Turbine rotors failure has resulted in a broad spectrum of events ranging from catastrophic burst to prolonged forced outages that ultimately have significant economic costs for affected utilities. Avoiding turbine rotor failure and its associated cost requires a detailed understanding of the operational reliability of power generation equipment. Nearly all large body turbine and generator rotors manufactured in the United States typically have a central bore hole that provides suitable access from which to conduct various material inspections. The term “boresonics” has become synonymous with the procedure for performing ultrasonic examination of turbine rotor material as conducted from the surface of a central bore cavity. Boresonics is now a fairly common and accepted practice throughout the utility industry. In general, boresonics involves passing ultrasonic transducers through the rotor bore to search a given volume of material for flaws at different locations and orientations within a rotor forging. Each individual ultrasonic transducer has specific inherent performance characteristics based on known wave physics that governs the art of ultrasonic testing. The results of boresonic inspections offer utility engineers a basis for making intelligent decisions on the condition of turbine and generator rotors. This paper describes how boresonic inspections are typically performed in the industry. Furthermore, the paper will give a description of the equipment and required skills of the system operators and will present examples of findings based on KEMA’s experience in this field.

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