Condenser tube failure via wall penetration allows cooling water to contaminate the working fluid (steam). Contamination, especially from brackish or saltwater, will lower steam quality and thus lower overall plant efficiency. Because of the importance of minimizing leakages, power plant engineers are primarily concerned with the maximum localized corrosion in a unit rather than average corrosion values or rates. Extreme value analysis is a useful tool for evaluating the condition of condenser tubing. Extreme value statistical techniques allow the prediction of the most probable deepest pit in a given surface area based upon data acquired from a smaller surface area. Data is gathered from a physical examination of actual tubes (either in-service or from a sidestream unit) rather than small sample coupons. Three distinct applications of extreme value statistics to condenser tube evaluation are presented in this paper: (1) condition assessment of an operating condenser, (2) design data for material selection, and (3) research tool for assessing impact of various factors on condenser tube corrosion.
The projections for operating units based on extreme value analysis are shown to be more useful than those made on the basis of other techniques such as eddy current or electrochemical measurements. Extreme value analysis would benefit from advances in two key areas: (1) development of an accurate and economical method for the measurement of maximum pit depths of condenser tubes in-situ would enhance the application of extreme value statistical analysis to the assessment of condenser tubing corrosion pitting and (2) development of methodologies to predict pit depth-time relationship in addition to pit depth-area relationship would be useful for modeling purposes.