Forensic Engineering Analysis of a Campus Wide Steam Loop Failure

Article Author: Klas C. Haglid, P.E., R.A. (NAFE 599S)

Volume: 30
Volume #: 2
Month: December
Year: 2013

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Abstract:

A forensic engineer invited to investigate a heating problem at a University recently made a site visit at the subject University. While walking through the site he noticed many areas of rising steam, especially in the area of the manholes provided for underground direct burial steam pipes. Several of the manholes were producing visible columns of steam. Ironically, this central steam distribution system was engineered to save money, time, and energy and improve the functionality of the existing system. Documents relevant to this case were evaluated and National Standards in the form of ASHRAE and ASTM were referenced and reviewed. Pictures, national reference standards, material data sheets and other peer-reviewed studies will be used to explain in detail how a large central steam distribution system started to fail dramatically and catastrophically in a very short period during and after installation.

Keywords:

ASHRA, ASTM, ERM, IRRA, MARR, permeance, permeability, pipeline