Approved Group International
AGI Steam Turbine Failure Investigation

Steam Turbine Failure Investigation

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At about 0930 hours on Monday, 13 January 2014, an explosion occurred at a steam turbine generator.

The incident occurred as the operator was about to start the affected machine at the beginning of the day. When the pressure at boiler, internally known as ‘Boiler No. 1’, reached 31 bar, the operator prepared to start up the turbine. He opened the inlet valve gradually for steam to enter the turbine from the boiler. As the turbine reached approximately 300 revolutions per minute (RPM), he heard a sudden loud bang which resulted in a cloud of smoke and steam being released along with metal debris flying around the area.

Figure 1: The damage sustained to the exhaust valve that broke apart from the force of the explosion.
Figure 2: View of the exhaust pipe that was dislodged during the incident.

The investigation was conducted through a site visit to inspect the affected machinery, data gathering, damage analysis and scientific interpretation of the physical evidence. Interviews were also conducted with several eye-witnesses and relevant personnel to gather information surrounding the incident. Following the damage analysis of the affected steam turbine generator, the physical evidence, an examination of the provided photographs, and the gathered witness statements, it is the Approved Forensics Team’s finding that the failure originated due to an operator error, who did not open the exhaust valve when he commenced operations of the steam turbine generator.

Figure 3: View of the expansion joint and exhaust pipe, which had bent backwards.
Figure 4: View of the fragments belonging to the exhaust valve, that had broken off with the force of the explosion.

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