Infrared Training Center

Friday, September 17, 2010

Furnace and Heater Tube Inspections

by Ron Lucier, ASNT NDT Level III
ITC Logo TM 250 One of the more challenging applications of infrared thermography is in the measurement of process heater and furnace tubes. In fact we get dozens of inquiries each year from our clients on this very subject. Since this is a very complex subject it is probably appropriate to start from the beginning.
Process Heaters There are as many uses for process heaters as there are designs. The basic configuration consists of a shell (outer casing),   tubes (where the process fluid flows) and a heat source. These units are both thermodynamically and hydraulically complex.
Process heater or furnace diagram
In the simple drawing above we illustrate convective gas flow, which is turbulent, and radiant heat from the flame, refractory and other tubes – all non-uniform and time varying. When you view tube from an access port typically you can only see a portion of the tube or the tube at an oblique angle. Therefore, the odds are stacked against you from the start!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blower Door Inspection for Air Infiltration in a Remodeled Cottage

By Tom Coffey, Infrared Training Center
 ITC Logo TM
A small cottage (700 sq. ft) outside of Knoxville, TN was completely remodeled from January to March 2010. It was an existing cinder block structure with no insulation except ½ inch of airspace between the nailers and the block wall as well as the empty block core. The R value of existing building walls was approximately 2.97. After the remodel an R-value was calculated and determined to be 12.6.

2 x 4 studs were used to build the interior walls the insulated with 4” of backed fiberglass bat insulation. Old windows were removed and new double pane sash type windows installed during the remodel.

The house was depressurized to approximately 50 Pascal and allowed to equalize for 30 minutes. A thermographic scan was performed after the equalization period. Infiltration was found around the sash windows where the top and bottom pieces join in the corners of the windows.
Picture1 Picture2
There was some expected infiltration around the front door which was missing a sweep on the bottom of the door. Also infiltration was found at the attic access.
Picture3 Picture4
All of these small problems are easily correctable and will be done as time permits.

The installation of the blower door took approximately 30-45 minutes. Reaching the right depressurization took another 30 minutes and the IR scan took another 45 minutes. For a house this size, allowing for the small footprint I did not do an air exchange calculation. The purpose of this exercise was to determine if the house remodel and adding insulation was sufficient to keep the house at a comfortable level during East Tennessee summers and winters. It was determined during the remodel process that R-13 insulation in the walls and R-19 insulation in the ceilings would be sufficient for the weather conditions in this area of the country.