A comprehensive forensic engineering investigation was performed on a coke oven battery roof and heating walls in a $200 M construction litigation.
Premature grouting of the roof was a major consideration in evaluating the structural integrity and projected life expectancy of the battery. We performed extensive finite element analysis (FEA) to calculate temperatures, deflections, strains, and stresses using time-dependent creep analysis to evaluate the long term integrity of the roof and heating walls.
When in operation, coke oven batteries normally undergo time-dependent deformations, and creep, due to static and cyclic thermo-mechanical loads. Evaluations were carried out for a 25-year operating period. Refractory material properties were tested and analyzed to determine input for the FEA models.
Three dimensional, non-linear models were developed to quantify the stability of the heating walls. These models were subjected to cyclic pressure and thermal loading conditions, due to charging.
The effects of operating conditions on the as-built battery with construction imperfections were evaluated to determine the battery displacements and stresses vs. time. The finite element results showed that the battery oven walls would not deflect enough to induce instability. The construction imperfections had no meaningful effect on the structural integrity, robustness, or longevity of the battery. Such studies are quite useful in planning battery maintenance efforts.
We perform Forensic Engineering/Expert Witness Services for clients in industries including aerospace, chemical and energy.
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