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Module -I

Process furnaces are equipments used to transfer heat energy to refinery process stream. The process stream can be a liquid, partly vaporized liquid or vapor, depending on the application. Heat is added to the process stream by combustion of fuel in the furnace. Combustion: Combustion is the rapid oxidation of a fuel, which results in the production of combustion products with the liberation of heat energy. Hence combustion can be treated as an oxidation reaction of the fuel and can be represented by the equation: Fuel + Oxygen Combustion Products + HEAT

Refinery fuels are all hydrocarbons with traces of impurities like Sulphur, Nitrogen etc. Liquid fuels may contain metallic compounds also. However for the present analyses we will not consider those impurities and treat the fuel as a pure hydrocarbon. On combustion, the carbon in the fuel will get converted to either carbon monoxide (CO) or carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen will get converted to water (H2O). All the above reactions are exothermic, meaning that heat is liberated by burning of the fuel. Hence burning reaction can be represented as: Hydrocarbon +Oxygen CO2 + CO + H2O + Heat

The above equation however doesnt represent complete combustion of the fuel since the entire carbon in the fuel is not fully oxidised (To CO2). The full combustion equation for the above will be: Hydrocarbon + oxygen CO2 + H2O + Heat Flame Temperature: The heat liberated in complete combustion of the hydrocarbon is fixed and is represented by the heat of combustion of the fuel. This is also referred to as the heating value of the fuel. Thus, if a unit
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quantity of fuel is burned, the heat equivalent to the heat content of the fuel is liberated. This heat liberated by the fuel is utilized to raise the temperature of the products of the burning reaction (flue gas). The temperature thus achieved by the flue gas is sometimes called as the adiabatic flame temperature (or flame temperature). Air Requirement for Combustion: The oxygen required for the combustion of the fuel is generally supplied through air, which will also contain Nitrogen, which will not take part in the combustion reaction. For all calculation processes, air will be assumed to contain 21 mole % Oxygen and 79 mole % Nitrogen. Given below is a typical air requirement calculation for a refinery fuel. Fuel composition: 84-wt% carbon, 16-wt% Hydrogen. Basis for calculation: Carbon in fuel = 100 Kg of fuel 100 x 0.84 =84 Kg = 7 Kg moles

C+O2 CO2 Oxygen required for burning carbon Hydrogen in fuel =100-84 =16 Kg Oxygen required for burning Hydrogen Total Oxygen required moles Moles of Nitrogen in the air supplied Kg moles Total weight of air required = 7+4 = 7 Kg moles = 8 Kg moles = 4 Kg moles = 11 Kg = 41.38


=(11x32) + (41.38x28) =1510.64 Kg

Hence, for every Kg of fuel burnt, 15.1064 Kg air is theoretically required. Concept of Excess Air:

Heater and Combustion

Given a fuel of known composition (or at least Carbon to Hydrogen ratio) it is possible to find out the adiabatic flame temperature for combustion of the fuel as per stoichiometry. Since the flame temperature is achieved by the transfer of heat to the reaction products, the temperature achieved will depend on the quantity of products of combustion. To ensure full and complete combustion of the fuel in the furnace, the air supply to the furnace is normally maintained at a level slightly higher then the stoichiometric requirement. Thus furnaces are normally operated with slight Excess air. However, the air in excess of that required for the combustion, will act as a heat sink for the combustion and hence reduce the flame temperature. In other words, increase in excess air will reduce the flame temperature.

Heating Value of the Fuel: As defined earlier, the heating value of the fuel is the heat available from the fuel on combustion. However, it is customary to express the heating value in two different ways the Higher Heating Value (HHV) and the Lower Heating Value (LHV). The presence of hydrogen in the hydrocarbon molecules will result in formation of water as one of the products of combustion. Water is the only vapour product among the products of combustion. If we can lower the temperature of combustion products to below the dew point, an additional amount of heat equal to the latent heat of vaporization of water can be made available from the flue gas. Thus the heat available by the burning of the fuel will be different depending on whether we are able to reduce the temperature of flue gas below its dew point. Higher Heating Value or the Gross Heat of Combustion is the total heat produced by the burning of the fuel. Lower Heating Value or the Net Heat of Combustion is the total heat evolved in the burning of a fuel less the latent heat of vaporization of water, which may be produced in the combustion process. This is the useful heat produced as the fuel is burned if the products of combustion are not cooled below the dew point.
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Heating Values of General Refinery Fuels: The different refinery operations generate a host of fuel gas streams of varying composition starting from hydrogen to C5 hydrocarbons. Some gas streams also may contain inert gases like Nitrogen or CO2 if there are units like FCCU or Flexicoker in the refinery. The refinery fuel gas streams thus can have a heat value ranging from 9,000 Kcal/Kg to 11,000 Kcal/Kg. Refinery fuel oils can be anything from atmospheric residue, vacuum residue, bitumen, visbreaker tar, clarified oil or mixture of any of these. Normally a calorific value of around 10,500 Kcal/Kg is assigned to refinery fuel oils. Standard Refinery Fuel: The wide varying calorific value of refinery fuels makes it difficult to quantity the fuel saved on account of energy saving schemes implemented in a refinery. To make things easier, refineries are now assigned a value of 10,000 Kcal/Kg to be the calorific value to be considered in such contexts. The term Standard Refinery Fuel (SRF) has thus been introduced. SRF is a ficticious fuel with a calorific value of 10,000 Kcal/Kg.

HEAT TRANSFER IN FURNACE We have come up to the method of heat liberation in a furnace. We will now examine the method of heat transmission in a furnace. In a furnace, heat is transferred from flue gas to the process fluid in two ways- by radiation and convection. As the name implies, heat transfer occurs by radiation in the radiant section of the furnace and convection dominates heat transfer in the convection section. Radiant Heat Transfer: In the radiant section of the furnace (the fire box), heat transfer occurs through radiation from the flue gases to the furnace tubes and the refractory. The law governing the rate of heat transfer is the Stefan Boltzmann equation which is:
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Qr Where Tg Tt Qr

4.80 x 10-8 (Tg4-Tt4)

= Radiant heat transfer in Kcal/M2 Hr = Gas temperature in oK = Tube temperature in oK

The equation tells that the rate of heat transfer is proportional to the difference in fourth power of the absolute temperatures of the heat source and heat sink. However, the above equation doesnt consider the properties of the radiating metal. In reality, there is lot of variation in the radiating capabilities of the different products of combustion. Among the products of combustion, H20 has the highest emissivity followed by CO2 and then CO. Diatomic gases like O2 and N2 have negligible emissivities and doesnt contribute much in transfer of heat by radiation. In this angle, products of combustion from Hydrogen rich fuels should give more heat pickup in the radiant section. Heat Flux and Standard Values for Refinery Operations: The heat transferred per unit area per unit time is referred to as the flux. High values of flux demands higher fuel firing, high furnace temperatures and better material of construction for heater tubes. However this will reduce the volume of the furnace box and hence will account for some reduction in furnace cost. It boils down to an optimization problem when the heat flux is chosen for a particular furnace. However, it is a standard practice among refineries to restrict the heat flux range for a particular refinery operation. The following table gives the range of heat flux to be taken for some of the common refinery heating applications. Application Crude Distillation Vacuum Distillation Visbreaking Gas oil cracking etc. Radiant Heat Pickup
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Flux Btu/Ft2 Hr 10,000 15,000 8000 10,000 10,000 20,000 8000 12,000

Furnaces built recently are being designed to absorb more and more heat in the radiant section of the furnace. Generally about 6080% of the heat will be absorbed in the radiant section of the furnace. The fourth power relationship for the heat transfer in the radiant section is a major factor in achieving such high absorption rates in a furnace. The empirical relationship for percentage of heat absorbed in the radiant section is given by Hotte & Wilson and is as follows:

Where G surface. S Q

= % of heat absorbed in the radiant section = Air to fuel ratio Ac = Factor to convert actual exposed surface to cold

= 6930 if Q is in Kcal/hr = heat released in Kcal/hr

Annexure 2 gives a chart, which relates the tube spacing and number of tubes to . This graph indicates that reducing the tube spacing will increase the heat pick up. For a single row of radiant tubes, the factor increases from 0.88 to 0.96 as the tube spacing is reduced from 2 OD to 1.5 OD. This is almost 9% increase in heat pickup. This however will result in maintenance problems. Example: 2500 Kg/hr of a fuel of calorific value 10,000 Kcal/Kg is burnt in a furnace with a radiant section having 120 nos. 10.5 cm OD tubes, which are 12 meters long and spaced at 2 OD. Find the heat absorbed in the radiant section. Total heat released = 2500 x 10000 For single row tubes at 2 OD spacing Ac = 25 x 108 Kcal/hr = 0.88

= 120 x 0.105 x 2 x 12 = 302.4 Sq Meters


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Air to fuel ratio

= 20 assumed

Percentage heat pickup

= = 47.5 %

Even though the method doesnt incorporate effect of emissivity of the products of combustion, this equation is frequently used for design of furnace boxes. Convection section The remaining heat from the flue gases going out of the radiant section is significantly extracted in the convection section. However, the bottom most row of the furnace will be subjected to direct radiation. Since there is no refractory wall behind (above) this layer of convection tubes, part of the tubes up to the fourth row receive part of the heat through radiation. However, the main mechanism of heat transfer in this section is convection. Convection section resemble any other heat exchange system where the heat transfer is governed by the Fouriers Law: Where Q = U A T U = Over all heat transfer coefficient A = Area for heat transfer T = Temperature difference

It is to be noted that, the convection heat transfer rate is depended only on the first power of the temperature. Monrad gives the empirical correlation for the heat transfer coefficient for heat transfer on the flue gas side. hc = 2.845 x G0.667 x T0.3 D0.33 Where G = Mass flow rate in Kg/M2 Sec T = Temperature in deg.Kelvin

Heater and Combustion

D = Outside dia. Of tube in cm Extended Surface in Convection Section Since the heat transfer coefficient is a function of the temperature and the heat transfer is proportional to the first power of the temperature, the heat transfer rate falls drastically as the flue gas moves up the convection section. Hence, people resort to extended surface heat transfer in the upper regions of the convection section. It is customary to provide either fins or studs over the tubes in this area. As a general rule, studs are provided for service where fouling is expected.

Module -II


Heater and Combustion

Introduction to Draft Draft is the difference in pressure producing airflow through a furnace or boiler. Normally furnaces are operated under a negative pressure and hence draft may also be defined as the negative pressure in furnace, which sucks air into the combustion zone. Draft is necessary to ensure supply of air in sufficient quantity to ensure complete combustion of the fuel and under sufficient pressure to over come the resistance offered by the furnace shell, tubes, registers, dampers, chimney linings etc. How Draft is produced? Draft is produced by the density difference between the hot gases and the out side air. Consider a column of a hot air with height H connected to another column of the same dimension but containing cold air. (Refer fig.2-1) The difference in weight of the air column due to difference in densities of air produces a pressure difference, which is termed as draft. Since the pressure difference is very small, draft is generally expressed in inches water column. At a common elevation in the tubes (marked A), there is a difference in pressure, which is related to the density difference. Since the height of the air column are both H, this difference in pressure (Draft) can be represented as: Difference in pressure = (dc - dh) x H Where d is density of the air.

Heater and Combustion

The density of any gas can be represented by d = p / RT where p is the pressure, T the absolute temperature and R the Gas constant. Hence draft can be represented as Draft = R x (1/Tc 1/Th) x H Where Tc and Th are the cold and hot gas temperatures. From the above, it is clear that, in a furnace, the draft is related to the temperature of flue gas and the height of the stack. The draft produced in the hot column will force the airflow through the column. Since the movement of gases is due to density difference created by the change in temperature, it is also referred to as buoyant flow. Now imagine that the hot column is covered at the top. The buoyancy force will push the gases against the top closure creating a Positive Pressure at the top of the column. If the column is opened at the top and closed at the bottom, atmospheric pressure will exist at the top and a negative pressure at the bottom. As explained earlier, this draft which is the driving force for air flow through the furnace, has to overcome the resistance offered by the convection tube bundle, the stack damper, the air registers etc. Or in other words, the draft is lost in these areas of resistance.

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Figure 2-2 gives a draft profile for a typical process furnace. Note that there are three distinct regions when there is loss of draft or there is pressure drop offered by the system the air registers, convection bank and the damper. In the draft profile you can notice drastic pressure drop in these areas. The draft available at the floor of the furnace is of importance to the burner manufacturer since the efficiency of combustion depends on the mixing inside the burner which is depend on the draft available. The draft just below the convection bank is the minimum inside the furnace and is a key parameter to be controlled in a furnace. The operator controls the draft in the furnace with the help of the stack damper. The excess air in the furnace is controlled by the air registers. However, if the draft instrumentation are faulty, operators try to control the excess air with the help of air registers alone. This may not be possible in all cases. Ideal Draft Conditions Figure 2-2 also gives the ideal draft conditions in a furnace and to abnormal situations also. As indicated above, the location in the furnace where the draft is minimum is below the convection bank. However, this area is prone to air/flue gas leak due to the presence of lot of bolted joints in the area. A very high draft (negative pressure) in the area will pull atmospheric air into the furnace. This will cool the gases going to the convection section and will reduce the heat transfer. This situation arises, when the stack damper is opened more than the requirement. The cold zones in the convection section can lead to condensation of the flue gas and subsequent corrosion since three is a possibility that the temperature at these locations may fall below the dew point. A high pressure below the convection is caused by almost blocked damper operation. In this case, fuel gas will leak out through the convection bank resulting in loss of furnace efficiency. The industry practice is to maintain a vacuum of 0.1 inch water column below the convection section. This, as detailed above can be achieved by manipulating the damper. The condition has been represented in the central draft profile in figure 2-2. Draft Stabilisers
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Down draft effects of the wind sometimes badly affects the furnace draft. Coolhat or Vortex type down- draft diverters eliminate this effect on the furnace draft. Cool-hat type is the most popular one due to its lower cost.

Module -III

Burners are one of the most critical parts of a furnace. A process furnace in a refinery will normally have more than one Combination Burner, which can fire either oil, gas or a mixture of both. These burners will be designed for 100% capacity with either gas or oil. It is to be noted that in normal case, all the burners in a furnace will be of the same type. The only exception to this will be when the unit has to handle different fuels at a time. In this case the furnaces will have more than one type of burner, each type designed for a particular fuel firing at a fixed pressure. Each combination burner will have an oil burner (or oil gun) and a set of gas burners. Figure 3-1 and 3-2 are typical diagrams of combination burners used in refineries. The louver ring of the burner
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assembly will be bolted to the mounting plate of the furnace. The oil gun will be located in the center of each assembly. The gas burners will be located in the periphery of the burner and around the gas burner. The number of gas burners in each assembly will vary with the burner model. Each burner assembly will have one or more pilot burners also. Burner Refractory There are two sets of refractory in a burner assembly. The innermost refractory layer, which is just around the oil gun, is the primary block or recon tile. This is generally shaped like a venturi and provides a mixing action for the oil burned. The shape of this refractory is specific to the burner model and plays an important role in ensuring complete combustion of the fuel. The other piece of refractory in a burner is called the secondary or floor tile or quarl. This will shape the flame to provide the required heat transfer. The shape and size of this refractory also varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and from model to model. Primary Air Register Below the primary is the primary air register, which controls the airflow to the oil flame. Since the efficiency of oil burning depends on the intensity of fuel air mixing, it is imperative that air to the oil burner is supplied at sufficient quantity and pressure through the primary air doors. The oil body receiver on to which is fitted the oil gun is normally attached below the primary air register. Oil Guns The connection for fuel oil and atomizing steam to each burner terminates at the oil body receiver. Before the oil burner is lit, the proper oil gun has to be inserted and locked into correct position in the burner. Copper washers are normally provided at the oil and steam connections. Please make it a point to use fresh washers whenever a gun is inserted. The position of the oil gun tip, which respect to the primary block is important for proper combustion and hence care should be taken when oil guns are inserted into the burner assembly. Improper

Heater and Combustion


positioning of the gun will result in improper shape of the flame, coke build up on burners and oil spillage. Since the oil gun is specific to each burner, interchange of oil guns among heaters should be avoided. Interchange may result in incomplete combustion, oil spillage etc. Gas burns directly in a flame and doesnt require atomization. However, oils require proper atomization for complete combustion. Steam, air or gas can be used as atomizing mediums. However, in refinery furnaces only steam is being currently used for this application. Atomisation of the oil breaks the oil particles to micron size and provides extended area for the oil particles so that the combustion is complete. Atomising steam is normally supplied at a fixed differential pressure above the pressure of oil fired. However, there are also burners designed for fixed pressure atomisation. For each of the oil burner assembly, a cross over from the atomising steam line to the fuel oil line is provided. This is used to purge the line before an oil burner is put on line and after it is taken out of line. This may also help warming up the fuel oil line up to the burner tip so that the burner is supplied with oil at the correct temperature. Correct temperature of oil ensures that the oil viscosity at the burner tip is as per design. This is essential for proper atomisation of the fuel. It is a good practice to remove the oil gun from the assembly soon after it is taken out of service. However, if it is planned to relight the burner in a short time, the gun can be retained in position with atomizing steam flowing through the burner as Cooling Steam. The oil gun comprises of two concentric pipes with oil flowing through the inner tube and steam through the annulus. Various manufactures have different mechanisms for oil atomization. Ultimately oil emerges out through the oil gun tip fully atomized. The heat release, the angle of firing etc. depend on the oil gun tip also and hence it should never be attempted to exchange oil gun tips between two models. Oil guns are prone to frequent clogging due to dirt in the fuel or due to coke formation at the burner tip. If the flame pattern is asymmetric or the burner is not able to deliver the required duty, the
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gun should be immediately pulled out and replaced with a conditioned one. Thus an oil gun requires frequent attention compared to gas burners.

Secondary Air Register Secondary air registers are located out side the primary refractory and hence directs the air to the gas tips and the outer surface of the flame. Both the primary and secondary registers can be operated with help of handles provided. Gas Burners Gas manifold is attached to the bottom of the burners and the gas nipples to which are connected the burner tips are screwed to the manifold. The elevation of the burner tips from the bottom of the floor tile is important for proper burning. Care should also be taken to see that the orientation of the gas burner tips is according to the manufacturers instructions. Pilot and Igniter The pilot burners, through burning on the same fuel gas as the main gas supply are separately connected to the gas header. The pilots are designed to operate at very low gas pressure and has an air inspirator lock to adjust the air fuel mixture thus ensuring neat burning. Pilots should be maintained in perfect condition. It is a good practice to maintain the pilots in all burners where main flames (gas or oil) are on. Pilots are normally ignited with the help of electric igniters. Nowadays portable igniters are available which can be moved from burner to burner and heater to heater. During idle time, the igniter can be kept charged with normal power supply. The pilot in an assembly is first lit and main burners are lit from the pilots. Gas burner in an assembly can be lit from the oil fire in the same burner and vice-versa. Never attempt to make the flame jump from a nearby burner.

Heater and Combustion


In installations where igniters are not available or not in working condition, burners can be lit using acetylene or LPG torches. The burners are the most critical pieces of equipment in a furnace since they are instrumental in providing the required heat duty. However, it is to be noted that proper burning will take pace only if the proper mixing is achieved. This can happen only if air is supplied to the burner at a fixed pressure and turbulence. This can be achieved only if the pressure drop through the burners is properly adjusted. This again calls for maintenance of specific draft in the furnace box. To achieve the required efficiency of the furnaces, all the parts of the burner should be in proper condition. Operators should immediately rectify problems noticed in the burners such as damages in insulation, blockage of air registers, improper positioning of the guns etc. Since the furnace is the most hazardous area in plant, it the duty of every one working there to see that the furnace are well kept. This definitely will require a constant maintenance of the burners.

Heater and Combustion


Module -IV


Why Maintain Excess Air in Furnace ? To conserve fuel and also save the environment from fugitive emissions, the furnace operator should ensure that the fuel fired in a furnace is completely burned. But due to the uncertainties in fuel conditions, combustion airflow etc., air supply may sometimes turn out to be sub-stoichiometric which will result in wastage of fuel. Hence furnaces are always maintained with an air supply more than the stoichiometric requirement or in other words, furnaces are operated with excess air. Excess air maintained in the furnace will show up in the stack flue gas as an oxygen percentage. Since the combustion of fuel gas is easier than that of fuel oil, excess air maintained is less in the case of fuel gas burning. Fuel oil atomization may not be perfect and hence to ensure complete combustion of the fuel, excess air in this case should be maintained at slightly higher levels. It is customary to maintain around 10% excess air in the case of gas-fired furnaces on natural draft and 15% excess air in the case of oil firing. Forced draft burners can be maintained with complete combustion with excess air as low as 5%. The capability of the forced draft burner lies in the higher-pressure drop available at the burner, which produces greater turbulence and hence better combustion. Since natural draft burners have only limited pressure available at the burner, the fuel air mixing is inferior compared to forced draft burners

Heater and Combustion


and hence they require higher excess air for complete combustion of the fuel. Impact of Excess Air on Furnace Efficiency Due to improper maintenance of furnace instrumentation and the lack of knowledge of the operator, excess air more than what is recommended will sometimes be maintained in the furnaces. This has an adverse effect on the furnace efficiency due to the following: Increase in excess air will reduce the adiabatic flame temperature. Reduction in flame temperature will reduce the heat pickup in the radiant section of the furnace since the radiant heat transfer is proportional to the fourth power of the flame temperature. However, increase in excess air will increase the mass flow of the flue gas, which will increase the heat transfer in the convection section. However, since convection heat transfer is related to the first power of temperature, this increase cannot compensate for the reduction in heat pickup in the radiant section. So, an increase in excess air will reduce the furnace efficiency. Figures 4-1, 4-2 and 4-3 illustrate the effect of excess air on the radiant section, convection section and the overall furnace efficiency. As mentioned in the first chapter, the radiant section heat pick pickup is dependent on the emissivity of the flue gas. It was also stated that diatomic gases like O2 and N2 have very low emissivities and practically cannot contribute much towards radiation. Increase in excess air will increase the amount of N2 and O2 in the flue gas and hence will reduce the flue gas emissivity. This further reduces the radiant heat pickup. However, these high temperature molecules can transfer heat energy to the radiating molecules by inter molecular collision. The residence time in the furnace may not permit the transfer of heat energy to the radiating molecules. Excess air in furnaces will elevate the dew point of the flue gases which is detrimental to the equipment and may some times badly corrode furnace parts with the air pre-heater bundle being affected most. A corroded air pre-heater will result in bypass of lot of air and will result in loss of furnace efficiency. Where to Measure Excess Air ?
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Excess air should always be measured at the top of the radiant section since all combustion would have taken place in the furnace box itself. It is also possible that air may leak into the flue gas stream if draft at the furnace box top is very high. In this case if the flue gas is sampled at the stack, the operator will get a false indication that the furnace is at very high excess air conditions which will force him to further reduce the air flow to the furnace. This ultimately will result in air deficiency in the radiant section. The furnace box will become hazy. However, the air leakage at the convection section will compensate for the deficiency and the un-burnt fuel will burn in the convection section. This is called secondary combustion and is not advisable since this may cause damage to the convection tubes. However, for the purpose of monitoring the furnace on the environmental angle, flue gas has to be sampled at the stack since this will give the correct picture of the final exit gases. Stack Sampling from the pollution angle, requires measurement of flue gas velocity also and hence stipulates sampling at a fixed distance from the nearest obstruction. Furnace Efficiency Defined The over all heater efficiency is defined as : Efficiency = Total heat absorbed Heat of combustion In a furnace, the heat absorption need not be by the process stream alone. If the furnace has steam generating coils or steam super heating coils, these streams also can pickup part of the heat from the flue gas. That is why the definition of overall efficiency of a furnace is based on the total heat absorbed by all the streams. Similarly, a term Process Efficiency can be defined if the heat picked up by the process stream alone is taken for efficiency calculations. Normally the efficiency is expressed on the bases of lower heating value of the fuel. Losses From a Furnace

Heater and Combustion


What results in the reduction of efficiency of a furnace are the various losses from the furnace. The major contributors to the loss account are the stack losses and the radiation losses. Stack Loss The losses on account of energy lost to the atmosphere through the high temperature flue gases leaving the heater stack is termed as the stack losses. A stack high temperature directly indicates increases in stack losses. An increase in mass flow through the stack, which is a result of the high excess air percentage, also will increase the stack losses. Even though these can be easily computed on the basis of the flue gas temperature, specific heat and excess air charts are easily available for estimating he stack losses from a furnace. Radiation Losses Other major contributor to the losses pool is the radiation losses. The furnaces are lined inside with refractory. However, there will be some heat conduction through this refractory with a result that the heater shell is heated up. The shell radiates energy resulting in losses. If the wind velocity prevailing out side the furnace wall is more, the losses also will be more. Efficiency Calculations Furnace efficiency is calculated by reducing the losses from 100. These stack losses can be calculated from knowledge of excess air and stack temperature. Generally a value of 1.5 to 3% is assumed for other losses. The losses are reduced from 100 to find out the operating efficiency of the furnace. However charts are normally used thus avoiding tideous calculations. These charts normally have stack temperature and excess air as the parameters and are available for gas firing and oil firing. Sometimes these charts also assume fixed radiation losses also. Figure 4-4 gives the furnace efficiency chart assuming 2% radiation and other losses. Note that the curve shifts down with an increase in excess air and drops down with an increase in stack temperature.

Heater and Combustion


Example 1: Calculate the savings from the fuel reduction in a furnace if the stack temperature is reduced from 275 deg.C to 220 deg.C. Assume that the excess air will remain constant at 30 %, the heater duty is 60 mm Cal/ Hr. and that the fuel cost is Rs: 1550 /MT. Efficiency at 275 oC Fuel requirement = 87% = 60 x 10 10000 = 6897 Kg/Hr = 91% = 60 x 10 10000 = 6593 Kg/Hr
6 6


Efficiency at 220 oC Fuel requirement


Fuel savings on temp reduction = (6897 6593) Annual savings = (304 / 1000) x 8000x1550 = Rs: 37.7 Lakhs

=304 Kg/Hr

Example 2: A 20 MMKCal/Hr furnace is operating at 50% excess air and a stack temperature of 300 oC. Estimate the annual savings if the excess air is reduced to 15% maintaining the same stack temperature. Efficiency at 50% excess air Efficiency at 15% excess air Initial fuel consumption = 83.5% = 87.5% = 20x10 6P / 0.835 10000 = 2395 Kg/Hr Fuel consumption after O2 reduction = 20x 10 6P / 0.875 10000 = 2286 Kg/ Hr Annual Saving = (2395 2286) x 8000 x 1550 1000 = Rs: 13.52 Lakhs

Heater and Combustion


Calculation of furnace efficiency thus requires measurement of excess air. In the following chapters, we will see how excess air is measured. Orsat method is the popular flew gas analysis used to estimate excess air. The method basically is an analysis on dry basis and doesnt measure mixture in the flue gas. Moisture has to be computed by an oxygen balance for the furnace. The Orsat method can be summarized below: A fixed volume of flue gas is collected and is sequentially passed through solutions contained in pipettes to absorb CO2, O2 and CO. The first pipette contains caustic potash which will absorb CO2, the second alkaline Pyragallol which absorbs O2 and the third pipette contains Ammoniacal Cupprous Chloride solution which absorbs CO. The volume reduction in each of these pipettes are the respective volume percentages of the gases absorbed. The annexure to this chapter provides a detailed wright-up on the Orsat analysis. Example: Orsat analysis of a furnace flue gas gives 13% CO2, 5% O2, and 2% CO. Compute the excess air. Basis of Calculation 100 Moles of Dry flue gas : CO2 present = 13 Moles for which carbon used =13 moles CO present = 2 Moles for which carbon burnt =2 moles Total carbon burned =15 moles Oxygen required for total carbon burning =15 moles Oxygen used for actual carbon burning =14 moles Nitrogen in flue gas = 100 CO2 CO O2 = 100 13 2 5 Oxygen supplied with the nitrogen =21.26 Oxygen used for hydrogen burning =2.26 moles =80 =80 x 21 /79 =21.26 14 5

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Total oxygen required =17.26 moles Excess oxygen =23.17% Simplified equation for excess oxygen is: Excess oxygen (fraction) = (%N2) 79/21 x

=2.26+15 =21.2617.26 =4 moles =4 / 17.26x100

[(%O2) 0.5 (%CO)]

(%N2) 1

Orsat analysis requires involvement of laboratory personnel and hence cannot be done on a continuous basis. If excess air has to be monitored continuously, some other methods are resorted to. General trend is to measure oxygen in the fuel gas. This however cannot lead directly to the excess air since measurement of CO and CO2 are also required for excess air calculations. However, this method gives a directional indication on the furnace operation. The following table also may be used for an approximate estimation of excess air from flue gas oxygen measurement. Oxygen % 0 Excess Air 0 % 2 10 3 16 4 22 5 29 6 37 7 46 8 57 9 69 10 83

The following equation may lead to most similar results Excess Air (fraction) = 21 / [21 (%O2)] 1 Oxygen Analysis : The most popular of the oxygen analysis are the zirconia analysis, which utilises the electrolytic property of zirconia at higher temperatures. In this type of analysis, the flue gas and instrument are maintained in different sides of a zirconia electrolyte. This creates a potential difference across the electrolyte, which is proportional to the difference in Oxygen concentrations on both sides.

Heater and Combustion


Module -V


Furnace is the only equipment in a process plant where you can see an open flame. Hence furnaces are viewed critically from the safety point of view. Process furnaces however cause problems to the environment also. Of late, the operation of furnaces has been monitored very closely due to the strict environment regulations being imposed. In this chapter we will have an insight into what furnace operation can do to the environment. Areas of Concern Furnaces may cause concern to the environment engineer in at least three different angles: 1. Pollution due to Sulphur oxides 2. Pollution due to oxides of Nitrogen 3. Noise pollution Sulphur Oxides Due to the depletion of crude oil reserves on the earth surface, crudes are becoming more and more heavier. Most of the heavy crudes are rich in Sulphur also. As the refiners also try to cut deeper and deeper into the barrel, the residual fuel oils get rich and rich in Sulphur. The following table gives a general idea of nature of the average fuel used in Indian refineries in the past three decades. Characteristic 1970s 1980s 1990s Specific gravity 0.86 0.9 0.90 0.93 0.97 1.01 Sulphur wt% 0.15 0.3 0.25 0.50 0.25 4.50 Vanadium - ppm 5.0 10.0 5.0 10.0 25 - 200

Heater and Combustion


The table clearly shows that the fuel used currently has higher Sulphur content than what was used in the seventeens. As high Sulphur fuel gets burned in the furnace, the flue gas generated also will tend to contain more Sulphur dioxide. These acidic vapours are harmful to our respiratory system. Even though Sulphur dioxide is treated as pollutant, it has only very little corrosive action. But when the Sulphur dioxide in the flue gas gets further oxidized to sulphur trioxide, problems aggravate. Sulphur trioxide and water have high affinity and will easily combine to form sulphuric acid. This sulphuric acid is the root cause of all cold end corrosions in furnaces. The effects of sulphuric acid on the human being require no briefing. Due to the high affinity of Sulphur trioxide and water, very low concentrations of Sulphur trioxide is sufficient to draw water from the flue gas and form liquid sulphuric acid. Hence, Sulphur trioxide has a significant impact on the dew point of the flue gas. Figure 5 1 gives the effect of Sulphur trioxide on the dew point of the flue gas. We will now analyse how to Sulphur trioxide is formed in a furnace. Factors Affecting Formation of SO3 The following gives the oxidation equation for SO2. SO2 + O2 SO3

By the law of mass action, the conversion of SO 2 to SO3 will be more as the concentration of the reactants increase. Or in other words, SO3 formation will be more if the fuel contains mores sulphur or the oxygen is in sulphur. This is another negative point for excess air in furnace. The following table gives anticipated SO3 content in flue gas. SO3 in Flue Gas (ppm) for Different Sulphur Levels Excess S % in fuel 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 Air % 0.5

Heater and Combustion


5 11 17 25

2 6 10 12

3 7 13 15

3 8 15 18

4 10 19 22

5 12 22 26

6 14 25 30

The values given above will be shifted up significantly if there is presence of metallic oxide catalysts in the furnace. One of the earlier table it has been indicated that the vanadium content of our fuel has gone up 5 20 times in the last decade. Vanadium pentoxide produced in the furnaces and which gets deposited on the convection banks, acts as a catalyst for formation of sulphur trioxide. In such cases, the SO3concentration predicted by the table given above will be terribly off. It is to be noted that in a furnace firing only fuel gas, the SO3 concentration will be much less than that in an oil fired furnace even though the sulphur levels of the fuels are almost the same. Bluish gray smoke from the furnace indicates the presence of sulphuric acid vapour in the flue gas. Oxides of Nitrogen Oxides of Nitrogen are formed during combustion when nitrogen in the air on the fuel gets oxidized. Nitrogen oxides contributes to the formation of SMOG (Industrial Smoke +natural fog. ) The impact of nitrogen oxides on the environment and the growing volume of regulations on the emission of NOx have forced the burner manufacturers to introduce burners with low NOx emissions. Higher preheat temperatures achieved in the latest furnace designs has generally raised the flame temperatures which is one factor in the increase in formation of NOx. Some of the residue up gradation processes calls for high furnace temperatures, which again will result in increased NOx emissions. If the flue gas temperature is reduced to control NOx emissions, the heat flux will come down reducing it difficult to achieve the process temperature. A burner designer has to take into account all these factors. There are a host of low-NOx burners available in the market for forced draft combustion. The major parameters attempted by different manufacturers of NOx reduction are:

Heater and Combustion


1. Changing the equivalence ratio. 2. Time in the reducing zone of the flame. 3. Staged combustion etc. Noise Natural draft burners are still preferred for most of the refinery application due to its adaptability to various firing needs, uniform firing pattern at different loads etc. But one of the major factors of concern for natural draft burners are the problems associated with the furnace noise. The noise from the furnaces can be in the frequency range of 230 - 4000 Hz. The noise, which is produced by the expansion due to combustion, is called the combustion roar. We also can have the scream produced by the low of fuel at high velocities. Some of the factors, which affect the furnace noise are fuel/ air mixing speeds, firing of multiple fuels, fluid densities and pressure drops. Generally burners firing low-density fuels containing hydrogen will emit shrill screams whereas, oil fired furnaces produce low- pitched roars. The speed of fuel -air mixing is proportional to the resultant noise level. In other words, noise level will increase with heat release rate. The high intensity burners will produce more noise. Burner noise will increase as the density of fuel is reduced. For the same burner, the noise production will increase with the firing rate. Modern high intensity burners are hence provided with plenums with its vertical sided lined with acoustical material. This will absorb major percentage of the noise energy. But the plenum thus provided increases the airside pressure drop, limiting the energy available at the burner. This sometimes results in higher burner sizes. Castable refractory from the existing furnaces are also being replaced by ceramic fibre. Cases with 20-40% reduction in losses have been reported by such replacements. Higher stream factor, better fuel economy, higher service life, easy installation and easy maintenance are the factors favorable for ceramic fibre application. Refractory Curing

Heater and Combustion


Curing of the refractory is essential before a furnace with cast refractory is pressed into operation. The furnace dry out which generally spans to about 7 days is done to cure the refractory. This procedure should be repeated whenever any major refractory repair is done. Even though the general procedure given below is for 7 days, follow the refractory manufacturers instructions. Improper curing of the refractory will result in refractory falling out exposing the furnace shell to the flame. Steam should be circulated though the furnace tubes during the dry out period to contain the tube temperature. Tube metal temperature should be closely monitored and alterations in steam flow should be made accordingly. After the furnace is lit, follow this temperature schedule: Raise by 5 oC/Hr to 200 deg Maintain 200 deg Raise to 500 deg @10 deg /hr Maintain 500 deg Raise to 750 deg @ 25 deg/hr Maintain 750 Raise to 810 deg @ 30 deg/hr. 35 hrs 48 hrs 30hrs 24 hrs 10 hrs 20 hrs 12 hrs

169 hrs
If the heater is not to be put in service immediately, shut down the heater and close the burner registers and peep holes. See that no more than half the number of burners is lit at a time during the entire dry out period. Rotate the burners so as to maintain almost uniform firing. Maintain high excess air during the dry out period. Module -VI


Heater and Combustion


Coking can be defined as the formation of highly carbonized deposits on the transfer surface that resist transfer of hear to the bulk fluid and add to the overall resistance of heat transfer. Coke, asphaltenes and poly nuclear aromatics are a few terms used to describe the fouling materials that deposit inside heater tubes. High coking rates in furnaces can reduce the run lengths and increase maintenance and operating expenses. Process variables that affect the coking rate are flow rate, temperature and pressure changes. Fluid properties like API gravity, viscosity, thermal conductivity and heat capacity of the heated fluid and the heating value of fuel also affect the transfer of heat from the fire box to the bulk fluid. Some of the refinery process like Visbreaking, thermal cracking involve breaking down of hydrocarbon molecules to smaller sizes. In this process there is every chance of coke getting formed since carbon is the ultimate product of cracking. Localized high temperature zones in furnaces can also result in a little bit of thermal cracking. The coke deposition rate can be defined as the difference in coke forming rate and the coke removal rate. Higher velocities of the bulk fluid will tend to increase coke removal rate with a result that there is very little coke build up. Higher heat transfer rates call for high skin temperature and will result in more coke formation which will result in coke lay downs. The tube metal temperature Tm may be equated as: Tm = Tb + Tf + Tc + Tw Where Tm is tube metal temperature, Tb is bulk fluid temperature and Tf, Tc, Tw are temperature drops across the fluid film, coke layer and the tube wall. As the equation indicates, the up as the coke deposit increases. the tube near the vicinity of the stresses in the tube and may result tube metal temperature will shoot The localized high temperature in coke deposit will cause thermal in tube failures.

As the heating demand goes up due to increased throughput in the unit, the heat flux in the radiant section will go up resulting in a high delta T for the heat transfer path. This will result in a higher tube
Heater and Combustion 29

skin temperature. However, high temperature of the tubes will result in a reduction in the tube life. For design purposes, a 100,000-hour life of the heater tube is considered. The extracts from API Recommended practice 530 attached as Annexure to this chapter gave details on the tube metal temperature calculations and life calculation of heater tubes. Decoking When the furnaces are coked up to levels beyond normal operation, a decoking procedure is resorted to whereby, the coke formed in the tubes are burned of to get a regenerated tube surface. Furnaces in the heavy oil service are provided with facilities for decoking. The principal mechanism of decoking with steam and air are Spalling and Burning. During the spalling period steam is admitted to the heater coils while the furnace is being fired. Steam cools the coke and cracks it and breaks coke away from the tube surface. The high velocity steam carries the coke particles out of the tubes into a decoking drum. Almost 80 to 90% of coke can be removed by spalling alone. During the burning period both steam and air are simultaneously injected into the coils while the furnace is fired harder. The air assists in burning away the remaining coke from the tube surface. During both spalling and burning stages, the direction of flow (air & steam) may be reversed to effectively remove the entire coke deposited. This facility is available in the recently designed furnaces only. The attached diagram gives an idea of the line up during decoking of the furnace. Kindly refer EILs general operating instructions for detailed procedure on decoking.

Heater and Combustion


Module -VII


Furnaces being major energy consuming centers in a chemical plant have being targets for various energy conservation measures. Using high capacity burners, providing air pre-heaters, providing better insulation and refractory, providing steam generation and steam superheating coils are some of the energy saving steps undertaken for furnaces. High capacity burners reduce the air requirement (Excess air) and hence boosting the efficiency of the furnaces. But as these are prone to noise pollution, the latest designs have air plenums to damper the noise levels in the area. Air pre-heaters have been in use in the process industry for at least 2 decades. The regenerative type air pre-heaters are not commonly used in refinery services. The recuperative air pre-heaters generally have case pre-heater bundles that help exchange of heat between the hot flue gases from the furnace and the cold air going out of the furnace. The exit gases are thus cooled. The preheated air raises the flame temperature and hence improves radiant heat pickup thus increasing efficiency. Efficiencies between 91 and 94% are common with such air pre-heaters. Problems with air pre-heaters are the cold end corrosion. As explained in one of the previous chapters, the presence of SO 3 in the flue gas drastically elevates the flue gas dew point. It is possible that in the cold temperature regions of the air pre-heater module, sulphuric acid will condense resulting in what is termed as cold end corrosion. We have enough experience in damaged air pre-heater
Heater and Combustion 31

modules due to low gas temperature. The various solutions for the cold corrosion are modular, construction of the bundles and changing the materials of construction to glass in the colder zones of the air pre-heater. The latter is schematically given in fig 8.1 Air pre-heater operation requires movement of air and flue gas through the pre-heater bundle, the air ducts and plenums. The natural draft available will not be sufficient to overcome the resistance for flow. Hence air pre-heater bundies have a combination of ID fan and FD fan and operate on the balanced draft mode. However on failure of the FD fan furnaces can be operated on natural draft with the dropout doors kept open. Modern materials for furnace refractory and advanced methods of application have also helped in reducing furnace heat losses. In cases where air pre-heater are not economical steam generation or steam heating is resorted to. These coils are provided in the convection section of the furnace.

Heater and Combustion


Module -VIII

Since furnaces are major centers for energy consumption in refinery, the furnace operation should be closely monitored. This requires adequate instrumentation in working condition. Furnaces again are points of scrutiny from the safety angle. It is to be seen that all the temperatures, flows and pressures releases to the furnaces are in the acceptable range. The safety shut down system should be in healthy condition right through. Hence it calls for a concerted effort from the manufacturing and maintenance personnel to maintain all furnace instrumentation in proper working condition. Attachment 9.1 gives the guidelines by OISD for the safety instrumentation for a furnace.

Heater and Combustion


Module -IX


Since most of the accidents occur during equipment startups and shutdowns, extreme care should be taken during furnace ups and downs also. Given below is a general start up procedure for a natural draft furnace. All furnace lightups should be attempted with at least 2 operators in the group. 1. Inspect the furnace box for cleanliness, if the heater had been under maintenance. 2. Check whether all the safety instrumentation are in healthy condition. 3. Peep the dampers wide open. Close all peep holes. 4. Close all burner valves. 5. Remove the blind on the fuel oil line and establish oil circulation. Ensure that the oil temperature is in the acceptable level.
Heater and Combustion 34

6. Remove the blind on the fuel gas system. Drain condensate from the fuel gas knock out pot. Commission the tracing steam to the line down stream of the knock out pot. 7. Ensure that no fuel gas burner or pilot is leaking. It leak is noticed, blind off the fuel gas system and rectify the leak before proceeding further. 8. With damper and the air louvers wide open, admit snuffing steam to the furnace box. Gradually increase steam flow as the line is warned up. Supplement by steam flow through the oil gun. 9. Continue steam flow for at least 15 minutes. Watch for steam at the top of the stack. See that all the draft gauges are showing negative draft. Show a handkerchief at the burner register and confirm air suction into the furnace through the registers. 10. Ensure that flow is established through the heater coils. 11. Close the air registers to 1/3 opening in the burner to be lit first. 12. Light the first pilot burner. For this introduce the igniter near the pilot. Pressing the igniter, slowly open the gas to the pilot. Ensure that the pilot is lit within 10 seconds. Otherwise, close the gas vale to the pilot and purge the furnace for another 5 minutes before attempting to light again. 13. If igniters are not available, introduce a burning LPG torch near the pilot and open the gas line. 14. Remove the igniter/ torch and ensure that the burner flame is sustained. 15. Now the main gas or oil burner in the assembly can be lit. 16. Stand away from the gas burner and slowly open the gas valve. Ask the stand by operator to see whether the gas flame is on. Adjust the fuel control valve to maintain the required pressure at the burner. Adjust the secondary air flow to 50% opening and increase the firing rate. Adjust air registers keeping a watch on the flame.
Heater and Combustion 35

17. Wait for a few minute until the furnace temperature picks up and the draft is established before lighting subsequent burners and closing the snuffing steam valve. 18. Oil flame can also be lit from the pilot flame of from the gas flame. Before the oil flame is lit, insert the correct fun into the assembly. 19. Open atomising and purge steam valves to see that the joints are not leaking. Purge the gun thoroughly and warm up the gun. 20. Ensure that atomising steam pressure and fuel oil pressure are adequate. 21. Close the cross over valve. Close the atomising steam valve to just crack open position. 22. Open the fuel oil valve gently. Watch to see whether the oil flame is lit. Adjust atomising steam and oil valve to get a clean bright flame. Adjust the primary and secondary air registers to get a short and non smoky flame. 23. Light as many number of burners by first lighting the pilot and then the main flame. Never attempt to make the flame jump from a nearby flame. As more burners are lit adjust the stack damper to get a 0.1 draft at the inlet of the convection. Relight of Furnaces Hot relighting of the furnaces may be required at times when the flame in the furnace had gone out accidentally or the furnace has gone to a safe shut down. Ensure that the fuel valves are tightly closed before any relighting is attempted. Purge the furnace with snuffing steam for at least 15 minutes. If steam is visible at the stack you are lucky. Other wise go by the draft gauges or by the hand kerchief method to ensure adequate draft in the furnace. Follow the normal light up procedure as described above. Furnace Shutdown. In a normal shut down of the furnace, reduce firing in the burners and take out the burners one by one as the flames become
Heater and Combustion 36

unstable. In an emergency shut down, this need not be( or cannot be) followed. For shutting down an oil burner Close oil valve and open purge steam valve. Purge the burner for 5 minutes. Close purge steam valve. Close atomising steam valve. Remove oil gun.

Take out gas burners one by one. Close the gas isolation valve. When all fires are out, take out the pilot burners also. Open snuffing steam to the furnace box for about 10 minutes. Close snuffing steam and keep open all air registers.

Lighting a Balanced Draft Furnace A balanced draft furnace can be stared either on natural draft or on forced draft. In the natural draft mode, the drop out doors are kept open, the stack damper kept wide open and the furnace box is purged with steam as in the case of a natural draft furnace. The furnace lighting procedure for natural draft can be followed. The air preheater can then be put on line with cold airside commissioned first. When the air pre-heater system is pressed into service, adjust the ID vane opening to maintain about 0.1" vacuum at the furnace box top. Ensure that when the system is fully operational, the stack damper is fully closed and all the interlocks are put in service. A balanced draft furnace can be stared in the forced draft mode also. Keep the stack damper open and close all drop out doors. Start FD fan and maintain about 40 % flow for about 15 minutes. Individual burners can be then lit after lighting the respective pilot burners. Start ID fan and commission the air pre-heater. Peep a close watch on the arch level pressure. Maintain it at around 0.1 (2.5 mm) vacuum. Close the stack damper and pet all interlocks in RUN. Relighting a Balanced Draft Furnace.

Heater and Combustion


Relighting of a balanced draft/ forced draft furnace after a flame out can be attempted after running the FD fan for about 15 minutes to ensure purging of the furnace box. Please see that the air registers are kept wide open during this period. If the relight is attempted after a flame out, first leave the furnace with the existing airflow condition for about 15 minutes and then only increase airflow to purge the furnace box. This is to ensure that the spilled fuel (if any) from a passing valve should not cause uncontrolled burning in the furnace and damages the parts.

Heater and Combustion


Module -X

Furnace tubes can fail due to various reasons. Most of the problems are on the flue gas side even though problems also can be on the process fluid side also. On the fire side, the major problems can be: 1. Ash induced corrosion 2. Reduced atmosphere corrosion 3. Dew point corrosion 4. Impingement erosion 5. Stress corrosion cracking. Ash induced corrosion can take place when metallic oxides formed by combustion form certain eutectic mixtures which reduce the melting point of the metals. Oxides like vanadium pentoxide and sodium oxide are typical example. The solution is to use additives such as magnesium oxide to form a compound with high melting point. The reduced atmosphere corrosion is caused when the protective oxide layer on the metallic surface is lost due to volatilization of pyrosulphate compounds (Na2S2O7, K2S2O7) Dew point corrosion is caused by the condensation of SO3 (forming H2SO4) even at the elevated temperatures in the furnace. Can be reduced by reducing excess air, removing compounds like V2O5 from convection bank by soot blowing etc.

Heater and Combustion


Impingement of the flame on the tube metal removes the oxide layer exposing metal surface to the flame. The metal deoxidizes consuming the underlying material. The flame al softens the metal surface thus adding to erosion. Stress corrosion cracking occurs due to the preferential attack of corrodants on areas of high stress. Chlorides and hydroxides are note worthy agents for stress corrosion cracking. This also can be treated as one failure route caused by effect of settleable materials on the process fluid. This can be avoided by proper treatment of process fluid. Conditions of the process fluid also can lead to furnace tube failures. No flow or inadequate flow through the tubes, presence of settleable solids in the process fluid or fluctuating flow of the fluid can lead to failure of furnace tubes. Settleable solids at low velocities will form deposits in the tube. The resistance offered by the layer increases the skin temperature thus softening the metal. The tube life is drastically reduced. Low flow or high flow in furnace can form coke layer inside the tube and will tend to increase skin temperature with reduction in tube life. Fluctuating flow in furnace tube assists in coke formation, which may be difficult to recover.

Heater and Combustion