Project: Flex-Creep-Fatigue

The project

The State of North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) in Germany has commissioned TÜV Rheinland Werkstoffprüfung GmbH (materials testing department) with the development, production and trial operation of prototype testing equipment used to qualify materials for flexible power plants. In the “Flex-Creep-Fatigue” project, specialists for Computational Engineering and test engineers as well as materials experts are developing a new technology for long-term testing of materials. This technology can be used to create improved innovative calculation models for the life expectancy of flexible power plants. NRW has provided a budget of € 780,000 to partners TÜV Rheinland Werkstoffprüfung GmbH and StandZeit GmbH for a period extending until 2019. Dr. Ansgar Kranz of TÜV Rheinland is working with RWE Generation SE (power plant operator accompanying the project as an associate partner) and StandZeit GmbH to carry out the project on behalf of the NRW Ministry for Innovation, Science and Research (MWIF).

This project is financed by Europäischer Fonds für regionale Entwicklung (EFRE).

Our services within the project

  • TÜV Rheinland Werkstoffprüfung GmbH conducts testing using measurement technology, materials technology, and calculation methods. This includes the evaluation of specific power plant data (e.g. assessment of startup and shutdowns for various power plant constructions) which is provided by the cooperation partner RWE.
  • Finite Element Analyses are conducted using 3D-CAD-designs with the aim of defining the optimal solution for a prototype concerning load flexibility and costs (investment and running costs).
  • The project partner StandZeit GmbH is aided by the integration of measurement and control technology during prototype production.
  • After the commissioning and the construction of a prototype by StandZeit GmbH, experiments with power plant materials will be carried out and an optimized material model will be created using the data from online surveillance of test results.
  • Material modelling will enable the prediction of deformation and potential failures in the optimized models via the application of the “Flex-Creep-Fatigue” testing technology. Comparisons with results from other research projects benefit these models.

Background information

The growing supply of electrical power from renewable resources is changing the profile of requirements for conventional power plants, which must react increasingly flexibly to offset irregularities and secure network stability at all times. The number and speed of startups as well as the amount of load changes is increasing for existing and newly-built power plants. A wear mechanism “creep-fatigue-interaction” for critical thick-walled components in the water-steam cycle of these coal and gas power plants can provide important information for plant owners and operators. A forecast on the behavior and the life expectancy of such construction components is possible based on current regulations. However, the experimental protection is insufficient for power plants that have already endured thousands of startups and shutdowns and over 100,000 hours of creep stress. For these cases, a cost-effective test technology measuring impact on materials over the long-term will be developed. Such a precise assessment of the expected lifetime of critical components is urgently needed for safety reasons and to determine the economic viability of a plant. Technical feasibility and high costs have limited the implementation of long-term “creep-fatigue-experiments” up to now.