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Case Studies

TRACERCO Diagnostics™ Leak Study

The TRACERCO Diagnostics™ Leak study technology has a proven track record in successfully identifying and confirming the source of leakage within banks of heat exchangers.

A recent example of this powerful inspection tool is a project Tracerco undertook for a major Malaysian refinery. Tracerco Asia was requested by a client to investigate the presence of a possible leak in two of its heat exchangers. A TRACERCO Diagnostics™ Heat Exchanger Leak Study was carried out on these vessels to determine which, if any, of them was leaking and to measure the size of any leak detected.

A sharp pulse of radiotracer, compatible with the higher-pressure, leaking stream, is injected into the process upstream of the exchangers. Its progress through the tube side of the system is monitored by detectors strategically positioned on the inlet and outlet lines of the exchangers. Further detector s were positioned on the shell-side pipe work to monitor any internal leakage in the exchangers.

Using the TRACERCO Diagnostics™ Leak study technique, it is often possible to identify leaks of typically 0.2% or lower, while leaks of 1% can be readily identified.

A leak was detected in the first bank of exchangers. The size of the leak was (15 +/- 3)% from the tube side to the shell side of the exchanger. The leak appeared to be close to the tube side inlet of the exchanger.

There was no evidence of any leak in the second bank of exchangers. The minimum leak size that would have been detected was 0.2%.

Subsequent to the test, the unit with the leak has been removed and tested off-line. With the remaining exchangers in services the plant is now making on-spec material.

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