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Becht Engineering Blog

In this section of the site contributing authors submit interesting articles relating to the various services, industries and research & development efforts of Becht Engineering.

Cooling Towers: Benefits of a Cold Eyes Review

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One key decision that often needs to be made is repair vs. replace. When has a cooling tower arrived at the point where a new tower should be considered? Maintenance costs, overall tower condition, environmental constraints, and performance optimization are all factors that need to be evaluated. If a new cooling tower is justified, how are the specifications for performance selected? What range, fan horsepower, approach to wet bulb, and water flow rate should be specified to best match plant requirements? The range is the difference between the hot water (return) temperature and the cold water (supply) temperature. The approach to wet bulb is due to the fact that, if the cooling tower were infinite in size, the cold water temperature would be at the wet bulb temperature. However, just like a shell and tube heat exchanger with a temperature difference between two streams, a finite cooling tower results in some...
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Acceptable Practices for High Voltage Motor Lead Routing

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Are Your Wires Crossed?   By Rick Hoffman and Joe Rammage We recently evaluated a 15kV, 5000 hp, induction motor in a WPII enclosure manufactured by a foreign company.  During an on-site inspection of the main terminal box it was discovered that the high voltage leads were touching.  This raised significant concerns about the long-term reliability of the motor. Becht Engineering investigated the issue to determine the industry standards and best practices concerning routing of the motor high voltage leads.    Shielded vs Non-Shielded Cables The National Electric Code requires all cables rated above 2.4kV to be shielded to prevent concentrated electromagnetic stresses from forming between the cable conductor and ground when the cable is in close proximity to a grounded surface.  The addition of the metallic shield smooths out the electromagnetic field eliminating high stress points.  Without it, the increased density of electromagnetic stresses where the cable is in close...
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Cooling Water Systems - 4 Good Reasons Why A Cold Eyes Review Could Be Essential

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An independent (3 rd party) assessment of your Cooling Water System by a Becht SME is highly recommended. There are several key Business Objectives that are addressed by this type of review. 1.  Is There a Plan In Place To Insure Equipment Is Not On The Verge Of Catastrophic Failure?  There are many documented instances of Cooling Towers collapsing from biological (fungal) attack on wood members or excessive weight due to ice, scale, or mud. Fiberglas towers have failed due to improper erection techniques. Frequent inspections are necessary to detect and avoid these conditions. Underground piping may corrode and cathodic protection systems may no longer provide adequate protection. Two common modes of failure on heat exchangers are pitting or stress corrosion cracking (SCC). In this last case, (failure by SCC), Becht worked with a client to retrofit the heat exchanger in place to insure that SCC would not re-occur.   2.  Have...
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Evaluation of Degraded and Nonconforming Conditions For ASME III and B31.1 and B31.7 Class 2 and Class 3 Pressure Boundary Nuclear Plant Components

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1.   Definitions 1.1    Degraded Condition A degraded condition as defined in NRC Inspection Manual 0326 Paragraph 03.02: “A degraded condition is one in which the qualification of an SSC or its functional capability is reduced. Examples of degraded conditions are failures, malfunctions, deficiencies, deviations, and defective material and equipment. Examples of conditions that can reduce the capability of a system are aging, erosion, corrosion, improper operation, and maintenance.” 1.2    Nonconforming Condition A nonconforming condition as defined in US NRC Inspection Manual 0326 Paragraph 03.06: “ A nonconforming condition is a condition of an SSC that involves a failure to meet the CLB or a situation in which quality has been reduced because of factors such as improper design, testing, construction, or modification. The following are examples of nonconforming conditions: An SSC fails to conform to one or more applicable codes or standards (e.g., the CFR, operating license, TSs, UFSAR, and/or licensee...
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