Figure 12-19.-Enlarged tube.
Figure 12-20.-Heat blister on a fire row tube.
HEAT BLISTERS differ from tube enlargements in that they affect only one side of the tube, usually the side toward the fires. Blisters appear as egg-shaped lumps on the fireside. They indicate that the tube has been heated to the softening point and has blown out under boiler pressure. Heat blisters always indicate the presence of waterside deposits. If the deposit is brittle, as scale or baked sludge, blistering breaks the deposit and allows the boiler water to quench the hot metal before the tube bursts. Heat blisters are most commonly found on the fire row generating tubes; they are rarely found on superheater tubes or economizer tubes. A typical heat blister is shown in figure 12-20.
SAGGING is the term applied to tubes that appear to have dropped downward toward the furnace under their own weight. This type of deformation results from semiplastic flow of the tube metal, caused by extremely mild overheating. A momentary condition of low water is probably the most common cause of sagging. If the boiler has been cooled slowly, and if the distortion is not so severe as to interfere with the designed flow of combustion gases, sagged tubes may still be continued in service.
WARPING is similar to sagging except that the distortion is haphazard rather than in one direction. Warping usually occurs as a result of sudden cooling of the tubes after they have been overheated. Cooling a boiler too rapidly after a low- water casualty is a typical cause of warped tubes.
MELTING can occur as a result of a serious low-water casualty. If the tube temperature becomes high enough, the tube metal actually melts and runs down into the furnace. A cluster of fused tubes that resulted from melting is shown in figure 12-21. Melting of aluminum economizer parts can cause tremendous damage to a boiler. The molten aluminum from overheated economizer parts reacts so violently with the iron oxide coating on the steel tubes below that the heat of the chemical reaction may melt the steel tubes even though the furnace temperature is not high enough to melt them.Continue Reading