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Hydrogen Embrittlement of a Boiler Water Wall Tube in a District Heating System


A district heating system is an eco-friendly power generation facility with high energy efficiency. The boiler water wall tube used in the district heating system is exposed to extremely harsh conditions, and unexpected fractures often occur during operation. In this study, a corrosion failure analysis of the boiler water wall tube was performed to elucidate the failure mechanisms. The study revealed that overheating by flames was the cause of the failure of the boiler water wall tube. With an increase in temperature in a localized region the microstructure not only changed from ferrite/pearlite to martensite/bainite, which made it more susceptible to brittleness, but it also developed tensile residual stresses in the water-facing side by generating cavities or microcracks along the grain boundaries inside the tube. High-temperature hydrogen embrittlement combined with stress corrosion cracking initiated many microcracks inside the tube and created an intergranular fracture.

Funding source: This work was supported by a National Research Foundation (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (2021R1A4A1031494, 2020R1I1A2070474). EWH is grateful for the support of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) Programs MOST 110-2224-E-007-001 and MOST 108-2221-E-009-131-MY4.

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