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METALLURGY ADVISORY

AGED STEEL
LONG TERM, HIGH TEMPERATURE
EXPOSURE

REV: 1

Revision No.
Date
By
Checked By
Approved By

MA-A001
13 March 2012

0
28 JAN 98
J. Sievert
n/a
n/a

1
13 MAR 12
JC
CP
LES

PAGE 1 OF 5

METALLURGY ADVISORY
AGED STEEL

REV: 1

LONG TERM, HIGH TEMPERATURE


EXPOSURE

MA-A001
13 March 2012
PAGE 2 OF 5

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Section
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Title
Page No.
GENERAL ...................................................................................................................................... 2
Forward ........................................................................................................................................ 2
Code Precautions ........................................................................................................................ 2
Alloyed Steels ............................................................................................................................... 3
Recommended Tests ................................................................................................................... 3
Summary ....................................................................................................................................... 4
Repairs .......................................................................................................................................... 5

1. General
Revamps involving elevated temperature "aged" steels
1.1.1 The purpose of this guideline is to allow for consideration of appropriate testing of steels which have
been exposed to elevated temperatures for prolonged periods in order to determine weldability and
adequacy of mechanical properties.
1.1.2 This would be intended for equipment such as an FCCU Reactor vessel undergoing revamp
modifications which require addition of new nozzles or removal of heads or portions of shells. Also this
would apply to carbon steel piping which has been operating above 800F for extended duration. This
Guideline is not mandatory, but advises caution and provides some testing procedures or considerations.
2. Forward
2.1.1 Numerous processing units have utilized steels at operating temperatures in excess of ASME Code
precautionary temperatures and with service exposures exceeding 20 years and some beyond 40 years.
2.1.2 The metallurgical changes which these components have undergone may have altered their
mechanical properties to such an extent that modifications requiring welding may produce unanticipated
results which could affect integrity; or, wherein operational reliability could be questioned.
2.1.3 KBR recognizes the cautionary considerations within ASME Codes along with a understanding that
"harmful" forms of changes can occur versus those changes which may not be damaging.
2.1.4 KBR historical experience has shown that harmful graphitization or the "eyebrow" or "connected chain"
forms of graphite have not appeared in those samples which have been historically available. "Nodules" and
other rounded or dispersed forms have been encountered.
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2.1.5 Potentially "harmful" forms can affect mechanical properties in "graphitized" zones; which are of most
importance for start-up and shut-down periods with respect to development of strain concentrations which
might have low fracture toughness.
3. Code Precautions

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3.1.1 Several grades of steels listed in ASME Section II, Part D within Table 1A, "Maximum Allowable Stress
Values in Tension for Carbon and Low Alloy Steel" have cautionary notes concerning prolonged service at
elevated temperatures.
3.1.2 PLATE: ASME SA-36, SA-285, SA-299, SA-414, SA-442, SA-515, SA-516. Also older forms such as
SA-201 and SA-212 which have been replaced by SA-515/516.

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AGED STEEL

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3.1.3 For the above Carbon or C-Mn or C-Mn-Si steels, the following notes from Table 1A are applied:
G10. Upon prolonged exposure to temperatures above 427C (800F), the carbide phase of carbon steel
may be converted to graphite.
PLATE: ASME SA-204 For C-1/2Moly steels, the following note is applied:
G11. Upon prolonged exposure to temperatures above 468C (875F), the carbide phase of carbon steel
may be converted to graphite.
The note G11 does not apply to the Mn-1/2Mo grade of steel SA-302. However as a special consideration in
some types of processes, it should be recognized that SA-204 is considered as a material to be avoided in
high temperature hydrogen environments (API-941).
4. Alloyed Steels

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4.1.1 Due to the stability of carbides in low chromium grades, there is NO CODE notation regarding elevated
temperature or prolonged exposure. However, some experiences suggest that even low chromiums higher
than 1Cr-1/2Mo (SA-387 Grade 2 or 12) such as SA-387 Grade 11 (which is 1-1/4Cr-1/2Mo-Si) may also
lose weldability and experience a loss in toughness upon prolonged exposure above temperatures
associated with "temper-embrittlement" which some users suggest may occur at a temperature as low as
approximately 371C (700F) (or even higher temperature "creep-embrittlement").
4.1.2 While operation at designed temperatures is not of concern, equipment modifications or even brittle
fracture at ambient conditions have been stated as concerns by others. These steels could use the following
test guidelines where repair or replacement was being considered; and if necessary, suitable minimum
operating temperatures for pressurization could be developed.
5. Recommended Tests
5.1.1 In the event that a Reactor shell is to be modified, it would be preferred to remove coupon materials
from an area where a new nozzle is added; otherwise consideration should be given to removal of a portion
of the shell if necessary.
5.1.2 The coupon or coupons should be of sufficient length and width in order to provide samples
conforming to ASME Sections V and IX and/or ASTM A370 testing and as required to produce the following:
a.

Weldability - either two pieces of the coupon material should be welded together or one piece of the
material is to be welded to another carbon steel of the same P-Number and Group Number and of equal
thickness. This should be done in accordance with the essential variables required by the Welding
Procedure Specification and the Procedure Qualification Record as defined in accordance with ASME
Section IX and as intended for the repair welding. Where the original material involves a stainless steel
weld overlay or "pluramelt" lining, this "cladding" should be stripped back to avoid interference with the
base material mechanical property tests. Where the overlay requires reapplication, the chemistry of the
stainless steel "cladding" needs to be determined.
1.

b.

Bend tests - three coupons representing reverse bends of the weldment.

Mechanical Property tests


1.

Tensile test of aged base material to be compared with original Mill Test Reports if available; or
against minimum specified design values. Tensile, yield and elongation are to be reported.

METALLURGY ADVISORY
AGED STEEL

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2.

Microstructure - an etched metallurgical coupon with photomicrograph at 100X magnification is


preferred; otherwise metallurgical "replication" of surface microstructure may be performed if
satisfactory results can be achieved. Graphite and form of graphite is to be determined if any. In
addition, photomicrographs are to highlight any microsegregation or any creep voids.

3.

Charpy V-Notch of the base metal and of the HAZ (heat affected zone) at the lowest ambient
temperature for the plant location. (Or at the lowest temperature for full pressure design in
accordance with ASME VIII-1 UCS-66). This test should be taken from the weldability test for an
indication of current welding on the HAZ properties in addition to any HAZ removed from existing
welds which were removed from the aged steel.

4.

Hardness - Vickers hardness (Diamond Pyramid Hardness) traverses should be made on the
Microstructure samples, preferably across the base metal and through the HAZ of the weldment.

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5.1.3 Chemistry
a.

Chemistry - quantitative chemical analysis should be completed on the coupon in order to verify carbon
content as well as Mn, P, S, Si, Al, Cr, Ni, Mo, Cb, Sn, Pb, V and B. (Manganese, Phosphorus, Silicon,
Aluminum, Chromium, Nickel, Molybdenum, Columbium, Tin, Lead, Vanadium and Boron).

b.

Carbon Equivalency - A CE value should be determined in accordance with:


CE = C + Mn/6 + (Cu+Ni)/15 + (Cr+Mo+V)/5

The resultant value could suggest the need for higher preheat during welding or the need for Post Weld Heat
Treatment following new welding; and not as related to a long-term in-service "stress" relief.
5.1.4 Base Metal Soundness
a.

While not considered as a function of any "aging" process of steel, original plate imperfections may be
present which could affect modifications involving welding or cutting. In order to ensure that a new
nozzle location, for example, will be installed in a base material which does not have "laminations" or
"segregations", or even thickness losses due to oxidation or corrosion, it would be prudent to perform
ultrasonic testing of the areas to be cut and/or welded prior to any modification.

b.

Wet Fluorescent Magnetic Particle Examination (WFMT) is capable of detecting minute cracking (or
linear indications) and is worthwhile for the appropriate service exposed applications. This inspection
technique would not be recommended for the equipment which has been exposed to elevated
temperatures for prolonged service times (e.g. FCCU reactors). Inspection of modified equipment
should be in accordance with the required Code and design requirements.

6. Summary
6.1.1 The results of the foregoing tests will determine the need for any further evaluation or whether the
steel will be suitable for longer service under the required design. Any unusual results of these tests should
be reviewed by an appropriate Design Engineer and a Metallurgist.
6.1.2 Where any results were found out of specification or could be considered as a potential problem,
additional testing may be required for development of appropriate welding parameters or in consideration of
full loading conditions during ambient temperature exposures.

METALLURGY ADVISORY
AGED STEEL

REV: 1

LONG TERM, HIGH TEMPERATURE


EXPOSURE

MA-A001
13 March 2012
PAGE 5 OF 5

7. Repairs
7.1.1 Repairs should utilize qualified welding procedures (ASME Section IX) for the P-Number(s) involved;
including weld overlays here applicable.
7.1.2 Weld preparation should include beveling and Magnetic Particle examination of the beveled edge for
detection of laminations or cracking.
7.1.3 Preheating is recommended at a minimum of 150C (300F) which should be maintained throughout
the welding.
7.1.4 Welding consumables should be selected in accordance with KBR Welding Standards.
7.1.5 Completed welds should be Magnetic Particle (MT) or dye penetrant (PT) examined on all welded
surfaces (outside and internal diameter where accessible).
7.1.6 Post Weld Heat Treatment shall be in accordance with the Code or any environmental service
requirement (stress corrosion potential).