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Title: Maintaining US Naval Surface Ship Propulsion Plant Integrity Through NAVSEA Approved Condenser Cleaning and Eddy Current Testing

Author(s): Jack Stotler, Gary E. Fischer, and Christopher Van Name, Conco Services Corp.


In today’s fast paced world of military challenges, the surface ships of the US Navy must be able to be deployed around the globe at a moments notice. They cannot be hampered or slowed down by inefficient propulsion plant and equipment. Maintaining condenser and heat exchanger tubes is of vital importance for reliable power generation. Monitoring tube integrity by implementing the proper cleaning and eddy current testing practices is necessary to assure that each ship’s propulsion plant is running at peak efficiency.

Two major problems result from fouled tubes: 1) loss of heat transfer, and 2) under-deposit corrosion. Deposits on the walls of condenser tubes interfere with heat transfer, reducing the efficiency of the steam condensing and lowering the vacuum resulting in less efficient turbine operation and a loss of power. Under-deposit corrosion can lead to pitting and through wall penetrations resulting in the contamination of the high purity steam by the cooling water. These contaminants can cause problems in the boiler tubing and steam turbine. The testing insures that a unit going back into service has had a thorough examination and will perform effectively. Cleaning and testing contributes to the efficient and effective operations for a ship at sea; an absolute necessity for the U.S. Navy.

This paper will examine NAVSEA approved cleaning method and Eddy Current testing as it applies to unit efficiency and longevity of the units, as well as the economics of both practices utilized in Newport News, Norfolk, and the Puget Sound since 2004.