Spotlight Projects:

The Hopper Engineering Associates team provides practical and exciting solutions to unique problems in several industries. To showcase our recent work we choose a project of the month. An archive of previous winners can be found here.

Spotlight Project:

Boiler Tube Failure Analysis
Boiler Tube Failure

A reheat boiler in service at an oil refinery experienced repeated tube failures at the tube to mud drum interface. Each failure required an unscheduled shutdown resulting in lost revenue and additional risk to facility personnel. High cycle fatigue was pinpointed as the most likely failure mechanism. However, the source of fatigue stresses was unknown.


Our engineering team performed an analysis for potential causes of tubing cyclic loading with an emphasis on flow induced vibrations. Fluid elastic instability was pinpointed as the most likely source of vibration. A review of the system operating history showed certain events, such as planned shutdowns, to be particularly damaging. To avoid further damage reduced operating and shutdown parameters were recommended. Design modifications were presented as an alternative to changing operational procedures.

HEA has completed numerous jobs similar to the one shown above (Similar Projects)