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Engineering Specialties Used:
Creep Analysis
Heat Transfer
Thermal Stress

Radiant section tubes in a large heater were deforming excessively near the returns and there was a concern for tube rupture. Multiple changes had been made to the system during the last turnaround, so there was more than one likely candidate for the observed behavior. There was a need to understand the cause of the deformations, a prediction regarding expected future deformations and a remediation action plan.

Operating Heater Internals


Two-dimensional heat transfer finite element models (FEM) were built to understand the effect of various changes made to the system on temperature distributions. These temperatures were then used in a three-dimensional thermal stress model to determine the influence of recent system changes on the observed behavior. It was found that one of the recent changes was primarily responsible for the observed deformations. Based upon this understanding, the heater remained in service. A remediation design was prepared for implementation during the next turnaround in order to limit future deformations.


Finite Element Model of the Heater Tubes

By understanding the cause of the observed deformation, and expected future behavior, the heater was able to remain in operation, thus preventing an unscheduled shut down. Argos Engineers is ready to partner with your operations personnel. Only shut down when needed and continue operating safely, and with confidence, when possible. Our personnel have been performing fitness-for-service evaluations of critical systems for over twenty years. Let us provide the analysis input needed for confident decision making.

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