Fretting about the Wear from Baffle Plates?

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Figure caption – Carbon steel tube losses next to a heat exchanger baffle plate

Baffle plates support tube bundles and direct fluid flow in heat exchangers. Vibrations from normal operating conditions can cause mechanical damage known as fretting (shown above); the losses result from continuous rubbing between the tubes and the baffle plates. How can we identify the wear which can result in a leak without taking the whole exchanger apart? While Eddy Current is used for identifying fretting damage in stainless and non-ferromagnetic tubes,for carbon steel tubes, Internal Rotary Inspection System (IRIS) ultrasonic inspection is the technique of choice. IRIS was used to identify the losses shown in the 1-inch diameter tubes (above).

For more information about the advantages and limitations of this technique see