Sandip Bhattacharyya


4 Root Cause Analysis of a Catastrophically Failed Output Pin Bush Coupling of a Raw Material Conveyor Belt

Authors: Kaushal Kishore, Suman Mukhopadhyay, Susovan Das, Manashi Adhikary, Sandip Bhattacharyya


In integrated steel plants, conveyor belts are widely used for transferring raw materials from one location to another. An output pin bush coupling attached with a conveyor transferring iron ore fines and fluxes failed after two years of service life. This led to an operational delay of approximately 15 hours. This study is focused on failure analysis of the coupling and recommending counter-measures to prevent any such failures in the future. Investigation consisted of careful visual observation, checking of operating parameters, stress calculation and analysis, macro and micro-fractography, material characterizations like chemical and metallurgical analysis and tensile and impact testings. The fracture occurred from an unusually sharp double step. There were multiple corrosion pits near the step that aggravated the situation. Inner contact surface of the coupling revealed differential abrasion that created a macroscopic difference in the height of the component. This pointed towards misalignment of the coupling beyond a threshold limit. In addition to these design and installation issues, material of the coupling did not meet the quality standards. These were made up of grey cast iron having graphite morphology intermediate between random distribution (Type A) and rosette pattern (Type B). This manifested as a marked reduction in impact toughness and tensile strength of the component. These findings corroborated well with the brittle mode of fracture that might have occurred during minor impact loading while loading of conveyor belt with raw materials from height. Simulated study was conducted to examine the effect of corrosion pits on tensile and impact toughness of grey cast iron. It was observed that pitting marginally reduced tensile strength and ductility. However, there was marked (up to 45%) reduction in impact toughness due to pitting. Thus, it became evident that failure of the coupling occurred due to combination of factors like inferior material, misalignment, poor step design and corrosion pitting. Recommendation for life enhancement of coupling included the use of tougher SG 500/7 grade, incorporation of proper fillet radius for the step, correction of alignment and application of corrosion resistant organic coating to prevent pitting.

Keywords: Cast Iron, brittle fracture, coupling, pitting, double step, simulated impact tests

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3 Dealing with Buckling Effect in Snorkel by Finite Element Analysis: A Life Enhancement Approach in CAS-OB Operation

Authors: Subodh Nath Patel, Raja Raman, Mananshi Adhikary, Jitendra Mathur, Sandip Bhattacharyya


The composition adjustment by sealed argon bubbling–oxygen blowing (CAS-OB) process is a process designed for adjusting steel composition and temperature during secondary metallurgy. One of the equipment in the said process is a snorkel or bell, fixed to a movable bracket. Snorkel serves the purpose of feeding ferroalloys into the liquid metal simultaneously removing gases to the gas cleaning system through its port at its top. The bell-shaped snorkel consists of two parts. The upper part has an inside liner, and the lower part is lined on both side with high-alumina castable reinforced with 2% stainless steel needles. Both the parts are coupled with a flange bolt system. These flanges were found to get buckled during operation, and the gap was generating between them. This problem was chronic since its. It was expected to give a life of 80 heats, but it was failing within 45-50 heats. After every 25-30 heats, it had to be repaired by changing and/or tightening its nuts and bolts. Visual observation, microstructural analysis through optical microscopes and SEM, hardness measurement and thermal strain calculation were carried out to find out the root cause of this problem. The calculated thermal strain was compared with actual thermal strain; comparison of the two revealed that thermal strain was responsible for buckling. Finite element analysis (FEA) was carried out to reaffirm the effect temperature on the flanges. FEA was also used in the modification in the design of snorkel flange to accommodate thermal strain. Thermal insulation was also recommended which increased its life from 45 heats to 65 heats, impacting business process positively.

Keywords: Finite Element Analysis, thermal strain, CAS OB process, snorkel

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2 Unusual Weld Failures of Rotary Compressor during Hydraulic Tests: Analysis revealed Boron Induced Cracking in Fusion Zone

Authors: Kaushal Kishore, Vaibhav Jain, Hrishikesh Jugade, Saurabh Hadas, Manashi Adhikary, Goutam Mukhopadhyay, Sandip Bhattacharyya


Rotary air compressors in air conditioners are used to suck excessive volume of air from the atmosphere in a small space to provide drive to the components attached to them. Hydraulic test is one of the most important methods to decide the suitability of these components for usage. In the present application, projection welding is used to join the hot rolled steel sheets after forming for manufacturing of air compressors. These sheets belong to two different high strength low alloy (HSLA) steel grades. It was observed that one batch of compressors made of a particular grade was cracking from the weld, whereas those made of another grade were passing the hydraulic tests. Cracking was repeatedly observed from the weld location. A detailed comparative study of the compressors which failed and successfully passed pressure tests has been presented. Location of crack initiation was identified to be the interface of fusion zone/heat affected zone. Shear dimples were observed on the fracture surface confirming the ductile mode of failure. Hardness profile across the weld revealed a sharp rise in hardness in the fusion zone. This was attributed to the presence of untempered martensitic lath in the fusion zone. A sharp metallurgical notch existed at the heat affected zone/fusion zone interface due to transition in microstructure from acicular ferrite and bainite in HAZ to untempered martensite in the fusion zone. In contrast, welds which did not fail during the pressure tests showed a smooth hardness profile with no abnormal rise in hardness in the fusion zone. The bainitic microstructure was observed in the fusion zone of successful welds. This difference in microstructural constituents in the fusion zone was attributed to the presence of a small amount of boron (0.002 wt. %) in the sheets which were cracking. Trace amount of boron is known to substantially increase the hardenability of HSLA steel, and cooling rate during resolidification in the fusion zone is sufficient to form martensite. Post-weld heat treatment was recommended to transform untempered martensite to tempered martensite with lower hardness.

Keywords: cracking, Boron, Compressor, martensite, weld, hardenability, high strength low alloy steel

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1 Failure and Stress Analysis of Super Heater Tubes of a 67 TPH Coke Dry Quenching Boiler

Authors: Subodh N. Patel, Abhijit Pusty, Manashi Adhikary, Sandip Bhattacharyya


The steam superheater (SH) is a coil type heat exchanger which is used to produce superheated steam or to convert the wet steam to dry steam (69.6 kg/cm² and 495°C), generated by a boiler. There were two superheaters in the system, SH I and SH II. SH II is a set of tubes that faces the initial interaction with flue gas at high temperature followed by SH I tubes. After a service life of 2100 hours, a tube in the SH II found to be punctured. Dye penetrant test revealed that out of 50 such tubes, 14 more tubes had severe cracks at a similar location. The failure was investigated in detail. The materials and scale were characterized by optical microscope and advance characterization technique. Scale, observed on fracture surface, was characterized under scanning electron microscope and Raman spectroscopy. Stresses acting on the tubes in working condition were analyzed by finite element method software, ANSYS. Cyclic stresses were observed in the simulation at the same prone location due to restriction in expansion of tubes. Based on scale characterization and stress analysis, it was concluded that the tube failed in thermo-mechanical fatigue. Finally, prevention and control measures were taken to avoid such failure in the future.

Keywords: Finite Element Analysis, oxide scale, superheater tube, thermomechanical fatigue

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