Smart questions
Smart answers
Smart people
Join Eng-Tips Forums

Member Login

Remember Me
Forgot Password?
Join Us!

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips now!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

Join Eng-Tips
*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.
Jobs from Indeed

Link To This Forum!

Partner Button
Add Stickiness To Your Site By Linking To This Professionally Managed Technical Forum.
Just copy and paste the
code below into your site.

TurnaroundPlanner (Petroleum) (OP)
5 Mar 05 13:35
Can anyone please point me to a source for determining the correct procedure for hydrotesting the various types of heat exchangers?  Thanks.
Fzob (Mechanical)
5 Mar 05 16:49
I don't have a source, but I've done it many times on differet HeatX's. What type are you planning to test?
abeltio (Mechanical)
5 Mar 05 16:51
TEMA standards (tubular exchanger manufacturer's association).
Construction code (i.e. ASME VIII Div 1 or 2)


TurnaroundPlanner (Petroleum) (OP)
5 Mar 05 20:55
Muchas gracias, Albetio!  Thanks, Fzob!

I'll be searching the TEMA standards.

I need information on how to test most/all types of heat exchangers.  I do not need to research the test pressures, just the methodology.  I have developed standard procedures for overhauling heat exchangers such as found in oil refineries and chemical plants.  Sometimes you test the bundle, the the shell side, sometimes the tube side together with the shell side, etc.   Sometimes you have to employ test rings, etc.  The standard procedures are used mainly for shutdown/turnaround work.

Thanks again!
Montemayor (Chemical)
5 Mar 05 23:55

TEMA's Standard Test for heat exchangers reads as follows:

"The exchanger shall be hydrostatically tested with water.  The test pressure shall be held for at least 30 minutes.  The shell side and the tube side are to be tested separately in such a manner that leaks at the tube joints can be detected from at least one side.  When the tube side design pressure is the higher pressure, the tube bundles shall be tested outside of the shell only if specified by the purchaser and the construction permits.  Welded joints are to be sufficiently cleaned prior to testing the exchanger to permit proper inspection during the test.  The minimum hydrostatic test pressure at room temperature shall be 1.5 times the design pressure, corrected for temperature, except where other Code requirements govern."

That is essentially all TEMA specifies, except that it allows for a pneumatic test (which I won't do) in the event that liquid(s) cannot be tolerated as a test fluid medium.

I hope this helps you out.

Art Montemayor
Spring, TX

TurnaroundPlanner (Petroleum) (OP)
6 Mar 05 10:29
Art, thanks!

Of all the turnarounds I remember, heat exchangers have always been tested with water.  I remember air tests being conducted for some vessels (they taped all flanges to detect leaks), but rather as an exception to the rule.

svanels (Petroleum)
6 Mar 05 19:10
We do air tests on the individual tubes to identify leaking tubes. This is done after pulling and cleaning. After repairs we do hydrotesting.

Steven van Els

TurnaroundPlanner (Petroleum) (OP)
7 Mar 05 10:33
Thanks, svanels!  Questions:

1) Is the air test done as a matter of routine to all cleaned bundles?

2) Is the air test performed on some suspected tubes, or on all tubes in a bundle?
svanels (Petroleum)
7 Mar 05 15:19
We have done already two turnarounds and we fairly know which heatexchangers give trouble. Typically it are the vacuum jet overhead condensors (gases) and cooling water in the tubes.

The crude-vacuumbottoms and other oil to oil exchanges normally don't give problems, we never found a leak.

We do the test on all the tubes, but thouroughly testing is done with the vacuum condensors, because you need to know in an early stage if it is retubing or pluging, and plan for replacing the whole bundle. There are special air tools for tube bundle testing. Basically one man at channel head side with an airgun and another at floating head side to plug the other end with a pressure gauge.
It is easier to test then pressure testing in the shell with water to find leaking tubes.


Steven van Els

brainstorming (Chemical)
12 Mar 05 7:43
As far as I know that the hydrotest by air is safety concern and water is usually used. I have seen incidents with air hydrotesting that caused fracture of some vessels.
Therefore, recently we have done both air and water hydrotesting for some equipement in the plant where the fluid service either vapour or liquid.
That was done by subcontractor with special devices with given instructions (i.e. time of pressurizing, holding, and repeating)
I dont have this procedure now but this what I have experienced.

svanels (Petroleum)
12 Mar 05 18:04
The air test is not a hydrotest, with the hydrotest you evaluate the structural integrity, with the air test you localize problems.
The engineer who executes a hydrotest on a boiler with steam, will lose his license and face juridical penalties.

Steven van Els

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members!

Back To Forum

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close