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Several examples of acoustic emission (AE) testing of piping and vessels are presented. For each case, the procedure, results, and comparison of the results with independent test methods are discussed. Also, consideration is given to the economics of using AE monitoring, especially in relation to alternative methods of inspection.
A convection coil assembly, consisting of 432 m of Incoloy tubing, was monitored during hydrotesting. The AE results indicated four critically active sources and then the coil was selectively disassembled for additional examinations of the suspected thermally induced cracks. In a second field application, thirteen autoclaves were individually monitored during hydrotesting. The AE records indicated a number of sources in five autoclaves. Four of these were scheduled for reexamination in two years. On the basis of the AE results, one autoclave was taken out of service and a major crack in the vessel's jacket was confirmed.
A chemical processing vessel, having a surface area of 170 m2, was AE tested during filling with water. Eight regions, having significantly active AE sources, were identified and evaluated. The unit was subsequently removed from service and replaced. A metals processing vessel, having a surface area of 158 m2, was monitored during pressurization. Eight regions of regular AE activity were documented. None of these were considered to indicate critical flaw size. Several of the defects were confirmed by other types of inspection.
acoustic emission, pressure testing, piping, vessels, flaw detection, nondestructive tests
Trodyne Corporation, Mahwah, N. J.
Technology for Energy Corporation, Knoxville, Tenn