Coal-fired power plants are often required to cycle extensively and operate relatively infrequently due to power market conditions and an increasingly broad deployment of renewable energy. This cyclic (start-stop and/or fast ramp rate) operation can result in accumulation of fatigue damage, particularly in thick-walled components such as high temperature headers that experience the greatest thermal transients. In addition, components exposed to high temperature and pressure experience creep damage over time. Tracking the accumulation of creep and fatigue damage can aid in life management of these components. EPRI developed the Creep-FatiguePro™ system to monitor the accumulation of creep and fatigue damage in plant components while considering component geometry and the ongoing changes in operating conditions (temperatures, pressures and flow rates). The software requires a configuration process to define stress transfer functions for damage analysis and often involves performing a finite element analysis for each component geometry. Although accurate, this process can be time-consuming, especially if a large number of components are to be monitored. In a recent application of this system at the As Pontes power plant in Spain, a simple closed form analytical solution was used in the configuration process in order to more rapidly obtain the stress transfer functions. For direct interaction with the plant’s data historian, the software was also modified to support connection to the plant data system. Results using the two configuration approaches will be compared and recommendations made for future use in monitoring creep and fatigue damage in power plant components.

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