This article discusses applications of computer simulations for restoring aging boiler vessels. Companies are using finite element analysis (FEA) to predict the intensity and distribution of these stresses, and hence the distortion magnitude and the residual stress state produced by the welding operation, so engineers can evaluate the structural integrity that a repaired component will have. The analysis can be applied to boiler tubes, pressure vessels, and chemical storage tanks. A particularly challenging application for weld-overlay FEA arises with the more complicated shapes found in boiler-tube waterwall panels, which consist of a row of hollow tubes connected by a membrane, a continuous layer of steel that connects the tubes. Such waterwalls are typically arranged to form a square box around a heat source that causes water in the tubes to boil and generate steam, which is then carried off to operate a turbine. Software from Algor can be used with linear and nonlinear material models to determine the stresses that the waterwall's distortion would place on the supporting buckstay structure.

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