (critical exposure temperature) to the MAT (minimum allowable temperature).

The methodology of RP 579 is quite thorough in the guidelines provided for determining the CET and the MAT. Equipment that has a CET equal to or greater than the MAT are exempt from further brittle fracture assessment unless conditions change.
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Assessment Considerations

A good Management of Change program should be in place to trigger an action item should changes occur that might affect the CET. One level 1 assessment of a plant resulted in 15% of the equipment being exempt from further assessment.
.

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Assessment Considerations into consideration: Level 2 assessment takes

Operating pressure/temperature envelope Compared to the component design stress and MAT.

Adjustments are permitted to the MAT providing proper impact test documentation is present. Credit is also given for fabrication conditions such as PWHT (post weld heat treatment).

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Assessment Considerations Level 2 assessment (contd):


When determining the stress conditions, consideration is given to:

Excess material above the required minimum thickness The effect of joint efficiency Wall thickness

In the aforementioned assessment, 51% of the equipment met the required criteria after a level 1 and level 2 assessment..

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Assessment Level 3 Assessment Considerations determinations of Normally involves more detailed


one or more of the three factors that control the susceptibility to brittle fracture: stress flaw size material toughness. Many factors affect the outcome. Significant amounts of inspection data may be available and other problems may be on record that must be considered in the brittle fracture assessment. Example--Equipment that was in amine service --possibly susceptible to cracking or blistering. Many parts of RP 579 specifically address many of these issues and can be effectively utilized to enhance the brittle fracture assessment.
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Assessment Considerations the results of the There are many ways to present
brittle fracture assessments. A very effective way is to provide a graph of each component showing the minimum allowable temperature as a function of percent of design pressure. This method provides:

A rapid assessment of the permitted pressure for all temperatures Permitted temperature for all pressures within the limits of the design pressure of the equipment.

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Nature of Brittle Fracture & Most variables are not Assessment exact

Stress levels are based on overall stress

No accountability for stress concentrations such as residual stress in welds, stress at connections Concentrated stresses act as crack initiators that cannot be arrested

Hydrotest in ductile range can blunt cracks and flaws to resist BF

All three components must be present at the same time


Susceptibility- Cannot be changed Stress Must be controlled Temperaturebe aware of sources of low temperature

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Sources of Low Temperature must provide Weather--cant be controlled;

protection

False sense of security in warm parts of the country. Autorefrigeration due to Relief Valve

Process related situations

Relief valve open- Cool down below CET Relief valve close- repressurization while cold.

Depressurization for other reasons Mixed phase flow- cooling of piping from Vessel stream Cold start-up or repressurization procedures must be considered Shock chilling

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Summary

Older equipment is more likely to be susceptible. Failure is usually catastrophic with no warning Stress and Temperature are only controllable factors Stress from applied pressure or flaws Fabrication Practices Temperature from weather

Low temperature sources can come from process even in warm weather

Codes and Recommend Practices provide Guidance

Continually being revised

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Energ y

Questions??
Verne Ragle, P.E. Mechanical Integrity Consultant Click to edit Master subtitle style
Siemens Energy Oil &Gas Division Engineering Consulting Business Unit 4615 Southwest Freeway, Suite 900 Houston, TX 77027 Tel.: (281)-220-1701 Fax: (713)-570-1230 Mobile: (850) 398-7097 Email: verne.ragle@siemens.com http://www.sea.siemens.com

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