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Support for Turbine Life Management Programs

In-situ hardness testing, field replication, and metallurgical failure analysis performed in support of turbine life management programs.

Turbine Blade Failures

Turbine blade failures are the most consequential of turbine problems, in terms of unit availability and capacity factor losses, for both nuclear and fossil units.  Low pressure (LP) turbine blade failures are responsible for the majority of reported outages, downtime, and associated costs.

Turbine blades fail due to a combination of mechanical stresses and the effects of the environment to which they are subjected. The leading causes of LP turbine blade failure are high cycle fatigue, stress corrosion cracking, and corrosion fatigue.  Failure may occur in the shroud and damping element, the airfoil region, or the attachment (blade root) area.

High-pressure (HP) turbine blades (and rotors) are exposed to a high-temperature environment, whose damaging mechanisms include thermal fatigue, solid particle erosion, and creep. These conditions can cause cracking of the blade-fit area.

Turbine Life Management Testing Services

Kinectrics’ materials engineers perform in-situ field replications and hardness testing campaigns of blades, rotors, and casings during scheduled outages in support of turbine management programs.  If defects are identified, non-destructive and visual examinations, optical and scanning electron microscopy are employed to identify initiation sites (such as pits or manufacturing defects), crack size, propagation modes, growth directions, and whether cracks are active or dormant. 

The analysis of beach marks and fatigue striations on the fracture surface helps to identify the operation modes during which cracks are active as well as the crack growth rates.  Kinectrics makes detailed observations of fracture surfaces, secondary cracks, and alloy microstructure to identify cracking mechanisms. 

Micro-chemical analysis of corrosion scales and deposits on crack and blade surfaces identify the presence of contaminants such as chlorides and sulfides which promote corrosion and stress corrosion cracking.