Residual Life of a material (especially an engineering material) is the time period during which it shall retain the fitness-for-service characteristics. Extensive and expensive inspection programs, besides the routine operations, have to be undertaken in order to monitor the extent of in-service deteriorations. Residual Life Assessment (RLA) studies are done on power plant components, aircraft components, and other machineries which are subjected to fatigue and/or creep loading conditions.
Conducting RLA is important to maintain the efficient operation of a process plant unit and avoid failure of critical equipments, which lead to costly downtime problem. Such equipments include pressure vessels, piping, storage tanks, valves, pumps, compressors, boilers, turbines etc. One common characteristic of all such equipments is their operation under very harsh conditions, like high temperature, pressure etc.
The importance of conducting RLA studies also arises from the regulations that are in place for a number of industrial equipments, like boilers, turbines etc. Also, conducting RLA studies properly can safeguard human lives.
Traditionally, ‘Visual inspection’ has been the method for carrying out RLA studies, but soon it was realized that a scientific method or approach was required for assessing the Residual Life of extremely costly equipments. Non-destructive testing techniques are made use of, besides other techniques, in conducting RLA studies. A combination of careful selection of such techniques along-with identification of the critical areas where failures can occur is extremely important for conducting RLA studies. Before planning to conduct the RLA study, a number of information needs to be collected like the previous history of the test component, previous test history of the component, period of service etc. Finally, correlation of the NDT test results with the operational parameters is used to estimate the Residual Life of any equipment.
Modi Laboratary is adept at conducting RLA studies. We can determine in-service degradation of critical components of process plants which operate under harsh conditions, like high temperature, high pressure, and corrosive conditions. The implementation of specialized software enables real-time monitoring of the conditions of the test components.