Structural integrity assessment of H2S storage tanks using acoustic emission and ultrasonic techniques

C. K. Mukhopadhyay (Non Destructive Evaluation Division, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, India)
T.K. Haneef (Non Destructive Evaluation Division, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, India)
T. Jayakumar (Non Destructive Evaluation Division, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, India)
G.K. Sharma (Non Destructive Evaluation Division, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, India)
B.P.C. Rao (Non Destructive Evaluation Division, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, India)

International Journal of Structural Integrity

ISSN: 1757-9864

Publication date: 2 February 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the results of acoustic emission (AE) and ultrasonic inspection of two H2S storage tanks carried out in a heavy water plant, in order to characterize point type defects observed during earlier ultrasonic inspection and to ensure that these defects are not growing during hydrotesting of the tanks.

Design/methodology/approach

Using multiple AE sensors and AE source location methodology, the entire tank could be covered to detect and locate any dynamic sources of AE associated with local plastic deformation and/or growing discontinuities from any part of the tank during the hydrotest. For confirmation of the results obtained by AE, ultrasonic inspection on the tanks and on virgin plates from which the tanks were manufactured, were carried out.

Findings

The AE signals generated during first pressurisation are attributed to the micro yielding of the material of the tanks. A few scattered AE events were observed at a few locations during the hydrotesting of the tanks and these are due to structural and rubbing noise. During hold periods and repressurising cycle of the hydrotesting, no detectable AE events were observed and this confirmed the absence of any growing discontinuity in the tanks during the hydrotesting. Ultrasonic inspection on the tanks and on virgin plates confirmed that the point type defects detected are manufacturing defects and not formed during service life.

Practical implications

The combined results from AE and ultrasonic techniques confirmed the structural integrity of the tanks and ensured their healthiness for continued operation.

Originality/value

The paper brings out the use of AE and ultrasonic techniques for monitoring hydrotesting of storage tanks of a heavy water plant. The storage tanks where point type defect indications were reported during previous ultrasonic inspection and whether these defects are growing during hydrotesting of the tanks or not, were required to be known before the tanks are put in to further service. AE signals collected during pressurising and repressurising cycles of the hydrotest and subsequent inspection by ultrasonic confirmed the vessels to be free from growing defects during the hydrotest and provided baseline data for future inspection.

Keywords

Citation

Mukhopadhyay, C.K., Haneef, T.K., Jayakumar, T., Sharma, G.K. and Rao, B.P.C. (2015), "Structural integrity assessment of H2S storage tanks using acoustic emission and ultrasonic techniques", International Journal of Structural Integrity, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 73-89. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSI-11-2013-0045

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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