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Heat Exchanger Tube Inspection Equipment

Heat exhangers are essential to the operation of many systems in industry, including processing plants and electric power generation plants. Because of their vital importance to plant operation, heat exchangers are inspected and maintained during regular service outage.

Conventional inspection techniques of heat exchanger tubes, such as ultrasonic and eddy current, examine one local area at a time and therefore a scan of the entire tube is required. Because there are several hundred of tubes in a heat exchanger bundle, and conventional inspection is slow, only a small fraction of the tubes is inspected.

The SwRI® developed MsS Heat Exchanger Probe that allows fast inspection of the entire length of a tube. The probe has received a 2006 R&D 100 Award (R&D Magazine, September 2006, p52). It generates and detects torsional guided waves which fill the entire tube wall. A short pulse of the waves generated by the probe is mechanically coupled to the tube under inspection and propagates along the length of the tube. When the transmitted wave encounters geometric anomalies such as corrosion and cracks in the tube wall, a part of the wave is reflected and travels back to the probe where the signal is detected.

It shows the photo of MsS Heat Exchanger Probe used for inspection of heat exchanger tube. The figure shows the test data from a heat exchanger tube bundle mockup at the Electric Power Research Institute: the first trace is data taken from a good tube and the data in the 2nd through 4th traces were taken from three tubes having artificial defects. The defects were marked with "D".

To see the performance of MsS guided-wave inspection with twisted heat exchanger tube, click on Long-Range UT of Twisted Heat Exchanger Tube.

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