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Fast results achieved in [reactor vessel strain tests in] South Wales

Connect, no.84, March 1997

Industrial Member BP Chemicals contacted TWI when it needed to inspect a laminated steel ethanol reactor at short notice. Within 24 hours of receiving the phone call, TWI were able to send a team of Engineers to Baglan Bay, South Wales.

Inspecting a laminated steel vessel is not easy - ultrasonics and other methods are of limited use. By using strain gauging techniques and working around the clock to take measurements, the inspection team were able to calculate the surface strain on the outside of the vessel. They could then deduce that the outer layer was taking the expected strain when the vessel was pressurised. Results were reported back to BP just a few days after the initial request.

Using information from the strain measurements, BP confirmed that the vessel was fit-for-purpose. They returned the vessel to production saving valuable downtime and consequent losses, whilst still ensuring safety of the plant.

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