The grain boundary etching method as a method for assessing degradation of structural materials has received much attention because it is simple, inexpensive and easy to apply to real components. In this study, the effectiveness of the method is verified by successfully applying the technique to in-service components of aged fossil power plants such as main steam pipes, boiler headers an turbine rotors. A new degradation parameter, intersecting number ratio (N
), is employed. The intersecting number ratio (N
) is defined as the ratio of intersection number (N
) obtained from 5-minute picric acid etched surface to the number (N
) obtained from nital etched surface. Two kinds of test materials, 2.25Cr-1Mo steel and 1Cr-1Mo-0.25V steel, were artificially thermal-aged at 630.deg. C in different levels of degradation., (N
) were measured. And, correlations between the measured values and LMP values calculated from aging temperature and aging time were sought. To check the validity of the correlations obtained in laboratory, similar data were measured from service components in four old Korean fossil power plants. These on-site measurement data were in good correlation with those obtained in the laboratory.oratory.