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Valve Basics Training Helps Fill Industry Skills Gap

Valve Basics Training Helps Fill Industry Skills Gap

One of the most keenly felt needs in tod...

An End-User’s Perspective on Valve Selection and Risk

An End-User’s Perspective on Valve Selection and Risk

I am not a valve expert, although I ofte...

New Test Stamp and More Updates on Pressure Vessel Codes

New Test Stamp and More Updates on Pressure Vessel Codes

A new test organization program and stam...

The Role of Valves in HAZOP Studies

The Role of Valves in HAZOP Studies

Process hazard analysis (PHA) is require...

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ValvTechnologies Successfully Completes NUPIC Audit

3 DAYS AGO

ValvTechnologies, Inc. recently achieved NUPIC-approved suppliers list status, upon successful completion of the Nuclear Procurement Issues Committee (NUPIC) audit conducted at the Houston facility. NUPIC members include all domestic U.S. nuclear utilities as well as several international members.

Form...

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GE Oil & Gas Supporting ONGC’s Exploratory Drilling Campaign in India

3 DAYS AGO

GE Oil & Gas has been awarded a multi-million-dollar frame agreement by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC), India’s largest exploration and production company. Under the agreement , GE will provide an estimated 55 subsea wellheads (SG5) over next three years for the operator&rsqu...

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Chemical Activity Barometer Suggests Accelerated Business Activity

4 DAYS AGO

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) expanded 0.4% in August following an upward revision for July. This marks the barometer’s sixth consecutive monthly gain. Accounting for adjustments, the CAB is up 3.2% over this time last year, the strongest year over year growth since January 2015. All d...

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Innovation Could Lead to Significant Cuts in Chemical Manufacturing Energy Use

4 DAYS AGO

Scientists from ExxonMobil and Georgia Tech have developed a new technology that could significantly reduce the amount of energy and emissions associated with manufacturing plastics. If brought to industrial scale, this breakthrough could reduce industry’s global annual carbon dioxide emissions ...

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Manufacturing Productivity in U.S. Higher Than Other Nations

2 DAYS AGO

“U.S. productivity unexpectedly declined for a third straight quarter in the three months through June, Labor Department figures showed. On a year-over-year basis, it fell for the first time since 2013,” Bloomberg reports .

But on a more positive note, “the U.S. still blows other natio...

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Durable Goods Orders Up 4.4%, a Six-Month High

2 DAYS AGO

New orders for manufactured durable goods in July increased $9.7 billion or 4.4% to $228.9 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department announced. This increase, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, followed a 4.2% June decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 1.5%. Excluding def...

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WCC and LCC Casting in ASME B16.34

materials_q_and_a_graphicQ: Why do WCC and LCC castings have different maximum allowable temperatures in ASME B16.34?

A: This is a very good question and a commonly discussed topic among materials engineers. Unfortunately, the answer isn't black and white-in fact, the "whys" are not very clear at all. What is clear is that the maximum allowable temperature values in B16.34 can be traced back to Section II Part D of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel (B&PV) Code. However, that code contains no background information or notes to explain why those particular temperature limits were assigned. Because of this, much speculation among materials engineers exists- following along these lines:

The standard carbon steel materials (i.e., those not impact-tested for low-temperature applications, such as A216/SA216 WCC) are most commonly heat treated by normalizing, sometimes followed by tempering. Normalized steels are relatively resistant to microstructural changes at elevated temperatures. Short excursions to temperatures below the lower critical temperature (727° C /1340° F) have little or no detrimental effect on the mechanical properties of the steel. Long-term exposure at temperatures exceeding 425° C / 800° F, however, can cause graphitization, in which the carbide phase transforms to graphite causing loss of strength and toughness. WCC is actually allowed at temperatures up to 538° C / 1000° F, but B16.34 notes (as a borrowed reference from the B&PV Code) that "Upon prolonged exposure to temperatures above 455° C / 900° F, the carbide phase of steel may be converted to graphite. This means it may be permissible, but not recommended for prolonged use above 425° C / 800° F."

On the other hand, low-temperature carbon steel materials (i.e., those that are impact-tested for low-temperature applications, such as A352/SA352 LCC) are usually quenched and tempered, because they are generally tougher than normalized microstructures at the same strength level. When exposed to elevated temperatures, quenched and tempered steels are more susceptible than normalized steels to permanent reduction in strength. This is especially true when exposure temperature begins to approach tempering temperature used when the parts were produced. In addition to losing strength, tempered steels also may experience reduced impact toughness after being exposed to long-term elevated temperatures. General belief is that this is the reason for LCC's reduced maximum allowable temperature limit of 345°C / 650°F in B16.34.

Inconsistencies
Here's where inconsistencies start, however, because:

  • A216 / SA216 allows WCC to be supplied in the quenched and tempered condition if the purchaser v invokes Supplementary Requirement S15. A216 / SA216 does not explicitly require any special marking for quenching and tempering. (Interestingly, though, Supplementary Requirement S15 in A703/SA703, the "general requirements" specification referenced by A216 / SA216, stipulates a "QT" mark when the material is quenched and tempered). B16.34 (and the B&PV Code) do not place any special temperature limits on WCC when it is quenched and tempered.
  • In addition, impact tests are also allowed on a WCC casting at -46°C/-50°F to qualify it for low temperature service. This would then be a full-fledged WCC casting qualified for use down to -46°C/-50°F and minus the explicit 345°C/650°F maximum allowable temperature limit for LCC.
  • Furthermore, the B16.34 maximum allowable temperature for A350/SA350 LF2 forgings is 538°C/1000°F (with the same warning note about graphitization -not to use it above 425°C / 800°F). These forgings are also often quenched and tempered so they are essentially the nearest forged equivalent to LCC castings. If the metallurgical instability issues are the reason for the 345°C / 650°F maximum allowable temperature limit on LCC castings then, it would seem that LF2 forgings should also be limited to 345°C / 650°F.

Drawing Conclusions
Based on the above information, the following conclusions might be drawn:

  • If the reduced maximum allowable temperature for impact-qualified materials (such as LCC) are limited based on loss of toughness after long-term exposure to elevated temperatures, it would seem logical that additional, more consistent controls should be placed on all low-temperature materials (including LF2 forgings). These controls would need to extend to grades traditionally not impact tested, but that might be impact tested to qualify them for low temperature applications (such as an impact-tested WCC). In other words, maximum allowable temperature limit should be based on minimum allowable temperature.
  • If the reduced maximum allowable temperature is limited based on loss of strength from reduced elevated-temperature stability of quenched and tempered steels, it would make sense to list maximum allowable temperature limits for carbon steels as a function of both material grade and also heat treat condition. It would also make sense that quenched and tempered materials be marked in this case as well.
  • If both these concerns are driving the reduced maximum allowable temperature limits, then it would seem that the maximum temperature limits of all carbon steels should be based on both the minimum allowable temperature and the heat treat condition. In any event, it's clear that the ASME codes and standards currently contain a number of inconsistencies regarding lower temperature limits in carbon steels.

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