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Determination of Service Life for Undamaged and Damaged Delayed Coker Drums

[+] Author Affiliations
John J. Aumuller

University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada

Vincent A. Carucci

Carmagen Engineering Inc., Rockaway, NJ

Paper No. PVP2016-63006, pp. V003T03A059; 8 pages
  • ASME 2016 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference
  • Volume 3: Design and Analysis
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, July 17–21, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: Pressure Vessels and Piping Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5039-8
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


A stated goal of governments in addressing climate warming and to transition to a low carbon future by the end of this century is to increase the proportion of energy supplied by alternative sources. For the hydrocarbon processing industry, the question of stranded assets will become significant as these alternative energy sources become more prevalent. Existing equipment will need to operate to the end of its useful life and new equipment may need to be avoided. In particular, coker drums are very expensive investments due to their size, materials and number required in the delayed coker unit of a processing facility. Because of the severe service environment in which coke drums operate, the service life of a drum is not well established.

Long term reliability of coker drums is impacted by thermo-mechanical damage mechanisms associated with self constraint of the drum shell and skirt during the formation of hot and cold temperature spots and patches. By assessing the imposed thermomechanical strains, a more precise determination of drum fatigue may be made, allowing better estimation of service life. This service life may be estimated for newly fabricated drums and those drums with shell damage, such as bulging.

Service life determination is of practical importance for operators since it provides a more realistic estimate of operational life as compared to the normally referenced Code design life. An accurate estimation of drum service life has not been available in the industry to date due to a number of deficiencies and conservatisms in the current calculation practices. Insight into the causal damage mechanism provides opportunities in identifying alternatives in design, material selection, fabrication, inspection, and maintenance for operating this equipment to a practical and optimal target service life.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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