by Charles H. Panzarella, Ph.D. / Jun 01, 2015

High temperature hydrogen attack (HTHA) is an insidious and difficult to- detect damage mechanism that leads to the progressive degradation of carbon and low alloy steels exposed to hydrogen gas (or hydrogen dissolved in liquid) at elevated temperatures for extended periods of time. The 2010 explosion and fire at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington has been attributed to HTHA by the recent U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) investigation that was completed in 2014. The CSB found the industry’s standard for determining vulnerability of equipment to HTHA to be inadequate. This has led to a serious effort by many in the industry to develop improved methods for predicting, detecting, and preventing HTHA.

E2G, along with Dr. Martin Prager of the Materials Property Council (MPC), has been leading the effort to develop new Fitness- For-Service (FFS) rules for HTHA assessment that will be included in a future edition of API 579-1/ASME FFS-1, the industry standard for FFS assessment of aging equipment. This work is sponsored by an ongoing HTHA Joint Industry Project (JIP) that E2G initiated in 2013. A draft version of the new HTHA FFS rules is complete and currently being reviewed by the HTHA JIP members.

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