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Lavender International develops innovative HTHA detection method

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World Fertilizer,

Established in 1976, Lavender International NDT is a leading provider of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) training, examinations and Level 3 Services to clients across the world. We develop bespoke inspections, novel inspection techniques and hybrid solutions to solve complex inspections on challenging materials, joint geometries and critical material degradation.

Lavender considers research and development to be an important part of what it does and following its two and a half years of research, it has developed a ground breaking method of reliably detecting High Temperature Hydrogen Attack (HTHA).

What is HTHA?

HTHA is damage caused through hydrogen atoms diffusing into steels that are exposed to high pressure hydrogen at elevated temperatures, typically above 400°F or 204C. The hydrogen reacts with unstable carbides in the steel to form methane (CH4), which cannot diffuse through the steel. The loss of carbides can cause an overall loss in mechanical strength. As methane pressure builds up, small gas pockets grow along grain boundaries and these then coalesce to form micro fissures which ultimately combine to form larger cracks.

HTHA is time, temperature and pressure related. These are factors considered by computer models written to forecast HTHA propagation. E2G have written such a model to assist Fitness For Service (FFS) assessments. Plant at risk from HTHA needs to be inspected with great diligence to detect HTHA at the earliest possible stage of material degradation.

Why is it important to detect HTHA?

In industry detecting HTHA damage is crucial as it could cause a catastrophic failure, resulting in plant closure, extensive costs, and in worst case scenarios loss of life. There have been a number of catastrophic failures resulting from HTHA that can be found in articles in the public domain. Many more very serious and less publicised plant failures have been reported, which upon root cause analysis, have been attributed to HTHA.

Use of NDT to detect HTHA

HTHA has been extremely difficult to detect with the NDT methodology available up until recently. Improvements to existing technologies and development of novel techniques has led to extremely successful detection HTHA rate pushing the boundaries to now finding colonies of individual micro fissure as small as 50 to 100?m.

Lavender research

Extensive work and experience gained during industrial trials as part of the E2G HTHA JIP has allowed Lavender International to develop a ground-breaking method that allows for the reliable detection High Temperature Hydrogen Attack (HTHA). The company's methodology has been validated by proving techniques by destructive testing and metallography. Macro and micro analysis has not only verified the presence of HTHA but also allowed measurement of the ground breaking early stage detection capability. Dissemination of this information was given to JIP members after which Lavender International developed a bespoke HTHA NDT training course.

What can the company offer?

Lavender International is now able to offer a unique HTHA inspection training course and as far as it is aware, it is the sole provider of such training. The training course can be undertaken at its facility in Houston, US; however the company will be able to conduct the course at its UK facilities in 2018.

Why Lavender?

The company is accredited by major NDT organisations, such as ASNT and BINDT, to provide Training and Examination suitable for internationally recognised central and employer based certification schemes.

What sets Lavender apart from other training schools is that Lavender International is now owned by its employees. This means that everyone in the company is a co-owner and is equally invested in ensuring that the students it trains have the best experience, the companies it works with have optimum support and that everything it does is delivered by quality staff who actually own the company. The company believes that the experience it provides is unique and is often referred to as ‘The Lavender Way’.

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