Corrosion resistance under working conditions of the process industries is the prime criterion for selecting any construction material. In spite of selecting a suitable material for petrochemical plants, early cracking of the material have been observed. This paper presents failure analysis of some welded structures of charge heater pipes of a petrochemical plant.
Stabilized austenitic stainless steels were used at working temperatures of <650°C. Optical microscopy, finite elemental analysis, SEM, EDX and tensile tests were carried out to establish the microstructural changes, chemistry of grain boundaries and mechanism of damage.
Important aspects of the design considerations, carbide precipitation and sliding of the grains have been discussed. Some remedial measures have been suggested.
Keyword$: Stress rupture, creep, grain boundaries, residual stress, intergranularcracking, carbide precipitation, weldment, heat affected zone (HAZ)