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.
Becht staff include over ten senior materials experts with expertise in applications including power, refinining, petrochemical and chemical facilities, and materials including metals, coatings and linings, and nonmetals such as refractories, thermoplastics (e.g., high density polyethylene) and reinforced thermosetting resins (e.g., fiberglass).  O...ur services include material selection, establishing operating envelopes for equipment, failure analysis, remaining life assessment, and establishing deterioration mechanisms and their associated probabilities for risk based inspection and development of equipment reliability plans.  We are experts in modifications to existing chemical processes to alleviate and control corrosion that allows continued operation of existing equipment.  We are experts in the equipment requirements for processing corrosive crudes (e.g. high TAN crudes such as Doba crude) as well as material applications for high temperature services such as steam cracking furnaces and furnaces to produce synthesis gas. More

Fatal Distractions: Refinery Chloride Contamination – Are You Looking for the Source of Chlorides in the Right Place?

L1011-aircraft Eastern Airlines L1011 Aircraft
On December 29, 1972 one the Nation’s worst airline accidents occurred as Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 crashed into the Florida Everglades killing 101 of the passengers and crew.   A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation attributed the cause of the crash to crew distraction.  While on approach, the crew noted that a landing gear indicator light was not functioning.  While the entire crew was preoccupied with troubleshooting the burnt-out landing gear indicator light, they failed to notice that the autopilot had inadvertently been disconnected and, as a result, the aircraft gradually lost altitude and ultimately crashed. All too often when attempting to solve a problem we suffer from tunnel vision.    A probable root cause to the problem is suggested and we spend all of energy and resources attempting to fix the suggested root cause while ignoring the indications that the actual root cause is something else or that more...
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Reducing Loss of Primary Containment (LOPC's) in a Refinery

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Reducing Loss of Primary Containment (LOPC's) or commonly referred to as “leaks” in a refinery is a key factor to improve reliability.  Historically, most refiners reduced the high consequence leaks to avoid major incidents; however, lower consequence related leaks were not given high priority.  Today high reliability is required, and reduction of all leaks is desired due to greater legal and regulatory oversight of the industry.  Approximately 90% of the leaks occur in piping systems.  These leaks typically fall into 3 categories; internal corrosion, flange leaks and external corrosion.  Many refiners have programs in place for internal corrosion and programs for flanged joints; however, many lack comprehensive programs for external corrosion. To fully reduce LOPCs a comprehensive internal and external corrosion management system is necessary. Background Many refineries have had Mechanical Integrity related audits performed during the last decade.  These audits have found many areas for improvements and programs were initiated...
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Why Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) Works

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The API Inspection Codes were originally based on failure prevention and did not consider the consequences of failure or potential damage mechanisms.  Risk-based inspection (RBI) assessments result in an equipment risk ranking based on the probability of failure (a leak occurring) and the consequence associated with that leak.  Applied properly, RBI provides the benefit of increasing operating efficiencies and unit run lengths of process facilities while maintaining or reducing the current level of risk. As stated above, risk has two components, probability and consequence.  In risk-based inspection, the probability of failure is determined by evaluating the initial design conditions and the amount of damage that can potentially occur while the equipment is in operation.  Uncertainty in the model is also address by crediting previous inspections.  Consequences are commonly evaluated in terms of environmental, health, and safety impact areas or financial loss (lost opportunity, repair costs, etc.).  Consequences are also evaluated based...
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Risk Assessment of Refinery Hydroprocessing Unit Reactor Effluent Air Coolers (REACs) Made of Duplex Stainless Steel (DSS)

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Cracking of REAC Duplex Stainless Steel Failures of Refinery Hydroprocessing Unit REACs made of 2205 DSS have in some cases resulted in significant plant damage and extended outages for repairs.  In a few  cases, header box welds have ruptured.  Additionally, failures have occurred at tube-to-tubesheet welds and in REAC inlet and outlet piping made of DSS.  A sufficient number of failures have been reported that the API Subcommittee on Corrosion and Materials has initiated a program to survey the refining industry to understand how wide spread the issue is and to better identify factors leading to cracking.  Additionally, some process licensors have notified their customers of potential concerns and have suggested they undertake risk assessments of their DSS REACs.  In early 2016, the Materials Technology Institute (MTI) issued a publication “Fabrication of 2205 Duplex Stainless Steel REACs in Refinery Hydroprocessing Units” that reviewed case histories of failures and provided guidance on...
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