Furnaces, Kilns, Reformers, Heaters, Driers, Ovens and Boilers

Forensic Services Newsletter

  Partilially collapsed roof of a glass furnace, only days after startup.  Note stalactites hanging from the roof bricks, with a section through a brick shown on right.  The roof thermocouple had been incorrectly positioned and the furnace had been raised to a temperature that the silica bricks melted.

The combustion of fuel or the conversion of electricity to heat is used in a wide range of industrial processes. The items of equipment that we are regularly asked to examine go by such names as furnaces, kilns, reformers, heaters, driers, ovens and boilers. Sometimes the heat is directly brought into contact with the process stream. Alternatively water (steam) or oil is heated in boilers or thermal oil heaters to enable the heat to be conveyed to a process elsewhere in the factory.

The roof of a steel billet walking- beak heating furnace. Damage was claimed to be a result of a flood, but it is apparent that the faces of the bricks have been lost at various times. A cement kiln. Failures involving the trunions and bull gears are common.

Failures of any of the above can be very costly in insurance terms, as the equipment is usually a key item, the loss of which starves downstream equipment of product. There is such a variety of these thermal processes that they defy generalization in terms of our involvement and failure analysis. It is our intent to make pages on each of the seven varieties we list, two of which are indicated at the bottom of this page.

The inside (above left) and outside of an electric arc furnace after a breakout. Photographs taken after the refractory lining has been removed, leaving bare the steel furnace casing. Green coloured flame around a copper smelter; of no failure analysis significance whatsoever.

The photographs on this page are a random selection.

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