MPR's Carroll and Buckingham Share Experience and Best Practices for Preventing Water Hammer Events in Combined Cycle Attemperation Systems

November 7, 2014

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Water hammer incidents in combined cycle power plant attemperation systems can create extremely dangerous conditions. Some of the consequences of water hammer events are so serious that high energy steam piping systems can literally jump off their supports, thereby endangering plant personnel and causing extended plant outages to repair the subsequent damage.

“Water hammer incidents can occur anywhere, anytime without warning,” MPR engineer Doug Carroll said. “We can apply our experience and engineering knowledge to pinpoint the cause and prevent water hammer events from happening again.”

Carroll and fellow engineer Fred Buckingham, Ph. D., co-authored a technical paper “Best Practices for Preventing Water Hammer in Combined Cycle Attemperation Systems” that is available free of charge via the MPR website. This paper provides an overview of MPR Associates' experience with attemperation system water hammer events in combined cycle power plants.  The authors also share examples of preventative maintenance techniques developed by MPR to reduce the risk of future damaging water hammer events.

Dr. Buckingham explained that MPR has developed proprietary SYSFLO software that enables MPR engineers to model transient two-phase steam flow, determine the cause of a water hammer event, and provide an effective solution.

“MPR’s capabilities for addressing water hammer events have been developed in response to our client's needs and have been refined based on many root cause investigations,” Dr. Buckingham said. “We approach the evaluation of any plant operating problem from a holistic point of view.  We not only look at the particular equipment or system that sustained damage, we also look at all of the plant systems that could have contributed to the particular issue at hand.”

Since joining MPR Associates in 2002, Carroll has been involved in a variety of projects relating to project engineering, power plant controls, and thermal analysis of power plant components.   Carroll earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering with honors from Carnegie Mellon University. He is licensed professional engineered in the State of Texas. Dr. Buckingham, who is the director of MPR's Houston office, has almost 40 years of experience in power generation and power plant optimization. He joined MPR in 2001. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering and a doctorate degree from The University of Texas at Arlington.  He is a licensed professor engineer in the State of Texas.

For more information, Carroll and Buckingham are available for a telephone consultation for any plant owner or operator who needs assistance in addressing water hammer events.  

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