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Condenser Technology

Seminar and Conference

Condenser Technology Seminar and Conference Technical Report

Technical Report

Condenser Technology Seminar and Conference Technical Report

Condenser Technology

Seminar and Conference


Proceedings, September 2002

EPRI Project Manager J. Stallings

EPRI • 3412 Hillview Avenue, Palo Alto, California 94304 • PO Box 10412, Palo Alto, California 94303 • USA 800.313.3774 • 650.855.2121 • •










John Tsou Consulting Services


Requests for copies of this report should be directed to EPRI Orders and Conferences, 1355 Willow Way, Suite 278, Concord, CA 94520, (800) 313-3774, press 2 or internally x5379, (925) 609-9169, (925) 609-1310 (fax).

Electric Power Research Institute and EPRI are registered service marks of the Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. EPRI. ELECTRIFY THE WORLD is a service mark of the Electric Power Research Institute, Inc.

Copyright © 2002 Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.


This report was prepared by

John Tsou Consulting Services 56 Williams Lane Foster City, CA 94404

Principal Investigator J. Tsou

This report describes research sponsored by EPRI.

The report is a corporate document that should be cited in the literature in the following manner:

Condenser Technology: Seminar and Conference, EPRI, Palo Alto, CA: 2002. 1004116.


Steam surface condensers and associated systems cause significant loss of availability and heat rate degradation in both nuclear and fossil-fired power plants. Nineteen papers, presented at a 2002 Conference, discussed industrial experience and case histories of condenser problems and solutions.

Background Power plant efficiency and availability depend greatly on condenser performance. However, improvements in operation and maintenance practices, materials, and design may correct most of these losses. To address these problems and identify solutions, EPRI has brought together utility representatives, consultants, and manufacturers in seven conferences on condenser technology since 1981. Subsequent to the last EPRI conference on condenser technology, which was held in September 1999 (EPRI report TR-106781), EPRI, utility members, equipment manufacturers, and others have done significant work to improve system reliability, performance, and life extension of this equipment and associated systems. The current report on CD is the proceedings of the eighth EPRI-sponsored conference on condenser technology.

Objectives To review and document condenser and associated system problems, solutions, and improvements.

Approach Participants, including utility engineers, manufactures, and consultants attended a conference on condenser issues from September 10-11, 2002, in San Antonio, Texas. During six formal sessions, 18 technical presentations covered condenser problems and solutions. Two panel discussion sessions provided a forum for exchanging information in a less formal environment. At the exhibition, vendors displayed the latest materials, equipment, and services. Participants could also attend an optional seminar held before the conference.

Key Points This CD contains papers on condenser design, material, maintenance, performance, fouling control, and alternative cooling technology. To assist utility personnel in reducing operation and maintenance cost, the report documents the latest experience on condenser problems and solutions. Presentations covered the following topics:

Improvements in condenser design and upgrade

Case histories of corrosion resistant tube materials

The impact of air in-leakage and fouling on performance

Case histories of fouling control technology

Alternative cooling technology

A condenser performance testing procedure






Failure Analysis



A conference on condenser issues was held from September 10-11, 2002, in San Antonio, Texas. Participants included utility engineers, manufactures, and consultants. During six formal sessions, 18 technical presentations covered condenser problems and solutions.

Three papers discussed the improvements in condenser design and upgrade.

Two papers documented case histories of corrosion resistant tube materials.

Four papers documented condenser maintenance technologies.

Four papers discussed the impact on performance of air in-leakage and fouling.

Three papers described case histories in fouling control technology.

Two papers were related to alternative cooling technology.

One paper documented a condenser performance testing procedure.

Two panel discussion sessions provided a forum for exchanging information in a less formal environment. At the exhibition, vendors displayed the latest materials, equipment, and services.




Power Uprate: The Engineering Evaluation of the Condenser and Cooling Tower



C. Burns, R. L. Stevens, J. M. Burns, Burns Engineering Services Inc.

CFD Analysis Predicts Condenser Performance after Large Power Uprate of the Quad-Cities and Dresden Stations



Rhodes, C. D. Hardy, Heat Exchanger Systems Inc.

J. M. Burns, Burns Engineering Services Inc.



B. Madden, Stone & Webster Inc.

Surface Condensers, Steam Dump, & Design Reliability Considerations David H. Cooley, ALSTOM Power




Thin-Wall Titanium Condenser Tubing: The Next Plateau Dennis J. Schumerth, Valtimet, Inc.


The Performance of Superferritic Stainless Steels in High Chloride Waters John C. Tverberg, Edward R. Blessman, Trent Tube


A Main Condenser Success Story Jim Mitchell, Plastocor, Inc.




Six Case Histories of High Reliability Coatings and Condenser Corrosion Problems Michael J. Horn, James E. Mitchell, Plastocor, Inc.


The Use of 100% Solids Epoxy Coatings for Full Length Condenser Tube Linings



Wesley Langeland, Duromar, Inc.

Richard Kreiselmaier, Plastocor-international SA Bruce Woodruff, Progress Energy


Heat Exchanger Tube Side Maintenance – Repair vs. Replacement Bruce W Schafer, Framatome ANP, Inc.


Condenser Application and Maintenance Guide Sharon R. Parker, Contractor Alan Grunsky, EPRI




A Condenser Success Story Dave Leissner, Mirant Richard Putman, Conco Consulting Corp.


On Understanding Condenser Pressure Saturation at Low Air Ingress Joseph W. Harpster, Intek, Inc.


Experiences With Steam Cycle Air Ingress at Alliant Energy Fossil Plants: Case Studies Documenting the Effects of Air In-Leakage on Steam Plant Operations Wesley A. Kaufman, P.E., Alliant Energy – IP&L


The Measurement of Condenser Losses Due to Fouling and Those Due to Air Ingress Richard E. Putman, Conco Consulting Corp. Joseph W. Harpster, Intek Inc




SIDTEC Condenser Cleaning for Cooling Water Systems



Jones, S. D. Jones, R. Post, GE Betz


F. Echols, SIDTEC Services, Inc.

On-Line Automatic Tube Cleaning System and On-Line Self Flushing Debris Filter Kaveh Someah, Brackett Green WSA, Inc


Mechanical Tube Cleaning: A Brief Tutorial George Saxon, Jr., Conco Systems, Inc.




Wet And Dry Cooling---Cost/Performance Tradeoffs John S. Maulbetsch, Maulbetsch Consulting Kent D. Zammit, EPRI Matthew Layton and Joseph O’Hagan, California Energy Commission


The Impact of Air Cooled Condensers on Plant Design and Operations Richard E. Putman, Conco Consulting Corp. Dirk Jaresch, J & W GmbH


Experience Evaluating Condenser Performance and Tube Fouling with the ASME Performance Test Code on Steam Surface Condensers PTC 12.2 -1998 Dale C. Karg, Santee Cooper John M. Burns, Burns Engineering Services Inc. Michael C. Catapano, Powerfect Inc.




Power Uprate: The Engineering Evaluation of the Condenser and Cooling Tower Daniel C. Burns, Robert L. Stevens, John M. Burns Burns Engineering Services Inc.

CFD Analysis Predicts Condenser Performance After Large Power Uprate of the Quad Cities and Dresden Stations

N. Rhodes, C. D. Hardy, Heat Exchanger Systems Inc.

J. M. Burns, Burns Engineering Services Inc.

T. B. Madden, Stone & Webster Inc.

Surface Condensers, Steam Dump, & Design Reliability Considerations David H. Cooley ALSTOM Power

Session 1: Design Technology



Daniel C. Burns Robert L. Stevens John M. Burns

Burns Engineering Services Inc. PO Box 272 Topsfield, MA 01983-0272


Today many nuclear and fossil based utilities have either completed or intend to appreciably increase the generation of their existing power plants. Power uprate and other associated terms such as repowering, modernization, refurbishment or upgrade, are often used to describe this type of project. Modernization of existing nuclear & coal facilities has been found to be a cost effective way to maximize asset value, especially when compared to installing new generation. The power uprate strategically supports the deregulated market based competitive initiative of increasing production value while lowering costs.

The power cycle equipment often has an extra margin or can be redesigned to allow operation at the higher power level. However, the power uprate produces an increase in the heat duty to the existing condenser and any closed-cycle cooling tower. Uprates have produced as much as a 35% increase in the turbine exhaust steam flow above the original design basis of the condenser. Often uprate projects have been executed with only minimal consideration of the essential detailed engineering of the impacts on the cooling system and related components. Important effects of the uprate on the condenser include excessive turbine backpressures during peak operation, high condensate temperatures, as well as exhaust pressure levels that preclude attaining the station generation that was the economic justification for going forward with the uprate. Other significant cooling system performance effects after an uprate include the capability of the steam jet air ejector or vacuum pump to remove the extra load of non- condensable gases. There will also be an increased potential for condenser tube vibration failures.

In addition, after a power uprate the cooling towers will experience higher approaches to the ambient wet bulb temperatures and warmer water returns to the condenser, hotter station blowdown to the environment, and an increase in evaporation that results in higher make-up flows. Within the paper, an overview of all these far reaching effects of the power uprate on the existing condenser and cooling tower will be presented. Simplified but accurate methods for estimating their increased impacts will be described. The paper will touch on the use of modular bundle replacement condensers and cooling tower augmentation to reduce the uprate impacts in extreme applications.

Session 1: Design Technology

The paper will provide utilities with a broad variety of quantitative cooling system evaluations and contribute to the realistic assessment of the financial benefits of adopting large power uprates for their existing nuclear or fossil plants.


In today’s climate of deregulation, there are attractive financial incentives for power uprates. Power uprates increase the plant generation by an upgrade of existing equipment. Generally, the mechanical equipment in the power cycle has an inherent added capacity for reliable operation at increased power levels or may require modifications to accommodate these added requirements. As a result, the capital & opportunity costs associated with a power uprate may be minimal, while the extra revenues of the station can be appreciable, particularly during peak demand periods.

Taking advantage of the power uprate strategy, many nuclear and fossil based utilities have either completed or plan within the immediate future to increase the generation of many of their existing power plants. But it is not fully appreciated that waste heat is a natural consequence of the thermodynamic cycle and so all power uprates produce an increase in the heat duty to the existing condenser and cooling tower. Indeed, the Second Law of Thermodynamics suggests the typical Rankine-Regenerative-Reheat cycle, that is the technical basis of many steam plants, produces almost two units of heat rejected for every added unit of work. As an indication of the increase in power versus total cooling system heat rejection, a typical fossil or nuclear power plant operates in a thermal efficiency range of 32% to 42% [5]. The thermal efficiency for nuclear plants is at the lower end of this range. This natural consequence of the uprate is sometimes overlooked in the feasibility study of the cooling system compatibility. Uprate plans can be initiated with only minimal consideration of the impacts of the extra heat and steam flow on the cooling system components; particularly on the condenser and cooling tower.

Important effects of the uprate on the condenser include excessive turbine backpressures during peak operation, high condensate temperatures, exhaust pressure levels that preclude attaining the generation which was the justification of the uprate business case, performance effects on the steam jet air ejector or vacuum pump non-condensable removal equipment. Not to mention the increased potential for outages caused by tube impingement & vibration failures, especially during the winter. Further, after a power uprate, any stations with cooling towers will experience hotter blowdown to the environment and more evaporation that will require higher make-up flows. Incrementally higher approaches to wet bulb temperatures will also cause warmer water returns to the condenser and additionally raise the condenser pressure.

For power uprates that seek a large increase in generation, this paper will indicate why simple estimates to quantify the effects of the extra steam on the condenser performance often are not adequate. This paper will outline the quantitative estimates of the uprate performance that can be made of the condenser and cooling towers to accurately determine if revision to the uprate generational expectations will be required. This paper will also discuss condenser and cooling tower performance enhancements that can improve the accommodation of a plant to a large power uprate. This paper does not address the many other effects on the station that must be considered during a power uprate that are not directly related to the main cooling system.

Session 1: Design Technology

Evaluating Existing Cooling System Thermal Performance

Power uprates are applied to older fossil and nuclear plants. Normally, peak summertime operation is the major basis for the associated business case evaluation. Though there are exceptions, the condenser usually has some tubes plugged and is also not generally performing at its design level of apparent cleanliness. Similarly, the cooling tower is often not operating at a 100% design capability and the circulating water pump capacity will likely have slightly degraded over the years. These effects independently reduce the cost effectiveness of the planned power uprate on the expected generation.

All installed cooling systems have a finite capability. Unless the anticipated power increase is low enough so that its impact on the cooling system is very small, the first step is to quantitatively baseline the current performance levels of the condenser and cooling tower. This presumes that the condenser pressures at the summer, peak load condition are currently well below the turbine backpressure limits. An example of a smaller uprate that would likely have a negligible effect might be one under 2% of the present generating capacity. Many plants have accurate cooling system instrumentation to monitor cooling system performance parameters in order to maximize generation and obtain the best heat rate for every specific climate and cooling water inlet condition [1]. Good records of existing performance must be employed as the engineering basis for examining the system’s ability to accept more heat and steam flow. The impact of the uprate on the system performance can then be quantitatively evaluated to determine potential pinch points that may cause significant reductions in gross generation from the expected uprate levels. Subsequently, any need to consider system modifications can be definitively addressed.

Baselining the existing unit performance from the design basis is critical. The main parameters are cooling water flow, the apparent cleanliness of the condenser, and a recent capability of the cooling tower along with the incidence of entering wet bulbs and inlet water temperatures to the condenser. If accurate performance information on that equipment is not available, it is recommended it be obtained. The data is required for any accurate uprate projection going forward.

Predictions of the potential level of uprate achievable during peak demand periods should be assessed. The cooling system performance can be determined from a review of historical station generation derate incidences, available shift data and reasonably accurate operation or test data developed from the elements of codes such as ASME PTC 12.2 [2] and ASME PTC 23 [3]. Tests of the circulating water (CW) pumps or other CW flow measurements are also required to determine existing pump capability.

The existing turbine backpressure limits (or the expected limit should it be redesigned), the incremental turbine characteristic curve, the opportunity cost of the added revenues and the annual statistical hours of incidence are all needed to fully evaluate the annual extra power, heat rate, revenues and potentials for unit derating. With the increased heat and steam flow from the planned power uprate, the baseline performance of the condenser & cooling tower and the maximum weather/inlet water conditions expected at the site, an estimate of the performance signature of the cooling system after the uprate can commence.

Session 1: Design Technology

The Heat Exchange Institute Condenser Algorithm

Condensers are designed to achieve a certain performance by determining the surface area, and number of tubes from a variety of conditions such as the quantity of cooling water, steam flow, space and tubing parameters. These then define the performance estimated by an industry algorithm from the Heat Exchange Institute [4]. The latter is a tool used to determine the basic design requirements. The HEI estimate is reasonably accurate and importantly puts all manufacturers on the same technical basis during the design phase of a project. In effect, it levels the playing field for the Owners allowing them a simple gauge to measure performance. After the numbers of tubes are established, the condenser designer develops the detailed tube bundle pattern, layer by layer based on the space available under the turbine and a host of design rules and requirements. The manufacturer does not use HEI directly for the many estimates, but instead relies on empirical test data & correlations that have been developed over the years.

Avoiding excessive steam side velocities, excessive condensate inundation and steam pressure losses from packing tubes too closely together are paramount design considerations. The designer will use steam lanes and spacing in a distinct pattern to mitigate higher velocities. Because the steam is saturated, pressure drops in a condenser tube bundle are always accompanied by a loss in steam saturation temperature. If the pressure drop is more than anticipated by the design rules, the temperature loss reduces the effective potential difference between the steam and the cooling water temperatures. Since all of the steam is condensed, any extra temperature reduction within the tube bundle causes a backpressure rise that exactly compensates for the loss. This is a direct penalty to the condenser performance and the target design backpressure will not be achieved because in effect the overall tube spacing in the bundle is tight.

In most situations, the HEI method provides a reasonably accurate estimate of the performance of a specific condenser design during its operation. This method supplies a simple, quick empirical method of evaluation and has been successfully used since 1932. Though the basic method has not changed much since then, the correction factors and the heat transfer data has continually been refined throughout the years to help improve its correlation accuracy.

But one underlying engineering premise must be fully understood when the HEI method is applied to determine the performance. As inferred in the paragraph above, the calculation of the HEI heat transfer coefficient fundamentally assumes the tube bundle reflects a pattern of tubes that were properly located for that design condition. If for instance, the tubes were clustered so tightly that steam would not be able to easily enter the bundle, the actual performance would fall very short of the HEI prediction. As a second example, if a tube pattern were constricted so that the steam did not flow uniformly over all tubes as it moved toward the air cooler section, the estimated HEI performance would not be realized. And if the tubes of a certain tube bundle were positioned too close together such that the steam velocities became very high producing higher than expected steam pressure losses and perhaps significant accumulated condensate rain over the tubes, the HEI heat transfer coefficient again would not be achieved.

Similarly, the HEI method cannot be applied to variations in the steamside conditions that are characteristically different than the design conditions because the HEI calculation focuses only on changes in the waterside heat transfer conditions. Since the waterside resistances generally

Session 1: Design Technology

dominate the overall heat transfer, this is a reasonable engineering assumption that allows simplifications and at the same time provides accurate predictions of the performance of a given design. Unfortunately though, the HEI method does not accurately forecast the performance of the condenser when steam flows and velocities increase appreciably.

Thus, it should be recognized that the existing condenser design that is being used in the power uprate has a tube bundle pattern that was tailored for a maximum quantity of steam. If the uprate steam flow is much greater than the design basis, HEI will produce a very optimistic prediction of the condenser backpressure.

Alternative Evaluation of Condenser Performance

To estimate the condenser performance at appreciable power uprate levels, an adaptation of the well-known thermal resistance technique can be used. The resistance method is more scientifically based than the HEI algorithm and includes a separate value for the steamside resistance at the original, design condition. The condenser steamside resistance change that reflects the added steam flow of the uprate can be estimated from the Nusselt equation with corrections for bundle steam pressure losses and condensate inundation.

The evaluation procedure for power uprates with their increases in steam flow into an existing condenser design is an adaptation from Section 5 of the ASME Performance Test Code [2]. The technique extends the ASME procedures to reflect condensate inundation and incorporates additional factors for the natural steam-side, two-phase pressure loss effects. The overall coefficient of heat transfer is estimated from the individual resistances and then used along with the CW flow, temperature rise, shell surface area and average inlet water temperature to establish the final condenser pressure. This evaluation procedure has continually evolved from a simplistic model of the resistance method to more complex models that incorporate condensate inundation & steam pressure losses.

The major aspects of the detailed computational basis can be found in ASME PTC 12.2, which is also summarized in a 1994 condenser paper [1]. As an outline, the original design point of the condenser includes the cleanliness and with that information and the overall heat transfer coefficient of that design, the fouling resistance (in Units Hr-Ft 2 -F/BTU) can be quantified. By more precisely determining the waterside resistance from the Rabas-Cane correlation, the designer’s original, overall shell side resistance can then be extracted from the computation. The shell side resistance is then incrementally adjusted for the increased steam flow associated with the power uprate, condensate inundation and the increased steam pressure losses. Summing and inverting all the additional resistances associated with the power uprate, produces the overall condenser uprate heat transfer coefficient. This modified heat transfer coefficient is utilized to determine the increased condenser pressure during the peak uprate conditions or other situations of interest.

As had been indicated earlier, compared to the original design basis, the extra steam associated with a power uprate can be significant. The turbine exhaust pressure upon which any operating pressure limits and generation are based is exactly at the turbine exhaust, not at the condenser tube bundle. Steam flows at high velocities from the annulus of down exhaust turbines, turn and flow over numerous bracing, heaters, extraction lines, the general structure of the exhaust steam

Session 1: Design Technology

space and the upper section of the condenser. The disturbances in flow pattern cause a pressure loss that is higher than the design and this must be also included in the evaluation of the performance at power uprate. Since the most important point is during peak conditions and this is usually associated with summer, high absolute pressures, the Mach number of the flow is in the incompressible range.

Therefore, incompressible formula can be used to estimate this loss. With the computed condenser tube bundle pressure at uprate conditions, the expected turbine exhaust pressure can now be estimated for the uprate, compared to any operational limits and from the incremental turbine characteristic, the generation benefits including added revenues.

An example of the kind of condenser power uprate data that results from an analysis follows in Table 1. The objective of the study of this cooling system with a multipressure condenser and natural draft tower was to determine the level of power uprate appropriate, identify any system pinch points and the expected generation. In this instance, the inlet temperature to the condenser was first determined from a separate analysis of the cold water approach temperature to the wet bulb from the natural draft tower using the tower manufacturer’s curves and recent non- dimensional capability performance characteristic test data. Notice, in the table below, the high pressure (HP) compartment turbine exhaust pressures incurred substantial incidences of derate reducing the benefits of this power uprate to a marginal level.

Table 1 Typical Summary of EPU Effects on Backpressure & Condensate Temperature






Turbine Exhaust Pressure







% Uprate





LPZone IP Zone HP Zone (in hga) (in hga) (in hga)



























































































The above performance estimates would be repeated for the range of uprate conditions that need to be considered to further define the business case economics. But a few other aspects of the power uprate evaluation need to be addressed to determine the economic value. Condensate temperatures at the uprate conditions should be evaluated to ensure no limiting condensate polishing resin temperatures are exceeded. Multipressure condensers also require the hotwell reheat temperatures to be predicted during the uprate. This can be accomplished by assuming caloric mixing of the condensate from all compartments and then a full flow reheating to reasonably approach the high-pressure compartment steam saturation temperature.

Session 1: Design Technology

In extreme cases, the capacity of existing drain trays to handle the extra condensate should be investigated. The condenser non-condensable gases and/or air inleakage after an uprate should be essentially unchanged except in the case of a Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) facility. The production of non-condensable radiological gases increases in proportion to the associated uprate level of a BWR facility. The effect of this increase in non-condensables may require further evaluation. The overall duty of any steam jet or vacuum pump air removal equipment is increased while at the same time the condensate temperature used to condense the steam in a steam jet intercondenser also increases. Similarly, the condensate that seals the vacuum pump may also see a significant temperature increase that can limit or reduce vacuum pump performance.

When an even more accurate estimate of the condenser’s thermal performance for a significant level of power uprate is necessary, a special computational fluid dynamic (CFD) analysis of a condenser can provide the solution. This method has been available since the ‘70’s but computer core space, matrix solution speeds, input-output limitations and virtual modeling inflexibility restricted its use and effectiveness to only long-term research projects. Now with the revolutionary improvement in computer storage, graphics and processing speed, this technology has enjoyed a wider and more practical application with condensers. The equations of motion of the steam, the condensing heat transfer and mass transfer based on the conservation of mass, momentum and energy are applied separately to each of thousands of small elements that simulate a virtual model of the condenser. Then, the composite interaction and response is determined by iteration to satisfy the boundary conditions of the cooling water flows, cooling inlet and outlet temperatures, overall heat loads, etc.

One example of a recent CFD application was to a more than 60,000 tube, three-pressure condenser in a nuclear plant that would be operating at a power uprate of over 25% more than the design of the original condenser tube bundle. In this case, a model of over 350,000 elemental three-dimensional volumes was developed that duplicated one of the two symmetrical tube bundles and the corresponding local steam space geometry. After the model geometry was verified by comparisons of the model to detailed condenser design drawings and the tube bundle patterns, computer runs that captured key operating conditions involving appreciable steam side effects were performed to validate the model. Verification encompassed the unique absence of any tube vibration history in the operation of this condenser for over 20 years. Then, confident predictions were made of the power uprate turbine exhaust pressures at peak conditions in the summer to estimate the response of the steam turbine and its generation at this evaluation point.

Tube Vibration

Condenser support plate spans are selected during their design to avoid tube vibration. Besides the design flow velocity, the span selected by the designer is basically dependent on the lowest condenser pressure, the tube material, its diameter and wall thickness. The higher flow rates associated with a power uprate increase the potential for damaging flow-induced vibration. Since a power uprate has the potential for causing tube vibration, it is prudent to determine the location and length of anti-vibration stakes. These stakes are typically inserted perpendicular to the bundle at the center of a support bay span to arrest any tube vibration. The uprate impact must be quantitatively considered in order to determine if, how long and where anti-vibration stakes need to be located in a condenser tube bundle.

Session 1: Design Technology

Condensers have experienced damaging tube vibration since the mid-1960’s. The damage is either from mid-span collision, fretting or fatigue failure at the point of support. Heat exchanger manufacturers generally accept the fluid-elastic, flow induced vibration mechanism as the root cause. One numerical tool that allows this evaluation is the Connors Criteria. It can be applied to separate stable and unstable fluid-elastic vibrations and is graphically evident on the plotted results of those calculations. Note that this type of fluid-elastic vibration of condenser tubing has been observed during simulations in controlled laboratory conditions many decades ago.

An adaptation of the Connor’s fluid-elastic method to condensers allows an estimate of the potential for damaging tube vibration during a power uprate. This quantitative method of estimating the onset of damaging condenser tube vibration captures the major aspects of the actual physics of the fluid-elastic aerodynamics. It requires an extensive calculation effort accompanied by a significant amount of detailed condenser design and tube bundle data. During full uprate load operation at the station’s historically low backpressure, it is necessary to estimate the axial and circumferential steam flows around the entire tube bundle. In order to approximate the steam velocity throughout the bundle, it is essential to also determine the condensation of that steam as it enters and travels through the bundle toward the air cooler. The velocity estimate requires measuring the detailed bundle pattern geometry on a large scale drawing of the tube sheet to establish flow areas at several planes on the periphery and in the interior of the bundle. The condensation heat transfer and the steam flow are estimated through sections of the longitudinal and radial portions of the bundle in order to define the local steam velocities across the tubing. Finally, based on the mechanical properties of the tubing and the existing support plate spacing, the unit weight, damping and natural frequency is estimated. These characteristics are compared to determine if, when and how deep into the bundle damaging fluid-elastic tube vibration is likely during a power uprate. The resulting information establishes the length and location of the anti-vibration stakes required to avoid tube vibration. The lengths, numbers and locations can be used as the basis of a subsequent condenser tube staking specification.

An example of the results of tube vibration estimates for a power uprate condition follows. The inlet temperature to the condenser was first determined as the lowest historical temperature that had occurred in the history of the plant. An estimate of the condenser backpressure at the power uprate condition was made first on the basis of that lowest inlet water temperature, the CW pump flows, the uprate heat duty and the apparent condenser cleanliness. The pressure will be found to be higher than the existing power level condenser pressure because of the increased duty and the possible impact of the performance of any cooling tower during an uprate.

As stated previously, the Connor’s criteria separate a small amplitude, stable vibration from unstable, large amplitude fluid elastic tube vibrations. This criteria specifically states that vibration damage will not occur with conditions established by the following equation:

V W × γ tot ≤ β 2 f × D ρ × D n
W ×
≤ β
× D

The left side of the equation is defined as the Vibration Parameter and the right side of the equation is defined as the Damping Parameter.


V = Local steam velocity



= Tube natural frequency

D = Tube O.D.




Steam density




Tube weight

γ = Damping factor

Session 1: Design Technology

β = Factor describing tube array, pitch, diameter and configuration

Table 2 and Figure 1 show typical results of this type of analysis. These results are for the low- pressure shell of a three pressure, multipressure condenser. The shell contains 30,732 1 in. dia. 22 BWG type 304 stainless steel tubes of ~27 feet in length. Bay 1 is at the inlet end of the low pressure (LP) condenser compartment and Bay 6 at the warm or outlet end. Note that the representative table only covers the tube bundle peripheral area, as it would have been excessive to include ten pages of tables for each distance into the bundle. However, the plot includes depths up to 5 feet deep into the bundle.

Table 2 Tube Bundle Peripheral Flow Area ONLY


Bay 1

Bay 2

Bay 3


Bay 5

Bay 6

Bay 7

Length (Ft.)








Temp Out ( o F)








Temp Rise ( o F)








% Steam Cond.








Steam Flow (Lb/Hr.)








Flow Area (Sq Ft.)








Sp. Vol








Velocity (Ft/Sec)








Velocity Streak









Full V / f n x D








Half V / f n x D








W tot x g/rD 2








Session 1: Design Technology

Session 1: Design Technology Figure 1 Critical Velocity versus Damping Parameter The results shown in the

Figure 1 Critical Velocity versus Damping Parameter

The results shown in the plot indicated that the peripheral tubes in all the condenser bays were prone to damaging fluid elastic vibration. In Bay 1, the extreme cold end of the condenser, such damage is possible down to a depth of almost 5 feet. This analysis is a useful tool when considering the potential of tube vibration damage resulting from the increased steam flow required for a power uprate.

It should be appreciated that the Heat Exchange Institute has published an algorithm within their standard that determines the condenser tube support spacing that avoids severe vibration. It is a rule-of-thumb procedure based on an empirical static load deflection concept. The HEI method does not reflect the actual physical mechanism of the tube vibration as a fluid-elastic whirling vibration. In practice, that calculation has been found to provide a conservative estimate of the required support plate spacing for new condensers. And because the HEI method does not address the actual physics, it cannot effectively be used to determine the length or location of

Session 1: Design Technology

anti-vibration stakes for an existing condenser that has to be redesigned to accommodate the higher condensing steam flows of a power uprate.

Cooling Tower Evaluations

Many power stations, particularly the larger generators and nuclear plants, use closed-cycle cooling systems that are served by wet cooling towers. A power uprate at such a plant will cause a direct increase in the evaporation and higher return water temperatures to the condenser. Often, the additional makeup flows are required to offset evaporation increases. These may be limited by environmental regulations.

In order to estimate the increased water required for the makeup, it is first necessary to know the number of cycles of concentration of the circulating water. During warm weather conditions characterized by high wet bulb temperatures, it has been empirically determined that the evaporation component of a wet cooling tower is no more than 80% of the total heat duty [5]. This rule of thumb applies equally well to mechanical or natural draft towers, as well as cross or counter-flow designs. Since each pound of evaporating water releases about 1000 BTU’s, an approximation of the added evaporation as a result of the power uprate can be assessed. Of course, more exact estimates of the evaporation can be made. For the power uprate condition, these may be accomplished by determining the quantity of moisture picked up by the cooling air as its state changes from the entering air temperatures to the usual saturated exit air condition. The added cooling tower blowdown is estimated by dividing the extra evaporation by one less than the number of concentrations that currently are employed. Added plant cooling tower makeup is the total of these two elements. Note, that in general, drift losses are minimal and do not need to be seriously evaluated in the estimate of additional makeup flows.

The change in performance of the cooling tower due to a power uprate can be estimated from the existing manufacturer’s performance curves by using the uprate cooling range and reading the curves to evaluate the increase in approach to the wet bulb temperature. That provides the inlet water temperature to the condenser. It is important that these curves be adjusted to be compatible with the results of any recent performance tests, otherwise a significant understatement could result. The actual CW pump flow measured by an appropriate method should be used to modify the curves. To make the corrections to the existing cooling tower performance based on test results and or changes in the CW flow from design, new curves must be drawn accounting for the current performance non-dimensionally with the actual CW flow and the fill characteristic vs. the water to air ratio. The detailed method to apply these adjustments are beyond the scope of the paper but can be derived from the information shown in References [3,5].

Cooling System Upgrades

Finally, it should be noted that if the existing cooling system equipment performance is found to be marginal such that a station power uprate would have limited benefits, it may be cost effective to consider incorporating a modification to the cooling system in the uprate plans. Below is a brief list that identifies some of the typical modifications that can be considered:

Session 1: Design Technology

Upgrade Cooling Tower Fill

Upgrade Cooling Tower Fans or Airflow pattern

Upgrade CW Pump Performance

Install a modern Condenser Tube Ball Cleaning System

Improve Condenser Performance

Lag Unlagged Heaters and Extraction Lines

Replace Condenser with Modular Tube Bundles.

Retube Condenser with optimum Tube Material & Gauge

Install a Helper Cooling Tower

The cost(s) associated with each enhancement option must be carefully weighed against the potential to increase plant performance and its corresponding economic benefit. Obviously, these types of modifications represent a major change in the uprate project scope and costs, but may be the only way to permanently change a pig’s ear into a silk purse.


The power uprate constitutes a method of cost-effectively increasing the generation of existing nuclear and fossil power plants. Significantly more waste heat will accompany the power uprate and must be accommodated by the existing cooling system. When considering these projects, it is important to review the current condenser and cooling tower performance capability to determine the degree to which that equipment will be compatible with the uprate during peak demand conditions. The paper describes the method of investigating and quantifying the current performance of the cooling system & its components. Then, using these baseline performance estimates one can extrapolate the uprate capability. Of the equipment involved, the condenser is often the most sensitive limiting the benefits of a future uprate.

It was concluded that the HEI condenser performance predictions do not accurately take into account the steamside effects from the added turbine exhaust steam flow that accompanies a substantial uprate. The HEI method often seriously underestimates the resulting backpressures. The paper recommends applying an extension of the resistance heat transfer method to provide a more reasonable estimate of the backpressure and condensate temperatures since it accounts for steamside effects.

Other uprate impacts discussed include the increased potential for damaging condenser tube vibration especially during winter operation at low operating backpressures. The vibration usually causes failure at the midspan or due to wear/fretting at the supports. The Connors technical criteria was introduced in order to determine the location(s) and depth into the tube bundle for installation of anti-vibration stakes to prevent damaging fluid-elastic vibration.

Session 1: Design Technology

The paper also determined that a power uprate study must address the post uprate capability of the cooling tower. The tower will produce higher condenser return temperatures, adding to the turbine exhaust pressure. A power uprate will require increased cooling tower evaporation, blowdown and makeup. These may be subject to heightened environmental regulations. The paper recommends and discusses applicable methods to estimate the power uprate effects on the cooling tower performance.

Finally, the paper indicates that if the current cooling system equipment performance is marginal allowing only a limited station power uprate, it may be cost effective to consider incorporating system improvements. For each improvement option, a detailed feasibility and cost study is necessary including the cost of the uprate modification and the present value of the annual increased station revenues. Some of these modifications are listed in the paper and may include upgrade of cooling tower fill, a tube ball cleaning system, higher capability CW pumps, modular condenser replacement, a helper tower, or other modifications to the CWS equipment.

Taking into account all the power uprate impacts on the system performance including the addition of any cooling system modifications will appreciably contribute to the success of the overall project.


1. Burns, J.M.; Almquist, C.; Hernandez, E.; Tsou, J.; "Accurate Condenser Performance Monitoring Guidelines Provided by New ASME Condenser Test Code", EPRI Heat Rate Improvement Conference, May 1994.

2. ASME PTC 12.2, Performance Test Code on Steam Surface Condensers, 1998.

3. ASME PTC 23, Performance Test Code on Atmospheric Water Cooling Equipment, 1986 or


4. Heat Exchange Institute, “Standards for Steam Surface Condensers”, Ninth Edition, 1995.

5. Burns, J.M. and Brocard, D.; "Cooling Towers," Section 4.8. Handbook of Energy Systems Engineering: Reference Text, J. Wiley & Sons, N.Y., 1985.

Session 1: Design Technology


N. Rhodes Consulting Engineer New York

C. D. Hardy Heat Exchanger Systems Inc. Weymouth, Massachusetts

J. M. Burns Burns Engineering Services Inc. Topsfield, Massachusetts

T. B. Madden Stone & Webster Inc. Cherry Hill, New Jersey


This paper presents the results of work carried out to study the Extended Power Uprate (EPU) operating conditions for Exelon’s Dresden Nuclear Power Station Units 2 and 3 and Quad-Cities Nuclear Power Station Units 1 and 2 condensers. The study involved the development of a three- dimensional condenser simulation model based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques. Subsequently, that model was applied to predict the turbine exhaust pressures for the cumulative 36% increase in design condenser steam flow that was associated with EPU conditions.

The CFD model reflected the major design details of the condenser including the tube bundle pattern of this single pass, three pressure multipressure configuration that contains an intermediate waterbox . To validate the accuracy of the model, the condenser performance was first evaluated at current conditions using the existing steam mass flow, cooling water flow rate and temperature for several conditions measured at the plant. Comparisons of the CFD simulation to actual observations verified that the model results closely predicted the performance and physical response of the condenser.

Following this verification, the model was then applied to ensure the business case that justified the costs of the plant uprate would be realized. Specifically, the EPU 36% increased design steam flow condition was combined with summer water temperatures and simulated by the CFD model to be reasonably certain the turbine exhaust pressures would not exceed manufacturers limits and at the same time, that the target EPU plant generation of 912 MW would occur.

Session 1: Design Technology


This paper describes work carried out to study the Extended Power Uprate (EPU) operating conditions for Exelon’s Dresden Nuclear Power Station Units 2 and 3 and Quad-Cities Nuclear Power Station Units 1 and 2 condensers. The ultimate objective of the condenser performance study was to ensure the business case that justified the costs of the plant uprate to 912 MW would be realized during warm summer conditions. In comparison to the design basis of the existing tube bundles, EPU operation would cause 36% more steam flow to be condensed. Because of the appreciable condenser steam-side heat transfer, condensate and flow effects that would be associated with this level of extra condenser steam flow, it was determined that the typical HEI (3) condenser performance algorithm would not be applicable since HEI only addresses water-side tube bundle effects. This engineering study involved the development of a three-dimensional condenser simulation model based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques. Subsequently, that model was applied to predict the turbine exhaust pressures for the appreciable 36% increase in design condenser steam flow.

The CFD method separates a condenser steam space into small connected discrete volumes called cells that can be characterized mathematically. After the geometry is modelled and the three dimensional cell mesh created, all the equations that apply are simultaneously solved to each of the volumes to describe the detailed physics that is occurring at that cell. These equations capture the fluid motions of the steam, the condensing heat transfer and mass transfer based on the conservation of mass, momentum and energy, and account for parameters such as gas concentration, heat transfer resistances, transport properties and condensate inundation. The interactions and gross response of all these small volumes are then solved iteratively to estimate the conditions and compatibilities at the boundaries of the model, i.e., the cooling water flows and inlet temperature, , overall heat loads, turbine exhausts and non-condensible-vapor off-take. The techniques used in this particular program have been refined and applied specifically to steam condensers since the initial general purpose CFD method was first utilized for condensers by the CEGB in the early 1980’s.

This CFD model reflected the major design details of the condenser including the tube bundle pattern of this single pass, three pressure multipressure configuration that contains an intermediate waterbox . To validate the accuracy of the model and technique, the condenser performance was first evaluated at current conditions using the existing steam mass flow, cooling water flow rate and temperature for several conditions measured at the plant. Comparisons of the CFD simulation to actual observations verified that the model results closely predicted the performance and physical response of the condenser. Following the verification, the model was applied for the EPU conditions.

Following EPU, the Dresden and Quad-Cities condensers will be required to condense approximately 8 million lbm/hr, thus stretching the condenser capability to accommodate turbine exhaust steam flow by over 35%. The use of a sophisticated three-dimensional model as applied in this study assists in predicting the increased effects of steam side pressure drop associated with higher steam velocities and the effect of additional condensation which increases condensate inundation.

Physical Situation

Session 1: Design Technology

The Dresden and Quad-Cities condensers are identical in design. The main surface condenser unit consists of two tandem tube bundles with an intermediate waterbox within a single, rectangular shaped shell that is oriented parallel to the turbine shaft. It is a three pressure multi- pressure, single-pass, vertically divided design that was originally designed by Ingersoll-Rand in the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s to serve a 715 MW General Electric Company turbine generator. The condenser design parameters are listed in Table 1 and the tube bundle configuration is shown in Figure 1. Nine main support plates in each of the three pressure zones extend from the top to the bottom of the tube bundle, perpendicular to the tubes and are welded to the shell. There are two support/partition plates, one in each bundle, that run from the top of the condenser to a water seal below the tube bundles, and are uninterrupted running across the condenser. These partition plates divide the condenser into the three separate pressure compartments. The lowest pressure compartment is at the circulating water inlet end of the condenser, the highest pressure is at the outlet end and the middle compartment is the intermediate pressure compartment.

The cooling water passes through the low pressure section, partially through the intermediate vacuum section and then it enters an intermediate waterbox. The tubes are continued through the intermediate pressure section, into the high pressure section and out of the condenser.

In cross-section, the condenser is symmetrical about its vertical centre-line and so only one half of the condenser has been modeled. Figure 1 shows this half-section with the position of the tube bundle superimposed. Figure 2 illustrates the complex geometry of the internal structure. This figure shows a perspective detail of the intermediate pressure section, including the waterbox, tube support plates and the dividing plates between the other pressure sections as well as the plates which control the movement of the uncondensed steam/air mixture towards the air offtake section in the low pressure compartment.

The condenser contains a total of 61,464 tubes divided into two tube bundles. (Note that all quantities are referred to the whole condenser and not the half-section modeled). Figure 1 shows the distribution of the tubes in one bundle. It can be seen that the upper half of the tube-nest is characterized by “rays” of tubes aligned almost vertically, with two triangular sections on either side of the lower part of the upper section. Although not shown, the outer edge of these latter sections have horizontal lanes, created by the removal of one row of tubes in every four rows. These extend for about ten to twelve tube rows.

In the lower part of the tube nest the outer parts all have steam lanes similar to those described above. The horizontal lanes in this region extend from the outer perimeter to the fully-tubed sections on either side of the centre-line of the tube nest.

Non-condensable gases are removed at the cooling water inlet end. Air removal is by way of a series of apertures in the tube support plates which direct the non-condensables to the cooling water inlet end. The air-cooling section is bounded by a divided horizontal tray below the upper half of the tube bundle, and sloping trays below. The shorter sloping tray within this section corresponds with apertures in the tube support plates which alternate above and below these plates along the length of the condenser. These direct the non-condensable gases and uncondensed steam through the small tube bundles within the air cooling section as it flows

Session 1: Design Technology

towards the outlet. A second divided horizontal tray is located below the air-cooling section between the two sections of the lower bundle.

The design data which has been used in the study is given in the following table:

Table 1 Condenser Parameters

Design Variable


No. of Tubes


Tube Length

40ft 4.75in

Total Surface Area [ft 2 ]


Tube Outside Diameter [in]


Tube Wall Thickness

22 BWG

Tube Material


The computational model for the flow of steam through the condenser includes heat and mass transfer, the effect of inundation (the reduced heat transfer due to the increase in water film thickness over the tubes caused by condensate falling from tubes higher in the nest) and frictional pressure drop on all surfaces, such as baffles,, support plates, and the tube nest. These parameters are calculated in each grid cell using the locally predicted variables. Thus, in contrast with the normal design process where a constant heat transfer coefficient is assumed, the heat transfer coefficient varies throughout the condenser and is influenced by the local conditions. The condensation and friction processes are represented as a series of momentum, mass and scalar sink terms in the appropriate equations as described in References 1 and 2.

The condenser model utilizes a general-purpose Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) program, the CFX code developed by AEA Technology, in conjunction with a highly developed model of the heat and mass transfer processes. The finest distribution of cells is in the cross section of the condenser. In the present study a grid of 61 by 117 cells divide the condenser in the horizontal, x-direction, and the vertical, y-direction, respectively. Longitudinally, there are two divisions between each support plate, resulting in 50 cells in the z-direction. Thus, the condenser model utilizes a grid of 356,850 cells.

To complete the model, the following boundary conditions were applied:

Turbine Exhaust: Steam/Air inflow from the turbine is defined as a mass flow rate of steam and a steam/air concentration into the condenser. The velocity is not uniform, but varies with position at the inlet. The variation in velocity reflects the Hertzog Hood design and was included in the modelling.

Cooling Water Temperature and Flow Rate: The cooling water inlet temperature and mass flow rate are set at the specified conditions.

Air Offtake: The air offtake is defined as a constant pressure boundary. It is important to note that the air removal equipment, in this case steam-jet air ejectors, are not modelled explicitly.

Session 1: Design Technology

Table 2 presents the condenser parameters used for the base case, Case 1 and the EPU case, Case

2. Note that where applicable the values are halved for the model as only one half of the unit is


Table 2 Operating Parameters


Case 1

Case 2

Average CW inlet temp (F) Circulating water flow (gpm)





Main steam heat load (BTU/hr) Main steam flow (lbm/hr) Main steam enthalpy (BTU/lb)







Cold Hood Condenser Duty (BTU/hr) Intermediate Hood condenser duty (BTU/hr) Hot Hood condenser duty (BTU/hr)







Cold Hood Condenser steam flow (lbm/hr) Intermediate Hood condenser steam flow (lbm/hr) Hot Hood condenser steam flow (lbm/hr)







Cold Hood enthalpy (BTU/lb) Intermediate Hood enthalpy (BTU/lb) Hot Hood enthalpy (BTU/lb)







Air inleakage (lbm/hr) Hydrogen carryover (lbm/hr) Oxygen carryover (lbm/hr)

90 (actual)






Tubes plugged



Tube cleanliness



Presentation of Results

Typical flow visualization plots showing velocity vectors and steam concentration are given in Figures 3 and 4. The velocity vectors show the magnitude and direction of the steam/air flow. These are made at a two-dimensional x-y plane within the low pressure vacuum section.

Figure 3 shows the velocity distribution over the whole section. The main features which can be seen are:

The variation of velocity across the top of the tube nest in the upper part of the figure. It is interesting to note that this maldistribution of flow persists down to the top of the tube nest, and some flow recirculation is noticeable due to the outward sloping shell.

Session 1: Design Technology

The frictional resistance of the upper tube nest causes part of the flow to divert around the top of the nest and flow down both sides of the bundle in the outer and central lanes.

Where the horizontal drain tray protrudes outside the bundle, at the top of the air-cooling section, the flow accelerates slightly.

The flow down the central lane continues around and underneath the bundle and causes the flow on the outer lane to be unsymmetrical. The steam enters the lower bundle on the outer side about half-way up the lowest section, the flow stagnating in the outer lane in this region.

The velocities within the tubed regions are generally lower due to condensation and frictional resistance.

Figure 4 shows the steam/air concentration at this plane. In the upper part of the bundle, low concentration regions can be seen on either side. In the lower bundle, similar features can be seen on the right-hand side below the air-cooling tray and the lowest rain tray. These correspond with low velocity regions of the flow, and there is little pressure gradient to drive the flow towards the air-cooling section, in contrast with the left side, where the flow continues through the denser inner tubed region. Note that the steam/air concentration is assumed to be uniform at the inlet and is determined from the respective steam and non-condensable flow rates. As condensation proceeds, the relative concentration of air increases as can be seen in the figure.

Case 1: Model Verification and Validation

All CFD models should undergo a verification and validation test to establish their level of accuracy. In this case, its verification determined that the computer model accurately represented the tube bundle, flow conditions and geometry of the condenser. That task involved a comparison of the model to numerous design drawings and to the plant CW flow and temperature data. Next, the validation process settled the extent to which the model and its simulation reflected the real world from the perspective of its intended use (performance during operation). The model was subsequently used to predict the Case 1 winter full load conditions and by a visual and numerical examination of the steam flow patterns and velocities at those low backpressures, estimate if the CFD model would have predicted condenser tube vibration which had been experienced under certain conditions.

Two different types of validation tests were applied. The first in this instance was a prediction of representative, existing full load operation at winter conditions that cause a low condensing pressure. The results of this estimate compared well against the plant operating data as Table 3 attests. Therein, the average compartment condenser pressures during winter full load operation at the turbine-condenser flange of the Quad-Cities condenser are compared with measured data.

Table 3 Comparison of Measured and Predicted Condenser Pressure for Case 1


cold hood

intermediate hood

hot hood









Session 1: Design Technology

The predicted pressures are averaged across each inlet section at the turbine-condenser flange. It can be seen that the predictions are in reasonably close agreement with the data, although there is a tendency to slightly over-predict the pressures at the high vacuum pressure inlet, the difference being 0.18 in Hg.

Because of the high steam velocities that occur during low pressure winter operation, tube vibration can occur to condensers with tube support spans that are too long. Tube vibration damage had frequently been experienced by many condensers fabricated with the relatively long support spans that were the norm for the time frame of the design of Quad-Cities and Dresden. But no tube vibration damage had been observed at Quad-Cities until the early ‘90’s despite over 20 years of operation. Thus, to establish the validity of the model, advantage of that fact was

utilized in an examination of the detailed steam velocity levels of the low pressure compartment

in the simulation of Quad-Cities winter operation.

That study provided a unique and powerful indicator of the validity of this model because the CFD method simulates (also) the condenser steam-side effects and parameters during operation

and these are the ones that were to be significantly altered by EPU. The CFD validity was established after the winter full load condenser pressure level was predicted. Then the (non) lack

of appreciable tube vibration was determined from applying the Connors Criteria to the detailed

CFD steam velocity results at various cross sectional tube bundle planes in the low pressure compartment. All steam velocities tested were essentially below the Connors threshold.

Figure 3 illustrates the predicted velocity of the steam around the tube nest. The velocity vectors indicate the magnitude and direction and are plotted for each grid cell. Numerical data from he model was provided as u- and v-component velocities within and around the tube nest to facilitate the Connors analysis.

A further performance run was conducted for summer conditions at the existing full load prior to

carrying out the EPU case. As well as providing additional validation of the model, the results

provide a basis for comparison with the EPU case which is also for a summer condition. The plant-measured conditions for this run were as follows:

Table 4 Full Load Conditions for Summer Case

Inlet CW temperature (F)


Main Steam Flow (lbm/hr)


Main Steam Heat Load (BTU/hr)


Tubes plugged


Equivalent HEI Cleanliness


Table 5 Comparison of Measured and Predicted Condenser Pressure for 90F inlet temperature


cold hood

intermediate hood

hot hood









The results in Table 5 show reasonably good agreement with measurements.

Session 1: Design Technology

Case 2: Power Uprate Conditions

The predicted pressures at the EPU conditions are presented in Table 6.

Table 6 Turbine exhaust inlet pressures for EPU conditions

Offtake pressure

cold hood

intermediate hood

hot hood

steam/air ratio

at outlet











The offtake pressure for this simulation was set at values of 1.79 and 3.0 in Hg

condition, the steam/air ratio at offtake was predicted to be 10.1 and 5.37 respectively, which is

to be compared with the value of 5.5 obtained for the full load case at 90 F inlet temperature. If the SJAE’s could not handle this ratio then the condenser pressure would adjust itself until a reasonable operating ratio was achieved. Consideration therefore may need to be given as to the consequences on the air offtake equipment of higher flow rates.

At this

Finally, it should be borne in mind that the exceptional detail of the CFD model was designed to simulate the physics of the condensation heat transfer and compressible fluid flow that occurs within the tube bundles of an actual condenser. The CFD model faithfully duplicated the geometry of the space between the tube bundles and turbine–condenser flange. Though it included a representative turbine steam velocity profile as well as the two large heaters, the extensive structural bracing, supports and extraction lines were not incorporated. Hence, other than the minimal effects of wall friction, the CFD model did not capture the exhaust steam pressure loss between the end of the turbine skirt and the condenser tube bundles. Instead, past engineering experience was used to approximate that pressure loss. For the LP condenser zone, it is estimated that a 0.15 in Hg loss between the CFD model result and the turbine flange would occur during the EPU Case conditions. Then based on the comparative steam specific volumes, that pressure loss value should be modified to 0.13 and 0.10 in Hg to respectively represent the IP and HP condenser zones. These pressure drops should be directly added to the CFD model tube bundle results in order to estimate the expected EPU turbine exhaust pressure conditions.


This paper describes the application of CFD-based condenser model to predict the three- dimensional flow and heat transfer behaviour in the Dresden and Quad-Cities condensers. The method was utilized because the costs of the EPU were to be justified by confirming that 912MW of generation could be obtained during warm summer conditions while turbine exhaust pressure limits would not be exceeded. For this target condition, the condenser design steam flow will increase 36% after EPU and this exacerbated steam side condition is not captured by the HEI condenser performance algorithm. Validation of the model accuracy was first demonstrated by comparing its predicted performance during existing operation and its prediction that was compatible with the physical reality that there would be no extensive tube vibration at this condenser despite its many years of cold weather, full load operation at low turbine backpressures. Following the model development and validation phase, the model was then applied to EPU conditions.

Session 1: Design Technology

Mainly, the results of this CFD study established that during summer full load EPU conditions 912 MW will be obtained and turbine exhaust pressures will be slightly below the manufacturer’s limits. The comparison of the CFD model results vs. plant operating data shows that it accurately predicted the exhaust pressure measured at the plant and had provided a reliable early confirmation of the expectation of producing 912MW.

In addition, the results of the study provided an insight into the flow behaviour within the condenser. With regard to the flow, the asymmetrical behaviour in the lower part of the bundle, caused by a combination of the flow maldistribution, the expansion in the side of the shell and the upper horizontal rain tray gave rise to poorer performance in the right part of the tube bundle.

Future applications of the model could include a determination of how to operate the circulating water system to avoid vibration induced tube failures, specification of optimal staking locations, and to develop modifications to improve performance.


1. Al-Sanea S, Rhodes N, Tatchell DG & Wilkinson T S “A computer model for Detailed calculations of the Flow in Power Station Condensers.” Proc. “Condensers: Theory and Practice”, IChemE Symposium, Series No. 75 pp78-80 (1983)

2. Al-Sanea S A, Rhodes N and Wilkinson T S (1985) "Mathematical Modelling of Two-Phase Condenser Flows" Presented at 2 nd International conference on Multi-Phase Flow, London

3. Heat Exchange Institute Standards for Steam Surface Condensers, Ninth ed., 1995.

Session 1: Design Technology

Session 1: Design Technology Figure 1 Condenser Cross Section Figure 2 Perspective view showing intermediate waterbox

Figure 1 Condenser Cross Section

Session 1: Design Technology Figure 1 Condenser Cross Section Figure 2 Perspective view showing intermediate waterbox

Figure 2 Perspective view showing intermediate waterbox and detail of internal structure

Session 1: Design Technology

Session 1: Design Technology Figure 3 Velocity Vectors at the mid-plane of the LP Section .

Figure 3 Velocity Vectors at the mid-plane of the LP Section


Technology Figure 3 Velocity Vectors at the mid-plane of the LP Section . Figure 4 Steam

Figure 4 Steam Concentration Contours

Session 1: Design Technology


David H. Cooley Alstom Power

Fossil power plants typically used steam dump for up to 10% - 20% load on start up (one start every year to year and a half) and under turbine trip conditions that normally had a fast decay from 110% load in 30 min. to 1 hour. The typical fossil power plant had a steam dome that contained a feedwater heater and extraction piping. The height of the steam dome was, more often than not, set by these requirements and/or keeping the waterboxes under a mezzanine floor. Thus steam domes usually had an average height of 12 to 16 feet with some large MW plants reaching 30 feet.

These type of designs provided the volume necessary to dissipate the energy of the steam dump, slow velocities to acceptable levels and locate the dump tubes far enough from the tube bundles to prevent localized high velocities or direct impingement on the tubes. There were few growing pains in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s that were primarily centered around proper draining of steam dump lines coming to the condenser and the philosophical question of proper location of dump tubes within the condenser to protect the turbine. After these were resolved, the industry proceeded with virtually no problems associated with this service.

In the mid 1980’s the industry evolved from fossil power plants to combined cycle power plants. Combined cycle power plants brought new modes of operation that include multiple starts per year, multiple HRSG’s and hence multiple steam dump lines of varying pressure, steam dump flows up to 180% - 200% of design flow and steam dump systems that can operate continuously for hours if not days or weeks.

This change in the type of power plant coupled with the privatization of the Utility industry changed the financial basis for power plants and hence the system designers considerations on space and components. These system design considerations have included elimination of diverter dampers thus requiring continuous steam dump, thinner wall tubing, relocation of the dump valves closer to the condenser, introduction of enthalpy control systems for desuperheating, and less available space for the condenser.

The combined cycle power plants have quickly grown in size and complexity in the last 10 years. Plants of 600MW total combined output have become commonplace. Plant designs are ever evolving and single shaft units where the gas and steam turbine are on the same shaft are just recently being brought on line. Hence, plant start up requirements have been continuously evolving and therefore the requirements on the condenser have changed considerably. Yet the plant designers have typically been unable provided the condenser designer with the information related to the start up requirements and operation modes that could affect the condenser design.

The net result is that the industry has recently been experiencing condenser failures that have been associated with steam dump operation. These failures have included fatigued tubes and eroded tubes. When these failures occur at initial by-pass operation, the start up is delayed.

Session 1: Design Technology

Repairs may be costly and time consuming and other equipment in the plant may have been affected. Thus the successful operation of the condenser in the steam dump mode is critical to a successful plant start up and long term operation and as such deserves the proper attention in the design phase.

Steam dump operation has generally not had the focus necessary for the industry to understand that this mode of operation is severe. In combined cycle power plants it is often the criteria that drives the condenser design. When steam dump flows exceed approximately 120% - 140% of normal design flows the steam flow areas within the condenser are often dictated by the steam dump mode of operation

Steam entering the condenser from the turbine has already been expanded to the saturation conditions. It is delivered to the condenser over a large area at relatively benign velocities and with velocity vectors directed toward the condenser tube bundles. Steam dump generally enters the condenser from the dump tube superheated about 300°F, over a relatively small area at sonic velocity and with velocity vectors generally perpendicular to the normal steam flow direction.

The condenser is required to accept this flow and desuperheat it to saturation conditions, reduce the velocities to acceptable levels and provide proper distribution over the length of the tube bundle. At the same time the turbine and condenser structure and tube bundles must be protected from overheating, erosion and localized damaging high velocities.

There are many different types of steam dump devices (i.e. perforated dump tubes, reverse conical dispursors, multiple expansion device, etc) used distribute the steam within the condenser. With any of these steam dump devices the reliability of the condenser operation under steam dump can be assured with the following three criteria:

Plant designers must provide the condenser designer with the start up scenarios. With multiple HRSG’S different steam dumps can be operating at different times and often partial operation can produce distribution velocities in the condenser that may be unacceptable to the condenser designer.

Steam delivered to the condenser must be dry at all points of operation (25°F to 75°F superheat). Erosion of condenser parts and tubes can happen in minutes depending upon the wetness of the steam.

Plant designers must provide space for adequate volume in the steam dome and distance from the condenser tube bundles to allow for effective energy dispersion and velocity reduction of the dump steam prior to entry into the tube bundle. This prevents localized high velocities and/or heating that can cause tube fatigue failures or overstressing.

Many plants have multiple combustion turbines and multiple HRSG’s. The start up and operational scenarios are many. The condenser can see multiple combinations of steam dump flows over the entire range of cooling water temperatures. Consequently a condenser designed for 2.00 in. HgA can typically see pressures ranging from 0.8 in. HgA to 5.00 in. HgA. This is a 5.8 fold variation of the specific volume causing a comparable variation in velocities over the range of operation.

Session 1: Design Technology

Placement and/or interconnection of steam dump piping can often mean the difference between damaging localized high velocities and safe operation at off design situations. This is particularly important in side exhaust arrangements where interconnection of all steam dump sources outside the condenser to allow equal flows to both condenser shells at all times is essential to preventing cross flow through the turbine and potential turbine damage.

Down flow and axial exhaust turbine suppliers may also have limitations on the position of dumping devices relative to the last stage blades. It is important that these requirements reach the condenser supplier in the initial design stage.

To ensure the most reliable steam dump system it is incumbent upon the plant designer to provide the condenser designer the operating scenarios expected. Otherwise the condenser designer cannot check the range of conditions and off design operational problems could arise.

The condenser is a robust carbon steel encasement of a comparatively delicate tube bundle. The tubes are the essential heart of the condenser and are subject to failure from waterside corrosion, mechanical damage, vibration fatigue and erosion. Erosion on the steam side is a direct result of wet steam at high velocity. Tube walls can be eroded through in a manner of minutes and high water densities can promote buffeting thus producing fatigue failures.

Impingement shielding can be installed in a condenser to mitigate the effects of wet steam but cannot ensure that erosion damage will be eliminated. They are at best wearing parts that will require replacement in time and may deflect the erosion to an adjoining area. Impingement shields by their nature can interfere with the normal steam flow and produce extra pressure drop between the condenser and the tube bundle affecting turbine output negatively. The only true and correct solution is to maintain dry and safely distributed steam to the condenser at all modes of steam dump operation.

With a standard bypass arrangement consisting of a steam dump valve, attemperator, either within the valve or separate and a perforated dump tube the sources of water in steam dump lines have been attributed to:

Draining the steam lines that are prior to the dump valve through the dump valve and not through a drain pot in the steam dump line.

Turning on the desuperheating water flow prior to establishing steam flow.

Locating attemporation devices too close to the condenser.

No drain provisions in the dump tube in the condenser.

Undrained loops in the steam dump piping to and in the condenser.

Desuperheating systems that do not provide monitoring of downstream conditions.

Draining steam lines through the dump valve is particularly dangerous from an erosion standpoint on start up when steam flows are low and the temperatures are relatively low. At the low pressures existing within the condenser there is virtually always sufficient pressure within the steam dump tube to produce sonic velocity across the orifices. The water exiting the steam

Session 1: Design Technology

dump device is easily accelerated to damaging velocities. Installing drain pots on the main steam line prior to the dump valve will eliminate this problem.

Establishing desuperheating water flow prior to establishing steam flow can be devastating to the condenser. If the desuperheating water flow is low only minor erosion may occur. If the desuperheating water flow overwhelms the drain capacity of the dump tube major damage in the condenser can occur as the excess water is expelled by the steam flow at near sonic velocities first as solid streams then as droplets. Under certain conditions physical damage to the steam dump tubes is also possible. Interlocking the desuperheating water valve with the steam dump valve so that the desuperheating valve cannot open until the steam dump valve has opened can eliminate this potential problem. It would also be advisable to program in a small time delay of up to 3 - 5 seconds to ensure that the steam dump flow has been established prior to desuperheating water flow.

The trend has been to move attemporation devices and/or valves closer to the condenser to save plant costs. Attemportation is a time related function that is dependent upon droplet size and the amount of remaining superheat. Thus complete evaporation and hence dry steam do not occur until some distance down the pipe from the device. The general rule is that 90% evaporation occurs at the distance calculated from 0.1 times the velocity in the pipe and 100% evaporation is obtained at 0.3 times the velocity in the pipe. The actual distance to be used in design is dependent upon the type of attemporation device and the actual operating conditions.

If complete mixing has not occurred by the time the condenser connection is reached erosion of the dump tube holes and possibly condenser parts and/or tubes is possible. A guarantee should be obtained from the attemporation device manufacturer, which may be included in the steam dump valve, for the longest distance for complete mixing under all conditions of operation. Then if the attemporation device is located at least this distance from the condenser connection, to ensure 100% evaporation, this potential problem can be eliminated.

Unheated parts of any system handling steam are subject to continuous condensation. Thus water build up is insidious and must be foremost in the systems designers’ mind. Water retention in the dump piping and/or the dump tube both outside and within the condenser is easily rectified by ensuring the subject is part of the agenda for every design review and that low points are designed out and adequate drains are designed in.

The trend today in desuperheating control systems is to install an enthalpy based digital control system (DCS). The traditional method that has been proven successful and reliable over the years was a temperature feedback system. The temperature feedback system by nature is based on the temperature conditions down stream of the desuperheating device and the condensate valve is adjusted to maintain the set temperature. Once set for the design temperature that provides the appropriate superheat (i.e. typically 25°F to 75°F) at full load conditions, at all lower load conditions the steam will always be dry. If there is an upset in the operation of the desuperheating system it can be detected immediately since the downstream temperature is being monitored.

One type of enthalpy based DCS takes as its inputs condensate temperature, condensate flow, dump steam flow and dump steam enthalpy. Using these inputs and an algorithm the DCS

Session 1: Design Technology

calculates the amount of condensate flow required to desuperheat the incoming dump steam flow and then adjusts the condensate control valve until the condensate flow readings match.

The dump steam enthalpy is typically provided by a separate DCS that takes input from temperature and pressure sensors in the main steam dump piping. This reading should be relatively accurate. The same holds true for the condensate temperature, which again comes from a direct temperature reading in the condensate line. The condensate flow is typically monitored using an orifice type flow meter that should have a high degree of accuracy.

The only input value that is usually not directly known is the dump steam flow. This is typically obtained from the output of the steam dump valve position indicator and the valve flow coefficient (Cv) curve the valve manufacturer supplies for the valve. Thus the steam dump flow input is subject to the accuracy of the valve Cv curve and the setting of the valve positioner. Without a fairly accurate value for the actual steam flow the calculations this type of enthalpy based control system could provide output conditions with excessive superheat or excessive moisture.

With the use of this type of enthalpy based control system the conditions downstream in the steam dump tube are never really known only assumed. This inability to know the actual conditions in the dump tube means that the plant operators never know if the system is operating properly or if there is an upset. Thus these types of systems should have at least a temperature sensor downstream to monitor the conditions and assure proper operation. Which begs the question “Why change from the proven temperature feedback system?” All steam dump control systems regardless of type should monitor the down stream conditions to preclude damage to the condenser.

Regardless of the type of desuperheating control system used, dry steam at start up and low flows is directly related to the ability of the desuperheating condensate control valve to effectively control the flow at the low end of the range. Particular attention to valve trim is critical to allowing proper full range operation and preventing excessive temperature or moisture in the steam dump lines.

Probably the largest single factor to reduce the reliability of condensers with steam dump has been the continual pressure of the plant designers to lower the overall plant height to benefit from the attendant cost reductions. This results in reducing the steam dome height on down exhaust condensers and the volume necessary to dissipate the thermal and kinetic energy to safe levels. Down exhaust condensers are where the majority of problems have occurred. There have also been several technical papers written over the years on the subject of providing the appropriate steam dome height. The Electric Power Research Institute has even promulgated guidelines in this area. Yet economics may overshadow reliability.

The appropriate steam dome height for properly handling the steam dump is combination of the physical number and sizes of steam dump lines, the actual steam dump flows and the placement of the steam dump tubes within the steam dome. Dump tubes must be far enough away from the tubes and condenser internal structures to prevent damage from the sonic core and expansion cone of the steam jets. There must be sufficient distance and volume to prevent localized high velocities and provide time for the condenser desuperheating sprays to reduce the temperature.

Session 1: Design Technology

For the reasons stated above the location of the steam dump tube within the steam dome is one of the most important factors in providing a reliable design. To assure proper operation the plant designers must rout steam dump piping to the condenser entrance points as requested by the condenser designer with the reliability of the condenser in mind not, as is often the case, for least cost and/or plant design convenience.

In the preliminary plant design stages it is difficult to determine the appropriate steam dome height. The following guideline will allow adequate space for most cases. Figure A depicts a typical down exhaust condenser with two dump tubes in the steam dome.

To prevent erosion of the side walls no dump tubes should be located closer than 6 feet to the edge of the steam dome. This is depicted as Min. Dist. on Figure 1.

The height above the top of the tube sheet to the first dump tube horizontal centerline is determined by multiplying the Max. Dist. by .4 and adding 24”. The Max. Dist. is the distance from the dump tube vertical centerline to the farthest condenser side wall. If the dump tube is on the condenser centerline this dimension is one half the shell width. If not on the condenser centerline this dimension is always greater than one half the shell width.



Session 1: Design Technology

24" + 1/2 D2 Minimum

18" + 1/2 D1 + 1/2 D2 Minimum

.4 x Max. Dist.

Min. Dist. From dump tube to cond- enser side wall 6' - 0"


Max. Dist.

From dump

tube to



side wall


Session 1: Design Technology

If there is more than one dump tube and they are arranged one above the other than the minimum distance between their horizontal centerlines is one half the diameter of each plus


If there is more than one dump tube and they are arranged side by side the distance between the vertical centerlines is six(6) feet minimum.

The distance between the highest dump tube and the top of the steam dome is one half the diameter of the highest dump tube plus 24”.

The same guideline can be used for axial or side exhaust condenser arrangements by turning the diagram 90° and referencing the Min. Dist. and Max. Dist. dimensions to the top and bottom of the steam dome rather than to the condenser side walls.

The above safe practice guidelines are based on perforated dump tubes. Other types of steam dump distribution systems could have different requirements for the necessary steam dome volume to safely distribute the steam dump.

By applying these requirements for combining steam dump and condensers I am hopeful that history will again repeat itself, this time in a positive manner and steam dump problems will again become a part of the past.


1. EPRI “Symposium on State-of-the-Art Condenser Technology”, June 1983 in total and in particular “Space Allotment for Surface Condensers” by Bow, W.J. (Foster Wheeler) included therein.

2. Heat Exchange Institute, Inc. “Standards for Steam Surface Condensers” Ninth Edition, by Heat Exchange Institute 1995.



Thin-Wall Titanium Condenser Tubing: The Next Plateau Dennis J. Schumerth Valtimet, Inc.

The Performance of Superferritic Stainless Steels in High Chloride Waters John C. Tverberg, P.E., and Edward R. Blessman, P.E. Trent Tube

A Main Condenser Success Story Jim Mitchell Plastocor, Inc.

Session 2: Materials Technology



Dennis J. Schumerth Valtimet, Inc. Tustin, CA

Commercially pure (cp.) titanium and its alloys provide excellent resistance to general and localized corrosion attack under most oxidizing, neutral and inhibited reducing conditions in aqueous environments. Titanium is also notable for its outstanding resistance to chlorides and other halides generally present in most process streams. In addition, titanium resists other malicious phenomenon including steam and particle erosion, crevice corrosion, galvanic attack and MIC. Given this general corrosion immunity, designers have increasingly applied thin-wall condenser tubing in pursuit of cost savings and performance enhancement.

Typically, these thin-wall applications have, over the past several years, been limited to 25 BWG or 0.020"/0.5mm walls or heavier. The "industry" has, out of necessity, moved to address the special nuances of the 25 BWG including design, procurement, handling, fabrication and testing parameters with increasing success. It would appear however, that designers, operators and pundits alike require further education and refinement on the specific operational characteristics when integrated into the powerplant environment.

Considerable work has been recently completed investigating even thinner wall titanium tubing. This paper will address the essential data elements of this expanded research focusing specifically on Grade 2 titanium in 27 BWG or 0.016"/0.4mm. Since a significant portfolio of 27 BWG installations is rapidly taking shape, it is prudent to examine key ingredients that would warrant consideration of this "next-plateau" gauge material. Indeed, work is currently underway exploring the technology required to fabricate condenser tubes as thin as 30 BWG /0.013"/0.3


In summary, the paper will present and summarize substantive evidence suitable for comparison against previously acquired empirical data and prior art.


Previous work, completed during the mid 90's and published in 1999 (1, 2, 6, 7) , suggested the properties of thin-wall titanium could provide attractive options to the designer/user in terms of habitat suitability, long-term reliability and performance and economic savings.

Empirical and actual testing was used at that time to compare the prevailing wisdom of heavier wall tubing usage vs. the newly introduced thin-wall.

Session 2: Materials Technology

Actual testing involving fatigue properties, both from internal pressure and external excitation, demonstrated highly admirable characteristics. Buckling strength or longitudinal compression tests were evaluated employing Euler's equations and found to be well within acceptable limits (1,6) . Other key issues including mechanical expansion and resultant pullout strengths were compared against heavier wall tubing. The results suggested a rolled and welded joint should be employed when considering tube walls less than 22 BWG/0.028./0.7mm. This procedure is highly recommended for both solid and clad tubesheets. Support plate spacing was evaluated employing steam-loading calculations applied to design base, bundle out of service and turbine bypass conditions.

Data is now available which can directly compare the previous papers' investigations and findings (l) against more mature, practical and demonstrable findings. In addition, the installation experience at the time of the paper's presentation, which was limited to several installations in Japan and Europe plus a host of desalination units, was considered inadequate.

Pull-out Loads

One of the most important elements of this paper's investigation is a comparison and confirmation of the suitability, or lack thereof, of tube-to-tubesheet loads in a commercially repeatable environment using the 27 BWG tubing. Previous testing, completed in 1999 (Figure 1), confirmed that pullout loads, employing a mechanically expanded joint alone, were not sufficient to support the necessary safety factors required by the designer. However, when tube welding was added to supplement the rolled-only joint, acceptable pullout loads resulted. The tube parameters identified in the below Table 1 were used to develop the Figure 1 results.

Figure 1

Session 2: Materials Technology

Tube Pull-Out Loads Tests - 1999

7000 6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 30 BWG 27 BWG 25 BWG 22
30 BWG
27 BWG
25 BWG
22 BWG
Rolled Only
Roll & Weld
Pull-out Loads (lbs.)


Tube Material

Titanium Gr. 2 B-338

Tubesheet Material

Titanium Gr. 2 B-265

Tube Size


Drill-Out Hole


Tubesheet Hole

Plain - No Serrations Mech Exp or Exp & Weld

Joint Configuration

Additional pullout testing was recently completed which, when evaluated, could be directly compared against results reported in the previous work. In this case, this new testing was completed using the three, expansion/weld processes identified in Table 2 and tube/tubesheet parameters noted in Table 3.

Session 2: Materials Technology












Tube Material

Tubesheet Material Tube Size - OD & BWG Drill-Out Hole Tubesheet Hole Joint Configuration

Tubesheet Material Tube Size - OD & BWG Drill-Out Hole Tubesheet Hole Joint Configuration
Tubesheet Material Tube Size - OD & BWG Drill-Out Hole Tubesheet Hole Joint Configuration

Titanium Gr. 2 B-338

Titanium Gr. 2 B-265 .866"/22mm x .016'/0.4mm


See Table 2 See Table 2

Figure 2

Tube Pull-Out Load Test - 2001

18 16 14 12 10 8 6 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500
Pull-Out Loads (lbs.)
Mech Exp
Exp + ID Groove
Exp + Weld
% Wall Reduction

Session 2: Materials Technology

It is clear, upon examination of the new data scatter in Figure 2 (3) , that pullout loads are comparable to the results demonstrated in the previous 1999 work. This data similarity is not surprising and suggests practical and achievable results in a manufacturing environment.

Tube-to-Tubesheet Expansion

Five-roll, mechanical expansion of the 27 BWG/0.016"/0.4mm thin wall titanium tube should range from 7 to 12% wall reduction. The following classic formula should be used when calculating the per-cent wall reduction.

% Wall Reduction = D - (DE -2T)




= Hole Diameter

DE = Inner Tube Dia. after Expansion T = Tube Wall

1. Nominal tube expansion should not exceed the tube OD by 3%.

2. Five (5) roll expanders are recommended where the OD/T ratio is greater than 25 (8) .



= Nominal tube OD


= Wall thickness

Expansion beyond the upper limit may actually reduce pullout loads and potentially, induce tube cracking or incipient failure of the mechanical joint. In fact, historical results employing heavier wall tubing suggest the percent expansion need not be as high as the thin-wall counterparts - less than 10%.

Tubesheet & Support Plates

Particular care must be paid to the fit and finish of the drilled tubesheet plate holes. When considering thin wall titanium, this author suggests tubesheets be drilled to TEMA Close Fit Tolerance. This operation prevents excessive tube-to-tubehole clearance, which may induce undesirable tube deformation during the rolling operation.

ID groove assistance employing multiple serrations or concentric rings clearly enhances pullout strength. Serrations to a depth of 0.004"/.1mm or less are typical. Others prefer ID surface enhancement or controlled roughness (< 50 microns R z ) to achieve the desired results. What is ultimately used to enhance pullout and sealing should be left to the discretion of the designer based on actual testing and results.

Support plates should be drilled to HEI standards and deburred or chamfered on both sides of the plate. Indeed, wire brush operations may not suffice in terms of complete removal of chip material left behind after drill bit exit. This "both sides" operation is strongly suggested to

Session 2: Materials Technology

eliminate or at least minimize any scratches or "exit wounds" that could be imparted to the tube OD. It is presumptuous to assume that support plate orientation during cage assembly will segregate all one-sided drilled plates in the direction of tube entry. Hoping the tube bullet will break any burr on the un-chamfered side is a bold assumption indeed and could result in unanticipated problems associated with subsequent base line E-C or other post-assembly testing.

Tube-to-Tubesheet Welding

Tube-to-tubesheet welding, employing a TIG process with shielding gas, is strongly recommended when using thin-wall tubing (under 22 BWG/0.028"/0.7mm) and solid titanium tubesheets. It is imperative when employed in a clad or bi-metallic tubesheet arrangement. Be advised that titanium can only be welded to titanium - no other commercially available material is metallurigically compatible.

Increasing the tube protrusion beyond the face of the tubesheet and reduced weld-bead heat input to the tube-tubesheet interface may prove successful in enhancing the nugget configuration and quality. However, these operations may influence weld speed resulting in increased tube-to- tubesheet weld time. Understand the thinner the tube wall, the more the tubesheet will become an ever-larger heat sink. In addition, the more the tube wall is reduced, the higher degree of difficulty in repairing the weld.


Operational nuances, not normally encountered with more traditional designs, may come into play more often when evaluating the use of thin wall titanium. These phenomenon are deserving of special consideration by the designers and would include, but not limited to, the following.

Session 2: Materials Technology

Peripheral Tubes Heavier walled tubes, typically reserved as "optional" or for the first several rows
Peripheral Tubes
Heavier walled tubes, typically reserved as "optional" or for the first several rows only, may require a deeper
bundle penetration.
Larger OD Tubes The use of 1"/25.4mm or larger tubes may reduce the vibration potential.
Larger OD Tubes
The use of 1"/25.4mm or larger tubes may reduce the vibration potential.
Flow Induced Vibration
Flow Induced Vibration

Steam flow may penetrate deeper into the bundle requiring close examination of flow-induced excitation parameters.

Steam flow may penetrate deeper into the bundle requiring close examination of flow-induced excitation parameters.
Steam flow may penetrate deeper into the bundle requiring close examination of flow-induced excitation parameters.
Bundle Flow Areas
Bundle Flow Areas

Entrance and exit areas, steam lanes, etc. in and around the bundle may have to be increased requiring additional surface area.

and exit areas, steam lanes, etc. in and around the bundle may have to be increased
and exit areas, steam lanes, etc. in and around the bundle may have to be increased
Support Plates As many as one or two additional support plates may be required.
Support Plates
As many as one or two additional support plates may be required.
Steam bypass & bundle-out-of-service Anomolies associated with steam bypass conditions and off-design operation will
Steam bypass & bundle-out-of-service
Anomolies associated with steam bypass conditions and off-design operation will require careful "what if"

In terms of the support plate spacing, earlier experimental work and empirical data (1) , concluded support plate spacing should be reduced as a ratio of tube wall vs. HEI allowable deflection. In the case of 27 BWG tubing, a ratio of .76 determined the minimum spacing to be 29". It would

Session 2: Materials Technology

now appear that support plate spacing for 27 BWG tubing should fall into a range closer to the


Handling and Logistics

To date, there is no evidence that suggests any greater degree of difficulty in handling the 27 BWG tubing vs. the heavier walled cousins. However, it is recommended that tube boxes be placed in close proximity and elevation to the bundle entry area to prevent the possibility of kinking or bending which can result from excessive tube movement. Care must be exercised to prevent any denting during the fabrication process, as this stress riser could eventually become an incipient point of high cycle fatigue failure.

Protection of the exposed tubing in high velocity and peripheral areas of the bundle must also be addressed. Dummy tubes, impingement rods and other measures must offer complete protection for the tubing from mechanical impact damage.

Tube Manufacturing

Tubing produced by the supply mills to the standards of ASTM B-338 must adhere to the highest levels of quality but result in acceptable levels of mill productivity and yield. All this must take place before the condenser fabricators are convinced that the material is suitable for use in a surface condenser. Grade 2, 27 BWG titanium tubing has been successfully produced for a number of years. Yet in terms of productivity, yields have been less than desirable. However, over the past several years, full production runs of the strip material supplied from numerous sources have proved highly successful setting the standard for commercial use.

supplied from numerous sources have proved highly successful setting the standard for commercial use. Figure 3

Figure 3

Session 2: Materials Technology

Of particular significance are the low E-C (Electromagnetic or more commonly, Eddy Current Testing) & UT (Ultrasonic Testing) rejection rates for the final product. Coupled with precise control of the diameter, nugget geometry and weld-undercut discipline, users can be assured that the product will perform in a manner meeting the requirements of ASTM B-338-01a.


In support of actual, in-service conditions, where fouling will most certainly take place, Conco

Systems of Verona Pennsylvania performed tests on sample titanium tubes manufactured to ASTM B-338 Gr. 2.

Three tests were performed on the sample material (0.9450"/24mm outside diameter (OD) x 27 BWG/0.016"AVW/0.4 mm wall thickness).

Visual Inspection

E-C Examination

Hydrostatic Test

The tests were conducted using various Conco tube cleaning tools including type(s) C3S, C4S and C3X.

A visual inspection was performed comparing an as-received sample section vs. a sample section

that had various tube cleaning tools "shot" or driven through. Each section was examined after the test and compared against each other. No noticeable visual or dimensional differences were discernable up to a 10X magnification.

An as-received sample was again examined using a Zetec MIZ-27 Analyzer. Only minor drift signal anomalies were recorded probably associated with the tube weld. The signals were considered insignificant. The same sample was again "shot" with the three (3) tube cleaning tools identified above. The results noted no rejectable or signals of consequence. In fact, the signals first recorded during the parent-tube test, actually reduced in magnitude after the samples were cleaned.

Finally, a third sample was hydrostatically tested to a pressure of 2100 PSI. No failures occurred noting only expected minor plastic OD deformation in the range of 0.015". In point of fact, surface condenser tubes would never experience such high pressure. Even the use of individual tube hydro testing, which operates in the range of 645 PSI, (ASME UG-27 max working pressure calculation), falls well below either the 2100 PSI or a burst pressure of a 27 BWG titanium tube (.016"/0.4mm) calculated at 3191 PSI/220 Bars.

Condenser tube fouling is real and a fact of life within an operating powerplant surface condenser. It is apparent, after reviewing the test conditions and results, that this proven type of cleaning system has no effect on the mechanical properties of the tube. If this axiom is true for scraper cleaning systems, other, more benign cleaning methods including sponge balls, brushes, water lances, etc. can be utilized with little or no apprehension.

Session 2: Materials Technology

Other Considerations

An HEI Ninth Edition Supplement, soon to be released, will address, among other issues, new criteria to be applied for steam bypass conditions. Clearly, additional work is needed by this august group beyond even this Supplement to address issues specific to combined cycle applications. Notable and unfortunate as of this writing is the absence of any HEI Standards information relating to metal resistance and/or correction factors for tubing less than 25 BWG. Designers must therefore, address the heat transfer characteristics of 27 BWG tubing independently. The thermal conductivity of titanium is readily available (8) (150 BTU/hr ft² - F/in) and the metal resistance can be easily developed from existing data in Figure 4. (8) should alternate rating methods be employed. Designers will find that reducing wall thickness improves the heat transfer characteristics of titanium when compared to other materials.

Reducing the wall thickness of the tubing reduces the weight of the tubing. It is noteworthy that the weight of a 27 BWG titanium tube ranges between 55 & 60% (depending on diameter) when compared to its 22 BWG counterpart.

These weight reductions and resultant uplift considerations require a more robust analysis of the foundation loads, bolting, expansion joints and other condenser components that would be impacted by the weight reduction. In addition, larger flow areas associated with thinner walled tubes can influence circulating water flow and pump NPSH considerations.

Certain conditions may preclude the complete removal of existing condenser tubes or, plant logistics make removal commercially impractical. In addition, a straight retube may prove more costly, present dissimilar material constraints and modules do not provide the required payback.

Sleeving existing condenser tubes with ultra thin wall titanium is currently under test and consideration. The thin wall is hydraulically expanded full length into the parent tube with the tube ends mechanically anchored in each tubesheet. Should additional embellishment be considered beyond just the sleeve replacement, a multi-part epoxy coating can be applied to add corrosion resistance while enhancing the tube pullout load characteristics.

Installation History

The Japanese Titanium Society reported in earlier work, (3,6,7) successful installations of 27 BWG Gr. 2 titanium in both desalination and powerplant applications. These installations have been in service for over 15 years with no documented problems. Table 4 identifies more recent vintage installations primarily in France and in the UK.

It is noteworthy however, that condenser manufactures in the US are now evaluating the use of this gauge material

TABLE 4 27 BWG/.016"/0.4mm INSTALLATION LIST (Partial)

Session 2: Materials Technology














































Given continuing, industry-wide pressure to reduce costs, improve performance and significantly contribute to improved online availability and capability, a transition to less costly, high performance materials is inevitable. In the case of surface condensers employing 27 BWG or 0.016"/0.4mm tubes, the opportunity exists to examine, evaluate and realize the potential merits of reduced or thin wall tubing.

Notable in the work just presented, and a key element in this paper's investigation, is a clear confirmation of acceptable pull out loads. Welded-only tube joints, and/or welded joints employing I.D. enhancement, clearly demonstrate the repeatable practicality of achieving an acceptable tube joint within a shop manufacturing environment.

Mechanical expansion techniques, tubesheet and support plate fit & finish, tube-to-tubesheet welding and other processes appear to be successfully practiced in today's environment. They are clearly, not future technical folly but proven technology that exists today.

Efforts to address the nuances of combined cycle steam exhaust and bypass conditions will require additional work by professional societies and the manufacturers alike. Current techniques are frankly, not adequate to predict certain dangerous operating conditions.

Tube mill production runs of strip material supplied from numerous sources have produced successful yield and production goals setting the quality standard for commercial use. Handling, at both the supplier and fabricator levels, does not appear to present logistical issues nor invoke any specialized or precautionary steps.

An analysis of cleaning techniques has confirmed the future suitability of both the tube and the cleaning systems.

Session 2: Materials Technology

Recall the object of this paper, which was to evaluate additional, recently acquired data to compare, validate and expand on prior work. This author believes that practical confirmation of this work has indeed, been documented and achieved. Confirming the validity of prior art while expanding directly into newly developed technology and practical issues provides merit for future examination of thin wall titanium condenser tubing.










































































Supplement to TIMET Tube Book Table 9 Metal Correction Factor (Fm)

Based on 0.875" O.D. @ 7 ft/sec C@ 70 0 F

Material = Gr. 2 Titanium

RM (Metal Resistance )


1 x 10 -4

BTU/hr ft 2 0 F

FM (Factor) Titanium Gauge Correction Factor

DMc 3/31/00



Session 2: Materials Technology

1. Schumerth, - "Thin-Wall Titanium Condenser Tubing Explore the Opportunities." PWR - IJPGC ASME 2000

2. Schumerth, McCue - "Titanium Surface Condensers & Heat Exchangers - A Practical Guide and Application." PWR-Vol 33 IJPGC Volume 2 ASME 1998

3. HEI - Heat Exchange Institute

4. HEI Standards - Ninth Edition

5. ASME Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code

Section UG-27

6. Japan Titanium Society - 1984 - Multiple Authors - et al. "Get More Advantages By


Titanium Tubing Not Only For Power Plants But Also For Desalination Plants."

7. Japan Titanium Society - Multiple Authors - et al. Thinner Wall Welded Titanium Tubes For Seawater Desalination Plant.

8. CONCO Systems - January, 2002 - Thin Wall Titanium Tube Testing

9. TIMET Codeweld ® Tube Book - 1984 (plus subsequent revisions)

Session 2: Materials Technology

The Performance of Superferritic Stainless Steels in High Chloride Waters

John C. Tverberg, P.E. and Edward R. Blessman, P.E.


Trent Tube East Troy, Wisconsin

Superferritic stainless steels were developed 25 years ago as a low cost alternative to titanium and the high molybdenum austenitic nickel alloys for use in brackish and seawater. These alloys have a ferritic structure with very high chromium and molybdenum content. The result is a material with better corrosion resistance than the austenitic or duplex stainless steels, and approximately the same as unalloyed titanium, thus they are applicable in almost all water conditions. Their modulus of elasticity is the highest for the common engineering alloys. As a result these alloys have seen wide scale use in condenser applications where vibration is a problem and limited use in feedwater heaters and balance of plant heat exchangers. They have better thermal conductivity than the superaustenitic and duplex stainless steels and only slightly less than titanium. Their high hardness provides excellent sand and inlet end erosion resistance.


Superferritic stainless steels are a rather recent development. For years engineers have had interest in ferritic stainless steels because of their advantages over competing materials. Ferritic stainless steels have excellent resistance to chloride pitting and crevice corrosion, they are resistant to chloride stress corrosion cracking and they have excellent resistance to organic acids and caustic environments. But they had one major problem: the normal carbon and nitrogen caused low ductility and reduced toughness. It wasn’t until the mid sixties that several new technology developments allowed the production of stainless steel with low interstitial carbon and nitrogen. These were electron beam melting (EBM), electroslag remelting (ESR), argon- oxygen-decarburization (AOD) and vacuum-oxygen-decarburization (VOD).

Superferritics were developed in three phases. The first phase used high purity melting techniques, vacuum induction furnaces and electron beam melting. The second phase involved adding nickel to the alloys to improve the manufacturability; and the third phase used stabilizing elements titanium and niobium (columbium) together with AOD refining to allow commercial production.

The first superferritic, E-Brite 26-1, was introduced in 1970 by C. D. Schwartz, I. A. Franson and R. J. Hodges of Allied Vacuum Metals 1 . It is based on the composition of Type 446 ferritic stainless steel which contains 23 – 27% Cr. E-Brite 26-1 has an interstitial C+N content of 200 ppm attained only by a combination of vacuum induction melting followed by EBM or ESR.

Session 2: Materials Technology

This results in an improvement in the ductile to brittle transition from +120° C (250° F), for Type 446 stainless to -60° C (-80° F) for E-Brite 26-1. This alloy possesses outstanding corrosion resistance, especially to chlorides and strong caustic environments.

The success of E-Brite 26-1 prompted the development of a number of other alloys. The first was 29Cr-4Mo by M. A. Streicher 2 at duPont who filed for patent several months after E-Brite 26-1 was introduced. In 1974 Climax Molybdenum introduced 18-2 3 and several months later Deutsche Edelstahlwerke introduced 28Cr-2Mo. Despite the outstanding performance of these alloys in chloride environments, they were not commercially practical because of the need for double vacuum processing.

Work was undertaken at a number of steel mills to stabilize the alloys with titanium and/or niobium and to use AOD refining to obtain the low carbon levels. R. Oppenheim and J. Lennartz 4 of Deutsche Edelstahlwerke are thought to be the first with 28Cr-2Mo in 1974. In the meantime Streicher developed 29Cr-4Mo-2Ni which was still produced by vacuum melting. This alloy led to the development of Monit ® , 26Cr-4Mo-4Ni, by Nyby-Uddeholm 5 in Sweden, SEA- CURE ® Stainless, 27-4-2, by K. E. Pinnow 6 of Crucible Research in the United States and 29-4C by Allegheny Ludlum also in the United States. These alloys will be designated by their UNS Numbers hereafter in this paper. Refer to Table I for the cross reference to the common Trademarked names.

The Superferritics were introduced to the power market in 1979 for use in main steam condensers. The first Superaustenitic condenser tubes, AL-6X, were installed in 1975 and the first Superferritic condenser installation, 29-4C, was in 1974. Since then nearly 60,000,000 feet of Superferritic condenser tubing has been installed. Figure 1 illustrates the cumulative quantities of both superaustenitic and superferritic stainless steels that have been installed. Last year the superferritic stainless steels surpassed the total installed footage of superaustenitic stainless steel. Since 1998 82% of all high performance stainless steel tubing installations have been superferritic, and the majority of that is UNS S44660.

This surge in condenser usage is a result of a combination of outstanding chloride induced corrosion resistance, excellent sand erosion resistance and droplet impingement resistance, excellent heat transfer properties, outstanding mechanical properties in conjunction with over 20 years of successful operation history, ready availability and attractive pricing.

Composition and Metallurgy

Superferritic stainless steels are characterized by high chromium, high molybdenum and are stabilized with titanium and/or niobium. Compositions of the most common superferritics are given in Table II.

The addition of nickel is an important development. Nickel lowers the ductile-brittle transition (DBT) temperature so the alloy is ductile over a wider temperature range. Nickel additions together with low interstitial carbon and nitrogen allow the DBT to be reduced to -120° F (-84° C) for UNS S44660. Nickel also improves the corrosion resistance to reducing acids.

Session 2: Materials Technology

If the carbon and nitrogen are high in the iron-chromium alloys, then formation of an austenite

loop in the high chromium alloys may form. This means martensite forms during cooling from heat treating temperatures. Martensite is hard, brittle and has limited ductility. By keeping the

C+N 0.06% martensite formation can be prevented and the alloys retain a single phase ferritic structure. The grains are uniform and equiaxed with no grain boundary precipitates.

Chloride Corrosion Resistance

Stainless steels derive their corrosion resistance from a very thin, in the range of 10 to 30 atoms thick, surface passive layer consisting of Cr 2 O 3 and Fe 2 O 3 in which the chromium to iron ratio is greater than 1.0. As long as this passive layer remains intact stainless steel is resistant to corrosion attack. Chloride ion is the major corrodant of stainless steel. Pitting and crevice corrosion are the two most common corrosion mechanisms involving chloride ion, followed by chloride stress corrosion cracking in the low nickel austenitic stainless steels. Low pH makes this corrosion attack worse. For power station condenser applications, chlorides are the most common corrodant.

Monnartz 7 discovered the synergistic effect between molybdenum and chromium in extending the corrosion resistance of stainless steel to acid chlorides. The superferritic alloys require more chromium and less molybdenum to accomplish this as compared to the superaustenitic stainless steels. The most common method of testing the stainless steels is the use of ASTM G 48, which uses ferric chloride and usually at pH less than one. The crevice corrosion test, Practice D, is the more aggressive, especially at temperatures over 40° C (100° F). Since crevice corrosion is temperature dependent, a convenient way to rank alloys is the critical crevice corrosion temperature (CCCT), the temperature above which crevice corrosion takes place.

A convenient method of estimating relative corrosion resistance is to use the pitting resistance

equivalent number (PREN) developed by Rockel 8 and defined as

PREN = %Cr + 3.3(%Mo) + 16(%N).

Kovach and Redmond 9 combined the PREN with the CCCT and created a chart which allows a comparison of the relative resistance of any composition of stainless steel to the temperature at which crevice corrosion starts. Figure 2 is a modification of the original chart.


ranking of the relative chloride resistance of selected stainless steels is presented in Table III.


this table the alloys will be resistant to crevice corrosion at temperatures and chloride contents

below those stated. This table indicates that a superferritic with essentially the same PREN will

have a critical crevice corrosion temperature higher than an equivalent superaustenitic stainless steel.

Pitting corrosion is not as severe as crevice corrosion and the critical pitting temperature is not as clearly defined. In most cases starts approximately 40° C (100° F) above the critical crevice corrosion temperature. Figure 3 illustrates the effect of pH, chloride content and alloy composition on the pitting resistance of austenitic stainless steels with various molybdenum contents. The superferritic stainless steels are included on this chart, but will lie between the 6% and 9% Mo lines.

Session 2: Materials Technology

The other problem with stainless steel and chloride service is stress corrosion cracking. Again, there is a threshold temperature, below which the alloy will not crack, above which it will. In general, this threshold temperature increases with molybdenum content. For S30403 stainless steel the threshold temperature is at room temperature, 20° C (70° F), S31603 stainless 50° C (125° F), N08367 225° C (450° F), and S44660 225° + C (450° +F).

Microbiologically Induced Corrosion (MIC)

Superferritic stainless steels are resistant to MIC caused by sulfuric and sulfurous producing bacteria. This is critical in some condenser locations. Of particular interest, especially to power stations along the Ohio, Tennessee and southern Mississippi Rivers, is the resistance to permanganate in the presence of chloride. This combination of chemicals is generated when condensers containing colonies of manganese fixing bacteria, usually gallionella, are present and the system is chlorinated to destroy the colonies. The chlorine or hypochlorous acid reacts with the manganese dioxide deposits, the metabolic by-product from the bacteria, to produce hydrochloric acid. A more complete dissertation on this reaction is given elsewhere 10 . The superferritic stainless steels are resistant to the action of the hydrochloric acid.

Erosion and Steam Impingement Resistance

Both the superferritic and superaustenitic stainless steels have outstanding resistance to steam side droplet impingement, cavitation, turbulence and high velocity flow. These alloys resist both mechanical damage and the tendency for flow to accelerate corrosion. Their high mechanical strength is the major factor in resisting mechanical damage due to flow. The durability of these alloys is further enhanced by their ability to be significantly work hardened. Under the local strain of impingement or flow the surface of these already strong materials will work harden to even higher levels. Resistance to flow accelerated corrosion is largely determined by the nature of the passive layer on the surface of the material. Alloys such as these high performance stainless steels form thin hard passive films. This results in excellent resistance to accelerated corrosion due to flow in these alloys. Table IV compares the different classes of alloys for these parameters.

Mechanical and Physical Properties

Superferritic stainless steels are characterized by high strength, the highest modulus of elasticity of any common heat exchanger material, good elongation, high hardness, good thermal conductivity and excellent fatigue endurance. The coefficient of thermal expansion is close to that of carbon steel, so the expansion and contraction of the tubes in the condenser will be nearly the same as the carbon steel shell, resulting in minimal deflection of the tube sheets. A comparison of the different alloy types is presented in Table V. The comfortable spread between the yield strength and ultimate tensile strength combined with high ductility makes these alloys very easy to work. The high strength not only imparts resistance to damage during operation, but also reduces the risk of installation related damage.

Vibration Resistance

Session 2: Materials Technology

Vibration is a problem in all low pressure condensers. The maximum length between support plates is determined by the equation

L = 9.5[(EI)/ρv 2 D] 1/4

where L is the unsupported length, E is the modulus of elasticity, I is the moment of inertia, ρ is the turbine exhaust density, v the average exhaust steam velocity at the condenser neck and D is the tube diameter. The variation in tube spacing for different alloys becomes a ratio of the modulus of elasticity times the moment of inertia (EI). The moment of inertia is a function of the tube wall thickness. Thus, as the modulus of elasticity decreases the tube wall must increase accordingly to maintain the same unsupported tube length.

Table VI compares a number of alloys with the normal wall thickness used in condenser applications. This comparison was made on the basis of Admiralty Brass as the standard length. When the relative span becomes longer, the tube is immune from vibration, as it becomes less, the tube becomes susceptible to vibration. In the case of C70600 and R50400 the tubes would need to be staked to prevent vibration. The superferritics would not need staking, nor would they vibrate, assuming the C44300 tubes are stable.

Thermal Performance

Superferritics have excellent thermal performance in steam condensers compared to other stainless steels and have similar performance as R50400. The heat transfer performance, based on the HEI method of calculation, is essentially the same as that of the copper nickel alloys because of their good thermal conductivity, thin wall thickness and ability to maintain cleanliness. Superferritics also have the potential for improved heat transfer by increasing the water velocity through the tubes. Since the water velocity typically is established to prevent erosion of copper based alloys, it is possible to increase the velocity significantly to improve heat transfer without the danger of inlet end erosion of the superferritic tubing.

Table VII compares the heat transfer for a number of different tube alloys. The significant point here is the turbine back pressure and the fact that the superferritics can maintain a very low back pressure.

Tubesheet Materials

The main criterion for tubesheet materials is its ability to resist crevice corrosion. For this reason one of the 6% molybdenum alloys is the best choice for use in seawater. For less aggressive environments S22205 is a good choice as is one of the 4% molybdenum alloys. Alloy S31603 should never be used because of the risk of dissimilar metal crevice corrosion and the attack of both the tubesheet and tubes. Superferritic tubes can be installed into virtually any tubesheet material. However, if the tubesheet is not galvanicly compatible or fully resistant to crevice corrosion in the service environment, then the tubesheets must be coated.

Session 2: Materials Technology

Eddy Current Testing

Superferritic stainless steels can be eddy current tested in the condenser, however they require full magnetic saturation. Therefore testing must incorporate an electromagnet or a permanent magnet. In theory this material should be able to be tested using Flux Leakage methods. So far no one has been able to demonstrate that they can achieve the necessary sensitivity with Flux Leakage. Many testing service providers have successfully eddy current tested these alloys. However, because of the added difficulties in testing and interpretation it is suggested that testing vendors be required to demonstrate their proficiency.

Alloy Limitations

Superferritic stainless steels have these limitations:

1. They are sensitive to hydrogen embrittlement. If the condenser is operated with a cathodic protection system, the voltage must never exceed 0.80 volts. If embrittlement does occur, the reaction is easily reversible by heating to 100° F (40°C) or allowing the tubes to sit in air for 24 hours.

2. They are sensitive to 885° F (475° C) embrittlement. This starts at about 600° F (315° C) and is cumulative. However, they can be operated at 550° F (300° C) indefinitely without danger of embrittlement.

3. Superferritic stainless steels are subject to embrittlement if they are operated at temperatures below -40° F (-40° C). This better not be a problem with a steam condenser.


Superferritic stainless steels are rather new, lower cost addition to the heat transfer engineering world, but in their brief service time they have made a definite impact. Their excellent corrosion resistance, especially with respect to acid chlorides and MIC attack, have made them attractive alternatives for steam condenser service. The modulus of elasticity, the highest of all common engineering alloys, provides excellent vibration resistance. Their thermal expansion coefficient is close to that of carbon steel so bending stress on the tubesheet is minimized. Most important, their good thermal conductivity and ability to maintain cleanliness means they can maintain a low turbine back pressure.


1. C.D.Schwartz, I.A.Franson, R.J.Hodges, Chemical Engineering, 77, April 20, 1970, Pages


2. M.A.Streicher, Corrosion, 30, (3), 1974, 77-91

3. M.Semchyshen, A.P.Bond & H.J.Dundas, Toward Improved Ductility and Toughness, symposium sponsored by Climax Molybdenum, Kyoto, Japan, Oct. 25-26, 1971, 239-255

Session 2: Materials Technology

4. R. Oppenheim, G. Lennartz, H.Laddach, TEW-Techn. Ber., 2 (1), 1976, 3-13

5. N. Pessall & J.I. Nurminen, Development of Ferritic Stainless Steels for Use in Desalination Plants, Corrosion, 30, (11), 1974, 381

6. K.E. Pinnow, Progress in the Development of High Chromium Ferritic Stainless Steels Produced by AOD Refining, Stainless Steel 77, London, England, September 1977

7. P. Monnartz, Metallurgia, 8, 1911, 161-176 and 193 - 201

8. M. Rockel, Use of Highly Alloyed Stainless Steels and Nickel Alloys in The Chemical Industry, ACHEMA Conf., Frankfurt, Germany, 1978

9. C.W.Kovach and J.D. Redmond, Corrrelations Between The Critical Device Temperature, PRE-Number, and Long Term Crevice Corrosion Data for Stainless Steels, Corrosion 95, Nat. Assoc. of Corrosion Engineers, Paper 267

10. John Tverberg, Kenneth Pinnow and Lawrence Redmerski, The Role of Manganese Fixing Bacteria on the Corrosion of Stainless Steel, Paper 151, National Association of Corrosion Engineers, Corrosion 90, April 23-27, 1990

Table 1 Superferritic Stainless Steels by Name and UNS Number


Common Alloy Name


UNS Number


Type 446 Stainless




E-Brite 26-1




18-2 Stainless
















AL 29-4C




SEA-CURE Stainless



Table 2 ASTM Chemical Comp